Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Notes on a Grainline Hemlock Dress

I hate to call this a hack because I don't love that word. Its sounds severe, and I've only made the gentlest of changes. I used the FREE!! Grainline Hemlock Tee pattern as a starting point for this dress. When I'm agonizing over which patterns to buy, one key point for judging whether the pattern is worth my money is versatility. Evidence of other sewists altering it to suit their needs, means I will have tons of ways (and examples) of things I can make with it. The Mad Housewife went with a more structured waist, which I really like, and I wear that style a ton in the summer, but I was too lazy even to sew in an elastic waist. I went more along the same lines as Stewart Allen's version, and just lengthened the hem. The only real figuring was how to finish the neck and arm openings after I had changed them. Cut Cut Sew simply turned them under, but I wasn't sure that would work for this uber drapy fabric. Otherwise, its a pretty straight forward Hemlock, minus a few details. 
PATTERN: Grainline Hemlock Tee. Made before here. I like the loose, unstructured fit, and thought the off shoulder sleeve would make a nice dress. 
FABRIC: Rayon Polyester Spandex from Joann, I can't find it online. I have been obsessively shopping for fabric on the old inter web. There are so many great prints and fabrics available from India (have you already seen this place?) and Japan, but it takes SOOOOOOO long to get to my mailbox. After a grocery run, I impulse bought this fabric, just to have something to sew. Not a resounding endorsement, its just a whole lot of print for this country girl. I really like to look at it, time will tell if I really like to wear it.

FIT: It fits more of less just as I wanted. I love the casual, unstructured design, especially, dressed up with fancy-ish shoes (which I will probably never leave the house in). Truth be told, the belt is holding the whole thing together, which is okay in my book. 

ALTERATIONS: This patterns is very nearly 4 rectangles sewn together, making it very easy to alter. Here is what I did-
Omitted sleeves.
Made the arm hole 1" smaller.
Increased hem length 5.5"
Moved neck opening 1" out toward the shoulder on each side.
Made neck opening 1" higher in the front.
Omitted neck band.
Made 2" facing pieces for the arms and neck. Attached neck facing to the neck opening before sewing the shoulder seams. Sewed it as an extension of the shoulder seam, then folded it under. Attached the arm facing before sewing the side seam. Sewed it as an extension of the side seam then folded it under. Top stitched the shoulder and side seam the entire length, to secure the facing in place.
You know me, lounging around the house in heels, playing the piano, and arranging fresh flowers. Just another Wednesday.

This project on Kollabora.

Have you signed up for Kid's Clothes Week yet? More on that, this Friday.


  1. Great alteration! I did a similar thing with the Maria Denmark kimono tee, so comfy and summery!

    1. Thanks! I've never see that kimono tee?!? I'm off to look for it now.

  2. I love it!! it is great to be able to alter a pattern and make it your own! this dress suits you really well with that print and that belt! great job!

    1. Thanks Sophie. I'm taking baby steps toward adult alteration. I've got too many curves, kids are so much easier!

  3. Pretty dress and such an incredible job on it, but you look so unhappy.

    1. Oh, I know Kate! I never look happy, but I swear I am. I really like this dress. I'm so focused on standing in the right spot so the picture will be in focus, I forget to smile. Hopefully, these things get better with practice. :)