Grainline

Three new things

I’ve been working on building up my wardrobe of winter clothes, as well as sewing some distraction projects – the ones that I feel like sewing as opposed to actually needing!

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I’ll start with the things in the ‘need’ category. This Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan is so cozy!! I made it with the same merino blend fabric as this dress. It was heavily inspired by Lisa’s version, posted on the Tessuti blog, where she used the wrong side of a thickish knit. I wasn’t brave enough to go all-in with the wrong side so instead I just used it for the hem, cuff and front bands. It’s very warm and each time I wear it I feel like I’m wearing a big hug. What could be better?

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The cowl is another essential item, but I knitted it way back in March. At the time I had a major obsession with this colour, rusty red, which admittedly I’m still in love with. I found my dream pattern/yarn combo with the Elena cowl and Quince and Co Chickadee. The cables look impressive but they were simple and fun to knit. The colour is bold but seems to go with everything in my wardrobe.

Now for the top that I probably didn’t need but that I really love!

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This is a Rachel Comey for Vogue pattern. I’ve probably said this here before but I LOVE Rachel Comey. I want to own/wear pretty much everything she designs. This pattern (Vogue 1503) came out in the most recent release from Vogue, along with some other beauties, all of which I snapped up in a hurry. Recently I made my first version of this pattern out of some linen scraps (posted on Instagram) and pretty soon I decided to made a second one.

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The coolest feature of this design is probably the shoulder, where the back overlaps to the front. It’s very simple to construct but is a really great detail. The sleeve cuffs and front ruffle are also bonuses in my book.

For this version I used some Marimekko linen that I had been coveting for some time. It was pricey so I only bought 0.8m! Pattern matching was out of the question, and I had to use the selvedge at the CB and the sides of the ruffle. One of the sleeves is cut on the cross grain, and due to fabric shortages I used a black linen from my stash for the lower back and the cuffs. The scraps from this top are non existent.

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I kind of like how you can see the designer’s name on the CB join. The laundering instructions from the selvedge are visible on one of the side seams but I’m just rolling with it.

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The only drawback to this pattern is that the armholes are cut quite low, so range of motion is slightly impaired, but only if you want to do some arm swings. I like the way that it fits with my arms down and it’s still very comfortable, so I didn’t make any adjustments. I’d guess that raising the armhole would not have helped my range of motion issues considering how loose this is under the arms anyway. This is a Vogue size 12 which is the size that corresponds to my measurements. I’m happy with the fit but some people might want to size down depending on ease preferences.

So there you have it! Two cozy things and one thing that I just felt like sewing. Now back to sewing the pile of merino tees that I actually need 🙂

 

Finished: Tamarack Jacket and Lark Tee

Hello readers!

Today I have a project that I’ve been obsessed with ever since Jen of Grainline started hinting at her new pattern on Instagram. I’ve always been a bit partial to a quilted jacket (not so much the puffer jacket variety although they have their place), but the perfect pattern had never presented itself. Until now, that is.

I finished my Tamarack a few days ago, and yesterday I convinced Ben to join me on a walk around our neighbourhood  to take some photos. Our blog photography is still firmly embedded in the experimental stage (i.e.  no idea what we are doing) but I think we got some cool shots.

Tamarack jacket

Tamarack jacket

Lately my sewing has been pretty frenetic, with a lot of quick projects being pushed through my machine. Which is great, lots of new clothes and all, but I really enjoyed slowing down and taking my time on this jacket. I’ve had a bit of spare time over the last week so I was able to take my time with the quilting and binding that this pattern requires.

For my fabric I looked to my stash, which I must admit has become a bit overwhelming. I’m making a concerted effort to sew from it instead of buying more fabric (not entirely successful) but I did find the fabric for this jacket in my existing collection (do I get a gold medal?). For the outer I used a really beautiful linen/silk blend. It has a subtle irregular woven stripe parallel to the selvedge, and going the other way are lovely silk slubs, raw silk style. I had been hoarding it for who-knows-what and I’m so happy I used it for this. For the inner I used a gorgeous silky Liberty lawn that I ordered from Shaukat a few months ago. I think that these photos show the colours the best:

Tamarack jacket

Tamarack jacket

I went to Spotlight to find batting, and ended up getting both wool and cotton batting because I couldn’t decide. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up making another of these jackets so I don’t mind having extra on hand. After quilting a couple of samples I chose the wool batting, as my outer fabric has some body and I felt like the wool batting had more drape and softness. I didn’t find it puffy to work with but it probably depends on what thickness you get, not sure if there are thickness options but mine was reasonably thin. Some of the loft flattened out with pressing, too. I quilted straight lines about  2″ apart, using my *new and amazing* walking foot. The guide that it came with meant that I didn’t need to chalk many lines on my fabric – I just set the guide to my quilting width and used that for each new line.

