Our Willows

We LOVE plants at Grainline Studio. Being in nature is very special to all of us. We have been really busy in the studio preparing the new Willow Tank & Dress for release. As a treat to ourselves we took our Willows on an outing to our favorite place in Chicago, The Garfield Park Conservatory. We spent the day breaking the rules… i.e touching the plants. Only a few! And soaking up the sun. We had the best time! If we could move into the place… we really would. We left wishing they had hammocks for napping…

Grainline Studio | Willow Tank Dress

Grainline Studio | Willow Tank DressGrainline Studio | Willow TankGrainline Studio | Willow Tank

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Swatch Share  |  Uncategorized

Willow Swatches & Inspiration

Grainline Studio | Willow Inspiration

One of our favorite things to talk about here in the studio is what we want to make! Jen, Lexi and I always have something cooking in our sketch books. This morning I went to my favorite coffee shop, Gas Light Coffee in Logan Square, it’s on my way to work! Anyway, the barista had on the cutest shirt. It had hand painted fat rabbits on it. It was so adorable. I really want to make one now! And the Willow is the perfect pattern for that project. Here are some lovely swatches that would make really cute Willows, and some inspiration that I found online and not on my morning commute. You can find the above images and more on the Willow Inspiration Board on our Pinterest.

Grainline Studio | Willow Swatches

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News  |  Willow Tank Dress

Our Newest Pattern: Willow!

Willow Tank Dress | Grainline Studio

We have been day dreaming in the studio of warm days at the lake, canoe trips and having night picnics at Millennium Park. And most importantly… what we are going to be wearing during these activities! With this new season there is a new pattern… The Willow Tank! The pattern includes both a Tank Top and Dress and it can be made in a wide variety of fabrics.

Willow Tank Dress | Grainline Studio

The tank version of the Willow has a modern mid-hip length and a higher neckline to balance the shorter length. The fit is slightly boxy from the waist down but bust darts keep it fitted through the shoulders and bust. We also included a deep turned up hem to add a classy finished edge to the tank, as well as create the pleat you see in the dress version.

Willow Tank Dress | Grainline Studio

The dress version of the Willow is the perfect dress for kicking around town. Since it’s loose fitting it won’t stick to you in the heat of summer. The dress pattern is two pieces so that leaves the option to use two different fabrics for the top and skirt – great for coordinating prints and solids!

The Willow is rated for beginners but is also great for more experienced sewers who are looking for a super wearable, easy project or want to do some customization. Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, darts, hemming, and applying bias facings.

You can purchase the Willow in both printed format as well as downloadable PDF in our shop and is also available as a kit on Sprout Patterns.

Willow Tank Dress | Grainline Studio

And now a little bit about how the Willow came about. I’ve really been feeling the need for a tank like this over the past few months – something with a slightly higher neckline and wider straps that looks great in bold prints and simple solids alike. The slightly boxy, contemporary feel and the shorter length are what I’m all about right now in my wardrobe top wise! At the same time I’ve been feeling that it was time to retire the Tiny Pocket Tank. I’ll always love the Tiny Pocket Tank, it was our first pattern and all! But being our first pattern meant I used a different fit model with different proportions than our current measurement chart which resulted in it fitting slightly differently than the rest of our line. It was important to me to replace it with an updated style since it’s a great beginner pattern and I want to make sure that there’s something for every level in our pattern offerings, both in wovens and knits. So that’s the story on how the Willow came to!

We’ll have plenty of Willow related posts coming up including fabric suggestions, our Willows, and a sew along for the beginners out there who might need a little extra hand holding. Stay tuned!

28 Comments Posted in News, Willow Tank Dress
Journal Entry

Grainline Crew – Jen

Grainline Studio

So you all know Jen…. And as she is the original Grainline Studio crew member… captain if you will…  We thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions! Maybe you will learn some new things about her and this Grainline Studio journey she has been on since 2009. Thanks for following along guys!

What has been the most exciting change at Grainline Studio?

That’s a hard one right off the bat, there have been so many exciting changes here over the last few years! Most changes start off a bit scary to me but end up being very exciting – once I’m done stressing out about them. I’ve been really lucky to have my husband Jon to help me transition through each change we’ve gone through over the past two and a half years, which has encompassed the bulk of our growth. In that time we’ve moved from strictly PDF patterns to paper patterns, moved to a studio, then to a second larger studio, hired employees, and collaborated with some awesome small businesses such a Fringe Supply Co. and Sprout Patterns. I think that the community this growth has encouraged – whether it’s the 4 of us working day to day as a team in the studio, traveling to teach and meeting new people around the country, collaborating on new projects with other small businesses, or interacting with our amazing customers on social media – that has definitely been the most exciting change!

