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
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!
The Bruyere Shirt from Deer and Doe is a tried-and-true pattern for me. I’ve made several versions before and am always happy with the results. In the past, I have gone up a size and then taken it in as needed, but this time I opted to make my true size just to see the difference. I still removed some of the width of the upper arm, but the fit was pretty good without any kind of full-bust-adjustment. I think I would still try one next time, to help move the waistband down a bit.
Not that I didn’t make any changes, though: I like to interface the waistband as well, which means I also add a lining that piece. I used French seams where I could, but I’ll flat-fell them next time. I took out about 1 inch of length on the bottom pieces, but I feel like I could take out even more. I also moved the button-holes down an inch (I like to line up one within the waistband and go from there).
I was happy to conquer the sleeve plackets this time! I used the pattern piece (and instructions) from the Colette Negroni which was quick, easy and gives a clean finish. I did laugh at how big they are, though. I need to grade the pattern piece down for a better proportion on a woman’s shirt. I was excited that I got them to work, but they feel comically oversized. THEY ARE ALL-CAP PLACKETS. I also sewed the arms on the wrong sides at first and the plackets ended up right at the front. I must remember to mark which arm is which!
I knew I was going to need some long sleeved shirts for winter and this teal Robert Kauffman Shetland Flannel (bought at the lovely Patch Halifax) is so comfortable. I ended up taking out one layer of the interfacing on the collar because the fabric is so thick. I found it was almost too think for the button plackets and they are a little stiff. I’m hoping they will relax after a few washings. This shirt got a lot of wear over the holidays. It’s great for layering and I’ve worn it with leggings around the house and a blazer and trousers out for drinks. (I also have it on in this news story about my project!)
Project: Bruyere Shirt
Total Cost: $76
Pattern: $20 (CAD)
Time: 8 hours
Fit: I made a straight size 38, removing 1 inch of width from the arms and 1 inch of length from the bottom of the shirt.
What to work on: a quick make! This shirt includes 9 button holes, sleeve plackets, pleats, darts, a collar, etc. etc. After this and my winter coats, I’m ready for some less intensive projects.
I was on the hunt for some wardrobe essentials and I knew the Seamly Basic Tee from Indie Sew would be perfect: loose enough to be comfortable and slouchy, but fitted enough that I don’t look like I am wearing my husband’s shirts either. And the pattern part of the PDF was under 20 pages!
I made up 2 versions of the XS size. I didn’t want to use bamboo cotton for these, as I find that a little heavy for the summer. For the first one, I used some soft Melange Viscose Jersey from Blackbird Fabrics. (Sadly, it appears to be sold out – but this grey modal would be great too).
The design is indeed so basic that I didn’t even bother to read the directions. I appreciated that the pattern pieces have grainline instructions on them in very accessible language (“direction of greatest stretch”). The fabric sewed up beautifully and the shirt came together quickly. I serged the seams and simply used a twin stretch needle to finish the hem and sleeves. I skipped sewing down the collar seam allowance on the white version, but will go back and complete that part.
The mint-green-scrubs-colour version, however, was a very different story. The fabric is from my local chain store, and while it’s fine, it absolutely does not compare to how soft the viscose jersey is and it’s already pilling. I also managed to make every mistake possible while making it – including attaching a sleeve upside down. Also, my (very old) machine was having a hard time with the twin-needle. It was skipping a stitch about every 3 inches or so. Maybe I need to clean out the feed dogs? (please comment below if you have any suggestions!)
Total cost for 2 T-shirts: $25.74 (before taxes)
PDF Pattern: 11.99
Green Jersey: 2.99
Viscose Ecru Jersey: 11.75 (5.75, plus $6 in shipping)
Time for 2 T-shirts (includes cutting and assembling the PDF): 3 hours
Fit changes: None!
What to work on: Neck Binding. It’s not as perfect as I would like it to be, but at least I am consistently inconsistent? Despite my slow pace, my serger was bouncing along the desk so I have swapped that out for a table.
I live in Canada, so making a Linden Sweatshirt in July is not only quick and fun, it’s also (sadly) practical. I’ve made 2 other versions of this top in the past and I’m sure there will be more in the future. The Linden is one of my favorite patterns.
Project: Summer Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio
Fabric: Knit jacquard.
Total Cost: $30
Fabric: $8.99 for 1/2 metre
Notions: Thread, $2
Time: 1.5 hours inclusive
Fit: I made my usual size 2 for this pattern. I could probably use a Full Bust Adjustment for this shorter version, but I think it’s fine with the stretch fabric.
What to work on: Pattern placement, pattern placement, pattern placement. It wasn’t until I saw these pictures that I noticed the low flower-boob situation.
Skills/Techniques: I used my serger on the seams.