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Friday, August 3, 2018

Grainline Felix


Back in 2014, when I participated in the Fabric Mart Fabricista challenge, we were given the Grainline Scout tee to 'make our own'. I muslined because I knew there was no way I was going to sew this as is.


I finished the challenge and wore the top for a bit...but I tossed the pattern immediately. I've not really considered any Grainline patterns since then (I've owned the Lakeside pjs since they were first released). Mainly, her patterns just don't match my aesthetic; too boxy, too shapeless. very casual in a way that I don't normally dress.


So while I liked the Felix immediately, my hesitation with Indies in general and this company specifically, made me pass. Then I saw the photo of the dress made up in the blue fabric! I decided to gamble because it looked amazing!! I bought a PDF version of the pattern on Pattern Review.


I saw a response from Jen to someone about the bodice finish basically "needing" the lining. You don't NEED the lining. It will produce a beautiful finish but it is not necessary because the bodice is finished with a facing. 

The PDF went together fine and everything matched up as it was supposed to (notches, etc). I am almost always annoyed by Indie patterns' gazillion pages of instructions. I'm not sure why 29 pages is necessary...e.g., 3 steps and a full page on understitching the facing. Gah. But the instructions were fine and they were mostly clear. I even read through the lining steps.

The left neckband is wonky on me. 
I tried fixing it after it was assembled so now my right band is a little sloppy. boooo!


I knew beforehand that I would be eliminating the horizontal seam in back, leaving it unlined and leaving out the pockets. You CAN have the pockets without lining but it requires more work than I think is worth it. If you wanted it unlined but with pockets, then I'd say go for inseam.

I do not like that horizontal back seam. At all. Again, there is a very specific body type that can take a seam going across their backside with fabric eased in...I ain't got it!


I sewed a size 12 based on the measurement chart and finished bust measurement. I decided to do a 3/4" FBA and eliminated the dart that was created. I could have used a *little* more room!  

Because the back skirt of the lining had no additional ease, I used that piece for my skirt. I attached them, overlapping the seam allowance, and did a 1/2" swayback adjustment. I added the seam allowance to CB directly on the fabric. I did NOT consider the fact that the lining piece is shorter, and had to shorten my front pattern piece after the fact. Doh! But it works! I like this length a lot.





the pattern instructs turning up 1/4" then 3/4". 
I did a narrow hem.

I kept the additional waist room from my FBA and based on that additional space, I added 1" on the fold for the front skirt. I then chose a spot (kind of randomly, honestly) and marked it both sides of center. I did a very light gathering between the two marks. I did not like the idea of just easing the skirt in.  

Once the front skirt was attached I basted the side seams. I am pretty straight from the front and needed a little waist definition. I took it in about 3/4" on each side starting from about 2" below the armhole to the front horizontal seam.


On my muslin, I noticed the back neckband was really, really round. It was tough to sew. I will have to wear it a couple times likely to really get what's wrong with it. I'm thinking the neck/shoulder fit on Grainline just doesn't work for me. I believe it's meant for a more erect back; the shoulder seam is WAY back on me and I do not have forward shoulders. I also want to pull it away from my neck repeatedly. Eh. I am not sure I'll be using the pattern again. 

But I do like THIS dress! 





The fabric is (an expensive!) tencel chambray from Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul. Lastly, maybe it's evident in the pics how low the armholes are? It's always an issue when a pattern has a sleeved and sleeveless option with the same bodice. The armholes need to be raised for sleeves so getting out of the dress is a challenge! I noted this on IG when I muslined it...but then I didn't think I had enough of this fabric to cut sleeves so I didn't adjust the armhole. Sigh.

just barely made it!

Part of this frustration, admittedly, is due to pulling out the True Bias Lander pants, looking at this front crotch curve and NOPE'ing the whole idea. True Bias Ogden - fantastic pattern. I hate I waited so long to try it. These pants? n.o.p.e. 

Someone's crotch is shaped like this...but mine isn't.

So I've given up on the Landers and am sewing another pair of Birkin Flares with some tweaks (including a button fly!). 

I think my overall feelings on the Felix are neutral. You all know I'm a Big4 / Burda fangirl. I know there are good Indies; I don't dispute that. I think that so many of them are based on the owner's body type and it doesn't translate well to creating sewing patterns for the masses. No pattern will fit all of the bodies; I TOTALLY get that -- But so many of these companies are just too specific in the body type they draft for. And I just don't have the patience (or budget!) to gamble repeatedly.  

