Tips & Tricks  |  Uncategorized

Tips + Tricks | for sewing with silk

Silk… the only fabric that has its own adjective; of or resembling silk, especially in being soft, fine and lustrous. It elevates garments from casual to formal. It’s elegant and of course… expensive. But there is no reason to be intimidated by it. With the right techniques it is easy to work with! Here are some tutorials we have done in the past that will teach you the best way to cut silk and to finish your silk garment with roll hems.

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Farrow Dress

How to Line the Farrow Dress Pt. 2: Sewing Instructions

Today I’ll be walking you through assembling the lining pieces of your Farrow Dress. If you missed our previous post on how to draft the lining pieces, you can find that here.

To begin, assemble the main (or self) fabric of  your Farrow according to the instructions through Step 8. Stop here and set the dress aside. This will be the shell of your Farrow.

Start by fusing all of your facing pieces according to the instructions included with your fusible interfacing.

Now lets talk about lining for a quick minute. For my linings I typically use either silk or Bemberg lining. Bemberg is a brand name for a certain type of cupro lining, which contains round fibers that are thinner than regular rayon giving it a finer hand and drape. I highly recommend working with either of these as both are lightweight, breathable, easier to control and sew, and neither will collect static as much as other fiber contents will. Bemberg is a bit stronger than silk so consider that when choosing a lining. The above, which I’ll be working with in this tutorial, is rayon Bemberg. One thing to note about Bemberg is that it can shrink with heat and steam so give your yardage a press before you cut!

Begin by aligning your center front neckline facing piece with the neckline of the front lining piece, right sides together. Pin in place and stitch around the seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance of the facing and lining down, clipping the lining seam allowance every inch or so. Stitch along the lining side of the seam line through both seam allowances to anchor them in place. Repeat this for the back neck facing and if you’re making a sleeveless Farrow, repeat these steps for the front and back armhole facings. I’m making the sleeved version here so there’s nothing to attach to the armholes.

Now assemble the lining the same way you did for the shell. I have it shown inside out here so you can see the seaming better.

Now we’ll attach the lining and shell together at the neckline (Steps 20-21 in your Farrow booklet) and the armhole facings if you’re making a sleeveless version (Steps 10-11). Start with the lining turned inside out and the shell right side out. Put the shell inside the lining and align the neckline edges.

Once the facings are attached and the seams are pressed, slip stitch the lining to the shell at the back opening. I prefer to slip stitch this rather than machine sew because you have more control over where the lining falls and you can ensure more easily that it can’t be seen from the outside of the garment when worn.

Since we’re making the sleeved version here we’ll want to anchor the two layers at the armhole before we set the sleeve. Stitch within the seam allowance or baste the two layers together. Then follow Steps 13 -18 in your instruction booklet.

The dress is almost finished, we just need to hem our layers. Hem the outer layer of the dress first.The lining and dress were cut from the same pattern (save the facing adjustments) and you can see how the lining has stretched in length along the curved hem. Rather than cut the lining shorter than the dress, I prefer to cut the lining the same length and measure the amount to cut off of the actual hem of the dress while it’s on my form. This way you can be sure your lining is even with the hem all the way around.

With the dress on my form I simply measured up 2″ from the lower edge of the dress hem. Trim this excess off and hem as usual.

And that’s it! In addition to the Farrow dress you can use this technique on many different garments. Hope this helped those of you asking about lining the Farrow, it was pretty fun to put together. As always, if you have questions let us know in the comments below!

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Farrow Dress

How to Line the Farrow Dress Pt. 1: Pattern Alterations

Today I’ll be showing you the first step in how to line your Farrow Dress! It’s really very simple and great for slightly sheer or very silky fabrics. The dress above has a shell and facings made from ivory 4-ply silk crepe de chine with a slightly warmer neutral silk charmeuse lining. Now lets draft our pieces.

Find your two front pieces, 1 and 2. Draw a line across the pocket stitching lines to separate the pockets.

Cut off the pocket pieces and discard. You won’t need them for the lining.

For the front: Align the two cut edges to make one solid piece. Remove the center front seam allowance (1/2″) since you’ll want to cut this piece on the fold.

For the back: Align the stitching lines of the two back pieces to create one pattern piece. The seam allowances will overlap. You’ll still need to cut 2 of these.

Now we’ll need to mark the new facings and remove them from the patter pieces to create them and the final lining piece. I prefer to start over making new facings at the same time as the lining rather than use the facings that came with the pattern. There’s less room for error doing it this way.

To start, mark off a 2″ facing around the front armhole and front neckline on your pattern piece.

Cut the facings apart from the lining. You’re almost there, we just need to add seam allowances so that you can sew the pieces back together.

To each of the cut edges of the facings and lining, add a 1/2″ seam allowance. These will be your finished pattern pieces. Repeat these steps for the back.

The diagram above shows the pattern pieces you should now have as well as how many to cut of each one.

