Category Archives: Grainline Studio

Tamarack in Yosemite

Tamarack

Ahoy there! I’m on my travels again, currently in beautiful Yosemite, California (via fabulous Las Vegas, as my sweatshirt attests). It seemed an appropriate place to grab some photos of my new coat since its namesake tree can be spotted here. Yup, it’s a Grainline Studio Tamarack jacket which ended up being my Slow Fashion October make.

Tamarack

As you might recall I basically had a design idea for my dream coat fully formed in my brain a while ago, then Jen went and released this pattern that was basically it, so I could change tack and get sewing quite rapidly. Just in time to finish it for my holiday, handily enough.

Tamarack

The other funny thing is that for a slow fashion project, the Tamarack is actually a pretty speedy make. Three main pattern pieces, no facings, no bagging: my sort of coat project. Obviously there’s all the quilting and binding to do, but those happen to be amongst my favourite sewing tasks so it was all good and extremely enjoyable to make.

Tamarack

I used a Nari Iro double gauze for my outer fabric, and it’s lined in a thickish viscose twill. There’s Vilene fusible batting inside the layers, both to make quilting easier and to add strength to the double gauze. The resulting fabric is just the right level of cosiness for me, and saw off a bit of chilliness and drizzle on our hike today no worries.

Tamarack

The pattern suggests hook and eye front fastenings, but I switched them out for a zip. There seemed to be a fair bit of interest in how to do this on my Instagram sneak peeks, and honestly it’s really easy (although there are probably better ways to do it than I did). I just bound the neck and hem separately, then finished the raw front edge with the overlocker, pressed it back about 1cm and topstitched the zip in. If you were feeling fancy you could bind the loose seam allowance and zip tape edges together and slip stitch it to the lining (I might go back and do that) or try to add an underlap fly shield. I used a 24″ metal open ended zip, but because I lengthened the pattern I think 22″ would fit the pattern as drafted. Sorry I didn’t get any pics of it fastened but it basically fits nice and slim.

Tamarack

A few other pointers on the pattern:

– I did a quick toile in my usual Grainline size (4 shoulder graded to 8 hip) and found the fit perfect. I just added two inches at the lengthen-shorten line for more of a bum-covering coat length. Bear in mind your finished jacket will feel slimmer than the toile due to the thicker quilted fabric. Also try the toile on with what you intend to wear underneath the finished jacket, ie a cardigan or sweater, to check there’s enough ease.

– Essential tools of the trade for painless quilting: walking foot, basting glue (way way better than pins), gridded cutting mat, chaco chalk pen, clear gridded ruler. There are some good tips in the pattern and on the Grainline blog too. I used a walking foot for nearly all the construction, bumping the stitch length up to about 2.8. It only took an evening to get all the quilting done, and another for the main construction.

Tamarack

– The welt pockets give the project a bit of meaty interest. I was so worried about doing them into the quilted double gauze that I nearly did patch or side seam pockets instead, but I’m glad I went for it. Jen’s instructions are the best I have tried, particularly as you end up with all the raw edges nicely concealed inside.

Tamarack

– I bound all the seams inside but it’s really not my finest work – a bit patchy and sloppy. Sorry, slow fashion spirit. But I did handsew all the bias edgings down inside – way easier and faster than doing neat ditch-stitching.

All in all I’m super pleased with my new coat and reckon it’ll see me through all but the coldest bits of winter. It definitely won’t be the last time I pick up the Tamarack pattern as I think it’d make a great coat block for design modifications.

Be-zazzled Franken-dress

Darling-Alder

Finally, I made a new dress! I haven’t had much time to sew properly since before New York, so on Sunday and Monday I carved out some time especially to knock out a fun new frock. Plus the fabric’s a bit special too…

Darling-Alder

This is a true Franken-dress by design. The bodice is a sleeveless Darling Ranges, with the shoulder line extended out to make cut-on cap sleeves rather like the Burda 7078 I just made.. The skirt is from the Grainline Alder, lengthened by 3″ from my previous ones.