Tamarack jacket

In keeping with my relaxed sewing pace I chose to bind all of the inside seams using bias binding cut from my inner fabric, including the pockets. This pattern calls for lots of binding and I would recommend practicing on some quilted scraps, which I didn’t, because it tested my skills at times. The instructions are great but when binding two layers of quilted fabric, as I did on the inside, there are some serious turn-of-the-cloth issues to contend with. You’ve been warned! Here’s an inside shot, although the colours were hard to capture indoors:

Tamarack jacket

While I’m here I might as well show you another Grainline project I sewed up recently, which is the Lark tee. Now that I’m not buying any RTW clothing, making tshirts is a necessity even though knits aren’t my favourite thing to sew. This was relatively pain-free though, and as usual I am a mega fan of the fit of Jen’s patterns. I used a cotton knit for this tshirt and chose the boat neck + 3/4 sleeve combo. It’s super comfy! My overlocker and I are not best friends right now but once we’re back on good terms I’ll definitely be making more. My one comment would be that this pattern is longer in the body than I expected, which is great for tucking in, but next time I’ll shorten it a smidge. I am about 166cm/5ft 4″ for reference.

Grainline Lark Tee

Grainline Lark Tee

 So there you have it, two Grainline slam dunks that I am super pleased with!

Do you have any plans to make a Tamarack? And how many quilted jackets is too many? Because I know I’ll be making more….

Have a good week!

Alders for Spring

Hi everyone!

Lately I’ve been churning out Spring appropriate clothes in anticipation of warmer weather. Today was one of the first bare-legs days so far, so I twisted Ben’s elbow and we hit the streets to get pics of two of my newest Grainline Alder dresses.

Grainline Alder

This first one seemed quite popular when I posted an in-progress shot to Instagram and I think that’s all down to the amazing fabric, which is a gorgeous medium-weight cotton that I bought at Tessuti on a visit to Melbourne last month. It has a fantastic geometric pattern that I think looks quite cool broken up across the Alder style lines. With a full-on print like this I don’t think you can go past self covered buttons, so I had some made at Hawes and Freer. I like the way they blend in while still providing an opportunity for some extra print placement fun.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

For this view B version I cut a size four and lengthened the hem by about an inch, as well as raising the bust darts a little as they sit a bit low on me. Originally I sewed the pockets on but removed them after determining that too much was going on. I’ve been wearing this with my favourite new cardi, which has proved to be super versatile and is featuring in most of my outfits at the moment!

Grainline alder

My view A denim Alder came about on a bit of a whim, as its my belief that since sewing is my favourite hobby I’ll sew what I want, when I want, otherwise the fun might diminish! Anyway it was very enjoyable to make and I am surprised by how much I love the finished dress – I thought that I preferred the view A gathered style but I’ve really fallen for this one.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

The denim that I used for this is a lovely medium weight. I’m not sure if it’s technically denim or more of a thick chambray, but either way I’m into it. I used some nice black metal buttons that I got from a wholesaler, and I really like the way that they look with this fabric. Looking at the photo below I wonder if I should have played with the shoulder slope a bit, but I’m not too worried about it – I’ll definitely wear it even if it has some shoulder wrinkles.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

I used a scrap of Japanese quilting cotton for the inner yoke and the armhole bias binding. I love the way it looks!

Grainline Alder

I’m so happy with how these two dresses are fitting into my wardrobe, they seem to go with everything. Right before I made these I sewed up another view B Alder in a gorgeous dark navy cotton with a textured stripe, and it’s been on high rotation. I would show it here on the blog but I’m not sure that photos would accurately depict the fabric, and at this point I don’t think I need to blog a fifth Alder! You can see my previous two versions from last year here and here.

How about you guys, are you sewing for the new season?

Two Scouts in Liberty

Look at me, back so soon! Here are two more of the tees I’ve made recently as part of my enthusiastic Scout making spree.

 

 If you follow me on Instagram, you might recognise this fabric from a picture I posted the other day. The print is called Dancing Ladies, and it feels like every time I look at it I see something new. 

 

I first used this fabric to make a dress (pre-blog), but it never got much wear, so the other day I cut it up to repurpose it into this tshirt. I’m so glad that I did because I’ve worn it so much already! I think it’s such a pity to leave gorgeous fabrics languishing in the wardrobe.

I told a work colleague the story of this dress-to-tshirt transformation and she commented that sometimes you just don’t want to wear a print all over. So true! Until recently I figured that you might as well MAXIMISE a gorgeous print by making a dress. Suddenly I understood why all those pretty print dresses in my wardrobe don’t get much wear.

Of course, sometimes cute print dresses are just the ticket, but I feel like this was an a-ha moment that I probably should have had a while ago…. Moving on!