I'm not confident I'll use my awesome paisley fabric on the Felix this fall. But I will wear this Felix dress because I think it's pretty darned cute on me.







39 comments:

Linda T said...

Cute dress on you with your changes. For me, I think I'll leave this pattern at the store. Thanks for the detailed review!

MadebyLaQuana said...

Super cute and totally get your views on indies. That Chambray will wear nicely!!

Catherine said...

Great review and you did such a good job on the making the dress to fit your needs. It's just so darn cute on you!

kristen said...

Love Treadle Yard Goods!

Summer Flies said...

It looks really cute on and i like the back change. I bet the tercel feels great on too. I have not seen one pair of those Lander pants that I like on anyone. That crotch curve may be the reason.

Barbara said...

You are so right about the indies being drafted for specific body types and aesthetics. It's fairly easy to figure it out in advance so it's always a head scratch to me when someone complains how a pattern doesn't work for them. For example, people yipe that they need an FBA for a Sewaholic. Well, she says upfront they are drafted for small busted pear shaped bodies! And yeah, Grainline is always always always boxy. That said, your tweaks to the Felix have resulted in a very cute dress. I hope the shoulder issue doesn't keep you from wearing it but it would understandable if it does. That color is wonderfu.

Nursebennett said...

I’m glad you like that dress, because you’re right......it DOES look awesome on you!

Lynn said...

Grainline fits me like it was made for me. But, I am a tiny version of Jen -- wider shoulders, straight back, little waist definition. It's just that she is tall and I definitely am not.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

This is a cute dress on you but here's the catch for me...that's not the Felix that she designed. You took her bones and created your own dress. Now you know I'm good with that I love a good fixer upper but you paid to download that pattern (because no paper pattern is available yet), tape it together (or send it out to be printed) and then redesigned it. THAT right there is my main problem with pdfs...says the woman presently sewing a pdf pattern! *LOL*

Also while this is really a cute dress on you - I still like the Farrow better. Oh and I thought this had pockets? It doesn't?

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thank you Linda! I do think the target audience is...very targeted!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thanks Q!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thank you Catherine!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

I don't get there often because St. Paul is the other side of the world :-p but they do have some goodies.

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thanks Summer Flies!

I don't know WHY I didn't dig before buying...must've been in a generous mood!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

I have liked a few Sewaholic tops in the past but not for this bustline so I haven't bothered. I knew the Grainline aesthetic was loose/boxy but had no idea the shoulder/neck fit was SO much so for a broad shoulder/ VERY straight back. And when I made the Scout I was far too new to sewing to grasp that. It's tough. And I think especially so with many of them aiming to appeal to the beginner.

Thank you much! I think I will wear it. So far today, so good :)

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thank you!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

AH. Definitely NOT my body type! LOL!!!!! :)

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thank you! It does; I mentioned leaving them off. The other side of the pocket would get sewn to the bodice lining which, they COULD have been sewn to the bodice...but I also did not like that they are caught in the side seam. I feel like that's why they gape weirdly on the photos.

Yep, I hear ya! I buy very, very, very few PDF patterns. I don't have time for all that. And it's my problem in general with Indies. I paid $12.60 for that Lander pattern and $14.40 for this one. I am not happy to be out of almost $30 for nothing. And why I primarily stick to Big4 or Burda...a bad pattern then cost me <$5 or a little time spent tracing.

Debbie Cook said...

Love your final dress. Hate that you had to redraft the dang pattern. I have very square shoulders and erect back and took one look at the neck curve and said Uh No. That thing would strangle me. I think Jen has a curved back. Her sister/model certainly does. And the model for the Felix definitely does too.

In the words of Michael Kors on Project Runway ... "That crotch is insane!" lol

Also, like you, I am mildly (and sometimes more than mildly) irritated by the verbose instructions in indies. It's no wonder the newer sewists are "afraid" to sew this/that. They're used to their hands being held each and every time.

Thanks for a fair, honest review.

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Ah! Curved back and neck. That makes sense. It’s SUCH a tight curve!!!!

And yes it makes sense why so many people never advance beyond the easy, beginner patterns. When I got to the PAGE on understitching, I tossed the directions aside. Honestly...

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

LOL...I'll be hearing Michael Kors in my head all day now.

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Thanks for the detailed review. As you know, I've had my eye on this pattern since it's release.