Darling-Alder

The patterns fudge together fine since you can just adjust the gathering at the top of the Alder skirt to match the bottom bodice edge. I could well have just used my v-neck Alder piece for the top, but I think the DR is just a slightly better fit around the chest and shoulders for me.

Darling-Alder
Darling-Alder

I love the drama of the full, swoopy Alder skirt at the back, especially when lengthened. Lots of swish-factor!

kimono sleeve

Tip for converting a sleeveless dress into a kimono sleeve: you’ll want to raise the pitch (angle) of the shoulder line or you’ll find it a bit tight and hard to move your arm up and down. You may also need to drop where it hits the bodice by an inch or so for more wiggle-room. I’m sure there’s a more technical way to make this adjustment, but eyeballing the angles and drawing straight lines worked for me.

Darling-Alder

OK, the fabric! I was really excited to be asked by Zazzle to try out their custom fabric offering recently. You can choose from their premade design library (there are some really cute ones), customise a design, or upload your own design entirely – which, being the control freak type, I went for. It was super easy to add my design (a simple moon and stars repeat that I made in Illustrator) and I was amazed that the fabric took only three days to get to my door from the US.

Darling-Alder

(I didn’t mean to have the print going in opposite directions on the bodice and skirt by the way, oops.) This is a Pima cotton, described by Zazzle as ‘high-quality, luxurious fabric… extremely soft to the touch and easy to work with…’ I’m REALLY happy with this fabric and would say the description is totally accurate. The handle reminds me of a cotton sateen but without the stretch – it’s smooth and silky, more drapey than crisp. The print is good and sharp and it doesn’t have that papery or coated feel like some digitally printed fabrics do. It had a slight inky smell but that was removed in the prewash (a 40 degree delicates cycle). Zazzle promise no colour fade despite their eco-friendly inks, and I didn’t notice any fading in my prewash. I’m keen to see if that keeps up as I wash the dress some more.

Darling-Alder

I’m really pleased that this dress turned out how I imagined in my head, and that it’s super unique thanks to the Franken-pattern and me-designed fabric. The question is will I ever make a non-buttony-up dress again? The jury’s out.

Zazzle gave me a voucher to try out and review their fabric printing service. Views my own!

Alder-ish + NYC

Alder

I’m back from a luuuurvely week in NYC. The weather was mostly kind – and the food/beer/fabric shopping most definitely was (a bit more about that below). Here’s a little dress I made before I left with my trip in mind. I know NYC gets humid, so a breezy cotton dress was order of the day.

Alder

This is my second Grainline Alder, but it’s pretty far removed from the original pattern by this point! I’ve switched the neckline to a V like before and this time I removed the back yoke seam to cut the back as one piece, and cut the bodice and skirt as separate pieces rather than the continuous front panel piece of the pattern. So is it still an Alder at all really?

Alder

I used a random quilting cotton find from Manchester’s Abakhan – I think Alder works fine in a fabric with a bit more body and structure. I did slim down the skirt pieces by about an inch so they didn’t stick out quite so much. I meant to add a wee bit of length as well, but forgot. Still a super fun dress to wear and ideal for hot weather.

Mood

The day previous I went over to Mood for a little meetup with three of my favourite Stateside bloggers – Katy, Kelli and Sonja. Best shopping buddies ever! It was so great to meet those girls and we all bought some pretty amazing fabrics, with lots of egging-on from each other.

NYC shopping

My mission was to buy silk crepes for more Ilsley skirts or similar, and I did succeed! Baby pink with white scribbly dots, and a lovely olive/emerald green.

NYC shopping

A Liberty stretch poplin and a rayon jersey print. Amazingly and bizarrely, the Liberty in Mood is cheaper than nearly everywhere I’ve seen it in the UK at $20/yd, and they have an excellent range. I’ve never used the stretch poplin before – I think it has a bit of extra body and drape compared to the lawns that will make it even more suitable for unlined dresses.

