I know – another post already! It’s a funny thing with tests. I sewed up 3 or 4 tests over a period of maybe 6 months and then they all got released within 10 days of each other. A sewing friend of mine said to me the other day: “Wow, you’ve really been sewing a lot recently!” I haven’t at all, but it looks that way for sure. Anyway, I tested the Farrow dress from Grainline Studio all the way back in February, so I hope I can remember everything I want to say. It shouldn’t be too difficult though, as it was a very straightforward and extremely satisfying sew.
This dress really was a total pleasure to work on. There’s something about the way it goes together – it’s such a clever design, but quick to implement. The clever part for me is the lovely large pockets which are flawlessly integrated into the diagonal centre seam. I chose to highlight that division with a colour-blocked dress, but, even so, you wouldn’t know the pockets were there unless I put my hands into them, as above.
The Farrow is a dress absolutely in line with the Grainline aesthetic. It’s an A-line affair with a clean, minimal vibe and great drafting. It’s been available since 2016, but has now been released in extended sizing, which is a D cup draft in sizes 14-30, or 40″ to 56″ bust. As you may have seen, I’ve already tested some of the new line and they really fit me rather well – I wear my Scout tees a lot and I love my new Cortland Trench coat. I made this in my usual size 18, which is a close match to my measurements and it was again a good match.
I will admit I was a little more dubious about this particular design on me than I was for the others. I have an hourglass-type figure and tend to veer towards dresses that cinch at the waist and have some decolletage. Not always, but I generally wouldn’t tend to go for a high jewel neckline combined with an A-line shape. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to see how it would work out and I was encouraged that the extended sizing has bust darts added for a little shaping.
I decided to colour block with two pieces of linen I had left over from other projects. I put them together and really liked the colour contrast, so decided to go with it. These are actually colours that I wouldn’t tend to pick out against my skin tone. I’m not sure what was going on in my mind when I bought them, although I suspect it was around the time everyone was making earth-tone clothes (and still are to some extent) and I was swept along with the trend. Anyway, for a project that comprises a garment I wasn’t sure about in fabrics I wasn’t sure about, I think it turned out pretty well, haha!
In fact I like it so much that I really want to sew another one, but possibly in a fabric with a little more drape and also next time the sleeved version. I think this linen does have some great movement to it and that it will get even more so as it softens further in the wash, but I think a rayon or silk version would be beautiful and quite fancy. I will tell you that the shape is a dream to wear. Flowy and cool, you can indulge in the mother of all brunches and nobody will be any the wiser. My kind of dress!
I love the little keyhole back as a detail and as mentioned, the construction is really quite ingenious and oh-so-satisfying. It’s not a particularly long sew as there aren’t too many pieces. The neck and armholes are finished with a facing, which is in keeping with the feel of the dress design.
I have a couple of small changes to make next time. This time my only alteration was to re-angle the bust darts to 0.5″ lower than drafted. I love that Grainline have lowered the apex in the D cup in general as this is a slight bugbear of mine in other designer’s extended ranges. It’s unlikely a D cup breast or larger will hang at the same point as an A/B cup. Gravity is a thing, people, as Isaac Newton once said (or something like that anyway). Perhaps it should be the 4th law of motion. But as you can see, I didn’t do a very good job of the darts and ended up with the dreaded “bubble nipple”. I have washed the dress in some pics and the nipple is significantly reduced, but I suspect I should have done the dart lowering “properly”.
The other main change would be to adjust the neckline, which is gaping a little. My shoulder seam is sitting in the right place, so I think I just need to take a little out of the neckline, although I will investigate the forward neck/high round back adjustments too. It’s a minor adjustment in any case.
And that’s about it I think! There are so many Farrows to check out on Instagram, I guarantee you will see something you like if you’re looking for inspiration. I’ll leave with the most exciting part of the sew – would I make it all the way round the hem or wouldn’t I??? It has never been so close! What a nailbiter!*
*I did, with nary an inch to spare.