You’ll need about 2yds of lining fabric no matter whether you’re using 45″ or 54″ wide fabric. This measurement will also work for all sizes. Please note that in the layout above we have the back pattern piece flipped wrong side up!

That’s it for the pattern alterations, we’ll be back in our next post with how to sew it all up!

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Sewn Other

Handmade Everyday: My Four Winds Quilt

We talk a lot about handmade wardrobes over here since we’re in the wardrobe business, but we also love having handmade items in our home as well, so I thought I’d share my recently finished Four Winds Quilt on the blog today.

After we moved and went from a full to queen sized bed our old IKEA down comforter just wasn’t really cutting it anymore. It was definitely time for an upgrade. I don’t have a lot of time for off the clock sewing since I’m on the clock most of the time, even at home, so I needed a quilt pattern that wouldn’t take forever to assemble. Enter the oversized block genius of the Four Winds quilt from Fancy Tiger Crafts!

If you’ve never made a quilt before or are short on time, I highly recommend this pattern. The triangles in this pattern are known as Flying Geese which are traditionally much smaller and because of that, more labor intensive. Since the pattern is blown up here it not only offers a quicker path to a finished quilt, but it also packs a huge visual punch. Bonus points to the fact that the Four Winds Quilt is made to work with fat quarter packs which is a low-stash person’s (aka my) dream.

For the blue triangles I used an older version of this Robert Kaufman fat quarter pack from Purl Soho. I supplemented it with a bit of RK chambray and Essex Linen I had leftover from a few Grainline samples just to add a few more colors and to bring the backing I ended up using onto the front. The white is Kona Cotton in snow and it’s the perfect almost white. Reads white to the eyes but very importantly it’s not so white that you’re afraid to use it.

There was no way I could cram a quilt this size under my standard arm sewing machine so after assembling the quilt top I took it and the backing to a longarm quilter who assembled the quilt sandwich and quilted the whole thing for me. It’s hard to see in the photo but they used a variegated grey quilting thread that picked up all the colors of the denim. The backing and binding are Robert Kaufman Essex which is a cotton/linen blend and adds a really nice weight to the whole thing.

Now that the quilt is finished and being used I can’t wait to start on another project for our home. I just need to decide if it’s a throw quilt (our basement is pretty arctic) or some pillows for the couch. I’d really like to make some log cabin style pillow covers out of the scraps of more Grainline projects. I think it would be a fun way to bring some of the garment sample fabrics I fell in love with home to enjoy myself, as well as use up some of the larger scraps I’ve been saving.

I’ve made a few quilts prior to this, some of which you can see in these posts: Owl Baby Quilt and Laying Out the Catnap Quilt. I guess I never blogged the finished Cat Quilt, but you can see it here if you’re interested.



15 Comments Posted in Sewn Other
Journal Entry

How to level up your project photography


We love exploring our hashtags on Instagram to see what you are making with our patterns! With the advancement of cameras on smart phones it is even easier to share professional looking photos. Back in 2016 we shared our photo editing techniques with Karen Templer of Fringe Supply Co. in this great post about how-to edit and improve your project photos.

Karen sheds light on how “a lot of us have discovered that part of the joy of knitting (and the knitting community) is sharing our work, and in discovering the joy of documenting things well”. This sentiment extends to the sewing community as well! It’s exciting to share our creations with others. Especially because on Instagram we are constantly being targeted by ads to buy new clothes. It’s refreshing to see that we, in the sewing community, are  making beautiful lasting garments. 

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Journal Entry

Be our Valentine?!

Happy Valentines day! If you have been following along with us via our newsletter, Instagram or Twitter then you already know that we just moved to a new studio. If not, then (hey!) we are filling you in now.

With moving comes the frantic need for new modes of organization. Finding a place for loose sewing tools has been our life since January! That being said, we created this present for you! And well… for us too 😉

It’s a free printable needle book! Its perfect for storing all of those loose sewing needles that you find at the bottom of bins and drawers. We hope you love it!


Sarah, Lexi and Jen

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Journal Entry

Winter Flurry Sewing Jams

We’ve been busy working on new patterns and all kinds of projects to share with you! These are the tunes we have been listening to while we sew. Enjoy!

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Sew & Tell

Sew and Tell | Morna

Grainline Studio | Archer Button Up

Are all of us up here in the north tired of wearing long sleeves and layering up? I certainly am. This Archer Button Up that Morna made has me re-excited about winter! Which is a very good thing because we still have months to go. I’m loving the chambray, the collar and most of all the hidden button placket! I am going to make this version in white raw silk. It’s going to be so posh! Read on to find out more about her project!

Name Morna

Where can we find you online? Instagram

Link to your post about this project click here!

Which pattern did you use? Archer Button up Shirt

Grainline Studio | Archer Button UpWhat type of fabric or other materials did you use? Lightweight denim from Blackbird fabrics (online). Buttons from King Textiles (Toronto).

