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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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Back

Today we’ll be assembling the back of the Farrow dress. Let’s get started!

To begin align the angled edge of one of the back bodice pieces with one of the back skirt pieces. Make sure your right sides are facing each other. Stitch along this seam line at the 1/2″ seam allowance.


Finish your seam allowance as desired – we’ll be serging for this tutorial – and press the seam allowance towards the back of the garment.

I’m topstitching my seams on this linen version of the Farrow. It’s completely unnecessary, I just think it’s a cute detail on fabrics like this.

If you’re using a slippery fabric or a fabric that shifts a lot, like this Cotton + Steel rayon, I’ve got a little trick for you to reduce the bias stretch of the fabric on these angled seams. Cut a 1″ strip of woven interfacing on the straight grain. Align your back shirt fabric piece on top of the actual pattern piece to make sure your piece hasn’t stretched out of shape. Cut the 1″ strip of interfacing so that it fits the top seam line and fuse in place.

Note that if you’re using a taped together PDF pattern you will not want to iron on the tape!


Only fuse a strip to the back skirt piece so that it’s less visible on the inside of the garment and isn’t irritating to your skin. Align the back bodice and back skirt pieces and stitch along the seam line.

Finish your seam allowance and press towards the hem.

Repeat these steps for the other side of the back. At this point you’ll want to finish the center front seams. Again we’re serging in this tutorial and we’ve found it easiest to finish the seams before you sew them together because of the width of the serger foot. If you plan on using a zig zag stitch to finish yours now works great for that, but if you’re planning on finishing your seams using the turn and stitch method or by binding them if you’re not using too heavy of a fabric, you might want to wait on that till after the next steps.

Align your center back seams with the right sides of the garment facing and stitch along the seam line from the hem edge up to the top notch near the neckline. I usually baste the area above the notch closed so that I can get a good, even press in the next step, then take the basting out after I’ve pressed.

Press the seam allowances open, from the neckline to the hem edge.

It’s a bit hard to see here, but I’ve topstitched on either side of the seam line. If you’re topstitching you want to make sure that you stop at the notch for the back neck opening or you’ll have difficulty attaching the facings later.

That’s it for the back, next up is the front!


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Swatch Share

Glitzy fabrics for your Holiday parties

There’s nothing like being complimented on your outfit and then getting to tell the person dishing out compliments that you made it! Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season there are so many opportunities to wear handmade clothes. Better yet… shiny and glittery hand-mades!

I am excited to share these sparkly swanky fabrics I found.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

All of these fabrics are perfect for making the Alder Shirtdress, the Farrow Dress and the Willow Tank Dress. Numbers 1, 4 and 6 would all be beautiful sewn up into a Moss Skirt. Seen any sparkly fabric lately we should know about?

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Farrow Dress

Farrow Sew-Along: Cutting

Cutting the Farrow pattern is pretty straightforward, not too many pieces and only a bit of fusible. You can see what you’ll need to cut for View A and View B in the diagrams below.

View A

View B

We’ve gotten a few questions about whether the front and back pieces can be cut on the fold and the answer is yes and no. They can be cut on the fold, but the construction of the pockets is a bit more difficult due to the fact that you’ll be doing quite a bit of pivoting and clipping to get the corners to lay flat. The seam at the CF and CB also help to add a bit more stability to the garment. You’ll also need to insert a keyhole into the CB so that you can get the dress over your head. So yes you can cut the pieces on the fold if you don’t mind extra work but honestly we don’t recommend it or we would have drafted the pattern that way.

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