Thursday, 9 March 2017

Learning to make the Granville Shirt

Last Christmas I was given the lovely gift of an advanced dressmaking shirt course with the very talented Janet of Kitchen Table Sewing in Bedford. I'd been wanting to make a shirt for a while, so a 4 week course (one evening a week, plus homework) was just the nudge I needed to learn a few new skills. Plus, there is always copious amounts of tea and homemade cake at Janet's!



The pattern we made was the Sewaholic Patterns Granville Shirt. It's a great classic shirt, but the sheer number of pattern pieces and magical seeming collar stand and placket instructions were a little intimidating! It was great to be able to tackle the trickier parts in class and then work on the more straightforward parts at home. There were an awful lot of hours that went into this shirt, so I'm glad I chose a lovely Liberty tana lawn. In fact, it was a brilliant post-Christmas sale bargain and the buttons were a great eBay find.



Sewaholic Patterns are designed for the pear-shaped figure, meaning they're generous around the hips, which is great for me. I was between two sizes on the measurements, but went for the larger to avoid button gape. I then took the shoulders in by 1.5cm. The sleeve length is very generous. I shortened mine by 2cm, but should have been braver and taken off more. Ah well, I'll be wearing the sleeves rolled up on this one I think and make the adjustment on the next one.



The two main new techniques I learnt in making this shirt were the collar and the plackets. Neither of them really made sense to me until I did them, and plackets in particular seem like a magic trick! We also used French seams, which has given the inside a lovely finish. Buttonholes were a bit of challenge. My very pretty sewing machine is not really the most sophisticated and the 4-step buttonhole setting is a bit on the clunky side. My unpicker came in handy, and I had to give them a couple of goes before taking the plunge and cutting them open.

So, all in all, I'm very pleased with my first foray into shirt making. It's not perfect, but it's wearable. I've learnt loads and will definitely be making another, as well as tackling some other shirt patterns in my stash. And I've now made four of my #2017makenine. Bonus.

Excuse the mess, I was just a bit too eager to try it on when I'd finally finished :-)


  1. Oh I love it! You clever thing! It's brill. Lovely choice of fabric too! Janet's classes are great, so nice to have her expertise & encouragement on something so complicated! Can't wait to see the next thing you make. I have major clothes envy. Xxx

  2. Aww, thanks Lucy. Janet's help with this one was definitely needed! Going to be making a few kids' clothes next, but then have a linen skirt and vintage shirt dress lined up for late spring/earky summer. Just have to squeeze it in around everything else. Wish I could spend every day sewing! xxx