Your finished dress looks lovely...I especially love that shade of blue!

I would need to do a significant FBA on this pattern. After seeing your garment, I would anticipate adding extra length to the bodice so that the empire waistline doesn't sit quite so high on me. I am one who actually likes the horizontal seam at the back...I have another dress with a similar line. Now. To decide if I'll end up with a silhouette right for me?

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

I hope you make it Sue!

Yes, I got a bit of extra length from my FBA of course and don't mind where it hits...but I can see wanting a bit more room. I think it'll be no sweat with the pattern pieces...just don't forget to adjust the bands! :)

I don't like the seam but also I have a very pronounced butt! The seam would hit right across there and would look pretty weird. I thought about curving the back but also knew a swayback adjustment would likely be needed, so I went with the CB seam.

Enerostar83 said...

I’m surprised you didn’t have PR print the pattern for you so you wouldn’t have to tape it together. It’s definitely not my aesthetic, but I do want to try the landers.

The Sewing CPA said...

I love your honesty. I agree with Carolyn - after all the changes you made, you didn’t get what you paid for. But the end result of your dress is gorgeous. You really made it work and it suits you so beautifully.

Bunny said...

I think the dress is darling on you but YOU made it work. The color is so flattering and I like the curved front bodice. Maybe you'll make another. I also detest PDFs. THe Indies I have tried, unless it's a bag pattern, have to come in envelopes, not PDFs. I make the exception for bags because the pieces are so tiny and often there are several to a page. None of that crazy taping stuff! Life is too short.

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

There’s a service, PDFPlotting.com, that does it way cheaper than PR does. Like $2.40/sheet! I just wanted to do it right away vs waiting for the mail.

If you’re not shaped like the designer or other people who have made GOOD versions, buyer beware. So many of them have really odd front crotch fit.

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thank you!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Thanks Bunny! I can’t make another one unless I figure out the neck/shoulder fit.

garnet128 said...

Glad you were able to make it work because like other posters said the fabric/color is so flattering on you. Be a shame for it to have become a wadder. It really does look nice.

Ginger said...

I love your version of Felix. It looks so much nicer than any of the other versions I've seen. Enjoy your new dress.
I've made Grainline's Lark about 5 times and love it. I've made many many tshirts but I think Lark is my tnt. All their other patterns are too boxy for me, though the lakeside pj's have tempted me a few times.

Vanessa said...

Ok...you made such a cute dress in spite of what you had to work with! I would not have known where to begin, and might have moved on. You definitely made it work for you, but I totally understand your view of Indies.

mish said...

Thank you for posting this candid review. I love how your dress turned out on you, particularly the back with no horizontal seam, and the front with no pockets. I am about to try a muslin. So far all patterns have been a gamble for me. I am not good at being able to tell which will work and which won't. But I hope to get better at that so I can stop throwing away money on patterns that just don't make sense for my body :)

Accordion3 said...

I've made multiple versions of the Grainline Lark Tee, for myself and my daughters. Also made a few Scouts. The drafting is excellent. But the dresses, well, they are rather shapeless. The Felix's waist shaping and baggy skirt is guaranteed to make me look at least 5 months up the duff! And super deep V-necks just don't work on me.
Your's is a lovely colour, and really suits you.

Camelia said...

Thank you for sharing ! I saw your dress on IG and went to check the pattern out on their website, cute pattern but I never sew a Grainline pattern and I tend to buy indie patterns from where I know the fit. Your dress does look super cute and you look beautiful, the fabric does look perfect for it.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for detailed review. I’ve been obsessed with this pattern and debating whether to pay what seems like a huge sum for a PDF. Your notes have made me step away! Your dress looks good on you, I hope you enjoy wearing it!

ElleC said...

This is the only Felix dress that I have seen that I liked. Except of course for the 12 foot tall, 100 pound sewist's makes. After reading your post I know why I like it, it isn't really a Felix dress anymore. You fabric is glorious, the perfect choice for your non-Felix dress. And I totally agree with you about Indies.

JT said...

I know this is old but I just wanted to thank you for posting a pic of that crotch curve on the Lander pants. I've been considering buying it after seeing how good they looked on some people and after seeing that - nope!!! I don't know why I get sucked into the latest indie thing, I'd be better off modifying a TNT...

Doctor T Designs said...

Love hearing your thoughts on indie patterns- I’ve had very similar thoughts, but not articulated half so well. Dress looks pretty!