Tell us about your project! Sure, this was my third archer. The two sleeveless versions I made back in the summer got a lot of wear so I wanted to make one for my winter wardrobe. I saw this fabric at Blackbird fabrics and thought a denim archer would be a perfect. The main alteration I made was adding a hidden button placket. I gravitate towards subtle details so hidden buttons really appeal to me. I’d made a sleeveless version with a hidden button placket. However, I noticed that sometimes depending on how I was sitting, the placket would open up and expose the buttons. So for this iteration, I added horizontal bar tacks spaced between buttons to hold the placket together and closed. The bar tacks really work! The other alteration was adding to the collar so it extends closer to the center. It was really just a ‘let’s see what this looks like’ kind-of-experiment. I’m really happy with how it turned out! As far as putting it together, I followed the sew along. I probably wouldn’t have ventured into shirt making had it not been for such friendly looking instructions. Thanks for making such a great pattern, Jen! I’ve learned so much from this blog.

Grainline Studio | Archer Button up

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Jen's Handmade Wardrobe

Recent Knitted Garments & Queued Projects

I realized the other day that it’s been forever since I posted my knitting projects! Last year was such a blur for us here at Grainline that I dropped the ball hard on posting any personal projects or things I’d made and I’m really hope to remedy that this year. I love reading about what other people have made, it’s just so inspiring and gets me motivated to get to work on my project list. When I started this blog back in 2009 as my personal project journal I blogged every random thing I made and I sort of miss doing that! Well I miss blogging the things I like at least. Instagram kind of killed project blogging a bit, but I often have more to say than is normal to post on Instagram. That and linking to anything on Instagram is a real pain. Anyway, in that spirit here are my recent knitting projects as well as a few things I’d like to make in 2017!

Moss Socks
Ravelry Post
Pattern: BFF by Cookie A
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light

I really went on a sock bender this year completing 6 pairs in 12 months. I wish I was one of those people who could make a pair a month but honestly that would just stress me out. This pair is made with Madelinetosh Twist Light in an amazing green but sadly I lost the tag so I have no idea what it’s called. I used the BFF pattern (still not sick of it!) and omitted the cabling which makes a really great everyday sock. 10 out of 10 stars for how much use these are getting in my handmade wardrobe!

Antique Lace Socks
Ravelry Post
Pattern: BFF by Cookie A
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light in Antique Lace

Aaaaaand here we have another pair of BFF socks also knit in Madelinetosh Twist Light. The color here is Antique Lace and guys, it’s gorgeous. The photos don’t really do it justice, though they come pretty close, but it goes with everything in my wardrobe. These get a ton of wear also and are so good with clogs because of the cables. Clogs & socks are severely underrated as a style in my opinion.

Coronal Hat
Ravelry Post
Pattern: Coronal by Erica Knits
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee

I took a small break from my sock knitting program this summer to work on this hat for my mom. I bought yarn for a colorwork sweater in June but realized while swatching that I really needed more practice with the technique before starting on it. The Coronal Hat from EricaKnits is perfect for the task. None of the floats are very long and the pattern is super easy to remember making it a perfect learning project for colorwork. I was able to focus on the technique and really work on holding my yarns properly. Highly recommend this one if you’re looking to get into fair isle. Bonus points in that you get a super cute hat when you’re done learning!

Rainbow Socks
Ravelry Post
Pattern: none used
Yarn: Toil & Trouble in Opal Fire

This particular pair of socks has a few sisters around the internet. After Camp Workroom Social ’15 Carrie sent a few of us this confetti sock yarn to keep us close after camp was over. With the yarn being so busy I decided to stick with a simple sock instead of my trusty BFF. For this I just cast on 64 stitches, did about an inch of 2×2 ribbing, then went to town and it worked out great!

Malabrigo Socks
Ravelry Post
Pattern: none used
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock

This was my last pair of socks in 2016 – a cute striped Malabrigo I picked up at Knit 1 when I was just stopping in for needles. You know how that goes. Anyway I followed the same recipe that I did for the socks above and wear them all the time. The colorway was pretty hard to photograph, but the top photo was closest to accurate.

Currently I have two sweaters in progress, the Martine by Julie Hoover and my Fringe and Friends KAL sweater which I’m knitting for Jon. The Martine just needs sleeves and Jon’s sweater is finally blocking and almost ready for the finishing!

I’m already dreaming up my next projects which will likely include Ondawa finally, and some sort of cardigan. What’s in your knitting queue? Have any of you knit Ondawa already, and if so what yarn did you use? Also, I’ll be knitting many more socks this year, so if you have a favorite sock yarn, fill me in!

15 Comments Posted in Jen's Handmade Wardrobe
Farrow Dress

Sewing Facings on Narrow Sleeves

If you’ve ever been frustrated when a narrow sleeve doesn’t fit around your sewing machine arm, this post is for you! Nothing groundbreaking here but people have asked so we’re answering.

Sewing Facings on Narrow Sleeves from Grainline Studio on Vimeo.

Hope you found that helpful! Any q’s of course leave them below.

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