Journal Entry

2016 in Review: Sewing Tutorials + Free Patterns

It’s the time of year to reflect and look back at what we accomplished and process things that we want to change or improve on. Improving my sewing skills is always something on my list of goals for the new year. Making time to accomplish those goals is another thing on my list. Oh time… where do you go? I have so many large projects that I haven’t even begun to tackle. I have come to the conclusion that it’s better to practice sewing with a project that is smaller in scale. So in 2016 we developed an array of free patterns and sewing tutorials to help us all improve our sewing skills. We hope they helped and that you had fun with them!

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

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The first free pattern and tutorial we created was this Bow Tie Tutorial. It makes an adorable gift for pretty much anyone… children, men, women, and pets!

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

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We created this video on how to make thread chains. These are essential for keeping two layers of fabric together when you still need to allow for movement such as a main fabric and a lining. It’s also an excellent technique for tacking down pockets so that they don’t poke out. You will want to use thread chains when sewing The Cascade Duffle Coat and The Driftless Cardigan.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

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This tutorial shows you how the professionals get their flat bias necklines and armholes. Our patterns have illustrated instructions on how to do this but, there is nothing like a step by step photo tutorial!

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

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In the spring we posted this cinch pouch tutorial. These little guys make great pouches for just about anything that needs to be organized. I use mine as a make up bag when I  travel and I have a super sized one that I store my yarn collection in. This is a great project for beginner sewers.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

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Then in the summer we created this free apron pattern. It’s the perfect pattern to practice making pockets. For even more practice you can improvise and add as many pockets as you like.

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Journal Entry

2016 in Review: Textile Tutorials

One of our most fun adventures in the studio in 2016 was creating, On the Surface, our textile tutorial series. There are so many techniques that you can use to customize your fabric at home. Stay tuned because there are more coming in 2017!

Grainline Studio | Willow Tank

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The first tutorial we put together was potato stamping. The print possibilities are endless with this technique. I used French fries, because… why not?!

Grainline Studio | Scout Tee

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Our next tutorial was natural dyeing with avocado pits. When boiled avocado pits make a beautiful shade of blush pink. We made our fabric into a Scout Tee.

Grainline Studio | Textile Tutorials

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We are drooling over these two projects that our readers made with our natural dying tutorial! Are there any surface design or dyeing tutorials you’d love to see next year?

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Journal Entry

2016 in Review: Pattern Variations

There are hundreds of pattern variation tutorials that we would love to post! There is so much potential for each pattern. We love doing pattern variations because so many ideas come from you! It’s really fun to brainstorm with our community. In 2016 we came up with several. We only wish we could have done more, that’s the goal for 2017!

Grainline Studio | Archer Button Up

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We started off 2016 with this color blocked Archer Button Up tutorial. It’s the perfect way to add a pop of color to your Archer.

Grainline Studio | Archer Popover

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Then we released the Archer Popover Variation Pack. It’s the Archer on casual Friday. Still elegant but has a more relaxed vibe. And it’s perfect over jeans!

Grainlne Studio | Archer Popover

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After we released the Archer Popover Variation Pack we had a lot of people wanting to know how to make a pleat at the bottom of the placket. Because it’s super cute and adds interest! We love how it turned out and have plans to sew up more samples this spring.

Grainline Studio | Alder Shirtdress

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In the spring we released the The Alder Shirt Dress as a tunic shirt. The Chicago spring is probably the toughest season to get through. We really needed to channel some summer warmth.

Grainline Studio | Willow Tank & Dress

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Then we created the cropped Willow Tank tutorial. It’s nice and breezy in the summer and is perfect paired with anything high-rise.

Grainline Studio | Archer and Alder Version 2

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Then we combined the Archer Button Up Shirt and Alder Shirtdress for the second time to create a loose fitting shirt dress. This second method is easier than the first one we shared with you a couple of years ago.

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee

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Finally we spruced up one of our favorite patterns the Hemlock Tee. It’s a free pattern that you get when you subscribe to our mailing list. It has evolved into so many different tees over the years. This last iteration is a sweater version with a split hem. Perfect for staying cozy this winter.

