adult's clothing · sewing

Grainline Felix dress

Over the past year I’ve been trying to be restrained with my fabric and pattern purchasing, purely because I already own so much.  I haven’t put myself on a fabric or pattern ‘ban’, but I’m really trying to think carefully before I purchase.  It’s easier to not purchase fabric – it takes up so much more room than patterns do.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I bought the Grainline Felix pattern during the week it was released?

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

I’ve had this cotton chambray from Lincraft (I know! Lincrap, of all places! Bought it when the Norflanz store closed down) in my stash for a little while, just waiting for the right pattern to come along. It’s one of those fabrics that I pull out of stash, consider for a pattern, then change my mind and put back again. I’m really pleased with how it’s worked in this dress.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

My first dilemma was what size to make. I’ve mentioned before that I usually measure across three sizes – one size for bust, next size (or two) up for waist, then the size below the bust size for my hips. It can definitely make things challenging! I’ve learned that choosing size according to bust usually works best (unless I’m sewing pants of course – then I choose for hips) although sometimes this means that the upper chest and shoulders are a bit too big. After consideration and comparing my measurements to the finished measurements, I decided to sew size 14 width with size 12 depth and shoulders. This turned out okay, but I could probably have gone down to size 12 width/size 10 depth/shoulders and it would still have had plenty of ease.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

I rather like that curved front waistline seam! There are pockets tucked into the curved seam that secure into the side seams when they are sewn. They sit perfectly.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

I am not actually of the ‘everything must have pockets’ brigade, but when they are nicely drafted and well secured like these ones I’m very happy to include them.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

I decided to line the bodice but not to line the skirt. The pattern is drafted to be lined, and I’d line it if I was sewing it in a lighter weight fabric, but I really didn’t feel that this soft cotton required it. The lining fabric is silk/cotton left over from this dress I sewed ten years ago – one of my early purchases from Darn Cheap Fabrics!

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

The front is actually a mock wrap, with the left side being sewn into the right. I took my time and followed the instructions closely when constructing the bodice, and I’m really pleased with how it came together. So neat! Because I chose not the line the skirt chose to finish the bodice edges together. I am sure that there are different ways of doing it.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

Now there was no way that the back skirt was going to ease into the back bodice. It didn’t take me long to realise that the cotton I’d chosen just didn’t have enough give in it for that to happen. Other fibres would probably work, as would more loosely woven fabric, but this soft cotton was pretty stable. So I decided to just lightly gather it in. That seemed to work okay!

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray

Now, the looseness of this dress in combination with the location of the back seam on my short-waisted shape means that I don’t have my usual fabric pooling. Hooray!

From the pattern website: The Felix Dress is the ideal wardrobe piece to take you from the heat of summer to the cool days of autumn. The loose, breezy shape is perfect on its own or layered with tights and a cardigan. The skirt is eased, rather than gathered, to reduce bulk at the waistline. Three sleeve options provide you with plenty of versatility and a faux wrap bodice gives the look of a wrap dress without potential for mishaps. The Felix also features generous pockets and is fully lined. The unique construction of this dress has a few twists and tricks, so if you like learning new techniques it’s a must sew!  Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, easing, lining a dress, setting sleeves, applying armhole bias facings, and hemming. Suggested Fabrics – Self: Lightweight fabrics such as cotton voile or batiste, handkerchief linens, rayon and rayon blends, and silks. Avoid fabrics that are stiff or tightly woven, as this dress requires fabrics with drape. Lining: Lightweight linings such as rayon, rayon Bemberg, or silk. You can use the self fabric for the bodice lining, but we highly recommend using fabrics that won’t cling to the body and skirt for the skirt lining.


There is also the option for a sleeveless or flutter sleeve dress, in a shorter or longer length.  This is the longer length, with three quarter sleeves.  My verdict – it’s a win!  I love styles that some others disparage as ‘shapeless’ or ‘unwomanly’.  I have no need to ‘create a waist’ where there isn’t one, but do have a huge need to be comfortable in my clothes.  I think that a summer version in a very lightweight fabric would be fabulous, although I do think that the armholes as drafted could be a bit too low.  Anyway, I’m really pleased that I sewed this dress, and I know that I’ll get a great deal of wear from it.

Grainline Felix dress in Lincraft chambray


17 thoughts on “Grainline Felix dress

  1. I, too, bought this the day it came out. I was then saddened to read negative comments about it on you know where. Many people don’t like this look but those people seem to be blessed with a nice trim waist and I am not. With my small shoulders, big boobs, slim hips, and NOT VERY SMALL waist, I feel very uncomfortable in waisted dresses. I love them and I’ve tried to wear them but, in the end, they sit in my closet. I’m trying to only buy paper patterns so I’m happy to see this is worth the investment. It looks GREAT on you and I love that blue! I’m so glad to see this made up!

    1. I was very unimpressed with those comments on you know where too. They attacked women and women’s bodies rather than the pattern and dress. Some of us LOVE this type of style! Surely there is plenty of room for a myriad of options and style preferences! Anyway, glad that my version has inspired you to sew one too!

  2. The dress looks lovely on you ,Lara . A great pattern and I agree with you about waistlines . I,m in my early 70,s now ,still want to look stylish ,but also comfortable . Planned to cut out my 5 th Grainline “Willow ” today but looks like I”‘ll be downloading and taping instead .

  3. Hi Lara, I like the dress but aren’t keen on the fabric you used. I think I would have liked it better in a solid colour.
    arrrrhhhh, I’m curious about the oblique references to some negative commentary “you know where” because I don’t have a clue what that refers to…can you enlighten me by pm-ing a link? If its a published critique I think its fair enough that I could read what you guys are referring to…

  4. Love the dress, I’ve seen a few versions online and liked them all. It looks to be a perfect summer dress – lots of room for the cooling breezes to get in and waft around. The arched seam gives it a special look. And the crossover bodice fits so well. Brava.

  5. Dear Lara, I have been a bit of a lurker on your blog for a long time but just had to comment on this. Thank you for your detailed review and your comments, it is really helpful. Like a lot of your other commenters, I have a big waist in comparison to other parts of me and how I hate that “bunched up in the middle” look. As I am also short waisted, like you, I find waistlines are always nowhere near where they should be, without considerable alteration.
    I like the look of the dress on you very much, think the fabric was a lovely choice and it has given me ideas for raiding my stash too. I have not tried Grainline patterns (I am a huge Style Arc fan) but I think this may be a new pattern addition for me. I would not have considered it without reading your comments, which I hope goes to show just how grateful folks like me are for what you take the time to write.
    Oh, sorry, do have to disagree with you on one small point. Pockets are Essential!! On Everything!! 🙂

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