Browsing Category

Grainline Studios

New Year, New Archer Button Up

January 28, 2018
grainline archer shirt 1

I’m slowly working my way up to an Archer shirt for every day of the week. I made my previous versions (see here) using prints or stripes, so it was time for a more neutral piece. This fabric is 80% Modal and it is incredibly soft. It’s a little on the sheer side, so I did french seams everywhere except the gathered back seam. I serged that one due to the bulk; but, I wish I had bound it instead so that it looked as nice as the rest of the pretty guts. This fabric wrinkles if you so much as look at it, but it also loves steam.

For this Grainline Studio Archer Button Up, I took 1/2 inch of width out of each shoulder and tapered that reduction through the back yoke piece. This shirt is getting pretty close to perfect but I think I could still increase the narrow-shoulder adjustment by another 1/2 on either side. Next time I would also reduce the tension on the bobbin for the button-holes, as I found the last couple of stitches on each one pulled the front band (you can see the pull lines above.)

It’s a lovely little workhorse in my wardrobe and it makes me laugh when I see all my Archer shirts lined up in my closet. 3 more to go!

Project: Blush Pink Archer Button Up

Total Cost: $27

Pattern: Free. I already owned this one!

Fabric: $25

Notions: $2

Total Hours: 8

Fit alterations: I took 1/2 inch out of each shoulder and tapered that reduction through the back yoke piece.

Techniques used: French seams, burrito-roll yokes.

Fabric country of origin: Unknown.

Everyday outfit: Black Ginger Jeans, Striped Lark Tee

November 30, 2017

I’m always in need of basics, so I’m glad that I finally finished these black Ginger Jeans.

Lately, I have been making Gingers in a size 6 (my flares really helped me get a handle on my sizing). I decided to try shaving off a 1/4″ from the crotch to see if I could take out some extra-fabric-wrinkles that I get sometimes, and this worked out well. I’m happy to see that this change is also in the updated version of the pattern itself.  I tried the jeans on after basting them together and realized too late that this denim has less stretch in it than I was expecting–I could barely squeeze into them! Thankfully, those 5/8th seam allowances gave me the room I needed. I serged them together to create the narrowest seam allowance possible and ran an another seam just inside the serging, for added strength.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good, saturated black stretch denim for some time. This Marc Jacobs denim came from Mood and I’m very sorry to see that they are sold out because I would order ten more yards if I could. It’s dense and soft and practically perfect.

When I saw that I was out of denim hardware, I put this project aside and nearly forgot about it. Once the hardware arrived, I got the bag of rivets out of the package to see how they would look with the denim and promptly lost them in the Bermuda Triangle of Mess that is my sewing room. What started as a scavenger hunt for some tiny rivets led me to a three-day cleaning/organizing marathon (which I desperately needed to do). After the rivets were finally located (and celebrated on Instagram), I immediately installed them fearing I’d lose track of them again!

This was the first time that I’ve made the Lark Tee pattern from Grainline Studios. I opted to make the boat neck version out of this delightfully squishy, bamboo cotton from Blackbird Fabrics, which I discovered is pretty close to the fabric that Grainline used for their original samples. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I didn’t like the neckline of the front piece; it felt too scooped-out for me. So, in a quick and easy fix, I made the shirt from two back pieces, which gave me exactly what I was looking for. I was able to achieve some pretty epic stripe-matching on this shirt (through patience and many, many pins) culminating with some great design…in the armpits! This shirt feels relaxed, but not so relaxed that I couldn’t wear it to work. I’ve already got a few other Lark tees in various stages of completion, but this one went right into my clothing rotation.


Project: Black Denim Ginger Jeans

Total Cost: $60

Pattern: $16 (since I already own this pattern, I subtract this cost from my wardrobe updates)

Fabric: $32

Notions: $12

Fit: Size 6 with 1/4″ taken out of the front crotch length

Fabric country of origin: Italy

What to work on: keeping track of my supplies. Project bags, project bags, project bags!


Project: Lark Tee from Grainline Studio

Total Cost:$54

Pattern: $22

Fabric: $30


Fit: Size 6, made with two back pieces and 1 inch of length taken out of the upper chest.

Fabric Country of Origin: China



Linden Love

November 17, 2017

I’m showing off my latest make and talking about my favourite sewing pattern, the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studios, over on The Sewcialists blog today! You can see my latest sweater-knit version here.

Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection: Tamarack Jacket

October 20, 2017

I was really happy to see that the Tamarack Jacket was going to be part of the Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection. It’s a great transitional layering piece and exactly what I need for chilly mornings when I am out walking my dog. I had plans to make the coat last year, but the temperature dropped before I was able to start and I missed my window of opportunity.

I learned a lot on this project! It was the first time I’d done anything involving quilting, a walking foot, or cotton batting. I used 1.8 metres of fabric for the outside (Essex Linen in Espresso) and the lining fabric (Kona cotton). I made a straight size 6 – my usual Grainline size – and was able to get away with a crib-sized piece of batting rather than a twin. It feels a little big, but I am happy to have a size that I can layer sweaters under (anything that helps me put off getting out my winter coat is a win in my book.)

I opted to keep things simple by using the horizontal quilting instructions and choosing hook-and-eyes for closures. I’ll save the snaps and the diamond pattern for my spring version. I found the Grainline sew-along post on bias binding to be very helpful and kept it open on my laptop as I worked.The process was surprisingly straightforward.  The result is so clean and neat and felt like sewing magic. (Quilters! I had no idea about those corners!) I went back and forth on the welt pockets, but I think I will add them in after all.

While I love this jacket, it helped me realize why I make garments and not quilts. I find the actual quilting to be quite stressful – all those lines to keep straight. I also had a hard time seeing my chalk lines under the light of the sewing machine and I ended up with blue hands. Next time I will hand-baste over light chalk lines (you can still see a faint echo of the chalk now and if anyone has any suggestions on getting it out I would love to hear them). I would also use heavier thread. I increased my stitch length, but depending on the light, you can’t always see the quilting.

The jacket itself is warm and cozy and I will admit, worth the straight-line stress. It came out looking pretty classic, but it also holds up well after a visit to the dog park, too. I love the look of the bias binding against the tweedy linen and the curved hem.

Project: Essex Linen Tamarack Jacket

Total Cost: $116

Pattern: c/o Indiesew

Fabric: $90 (includes batting)

Notions: $26

Total Time: (includes cutting out the pattern) 14 hours.

Size: Straight size 6

Fit adjustments: none. Next time I will size down and do a narrow-shoulder adjustment.

What to work on: unclenching my jaw while quilting would be a good start!


Thank you so much to Allie for inviting me along on the blog tour. You can see the other projects using the links below!

Oct 18: Grainline Studio
Oct 20: My Handmade Wardrobe
Oct 23: The Doing Things Blog
Oct 24: Sweet KM
Oct 25: Sew House Seven
Oct 26: Threadbear Garments
Oct 27: Sew Liberated

Gingham Archer

April 16, 2017

I really should re-name this project Erica Makes Blue and White Shirts.

I’ve had this fabric forever and I kept using it for interior pockets on jeans and other items. It’s soft, crisp and with a bit of stretch. I realized that I’d better hurry up and make an actual garment out of it before I cut it down anymore, or I’d only have enough fabric left for…more pockets. I made this shirt at the same time as my Striped Archer, but made a few planning mistakes on this version that the striped one benefited from.

  1. I forgot to account for the seam allowances when laying out the pattern pieces for cutting. The Archer has a sewn-on front placket on one side of the shirt, while the other side is folded under twice. This meant that instead of having a continuous pattern across the front, I ended up having to shave off 1/2 from the folded side to create a more balanced effect.
  2. I did the same thing on the back. The stripes are 1′ wide and I easily could have planned for the external pleat to go over one stripe, like this great version from Helen’s Closet. I turned the pleat inside so that it wouldn’t stand out too much.
  3. I ended up making two collars because I cut the first one with horizontal stripes. It looked much better on the bias.
  4. I tried to take pictures of a bright shirt outside, in Canada, in April. Weather ensued and it took 3 attempts to get it together.

However, please don’t let all of this nit-picking trick you into thinking I don’t love this shirt. I was feeling a little over it by the time I was finally done, but haven’t stopped wearing it.  I put out a call for button opinions on Instagram and was very happy with my choice (they are from The Mariner’s Daughter).