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Journal Entry

2016 in Review: Pattern Releases

This has been a really exciting and rewarding year for us. We worked together, combining our talents and released four new patterns. Releasing patterns is such a fun and creative process. For the most part! After the drafting and testing part is done we come up with a name for the pattern. We brainstorm for a few weeks and come up with something that reflects on the function of the garment and where and how we imagine it being worn. Then we work on the blurb, at that point we are already so attached to the pattern it’s like writing a short biography. The most exciting part about releasing patterns into the world is seeing how you create truly unique and personal garments. Thanks for keeping us inspired! Here are the four patterns that we released in 2016. Grainline Studio | Driftless Cardigan

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The first pattern we released in 2016 was the Driftless Cardigan. Jen wanted to make a cozy, multi-seasonal cardigan with super cute pockets. We are all nostalgic about cabin life, so we named it after the Driftless region in Wisconsin. It’s perfect for walks in the woods and nights by the fire. I hope to make a few in 2017. That’s my goal!

Grainline Studio | Willow Tank Dress

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Next up was the Willow Tank & Dress. Photographing our Willows at The Garfield Park Conservatory was by far the best day of the year for us! It was magical spending the day exploring the conservatory in our new handmade outfits. There is a lack of nature here in Chicago, especially in early spring. Spending the day at the conservatory transported us from city life into nature. Where ever you live I highly recommend visiting your local conservatory and breathing in the freshest air!

Grainline Studio | Penny Raglan

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Our next release was the Penny Raglan. Jen has made several for herself over the years. She received countless requests for the pattern. Poof, wish granted! It’s the perfect loose fitting raglan tee. Unbelievably flattering when worn with jeans…

The Farrow Dress | Grainline Studio

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Here it is, the last pattern we released in 2016. The Farrow Dress. It’s both elegant and interesting. The diagonal pockets are our favorite feature. It was a serious challenge keeping it a secret. We look forward to seeing your Farrow Dresses in 2017!

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Hems & Finishing

Alright, last day of the Farrow Sew-Along! Today we’ll be talking about hems and finishing – lets dive in! Hemming is quite easy for the Farrow. Simply fold and press up 1/4″ then fold and press that up 1/4″ again. You can see above that I serged my hem before folding. You don’t need to do this, I just did because it was quicker than cutting all the frayed threads from handling this garment so much over the course of the sew along.

Once everything is folded and pressed, step over to your machine and stitch along the loose edge to secure the hem in place.

Give the hem a press after stitching and let’s move onto finishing the facings up.

To secure the back edge of the neckline facing, simply hand stitch the dress and facing together, securing each end with a knot. Repeat for the other side of the dress.

Next we’ll need to tack the facing down at the seam allowances to keep it from shifting in and out of the garment. Tack it just through the seam allowance at the center front and both shoulders. You can see above that I do a slightly larger tack, I find this gives the facing a slight amount of wiggle room as you move so that there isn’t a point at which the facing tugs hard at the dress.

Next we’ll be securing the hook and eye to the dress. I like to align mine at the top of the dress and just slightly inside the edge of the dress.

After the hook is attached, align the eye and sew it in place. Make sure that no matter what’s happening on the inside of the garment that the top of the dress aligns when the hook and eye is closed.

And that’s it for the Farrow Sew-Along! Hope you found the sew-along informational and maybe even learned something new! Make sure that you share your Farrows using the hashtags #farrowdress and #grainlinestudio or tag us @grainlinestudio so that we can see what you make!

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Neckline Binding

In today’s edition of the Farrow Sew-Along we’ll be assembling and attaching our neckline facing. To begin, sew the front and back neckline facings together at the shoulder seams as shown above.

Press the seam allowances open and finish the outer edge if desired. I’ve serged mine here but since the facing is interfaced, it shouldn’t fray.

Align the facing with the neckline with right sides facing. Match the shoulder seams of the facing and dress. At the center back you’ll want the half inch seam allowance of the facing to wrap around the edge of the center back as shown above.

Stitch along the neckline from one side of the center back to the other. Clip the corners at the center back, grade the facing seam allowance, and clip the seam allowances approximately every 1″.

Press both the facing and the seam allowance up away from the dress. Understitch around the edge of the facing through both the facing and seam allowance as we did for the armhole / sleeve facings.

Roll the facing and seam line towards the underside of the garment and press.

Your neckline facing is now attached! We’ll tackle tacking it in place during our final installment of the sew-along.


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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: View B Sleeves

In this segment of the Farrow Sew-Along we’ll be inserting our sleeves for the Farrow View B. To begin, place two lines of basting stitches along the sleeve cap between the front and back notches leaving long tails on either end. I like to place mine at 3/8″ and 5/8″ so that the 1/2″ seam line falls between them.

