DIY vs RTW: Buttoned Up Basics (Sewaholic Granville)

It's been months since the first (and only) installation of "DIY vs RTW" but I think having signed up for #RTWFast2018 I might do a few of these this year, as I replace any worn out rtw with handmade items! This also serves as a new entry in my winter mini-capsule, along with my plaid skirt and knit blazer.

I made the Sewaholic Granville once before, in a navy and white gingham with short cuffed sleeves. This time I tackled my first tower plackets! If I'm going to sewing menswear this year, it's about time for me to learn to do a tower placket, right? I used a combination of the instructions from this pattern and the Liesl & Co. men's shirt which I made at the same time for Alex (in a slightly darker blue, yes we match) and it was much easier than I thought it would be. Cutting a hole into your nice fabric is always a bit scary but with accurate marking and crisp pressing the placket construction wasn't bad at all. I won't be attempting plackets in poly chiffon any time soon, but in shirting cotton they were entirely doable, so if you haven't tried one, give it a shot!

Unfortunately, the woven interfacing I used on collars and cuffs got super bubbly in the wash--I didn't prewash it, I didn't know I should, but apparently... ugh. I think my RTW shirt has sew-in, which I've never used, but I guess I'll be picking some up for my future Granvilles.

I'm wearing it here with another Sewaholic pattern and another little piece of my winter capsule, a navy twill Rae skirt. There isn't much to say about my flat-waistband Rae at this point that hasn't already been said here or here. This is officially a go-to pattern and I feel like I could basically just wear a combination of Rae, Granville, Ginger, and Ogden at all times and be set for most everyday occasions. Also, I love the way the Rae and the Deer and Doe Luzerne look together and repeated that pairing, previously seen here. (RE: this capsule, I have a pair of black Gingers all cut out and ready to sew and then that's all of my core items for that little capsule. Other than that it's just a classic khaki trench and I don't really want to buy all that fabric at the moment when I have other fabric to sew! I'll order some swatches first and take my time.)

Now for the comparison! I love the fit of the Granville--I'm sure it's not perfect but it's so much nicer than my rtw shirt, shown in pink. For reference, this is a Granville with no adjustments in a size 6, and the pink shirt is a Ralph Lauren slim fit oxford in size 2 (I think it's this, mine is about 10 years old so I'm not entirely sure).

Overall, I have some of the same drag lines on both shirts, but they are lessened greatly on the Granville. From top down: although my shoulders are likely slightly crooked, I think the slight pulling on the shoulders of the Granville is from a slightly off buttonhole--you can see it points right at it. The shoulders overall are much improved on the Granville compared to the really bad wrinkles on the shoulders of the Ralph Lauren. I'm not sure if it's a forward shoulder issue or if it's more of an issue of the neckline being too far back. The drag lines from lower back to bust likely have something to do with a combination swayback and FBA on both; the RTW shirt doesn't have bust darts which doesn't help. I'm not really sure if I should do an FBA on the Granville or if it's just swayback or... what do you think? The sleeves of the Granville are a bit long, I'll shorten them by about 1/5" next time. I'll also make a small change to the cuffs, rounding the edges slightly to match my RTW shirt (and the Liesl & Co men's shirt).

A few years ago Sarah (host of the aforementioned RTW Fast) did a whole series on sewing the perfect shirt, so it seems fitting to start my year in this way. Although I'm not going for perfect I know this fit can be improved, so I'm definitely interested in any or all suggestions y'all have for fitting this pattern! Let me know in the comments :)


ps: i also made a little rae skirt (bc ofc i did) with the left over bits for a faux shirtdress... it's a bit chilly for that now but you'll see it in the spring for sure!

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  1. What a fantastic fit improvement! It always delights me to see a handmade garment look so very much better than its rtw counterpart. I thought I’d toss in there that the best thing about misplaced buttonholes is that it’s really the button that’s out of place-much simpler to fix! What you have here is a pretty good fit already, and people have different levels of tolerance for overfitting in button front shirts, but it does look like a swayback adjustment would sort out the excess fabric in the back, and a small fba would help the front to lie better-though start very small (there’s no pulling across the centre of the bust, which you can see in the rtw shirt), but do start by adjusting that button, I suspect the whole shirt front will hang better once it’s back in line.

  2. Sewing your own button up shirts is so satisfying! This looks great for a first go at a new pattern. I would do the swayback and the forward shoulder and then see if you still need an FBA. It looks from the back like the shoulders are too narrow, but at the front you need to narrow the upper chest a bit, so I suspect a forward shoulder will cover both of these to an extent and bring the neckline forward. I would be tempted just to do those as it doesn't look as though you need an FBA, it's a bit hard to tell from the small photos but it doesn't look as though you have any button gaping, I would drop the bust dart a bit though. I have had these same problems with the Granville (but did need an FBA) and am thinking of converting the bust dart into princess seams to give a cleaner shape and let me take away some of the excess from my upper chest, which is a combination of narrow shoulders and the fact that I never, but never, wear a shirt buttoned all the way up! I think this is a design flaw with womens shirts, how many of us wear them done up all the way? This means there is always excess in the front of the chest! Maybe I will steal the idea of the open neckline from the Nicola shirtdress by Sewaholic...

    Do love the idea of the winter capsule, yours looks great, I am working on a work capsule, but failing miserably at the moment!

  3. I love the side-by-side fit comparison! We tend to focus so much on the flaws, but when you look at it next to a RTW shirt, all I can see is the gigantic improvement! I also need to lower the bus dart a tad on this pattern (but have yet to do so in my 5 versions to date).

    I'm interested to hear about what kind of interfacing you used. I've never heard of prewashing interfacing, and I don't see how that would work with fusible. I've had a lot of hit or miss luck with interfacing in button-up shirts in particular, though. Sometimes it works just fine through months and months of wear, and sometimes it gets all bubbly with the first wash. I just started documenting what kind of interfacing I use for each project to try and narrow down the issue. I used Pellon 906F for my last version and so far so good. Fingers crossed!

  4. Funny how when we compare something we made to RTW all the so called faults we thought were there are suddenly put into perspective! Especially since who ever stands still long enough for anyone to see drag lines. I think your shirt looks great :)
    I had a problem with interfacing which I didn’t prewash and then it bubbled. After that I have only used interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply which definitely doesn’t need prewashing and works perfectly. I have since read that they don’t deliver to Australia anymore which is going to be a total bummer when I run out.



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