Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pattern Review - The Farrow Dress by Grainline Studios

When we received the preview email about the new Farrow Dress by Grainline Studios, we knew this was a Good 'Un. We both wanted to make it up for ourselves and we knew it would appeal to lots of Drapery customers. The swingy shape is flattering to all kinds of figures, the diagonal seam lines lift it out of the ordinary and the pockets - well they just seal the deal!
 Naturally, we leapt upon the pattern delivery and set about tracing and sewing like mad. Here's mine, made up in a 50/50 cotton/linen lightweight denim. (There's a small amount left in the shop, and this light denim would give a similar result.)

From previous experience with Grainline patterns I know they are drafted for a figure with wider shoulders and a smaller bust than my own. Grainline always provides finished garment measurements on the pattern envelope which is a great help in selecting size. The swingy shape of the Farrow means there is more ease than usual at the bust. So I selected my size by my high bust measurement (to fit narrow shoulders) and made a quick muslin of the top half of the dress. It still needed a bit more room at the bust so I made a 3/4" Full Bust Adjustment, adding in a dart where there is none in the pattern. (I.e. I added 3/4" to the pattern piece, resulting in an extra 1.5" width in the front bodice.)
I then cut-and-spread the front skirt piece by 3/4" in width so the top and bottom pattern pieces would match. If anyone would like more details on these adjustments feel free to ask in the comments!

My bust darts match the lines of the diagonal front seams, and I'm going to pretend that was completely intentional....

The construction of the Farrow is pretty straightforward and it all comes together quite quickly. It can be slightly tricky to envisage how the front bodice and skirt pieces come together, with the pockets, but when you have them properly aligned the pocket stitching lines will match perfectly.

The clever in-seam front pockets mean there are three full layers of fabric at that point all the way across the front of the dress. Initially I was concerned about the bulk of this, but on wearing I realised that the weight works to nicely balance the extra length and swinginess of the back of the dress. Ingenious.

The sleeveless version has neckline and armholes finished with facings. Now I have to admit I'm not generally a fan of loose facings as I find them annoying to iron and a bit unfinished-looking. However, I can see the point of them in the Farrow, because of the clean lines they produce, so I put my trust in Jen (pattern designer Jen Beeman who really knows what she's doing) and went with the facings. They're stitched down by hand at the shoulder, side seams and centre front and back so they're not too flappy and when I'm wearing the dress I'm unaware of their existence. I wouldn't say I'm a facings convert but the Farrow is worth it. (Also, it would be a very simple matter to finish the armholes and neck with bias tape instead, and not stress about visible topstitching. I certainly wouldn't rule out doing this on a future version, especially on the armholes.)
The pattern suggests to close the back neck opening with a hook and eye, but I'm always keen for an opportunity to use a cute button from my stash so created a thread chain loop for this little red number.
Grainline Studios Farrow Dress
Sizes US 0 - 18 (bust 32 - 44"), finished garment measures up to 49" at bust.
50/50 cotton linen lightweight denim, 150cm wide, 2m
8 with  3/4" full bust adjustment (high bust 35.5" full bust 38"... ish, measurements seem to vary by the day/stars/mood!)
A fabulous wardrobe staple for year-round wear. Sleeveless version could easily be layered, the long-sleeved version would be great in a wool for winter, and it would be easy to adapt to make a short cap-sleeve for those who prefer a bit of shoulder coverage. The Farrow has a similar appeal to the very popular Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress, and offers a point of difference with the diagonal seaming and those awesome pockets.
The Grainline Farrow suits a wide variety of fabrics, and here are some suggestions:
100% Linen, washed/softened, Slate, Olive (and more)
Linen/cotton in Emerald, washed/softened
Linen/cotton print 'Rhombus'
Linen/cotton Brumbies
100% Linen, Mid-heavy weight, Natural
Japanese Wool Blend, Herringbone
Linen/Rayon blend
100% Cotton Lawn by Cotton + Steel, fish print

We'll see you round in our Farrows!

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. This looks fabulous Jane - Love it.

    1. Thanks Karen - such a great pattern, I'm wearing it right now :D

  2. That looks great, Jane! Do you think you can get away with just sewing up the back and not have the opening? In other words would it fit over your head if you didn't have that opening?

    PS I am so glad I grabbed those gorgeous linens from you guys - looks like they are all gone now?

    1. Thanks Melissa! I think the neck opening is just a little small to omit the back opening, but of course you could always widen/deepen the neckline to sort that out. And yes, so glad you got in for those linens because all of those ones are gone!

  3. The bust darts matching the lines of the diagonal front seams is my favourite part! Will be making this for sure!

    1. That was a happy accident, ha! It's a great pattern, I totally recommend it :)

  4. Well done. I love this pattern but hate high low hems. How would I get rid of that?

    1. Hi there - I get where you're coming from, I'm not always a fan either but this one's pretty subtle! I've just had a look at the front and back skirt pattern pieces. If you laid the front pattern piece over the back, with the bottom of the side seams meeting, you could draw in a mid-way curve, then cut off the extra at the back and add a little onto the front so they matched. It should use exactly the same amount of fabric since you'd be adding to one and subtracting from the other :)


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