Category Archives: Grainline Studio

TNT, or not TNT…

This is my second outfit using my ambassador fabric allowance from The Fabric Store, and it ties rather nicely into this month’s Sewcialists theme of TNTs, or ‘Tried and True’ – the patterns you love and reach for over and over again.

I’m a big TNT fan: once the fit is right and you’ve vouched for a pattern fitting into your wardrobe and lifestyle, why not make it again and again?! I even used to buy RTW clothing I liked in several colours so it’s sort of the same practice at work. Plus of course it’s always easier to sew a garment once you’ve made it once or twice, and you can have fun applying your own little hacks and tweaks to get it perfect.

One of these patterns is a TNT and one isn’t, and guess which was was the most fun to sew and will get more wear…?

Yep the trousers are another pair of Named Ninni Culottes. I wear my first pair in navy aaaaalll the time so really wanted a black pair to match my winter boots! (I’m really glad they pair rather well with boots, meaning I can still wear them in this fairly mild autumn weather).

These are actually a very true TNT because I used basically the exact same fabric too: a crinkle rayon from The Fabric Store. My navy ones have held up beautifully and while they go oddly crispy when the fabric is washed and wet, they straighten out again beautifully with a quick iron. I think this black fabric is slightly thicker and more structured, which makes it easier to work with and a little more suited to cooler weather. I love how smart black projects look inside with matching overlocking, and I used my yoke pocket pattern hack to make more practical pockets. Other than these I’ve made two more pairs of Ninnis, in bubblegum pink and in stripes, so it’s definitely a TNT that’s here to stay for me. The fact it takes like an hour to sew is a bonus!

The tee is the non-TNT, although it’s a pattern I’ve had for ages but hadn’t used yet: the Grainline Linden sweatshirt. I just wanted to try a raglan as opposed to my usual (and very much TNT) Plantain tee. I cut view B with the elbow-length sleeves and slightly dipped hem and eugh, it just didn’t work for me at all! The sleeves looked really dumpy and the fit around the top was poor, plus the neckline gaped like crazy. It seems like Grainline’s block fits like magic on some people and not on others, and I definitely fall into the latter camp. I’m afraid I threw the PDF straight into the recycling as I don’t think I can be bothered working on the fit to make it work for me.

In the end I cut the sleeves right down and finished them and the neckline with some proper ribbing (left over from my Joni pants): the fit is still not perfect but at least this is very wearable now and I didn’t waste the lovely fabric, which is The Fabric Store’s lightweight merino in skinny black/slate stripe. This fabric was again beautiful to work with and didn’t even complain too much about the hacking and altering I had to do to get this tee to fit. The merino should provide a cosy base layer for the cold, too.

I love the colours in this outfit and The Fabric Store’s luxurious-feeling fabrics means it’s really comfortable, and I know it will stand up to repeated wears and washes. I plan to make more TNTs this month for sure, and while I don’t often share repeated patterns on the blog I may make an exception to celebrate this month’s great Sewcialists theme.

Faux jumpsuit

Oooh, this weekend’s project is one of my favourites for a while. It’s a fake jumpsuit, i.e. actually separates made up in the same fabric – Named’s Ninni culottes mashed up with Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank.


I wasn’t going to buy the Ninni pattern as it’s so simple and I’ve hacked this sort of wide elastic-waist pant before, but I just love their drafting and it was only 10 euros for the PDF. I was glad for the purchase as everything about the drafting is just right for me: the rise, width, waistband etc. I’m happy to pay 10 euros for someone else to deliver me what I want!

Sewing them up was fast and easy, except the part where I dozily sewed the back to back and front to front at the side seams instead of a back to a front, and had to unpick it all, on BOTH legs. Don’t sew when hungover, kids.

I was going to be extra-lazy and graft the leg pieces together as the outer side seam is pretty much straight, but decided I wanted the inseam pockets. I’ve tacked across the pocket top and bottom to try and keep them facing forwards.

The Tiny Pocket pattern doesn’t seem to be available any more; it was Grainline’s first-ever downloadable pattern and I assume the Willow tank has replaced it in the line-up. It’s a real nice well-drafted basic so I’m glad to have it in my PDF stash.

Guts shot; I’m proud I got the binding so neat and flat because this fabric was so difficult to press. I actually self-drafted an all-in-one facing but didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it and no suitable plain stash fabric; there was only just enough left to cut a few bias strips! I sewed the armhole binding flat before French-seaming the side seams, and the neckline binding was done in the round.

The fabric is a poly crepe from Minerva Crafts. Their description of it is spot on: it’s a dream to sew with (apart from not taking a press very well), has a little comfy stretch, is pretty much opaque but very lightweight with a wonderful drape. I love it! I got my culottes and top out of the two metres with very little scraps to spare.

I’m thrilled with these separates; I can see myself wearing them all summer both together and mixed up with other garments.

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.