NYC shopping

Second part of the shopping mission was denim for more jeans. Charcoal grey and bright-ish spring blue (this one was from B&J Fabrics over the road).

NYC shopping

In fact I’m well in for denim now, because I was lucky enough to also meet up with the adorable Jennifer from Workroom Social and she generously gave me some of the famous Cone Mills denim as used in the Ginger jeans kits. It feels amazing so I’m really excited to get sewing with it. Thank you Jennifer, it was great to have a beer with you!

NYC shopping

Finally, some more frivolous and fun purchases from the lovely Purl Soho. Robert Kaufman tie-dye print cotton and chambray, and a delicious Nani Iro double gauze. The Nani Iros are only $18 a yard at Purl – about a third cheaper than the prices over here!

cityquilter

Finally finally I also managed to pop into City Quilter and Brooklyn General just for a little looky and gift purchases. A highly successful trip all round, really. Better get pre-washing…

Boyfriend Morris

Morris blazer

Like quite a lot of others in the sewing world, I’d been awaiting the release of Grainline Studio’s Morris Blazer for quite a while. I’ve been desperate to make a knit blazer to replace a very tired old Anthropologie one I wore to death last spring/summer, so it jumped right to the top of my sew-queue. I was going to wait a little bit longer until the printed pattern shipped, but when Gillian pointed out that the PDF is only 28 pages I went for it without wasting any more time!

Morris blazer

Morris is designed for stable knits or stretch wovens, and I had this fabric ready and waiting – a heathered wool-mix interlock from Cloth House. I didn’t make a toile but did make a few flat adjustments before cutting the fabric.

Morris blazer

Mainly I wanted to make more of a slouchy boyfriend silhouette rather than the shrunken, cropped shape, so I added 2 inches to the length of both the body and the sleeves using the lengthen/shorten lines. Besides that, I cut a 6 across the shoulders grading to a 10 at the hem.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

I was a bit worried it still wouldn’t fit around my bum, but actually the fit turned out just how I hoped – swingy and loose, but still with a nice fit around the shoulders. I think the shoulders are a bit wider than they should be but I didn’t want to over-fit it so it’s comfy for cycling. Also the shoulder seams are quite far forward, which I’m not sure is a design feature or a sign I need to do an adjustment.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

After finishing it, I felt like the larger expanse of front needed to be broken up by some pockets, so I used this tutorial to add some mini ‘cheats’ welts. I say cheat because you just fold up the pocket facing to create the welts rather than have a separate piece, so they’re much less nerve-jangling to install than the traditional method – but quite neat and effective anyway. They’re a bit tiny to actually hold my hands, but at least they hold a phone and/or Oyster card so are a practical addition.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

Sewing it up was quick and fun. I used a mix of the overlocker and a straight stitch on my normal machine – I don’t think the stitches will pop since it’s not close-fitting. It’s unlined, but I like how all the facing edges are tucked under for a tidy finish inside. I just wish I’d sewn the lapels with the wrong side of the fabric facing out for a bit of contrast: I’d already fused on the interfacing (I found my knit interfacing at Ray Stitch by the way) before I thought of it. Nonetheless I think this is a worthy successor to my old jacket and should get a ton of wear in the coming months.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

Let’s end on a cat photobomb! It’s a bank holiday Monday here and against all the odds it’s a beautiful day, so I’m going to put the machine down now and take my new Morris for a wander.

Alder

Alder

Well the clocks went forward this weekend, officially signalling spring! It was horrendous weather all weekend obviously, but today is a bit brighter and I’m wondering if I can get away with wearing my decidedly springlike new dress yet…

Alder

Two things stopped me from pouncing on Grainline’s Alder shirt dress when it was released last year – the fact that I never ever wear collared anything, and that I wasn’t sure the slightly dropped loose waistline would work on my shape. Well, fear 1 was easily fixed by using Jen’s handy tutorial from the sewalong to convert the neckline into a v-neck faced with bias binding – a simple hack and the construction was familiar to me as it’s essentially the same as the Darling Ranges.

