The Grainline Studios Farrow Dress
Posted on Tuesday the 6th March 2018 by Sewing Angela
This is such an elegant dress. The shape is A-Line which suits most body shapes and it has very flattering diagonal seam, concealing in-seam pockets. It can be made with or without sleeves making this an all year round pattern.
The hem dips slightly at the back and there is a single hook and eye inside the back neck.
The first thing I found was the sizes have a very generous fit. There is a body measurement chart on page one of the instruction booklet.
I cut out size 10 which fit nicely on the bust and shoulders but I needed to take the side seams in by a total of four inches to reduce the waist and hip measurements to make it fit slightly closer to my body shape?
The sleeves were also too long and I shortened them by 2”.
I also found that the fabric requirements were rather scant, and I recommend purchasing a bit more fabric, especially if it is 45” wide. I have to admit that it was rather difficult trying to fit my pattern pieces onto my fabric and I needed to be a bit inventive. Each pattern piece is an unusual shape and it is fascinating but awkward fitting them onto the fabric correctly.
Take note also that there are ten sizes marked on each pattern piece which got a little confusing especially on the smaller pieces, so I recommend identifying your size on each piece and going over the cutting lines with a coloured pen before cutting out.
The fabric I used is this fabulous navy blue and ivory trailing leaves print Ponte Roma Fabric
which is 60” wide. Ponte Roma is a polyester jersey with a small amount of spandex added which gives it a small amount of stretch. It is beautifully soft, hangs well, drapes well and is easy to care for. It is also the perfect fabric choice for anybody new to sewing jersey fabrics.
When cutting any garment out it is important that the grain lines marked on the pattern are parallel to the selvedge. If this is slightly out then your fabric will be cut “off grain” and may not hang straight. Therefore it is good practice to measure from the grain lines to the selvedge at intervals to make sure that your pattern is placed correctly on the fabric. It sounds tedious but once in the habit you will find that you do it automatically and your garments will always hang perfectly straight.
I had to read the instructions for the inseam pockets a few times, in the end I pinned the actual pattern pieces together and it suddenly became clear how to sew them. I do not usually like dressmakers carbon paper and tracing wheel, but I tested them on some spare fabric and found that nothing showed through to the right side side of the fabric so I went ahead and used them. Had any trace showed on the right side I would have used my usual tailors tacks. Pattern markings are definitely an essential for this dress otherwise it would be impossible to place the pockets correctly.
The instruction booklet is actually full of very clear and easy to understand diagrams so the pattern - for this reason alone - makes it suitable for advanced beginners onwards. The instructions for stitching the pockets appeared more difficult than they actually were.
The front and back has a beautiful seam detail, so do tack the pieces together before machining, to make sure that the seams all meet exactly central.
The pattern is cut in various directions and therefore you will need a lot of sewing experience if you choose a fabric which has an obvious striped pattern. Cut correctly though and with a lot of thought it could look stunning. I do however recommend a fabric with no obvious direction.
I understitched the facing to stop it from rolling towards the outer side of the dress.
The suggested hem is a double hem but I thought it would be bulky so I overlocked the edge and top stitched on the right side with a double needle and a long stitch.
The long sleeves have facings at the hem but I didn't use them, although in future I might. I shortened the sleeve by two inches and finished it in the same way as the dress hem.
Don't forget that with a jersey fabric it is necessary to leave it to hang overnight in order for the fabric to drop, the next day I checked the hem before finishing it.
The hem on this dress dips at the back but not too much. It really feels very elegant to wear!
I did not experience any major problems with this pattern apart from the sizing - but that is a design feature not a fault. It shows the importance of tacking together and trying on before machining doesn't it?
This is the perfect dress for a cool day if you make it in a heavier fabric such as this ponte roma and make the long sleeved version. It is extremely elegant to wear and would not look out of place at any event.
I will definitely be making this in the summer in a lightweight cotton lawn and sleeveless, it will then be floaty and comfortable in the hot weather.
This pattern is one that can be used throughout the seasons and look different every time.
I am delighted with how this dress turned out and I know that I will get plenty of wear out of it.
Thank you for reading the post,