What is your favorite plant?

Ooh hard one, my favorite is probably our fiddle leaf fig. It was the first plant I bought when I moved the business out of my apartment and into a dedicated workspace. I feel like it has a personality and I spend a lot of time trying to get it to sprout new growth in a branch other than the tall branch that’s about to topple over. It finally paid off though, a new sprout appeared in the lower branch!! Or did you mean my favorite type of plant in general? Hahaha that’s hard. Not really a fan of Morning Glories though.

Do you have any advice for beginning sewers?

I would say the best thing you can do is practice. Everyone who sews made some really horrible and ugly stuff at the beginning of their sewing careers, myself included. Just keep at it and try not to get too obsessed with perfection. I wish I still had the piece of paper I sewed the first time I sat down at an industrial machine, you guys would laugh so hard. It’s SO terrible!! 

What is the funniest thing you have made?

A Cheeseburger! It’s also the first thing I ever made besides sewing a piece of paper which my mom made me do when I was younger and wanted to start sewing. It was really an awesome project for a beginner, straight lines, curves, etc. but required little to no precision since it wasn’t a garment and you got a really fun project. She taught me out of these two books, Sewing Machine Fun  and More Sewing Machine Fun , which we both still agree are the best sewing for kids books we’ve ever seen!

What is the most times you have had to unravel a knitting project?

OH man, probably one million times. I taught myself how to knit in November 2001 on a road trip to NYC with a pamphlet from Hobby Lobby, two metal needles, and a skein of Red Heart Yarn. This was slightly before knitting had its resurgence – Knitty.com didn’t exist and hip resources and patterns were very light. I knit this small triangular shawl that was basically just the knit stitch with the exception of a knit front and back loop every other row. I don’t even know how many times I took parts of that out to redo it, but it was a lot!

What is your favorite Grainline Studio pattern to sew?

Hmm…that’s a hard one. My favorite to sew is probably the Archer because I like all the precision involved. My favorite to wear though, or the one I find myself wearing the most often is the Hemlock. That sucker is a workhorse for me!

Do you wish Roamy could join you at work? 

Hahaha, she definitely does! I do miss having her around all the time but that lil snugface is really demanding on the cuddle front so it’s probably for the best productivity wise that she stays home. 


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Journal Entry

Grainline Studio x Sprout Patterns

Sprout Patterns x Grainline Studio

Images via the Sprout Patterns Instagram Account

Have you guys heard about Sprout Patterns yet? There have been some awesome projects popping up on blogs and social media so I know some of you are all over it already, but in case you haven’t heard we’re here today to fill you in! Sprout is a really exciting service from the geniuses behind Spoonflower that combines their custom print on demand fabric with indie sewing patterns. We’re really excited to have teamed up with them on this project with some of our best selling sewing patterns, which you can see here!

Sprout is really easy to use. You’ll start by choosing your pattern, then the fabric and size. We worked closely with Sprout to make sure that the fabric choices available for each pattern really worked well, so if choosing substrates isn’t your forte, rest assured we’ve thought that through for you.

With Sprout you can choose a fabric from one of the zillions of prints available on Spoonflower or design your own! We’ve also worked with our friend, surface designer Michelle Vondiziano of January Prints, to develop a line of prints we love that pair well with our patterns. You can view those in our Spoonflower Shop here!

Once you’ve chosen your fabrics Sprout has made it easy to configure them into your garment. You can even move the print around on the garment to get the perfect layout which is a pretty cool feature.

We’ve made up a few Larks already and the process was so easy since there’s no tracing involved. We had two cut and sewn in well under an hour! A few other points you might find useful about Sprout…

  • All pattern pieces are outlined with a white border to make cutting very easy.
  • All seam allowances are included in the printed pattern area so you don’t need to worry about any white showing in your finished garment.
  • Shrinkage is factored into the pattern on all Sprout purchases based on calculated shrinkage percentages for each substrate. This means you can launder your garment without fear!
  • All patterns include the original PDF pattern download and full instructions so you can remake your garment at any time with any fabric.

We have a few projects on the way to us from Sprout at the moment so we’ll be sharing our process and final projects on the blog in the next few weeks once we get them sewn up! Have you guys tried Sprout yet? Are there any of our patterns that aren’t on there that you’d love to see available?

