Grainline Studio Felix Dress

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Okey dokey. A review. I want to be as gentle as possible, because this pattern from Jen Beeman has some wonderful design elements.

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The examples from the Grainline site:

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I opted to make the sleeveless version, long length, as in the center photo above.

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And before I go any further. Yes, I’m a little disappointed. I don’t think my dress meets my expectation. On the other hand, I’ve been wearing it all day, and I’ve become attached.

I sewed this in a solid color with intent – I like to see the lines of a dress, its design elements, when I sew it for the first time.

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It happens that I am not in love with this color (I always have difficulty feeling comfortable in blue), but I do love the fabric itself, which is Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen from Fabric.com

Sewing notes:

  • No way was I going to line this dress. A lining, IMHO, is just overkill. I can understand that one might want to line a thin fabric. But if I want a wispy lightweight breezy something, in perhaps a voile or challis print, it won’t be in this pattern. All the design elements are lost in a print, and the lining is very difficult. A bodice with an attached skirt would work just as well.
  • I sewed the size 8, based on my measurements, and it’s way too big for me. Voluminous. The size gradient on the pattern is about 1/4″, so I could go way down to a size 4 and be comfortable. Actually, I wanted to give this a fair chance, so I washed and dried it before taking these pics, thinking it might have grown during the construction process 🙂
  • I think the armhole is perfect for an armscye with a sleeve. On the sleeveless version, I think the outside shoulder should be moved in by at least an inch to give the upper bodice some distinction and anchor the dress. However – the depth of the armhole, as it is, barely covers lingerie. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance when I attached the armhole binding, and it’s iffy. Alert…
  • Of course I tried on the bodice before I decided on the ‘wrap’ of the front pieces. BTW, I cut both my fronts based on the right front, to avoid bulk in the neckband. I’m OK with the result, since this will be a lounge dress for me. But a caution: try it on and figure out the best landing place for the wrap. Adjusting the skirt to the bodice after deciding the wrap is easy, since it’s just eased in.

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Bottom line. I’m happy to have this pattern, because I can adapt it to some other project. I particularly like the front and back seaming detail at the bodice/skirt join.

It’s definitely a sew and size challenge. But for me, it’s a pleasant alternative to my usual knit shifts. Next time I sew it, I’ll include some tips on managing the pattern without a lining.

Bye for now! Coco

18 thoughts on “Grainline Studio Felix Dress

  1. I really liked this pattern when it came out, I bought it in like 5 minutes, then realized it´s lined! I live in Brazil, and I just can´t stand a lined dress… Do you guys have any tips on how to make this dress unlined? I agree with you that the back looks too big, very different than the pictures on the website, and I don´t like that horizontal seam as well, but I will make a first version to see how it goes… I really appreciate any tips you could give me, just reading the instructions to sew the bodice gave me a headache, haha! Thanks a lot!

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      1. I posted my comment, then I saw your latest post with your white version, which is gorgeous, btw! I guess I will have to start sewing to see if I can make it without the lining… I will send you an email if I have any questions, thanks a lot for your quicm reply, our community is the best!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! Because of your issues, I made a muslin of the dress today and found the back much to big for me. I took off 4 centimetres in width and shortened the bodice at the shoulder line (my upper torso is shorter than average) and now it looks fine. Maybe I’ll skip the lining and add some vertical darts in the lower part of the back bodice. Other than that, I really like the dress!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your experience! Because of your issues, I made a muslin of the dress today and found the back much to big for me. I took off 4 centimetres in width and shortened the bodice at the shoulder line (my upper torso is shorter than average) and now it looks fine. Maybe I’ll skip the lining and add some vertical darts in the lower part of the back bodice. Other than that, I really like the dress!

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  4. I used the Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen from Fabric.com for the Kalle shirt dress. I love that fabric! I’m not to sure about the felix dress. I was afraid it would be big.

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  5. i wish more bloggers wrote analytical reviews. Front on this looks really nice but the back is far too big and I dislike that horizontal seam in the back, it won’t flatter anyone. I went over to look at the samples and I think their pics are misleading, the shots of the back look more fitted than the side on photos suggest and there’s a lot of bending and clutching going on. That said, the design is nice, it would take a t underneath for cooler days.

    You will be able to make it work but to be honest you shouldn’t have had to as you don’t have any fitting issues, that’s a big amber light for me.

    Colours are funny aren’t they, I feel the same way about pink as you do about blue (and it suits you too). I do have a thing about blue curtains though, just no.