I understand why people who sew tend to have an Archer for every day of the week. This one feels the most boxy of the three I have made, as the fabric has the most body. It’s also the version that has convinced me to do a narrow-shoulder-adjustment next time. But I really will need to wait to make another one: I am on a shirt-making moratorium until I round out this handmade wardrobe of mine. Dresses! Bras! Pants! Shoes! Anything that uses a zipper! Let’s do it!


Project: Gingham Archer

Total Cost: $52

Fabric: $20

Pattern: $22 (Since I already own this pattern, I will remove the cost of it from the total cost of my wardrobe at the update).

Notions: $10

Time: 10 hours

Fit: Straight size 6, but I will definitely be doing a narrow-shoulder adjustment next time.

Techniques: Pattern-matching until my head hurt, burrito-roll shoulders, buttonholes, the alternate collar order.


Striped Archer Button-Up

April 2, 2017
Grainline Archer

Grainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline Archer Grainline Archer I was supposed to be taking a break from button-up shirts and working on rounding out my handmade wardrobe. However, when I saw this fabric wedged waaaay in the back of the sale bin at my local chain fabric store (during an ill-fated attempt to find more bra fabric), I knew another one was in order. And then, I figured so long as I was going to be making one Archer Button-Up (from Grainline Studio), I might as well make two at the same time and use up some lovely fabric in my stash (post on the other one coming up next).

I wanted a really classic shirt, so I skipped the great butt-ruffle this time. I thought about doing a narrow-shoulder adjustment, but I wanted it to look slightly oversized and not as tailored, so I made a straight size 6. As this make required an extreme amount of pattern-matching, I decided to save myself at least one step and simply serge the edges of the fabric before sewing–although, it felt like cheating after all the French and flat-felled seams I’ve been doing.

I cut out the pattern pieces very, very carefully. Luckily, the stripe is 1/4 inch in width and there are 1/2 inch seam allowances, so that simplified things. I was able to plan ahead and ensure that there is no break in the pattern across the front of the shirt. I used the stripe, however, in a contrasting direction for the collar, that big ol’ pocket, the cuffs, and sleeve plackets.

This is probably one of my favourite makes of this project. Classic, made with care, and you would never know that it’s homemade! My other Archer has been getting a ton of wear, so I’m happy to have this one to add to the mix. Mother Nature was not keen on letting me get photos of this shirt. I try not to wear a garment before I take the pictures, but it was taking so long that eventually I gave up. When I put it on, I realized that I’d forgotten to put in the buttonholes on the sleeves! I’ll be adding them in, but I wear them rolled up so much I think some sleeve-tabs are also in order.


Project: Striped Archer Button-Up

Total Cost: $46


Total hours: 10 hours

Pattern: $22 (Since I already own this pattern, I will remove the cost of it from the total cost of my wardrobe at the update)


Fit: No alternations. Straight size 6

Techniques: Buttonholes, so much pattern matching, and the alternate collar order


Calling Spring: Archer Button-Up

February 10, 2017
Archer Button Up

Archer Button Up 

I had purchased this fabric intending to wait for warmer temperatures to make it, but judging by the amount of snow we just received, Spring is still very far away indeed. I decided to cheer myself up by diving into this woven from Andover fabrics (part of the Dream Weaves collection). It was very easy to work with, but, the right side and the wrong side of the fabric are nearly identical, so there were a few steps where I tripped myself up.

I made the 2nd variation of the Archer Button Up Shirt from Grainline Studio (AKA the Bum-Ruffle Shirt). This was my first Archer and it was easy to see why this is a mainstay for garment-sewers. It’s roomy and relaxed without looking like I stole my husband’s shirt and lends itself to endless customization. I opted not to use the breast pockets (they are a little too oversized and boob-tastic for me).

I made a size 6 and didn’t need any kind of a full-breast-adjustment – no pulling here! I used the burrito-roll technique for the shoulder seams and flat-felled others where I could, with mixed results. I found it difficult to flatten out the gathered seam allowance enough to create even seams around the shoulders. I did however, finally, remember to label my sleeves, so I actually put the correct sleeve on the appropriate side the first time around. I also followed the ever useful, alternate-collar-technique-tutorial from Four Square Walls for a hassle-free finish.