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Journal Entry

Spring Sewing Jams

Grainline Studio | Spring Sewing Jams

Finally! It’s spring here in Chicago. We can’t wait to go blueberry picking this summer and make homemade jams! But… until then we will being working hard in the studio and listening to this spring sewing jams playlist we made. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Sewing Tutorials  |  Sewn Other

Cinch Pouch Tutorial

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

I can’t believe it’s already May and Mothers Day is next week! Jen and I made these cute little cinch pouches for our Moms. We are going to fill them with surprises! They make great presents because they are super easy and you can make them using scrap fabric.

Because I am using scrap fabric, this tutorial is more free form when it comes to measurements.  The goal is to get two good sized squares or rectangles, so try to find some larger scrap pieces.

Have fun making them!

Grainline Studio | Cinch Bag Tutorial


  • Ball Park 1/4 yard of fabric or scraps
  • Thread
  • Shoe laces, binding, rope, ribbons… Your choice! It just needs to be over twice as long as the width of your pouch.

1. Cut two rectangles of fabric. Any size! Depending on how large or small you want your pouch to be. Our large pouch rectangles measured 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ and our small pouch rectangles measured  7 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

2. Fold and press under 1/4″ around the three top edges of each rectangle, stopping 2 1/4″ down from top on side seams.

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

3. With right sides facing, stitch your rectangles together starting 2″ down from the top, using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

4.  To reinforce the side seam, sew a line of horizontal stitches where the fabric splits at the top.

Cinch Bag Photo four

5. Fold over fabric 1″ from the top, and press.  Sew along the folded edge to create a casing for your rope.

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

6.  Thread your rope through one casing channel, and continue around through the other channel, bringing both rope ends to the same side. Repeat on the opposite side.

Grainline Studio | Cinch Pouch Tutorial

7. Tie the ends of your rope together and pull closed. There you have it… a perfect gift for your Mom!

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Sew & Tell

Sew & Tell | Mia

Grainline Studio | Tamarack Jacket

We are all crushing on this Tamarack Jacket that Mia made. She went the extra mile and added a quilt block to the back! It’s so clever to tie that in to a quilted jacket! Duh! Her fabric choices are also pretty amazing. Her project got us thinking about how many different directions we can take this jacket. Thanks for sharing Mia. We are inspired!

Name Mia Partlow

Where can we find you online? Instagram 

Link to your post about this project @grignotine

Which pattern did you use? Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio | Tamarack

What type of fabric or other materials did you use? Robert Kaufman Wexford Cotton, Linen Denim, Robert Kaufman Denim Stripe Indigo Railroad Denim, Rose-colored linen (I believe also Robert Kaufman).

Grainline Studio | Tamarack

Tell us about your project! In addition to sewing clothes, I’m also a quilter, so I wanted to make a Tamarack that incorporated an actual quilt block, for a bit of whimsy and a nod to my other craft. Plus, it is very satisfying to quilt something that doesn’t take months to complete! To create the back, I searched high and low for a block that would look good on its own, one that did not need to be part of a larger quilt with repeating blocks to look complete. I found the perfect block, the Double Star from Blossom Heart Quilts–she has a wonderful tutorial, but somehow I sewed one of the corners on backwards! To create the back, I removed a section of the back pattern piece equal to my quilt block, allowing for seams; since the back piece is cut on the fold, removing a square was fairly straight-forward. After cutting out the square, I cut the back pattern piece into three sections–top, sides and bottom–and then I sewed them to the quilt block. I’m sure there were easier/better ways to do this, but like many home sewers I am self taught and this seemed to work well. In this sense, the jacket itself is an ode to quilting, being self taught and embracing mistakes as part of the process. I absolutely love my Tamarack and now that Spring is here I’ve been wearing it constantly!

Grainline Studio | Tamarack

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Journal Entry

Sewing Tutorial | Getting Flat Bias Necklines

Grainline Studio | Sewing Tutorials

Hi guys! As we are heading into summer I bet many of you will be making Scout Woven Tees and Tiny Pocket Tanks! That’s what I’ll be doing anyway. Here is a tutorial that Jen re-posted last summer. I’m happy she did because now I get my bias faced necklines to lay so flat and look really nice and pro.

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Swatch Share

Styling & Swatches | Scout Tee

Grainline Studio | Scout Tee

We are just about to turn the corner into spring up here in the great north! Finally! I have been eyeing these adorb tees and am going to make something similar using the Scout Tee pattern. I found all of these cute fabrics online! It’s going to be hard to choose cause they are so luxe. Guess I’ll have to make one of each! Right?

Grainline Studio | Scout Tee

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