Hello again everyone! It’s taken me a little while to get to my next post, I’ve just been so busy. Last weekend was my first horse show of the year, and those really wipe me out for the entire weekend. (This one, not least because I lost my car key and had to wait five hours for my mom and sister to bring me my spare; I didn’t get home from the show until 11pm!) Also, this project took a fair amount of time, since it’s got a bunch of little details to pay attention to, and the fabric was none too cooperative. But now that it’s finished, I am happy to present my first run of the Sewaholic Granville button-down shirt.
As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew I had to make it. I love button-down shirts but most of the ones I own have some problem or other that makes them annoying. Usually it’s the sleeve length. For some reason it’s nearly impossible for me to buy a button-down with long enough sleeves. And my Archer is fabulous (although the lawn has not been weather-appropriate yet) but definitely boxy. I was really drawn to the fitted silhouette of the Granville shirt and love the details of the princess seaming in the back.
(I have spots in my hair. You can see the biggest one here. For some reason it never faded dark and now it’s a spot. For the longest time, I didn’t even know about it until my hairdresser chuckled at it and then had to explain.)
Now, one reason that my purchased button-downs annoy me is probably that I’m quite picky when it comes to shirts. The same applied to Granville. I made a lot of small tweaks to the pattern (which is why this is “based on a true story”—it’s a lot like the original pattern, but I don’t think a single piece went unchanged! Maybe the plackets.) For one thing, I like to be able to wear ties with my button-downs, and Granville is drafted for a more relaxed-fit collar. You can’t wear a tie with a very loose collar, you just can’t. So I shortened the collar quite a bit (the correct way would have been to raise the neckline, but ultimately I just ended up shortening it because I needed to pinch out 5/8″ from each shoulder and 3/4″ from the center back.)
I compared the cuff to a shirt which fits me very well and ended up shortening that. I shortened the sleeve and made it a bit narrower, and lowered the sleeve cap. After doing that, the sleeve was about 5/8” wider than the cuff, so I pleated the sleeve into the cuff.
I took a little out of the side-back and side seams, and reduced the flare. And I had to move the bust dart up, because it looked a little funky where it was originally.
If I do say so myself, that cuff and placket look good.
The fabric gave me a whole other bundle of trouble. A friend sent me, essentially, some mystery fabric. Supposedly it’s 90% tencel 10% linen, but to be honest I have no idea. What it really is, is some extremely tightly woven nonsense. It looks like ordinary shirting but it’s hell on needles. I ended up using a Microtex sharp needle and being very, very careful over multiple layers. Even then, I broke two needles doing the collar and collar stand. It just doesn’t want to be pierced by the needle, and it put up a hell of a fight. I used self-fabric to interface the button band because I was lazy, and that was a mistake. I had to go back and trim the layers quite a bit just to get the topstitching done. It pressed okay, but not as crisply or as easily as cotton.
The other tragedy was my chalk marker. It turns out the Chaco pens, while wonderful, do not work well with this fabric from hell. The fabric refused to give up the chalk, which means even after several washes, my buttonholes have little tints of blue. *sigh*
Despite these struggles, I finished the shirt and I love it! It fits me really well, and the details are just right. The collar ended up a little too tight, but it’s still wearable and I can wear a tie with it just fine. All of the seams are flat-felled (even the armscye seam… that was not fun) so it looks good on the inside, too. Compared to my only other white button-down in my closet (a Ralph Lauren shirt), this is way better. The Ralph Lauren shirt is too short in the body and boxy. The construction quality is similar, but when I need a nice white crisp shirt, this is the one I’m going to go to.
And on a separate note, I have a couple of fluffies pictures to share. This is from the show last weekend. It was taken in the warm up ring before I went in for my jump round (I disqualified my first round and finished, but didn’t place, in the second. It was an “interesting” day.)
The weather has been beautiful lately; we hardly got a winter at all, and now we’re well into spring.
After the show, I was a bit discouraged because I hadn’t done better. Fortunately, I had my usual lesson on Monday, and everything worked out really well. My trainer helped me figure out what had gone wrong on Saturday and we worked on addressing that thoroughly. Peter and I were working really well together and it felt great, and definitely restored my confidence. (The color variation, for those who don’t know, is from Peter’s haircut. Working horses often get clipped during the winter, so the areas where they sweat the most can dry off more quickly.)
And, finally, I have to share this picture of my little dog, Brutus. Yesterday was his 10th birthday, the Ides of March (hence why he’s called Brutus, even though he’s a sweet, clingy lapdog.) He’s my baby, and I hope he stays around for several more years.