Project: Grainline Studio Archer Button Up

Total Cost: $81


Pattern: $21

Notions: $10

Time: 12 hours, including cutting out the pattern

Techniques: Flat-felled seams, sleeve plackets, burrito roll yokes

Fit: Straight size 6. I could use a narrow-shoulder adjustment next time.

What to work on: Ugh. Flat-felled seams with gathers.



JCrew DIY: Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studios

January 13, 2017
Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt

Linden SweatshirtLinden Sweatshirt  Linden Sweatshirt I am the worst kind of shopper: I will see something I like, mutter to myself, “I could make that” and walk away. Then, I rarely ever get around to making my own.

But not today! Instead, I have one of my favourite makes so far to show you.

When I saw the Gayle Sweater from JCrew pop up online, I knew I would easily be able to make my own version from the Linden Sweatshirt pattern from Grainline Studios. The ribbing of this soft sweater knit (another BlackBird Fabrics score) wasn’t an exact match, but I was perfectly happy to have something “inspired” by, rather than a direct copy (although I’m sure I knitting it would be possible, just not by me at this time.)

I have made several Linden sweatshirts over the years (you can see my most recent one here) and they remain some of the most-worn items in my closet. I haven’t worked with sweater knits that much before, but I have several projects made with them to show you this month! I was careful about my cutting and made my usual adjustments for this full-length version: I sized down drastically and cut the width of the band to match body pieces rather using the ribbed band. I also increased the width of the neckband (by about 2.5x) to accommodate the bow.

I’m so happy with it! It feels preppy without being precious and a little tuxedo-inspired.

Project: JCrew DIY Linden

Total cost: $50.99

Fabric: $23

Pattern:$21.00 CAD

Notions: $6.99

Fit: Size 2 for the body and sleeves, size 8 for the bottom band. Increased the width of the neckband.

What to work on: Learning to knit!

Burberry, by Me: The Cascade Duffle Coat

November 22, 2016
Cascade Duffle Coat

Cascade Duffle Coat Cascade Duffle CoatCascae Duffle Coat 4Cascade Duffle CoatCascade Duffle CoatCascade Duffle CoatCascade Duffle Coat

All images by North by North Photography

While I am passionate about mindful consumption, there is one category of clothing that I have decided not to place any restrictions on: outerwear. In previous years, I would only have one cold-weather coat, which I wore day after day after day, after day, after day. I live on the East Coast of Canada (we are basically North Maine), where snow is a usual occurrence from November well into May, with more than our share of storms thrown in for good measure. It is a very long season and I am often feeling as frayed at the edges as my sad coat by about February. So, in the interest of mental health, I hereby declare this the Year of the Coat!

First up in my series of outerwear is an item that I am so proud of, the Cascade Duffle Coat from Grainline Studios. I have been hoarding this beautiful Burberry fabric (bought online at Mood Fabrics) for over a year. I must have ordered exactly as much as I needed for my size (straight size 10) because I had just enough. It was scary to finally cut into it after all this time. I’m unsure of the fiber content, but it is so soft and warm. The only way I think of to describe it is sumptuous. I used Kasha for the lining (a fabric that is satin on one side and flannel on the other) and the coat feels cozy and substantial. It’s the nicest winter coat I’ve had in years and I finished it without a moment to spare – I saw my first snowflakes today.

As other sewists have pointed out, there are indeed 40 pieces to this pattern and the construction took me several 8 hour days and then some. I dyed the cording for the toggles with tea in order to tone down the original brilliant white colour. I love them, but I’m not sure how long they will hold up under bags and scarves and general winter weather. I may change them out for some made with twill tape instead. The coat itself is long, but I will take all the winter protection I can get! The pattern offers either a cropped or a long version, but I think I would like to try something that’s in-between as well.

When I told Alexa and Luke from North by North Photography that I wanted to have an outdoorsy shoot, they immediately suggested a trail that I’ve never been to and I’m so glad they did. Not only did I get some fantastic photos, but I also had a great morning hiking around the woods with them.


Project: Burberry Cascade Duffle Coat

Total Cost:$264 CAD


Fabric: $220 (including the coating, lining and interfacing)

Notions: $22

Fit: No alterations.

Techniques: Bagging a lining

What to work on: Gathering all my supplies in one go. I wish I had picked out fancier toggle buttons in the year I’ve had the fabric. I was all set to go with this project and then realised that I wouldn’t be able to get any toggles other than these locally.