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  6. It’s definitely too big but it does look like the ideal hot weather dress. And I think blue suits you, but I can sympathise with having colours you don’t feel right in – I have exactly the same thing with navy.

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  7. I like the bodice a lot. I have it assembled and ready to muslin. I am a 34G in bras and always FBA. I see no issue with doing an FBA on this bodice.

    I eyerolled a little after reading the instructions and seeing Jen’s assertion that the bodice must be lined. That’s just crazy. Very easy to leave this unlined and that’s what I plan.

    I don’t like the back seam but I have an err, protruding backside 🙂 that seam will not work for me. But as she said the lower back is not eased in, I will make an adjustment that I think will work for me. I’m 5’5” and will sew the short version and may even shorten it a little bit more.

    I’m also surprised when experienced designers (including Big4) make no bodice changes for sleeveless vs sleeved. A bit lazy IMO.

    All that said, I do really like your dress! Maybe you could dye it purple 🙂

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    1. I’ll be interested to see if you do a dartless FBA or add bust darts as needed! I’m still a little uncertain that with a FBA, the horizontal seam joining the front bodice to the skirt will ‘stick’ out for lack of a better word. I had that issue with a McCalls dress, but it had a gathered skirt which may have accentuated the problem for me.

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      1. Why would the seam stick out? I can’t picture this! 🙂 I mean, once the FBA is done and the waist seam is trued, it should ‘attach’ the same as without the dart?? I will muslin the bodice as mentioned to see!

        Coco – I am a little concerned about the armhole opening. It looks really open and low which seems like it would be bad for sleeves??

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      2. K…You’re right. I’m not explaining it very well at all. 😉

        I find that after doing a FBA, some garments hang straight down from my bust. Even with truing at the waistline, they no longer skim my stomach area. I sometimes feel like I’m wearing a maternity outfit. I think perhaps I need to add more length to the bodice when I do the alteration.

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  8. I popped in with the intention of finding your email addy to pop off some Felix questions and here you are with a completed dress already,

    I have to agree that this garment looks much too large for you. Note duly taken about possibly sizing down.

    I gather that the bodice is the same for both the sleeved and sleeveless versions of the dress? It seems to be the sleeveless version that lacks shape when this is the case. Not necessarily a huge deal, but I think it’s very helpful that you’ve written how you might tweak the silhouette of the armhole.

    Despite the fitting woes, I can still imagine the Felix, sized down, looking really good on you. My growing pause is how this will fit on my frame….I’m a little unsure about how things will hang after doing a FBA, specifically how low the V will be and will there be too much fabric overall in the front of the garment.

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    1. Hi Sue. You’ve hit on some thoughts I had while sewing and fitting this. I have really small girls, less than an A cup. Since the dress has no bust darts, it suits me. For a B cup or above, I’d advise adding at least a narrow bust dart to prevent the dress pulling up over the bust and yanking up the hem as well. A bust dart would not distort the lovely waist – but adding darts at the waist would definitely do so. The wrap is not really an issue, since you can put it wherever you like. This pattern is definitely not forgiving like the Charlie caftan. And, BTW, stripes and plaids cannot be matched at the skirt seam – if you look at the striped sleeveless version on Jen’s sites, you’ll see what I mean.

      This is huge on me, but if I’d done it in rayon challis, the dress would have collapsed and looked more fitted. Jen is 5/6″ (I’m 5’7″) and sews an 8 in this pattern. But her sample is challis print. Looks completely different, amorphous.

      And yes, same bodice for sleeves/sleeveless. Always an issue, and I knew it going in. But I do like to sew a first version as closely as possible to the pattern. 🙂

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      1. Good point re: the fabrication. I absolutely love Jen’s ‘favourite’ Felix dress that she posted recently on IG. And you’re right…her fabric choice makes for a more swishy, fitted silhouette.

        Also helpful to learn that I can manipulate the placement of the wrap if I want to adjust the V.

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  9. I looked at this pattern when it came out, and I thought it would look like a sack on me. I am not fond of design lines that take the eye down. I like the lines to go up. I just didn’t like the dress enough to invest the time, especially since it called for a lining. I think it looks better on you than I anticipated. And you look fine in blue. I bet it’s very comfortable! It is obviously too big for you, so I might like it better if it fit a little more. But it’s not a total fail, Coco. You can slot it into your lounge collection!

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