Alder

Fear 2? Well, I think this fits so well that it’s kind of flattering anyway! I cut a size 6 with a 3/4″ FBA, and I love the fit through the bodice and waist. The only other tweaks were a 1/2″ swayback adjustment, nipping in the bodice side seams a bit, and raising the shoulder line by 3/8″ right at the end to fix a bit of neckline gaping.

Alder

I should add that I didn’t really refer to the instructions but made it in an order that made sense to me. Basically after joining the yoke and shoulders I gathered the front and back skirt pieces separately, attached them to their corresponding bodice pieces, then did the armhole binding, then did the side seam from underarm to hem in one go. I just prefer doing everything as flat as possible. The curved hem is finished with bias like the neckline.

Alder

The fabric is some hand-blocked Indian cotton from Merchant & Mills that I’ve had in my stash for a while. It was beautiful to work with – taking a press so easily, barely fraying, smooth to gather and French seam – and is so super soft and comfy to wear, albeit a bit creasy. I managed to squish this dress onto the narrow 2m I had.

Alder

Spring needs to roll on for real now so I can get wearing this – I think it looks weird with tights and a cardi and it’s not quite warm enough to ditch them yet. I’m already dreaming up a version with cut-on short sleeves though which might be a bit more seasonally-adaptable.

Overlockfest

overlockfest

Here’s the fruits of one sewist who’s VERY happy to have her working overlocker back. Going Konmari on my wardrobe left me with a very clear idea of what I needed to make immediately to fill some gaps, and luckily I had all the fabrics I needed to fulfil a lot of my needs. Not the most exciting garments to share, but definitely what I wear 90% of the time both for work and weekends. In fact these photos were taken each morning this week as I started wearing my new garments right away.

First up two of Grainline Studio’s free Hemlock, made in wintry sweater knits. The lurvely lofty rust-melange knit is from Tissu Fabrics and the navy slinky knit was a freebie from a studio sale in Shoreditch. Two new sweaters for £6.99 total, score!

Hemlock

The rust one is a very loose/lacy knit so I was worried about it unravelling at the seams. I sewed it all with a zigzag on my normal machine then trimmed and finished the edges with the overlocker afterwards, which seemed more secure than using just the overlocker for construction. The hems are folded up once then stitched right over the raw edge with a zig zag. There’s clear elastic in the shoulder seams to reinforce them too, so I hope all those things will make it last a while.

Hemlock

The navy one was much easier to deal with, just overlocked all over and I added cuff bands to make the sleeves full length (though still nearly always wear them rolled up). One thing about the Hemlock is I can’t seem to get the fit at the top quite right- it tends to slip off my shoulders and pull backwards a little. I tried reducing the width of the front and back neckline/shoulder on the rust one but it didn’t really seem to help. I’m thinking next time I’ll bring the shoulder forward slightly and also try adding a curve along the shoulder seam to try and anchor it in place. No worry though, I’m still going to wear the hell out of both of these.

Plantain

This is a Deer & Doe Plantain (another freebie!) made from some lush tissue-weight knit from Cloth House. I didn’t notice the sparkle running through it until I got it home – it’s subtle in real life. The fit is right off the pattern, except I raised the neckline a bit and cut a mid-upper-arm length sleeve edged with a wide band. The perfect tee pattern in my books.

Zippy top

Ah, my other go-to tee, the Zippy top, for when I can’t even be bothered to set in a sleeve. I especially like it with an added slouchy pocket in a drapey knit, like this lovely rust-coloured crepe jersey I got from Goldhawk Road. Obsessed with this colour right now, though I need to wear a different coat to avoid being orange all over, ha.

Up next, replenishing the lower half side of my wardrobe, which basically means more Gingers. If I can tear myself away from the overlocker for a bit…