Grainline Farrow Dress

My first Grainline Studio project was the Linden Sweatshirt (unblogged) back in the spring. I was generally underwhelmed by it on me and questioned if a Grainline pattern could even work on my figure. So, imagine my shock and awe that the Grainline Farrow Dress is my fall favorite. Why would I go back a pattern line that I doubted? Well, I picked the Farrow Dress to teach a sewing class at a new studio in town (Domesticity). It has set in sleeves, facings and an optional lining. There are some good techniques and skills to teach. But, of course I needed to make it first and I’m glad I did.

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I picked this turquoise and red wool from my stash. I love red, white and blue color combos. Especially this icy Scandinavian version. When I finished the dress though, I realized it was a little Supergirl and I am TOTALLY here for it.

Now, on to the garment!

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Reviews I initially read said the sleeves were very narrow. And, when compared to my arm measurement there was less than one inch of ease for me in the size 16. I added an additional inch and was ready to go.

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I also made a 3/4″ FBA to the size 16 pattern I measured into. I did not use the Grainline FBA alteration technique. Instead, I removed the skirt at the waistline, made my alterations, added a dart and took out the added width from the side seam. I never rotate my darts out btw. I have tatas and they need darts. I didn’t want anymore volume down the center front of the dress. But, I do think that modification would be great if you carried more weight in the middle. The dress does hang from my bust. But, I don’t have awkward drag lines. And, I don’t think it’s too tent-like from the front because it appears smooth without draglines. It is for sure not a formfitting dress.

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I decided to add a lining that is on the bodice only as per the Grainline suggested draft for a lining.

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I also lowered the neckline by around three inches because my neck is too short for a  jewel neckline which meant an small redraft of the facing.

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If I were to make this again I would go down do a 14. The 16 just had way more ease than I wanted for my figure. I took this in at the side seams about 1.5″ from the bust down and even more tapering from the hip to hem.

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I made no adjustments to length and made my hem with a blind hem stitch. I think the color blocking is great for showing off the interesting seam lines. And, it’s a great Thanksgiving and Christmas dress. It’s also nice to have something sleeved for work this winter.

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There are really nicely integrated pockets on the Farrow. But, those pockets are also a fabric hog. I stabilized both my pockets and all the diagonal (and bias) seams by alternating between silk organza and seam binding. I was experimenting a bit since this was a class garment.

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I’m going to be really blunt here. Originally, I was sure this dress wasn’t for me. Usually,  anything without a defined waist is gonna be a waste of my time. But, with my easy modifications for fit, it’s a really fun, interesting and comfortable work dress. I’m planning on making a short sleeve version in the summer from some yellow linen in my stash. And, I think I would really love a cream one too.

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That said, it works really well on some figures. One of my students has a really straight figure and out of the envelope it was BRILLIANT on her. I suspect this is the ideal body type for this style pattern.

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After teaching one class with this dress I actually nixed it from my lineup. It’s got such great details. But, the pockets alone take up a ton of table space and most of the first night of a two-night class. So, we’ll be making the Hadley Top from Grainline going forward. Review of that one coming soon.



  1. I do like this on you, which is a bit of a surprise, as the usual advice is to avoid styles hanging from the shoulders if you have a bust, but here the seaming is giving it plenty of interest. You picked just the right length too, and though it doesn’t scream too big I agree you could shave a little off the sizing for the next one.

    • Yeah. It’s most definitely not my personal style and I surprisingly also like it. But, I really like the end result. I now suspect in a solid color it might not be that interesting on me. But, the color blocking lets the interesting design lines show. But, it for sure hangs from my shoulders / bust. Thank you for your thoughts! I’m going to trace the 14 for my next version.

      On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 6:52 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. Gorgeous colors, and secret pjs for sure! Can’t always have a defined waist, I have made some Kalle dresses this autumn and it feels good to try a different style!

    • Yes! It did feel good to try something different. There’s no way I would have even looked at this if I were teaching it.

      On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 8:39 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  3. I love this on you, but I’d have never looked at this pattern either since I’m not a Grainline shape. I do like the Linden but make it as an A-line and cut the bottom band to my measurement. But even that is an “at home” garment…BTW you look amazing in turquoise!

    • When you saw “make it as an A-line”, do you mean change the draft a bit to widen instead of straight up and down? I tried to do an FBA because I had aggressive folds at the bust. It fixed that but just wasn’t working for me. Plus, the fabric I used ended up pilling really badly so it was a general wash.

      On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 9:15 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  4. After making the Scout I realized Grainline wasn’t for me. Well, the clothing patterns (I’m excited to make the Cascade some day). She does draft for that straight figure, a loose fit, and that just isn’t my style.
    I like the dress but it seemed as you had to do a lot to it and as you said, it isn’t quite your style.

    • Yeah, I’m not a ‘normcore’ dresser for the most part. My life is way more laid back than it used to be so I have room for this dress. The women I work with really loved it. But, I think it’s because it’s loose and can work on ‘imperfect’ figures. I don’t think Grainline is the draft for me overall. But, I am LOVING my Cascade Duffle. It’s the best duffle pattern I’ve found. But, for real. Everyone talks about indies having less ease than Big 4 and I just have to disagree. This has what I consider a ‘pattern standard’ amount of ease and would recommend to anyone to double check finished measurements. It’s also possible that at the upper range of what they draft for, the 8, it doesn’t automatically scale/ grade up well.

      On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 10:06 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. love the turquoise on you but hmmm, for the most part Grainline patterns are kind of the opposite of fashion, I’m not sure they are all that flattering on anyone. and as you mentioned, a lot of work to get it to fit. I think it would be better as a sleeveless dress if you make another version in spring.

    • Does that mean you think of me as fashionable? 🙃 Yes, I’ll definitely do it sleeveless for the yellow linen version I’m thinking of. I liked it sleeveless. But, I needed to set in sleeves for the class. Plus, it’s wool and I get hot with too many layers (i.e. if I wore it with a long sleeve shirt).

      On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 11:57 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  6. I think your alterations made a possible “meh” into a hit. The FBA is critical for this style if one has a bust. And the color-blocking really makes the design pop. Your expertise was key to a great outcome for this dress — and it looks terrific on you.

  7. I wish I had your talent and skill! You made this dress beautifully and you look beautiful in it!

  8. Looks fabulous on you – great colors and the shape works and the altered neckline. Is that difficult to do? Just redraw it or is it more complicated than that? I made the Farrow (sleeveless) in a digital print linen and loved it way more than I had anticipated. I almost didn’t send it to my daughter! But it is counterintuitive that this simple frock with no body definition could be so elegant, and that is how my version came out. It’s a shape shifter, this dress.

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