Fold your sleeve with right sides together and stitch along the underarm seam.

Finish your seam if desired and press it towards the back of the garment.

To prep for inserting your sleeve, lay your sleeve and dress out so that the dress is inside out and the sleeve is right side out.

Place the sleeve inside of the dress and align the underarm seams and notches. The top notch of the sleeve will align with the shoulder seam of the dress.

Pull on the thread tails of the gathering stitches to lightly gather the sleeve cap into the armhole.

Stitch around the armhole along the 1/2″ seam line. There should be no puckers in the sleeve cap once inserted, all the gathering from the previous step should be eased in.

Once the sleeves are inserted you can finish the armhole seam if desired. I serged around mine here.

To create the sleeve facings, align the two short ends with right sides of the fabric facing and stitch along the seam lines.

Press the seam allowances towards the back of the garment, or open if you prefer.

At this point I like to fold down the top 1/2″ seam allowance of the facings. It’s a little easier now than after it’s attached to the dress.

Align the facings with the raw edge of the sleeve with right sides facing and seam allowances matched. Stitch around the sleeve.

Grade the seam allowances of the facings.

Press both the facings and seam allowances down away from the sleeve.

Understitch just next to the seam line through both the facings and the seam allowance. This helps to force the seam line to turn to the underside of the garment and gives a more professional finish.

Press the facings up and stitch the edge you folded down earlier to the sleeve to finish.

That’s it! Next up will be finishing the neckline, see you back here for that!

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: View A Armhole Facings

Today we’ll be finishing the armholes of the Farrow View A. To begin, sew one front armhole facing piece to one back armhole facing piece to create two circular facings. Finish the seams if desired and press the seam allowance towards the back of the garment.

Since your facing is fused it shouldn’t fray, but I like to serge around my edge for a more finished look.

Align one facing with the armhole of the dress matching seam allowances and notches. Stitch around the seam line at the 1/2″ seam allowance.

Grade the seam allowance of the facing in half and clip around the armhole.

Press both the seam allowance and the facing out away from the dress.

Understitch along the seam line through both the facing and seam allowance. This will force the seam line to roll towards the inside of the garment and give you a more polished finish.

Press the facing towards the inside of the garment and repeat for the other side. That’s it! We’ll tack the facings down during the finishing part of the sew along, but if you like you can do that now instead.

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Side & Shoulder Seams

This Farrow Sew-Along step is an easy one. To sew the shoulder and side seams, simply align the seam lines of the front and back with each other, right sides facing, and sew along the 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish your seams if desired and press them towards the dress. That’s it!

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Front

Today we’ll be forming the front of the Farrow. This is essentially the same steps as the back of the dress, but we’re adding a few steps to form those front pockets. If you’re using a relatively stable fabric or aren’t worried about stretching you can skip these first steps. If, like us, you’re using something that will tend to stretch on the bias like silk or rayon, you will likely want to take these extra precautions.

To begin we’re going to fuse the angled seam lines like we did for the back of the dress. Again cut 2 strips of woven interfacing 1″ wide. Fuse one along the top angled edge, and one along the pocket marking line as shown above.

Align the bodice front and skirt front along the angled seam with right sides facing as shown above.

Stitch along the seam line and finish the seam allowance if desired. Do not press this seam.

Align the edges of the pocket segment and baste the two layers together. This will help keep things in place while you stitch in your pockets.

Using chalk and a ruler, draw in the pocket placement lines marked on your pattern. This will help you stitch straighter lines than if you just marked the points.

I like to pop a few pins in at this point because you’ve got a lot of fabric going into your machine.

Stitch along the pocket placement lines as directed. It was so hard to get a photo of this step so I’ve traced them in over top in Illustrator for you to see.

If you flip the piece over so that the skirt is facing up, this is what it should look like.

Fold the pocket and skirt down towards the hem and press across the seam line. Baste all layers together at the center front and side seam. Repeat for the other side. Finish the two center front seams as you did for the back of the dress.

You can see above that I’ve topstitched along the pocket seam allowance, stopping where the pocket opening begins. To avoid having a stitching line that just stops and starts, and to provide extra strength because in structured fabrics like this I use my Farrow pockets all the time, I place a small bar tack from the stitching line to the seam line. I am not topstitching on the rayon sew-along dress.

Align the center fronts with right sides facing and stitch along the length of the front.

Press the center front seam open.

And that’s that for assembling the front of your Farrow! Next up we sew the fronts and backs together.

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