I don’t remember the name of this beautiful print, but it’s a seasonal Liberty that my Mum requested I make a top for her from last year. I JUST managed to eke this out from the leftovers – I had to cut the sleeves on the cross grain to make all my pieces fit. (Mum, I hope you don’t mind that I used up your remnants!)

 

I guess that one of the reasons I like the Scout pattern so much is that it’s the perfect simple canvas for beautiful prints. That, and it fits me right out of the envelope, which is always a bonus. And it’s so quick to sew. What’s not to like?

I promise I’ll be back soon with a non-Scout make! What have you been sewing lately?

Uniform (Ginger jeans)

It’s been a long time since my last blog post. I’ve been sewing, that’s for sure, but for whatever reason I just haven’t felt compelled to write about it. So, I have a backlog of projects to share with you.

 

Here are my two latest makes, a Scout tee and…. Jeans!

I made these, my first and only attempt so far, from a black stretch denim that I ordered from Girl Charlee while I was on holiday in the US. They are the high rise, skinny leg version, a shape that I am rather fond of in RTW jeans, so it felt like the obvious choice. 

 

I really took my time with these. I think I cut the fabric about a week ago, and over the past seven days have methodically basted, fitted, unpicked and re-sewn until I reached the point where I felt reasonably satisfied. For sure, they are not without fault, but I’m pretty happy for my first go.

Adjustment wise, I made a few small changes:

  • Took a wedge out of the waistband and yoke CB for my sway back
  • Shaved a good 6mm from the hips
  • Removed about the same from the upper inseam
  • Lowered the crotch about 1cm
  • Straightened the front crotch curve

I had really been dreading any crotch fitting issues that I might encounter, but ultimately it was reasonably easy to figure out which adjustments I needed using Heather’s great sewalong. Despite shortening the back inseam by a little bit and easing it to the front (this was suggested in order to help minimise back leg wrinkling), I still have several big wrinkles on the back thigh that are bothering me. As was pointed out in the sewalong, you’ll always have one or two or else there won’t be any sitting ease, but I wonder if there’s another way I could minimise them further? If you have any ideas then let me know.

The back pockets sit a bit low on me so I’ll raise those a couple of cm on my next pair. 

And another pair, there will be! 

The thing is, I used to be such a dress girl. These days, I much prefer jeans and a nice top, especially for work. We don’t have a dress code for rehearsals, so anything goes really, and although some days I have a distinct idea of what I want to wear, most days I would prefer to not have to think too much about it. My aim now is to build up a wardrobe of interesting basics that I can easily mix and match. 

Dress + double bass = not gonna work (unless the skirt portion is very generous in width). Jeans + double bass = yes. Mind blown.

So now I’ve got the jeans part covered. Enter the Scout Tee:

 

Why have I never made this magical pattern before? It’s such a good workhorse and I love it. I’ve made four already. This one is made from a luscious wool and silk blend that I scored from the remnant bin at The Fabric Store. It is gorgeous and I love it. Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts, I somehow managed to cut it off grain. This oversight irritates me no end, but oddly enough this imperfection has led me to feel less precious about it and will probably mean that I’ll wear it more. Strange but true.

Now I’m planning all kinds of variations on the Scout. For the next one I’m thinking hem ruffle.

Have you made either of these patterns? Do you have any cool ideas for Scout tee variations?

Autumnal Archer

A couple of weeks ago I completed this rather autumnal Archer and it has been in high rotation ever since! This is my third version of this pattern and I think that it’s my favourite. I am a recent fan of the colour green and I think that this fabric has something to do with it.

Grainline archer

I purchased this lovely floral cotton lawn at the Fabric Store here in Auckland when on a trip to help a friend choose fabric for her project. Unfortunately, as always, I ended up buying fabric too… the stash is bursting and I feel quite stressed about the sheer number of things I want to make! Does anyone else have this problem?! I often feel paralyzed by all the ideas I have floating around, to the point that I don’t sew anything at all. I guess it could be worse!

But back to the shirt. I was in Christchurch last weekend visiting my family, and my Mum took these photos on an amble through the botanic gardens.

Grainline Archer

I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern as I really like the relaxed fit. As you can see this one is looking rather wrinkly, which is because of how many wears it has been getting. It’s great for work as well as the weekend and pretty much any other time you can think of. Aside from the versatility of this excellent pattern, my favourite thing is how much I learned making my Archers. I’ve been avoiding detail oriented sewing for years due to an irrational fear of visible mess-ups, for example imperfect topstitching or an uneven collar. This pattern however has the most amazing instructions, including Jen’s fantastic online tutorial. I have conquered so many fears in the making of these shirts it’s not even funny!

Here is a close-up shot where you can really see the fabric print and some cuff deets.

Archer cuff detail

I can’t wait to see what other patterns Grainline has in store for us. I am a serious fan.

Bella