Grainline Farrow Dress v2.0

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

This is my second Grainline Farrow Dress and it might be my favorite make so far this year!

I sewed View B this time, except I shortened the sleeves.Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I bought this gorgeous Japanese double-gauze from The Cloth Pocket (it’s sadly sold out now).
Grainline Farrow Dress v2

To best utilize this fantastic print I had to fussy cut all the pieces which meant I didn’t have enough room for the full-length sleeves.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2That’s fine because the shorter sleeves make this dress more versatile for Texas weather.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I didn’t make any changes to the body of the dress (I even kept the original hem length. In my previous version, I shortened the hem). But I did alter the sleeve.Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I could tell by holding the paper sleeve piece to my arm that it would be way too small. So I drafted an alteration that widens the bicep while lowering the sleeve cap a bit at the same time.
Grainline Farrow Dress v2

This method adds slightly more range of movement in the arm while also keeping the original length of the sleeve cap intact so you don’t have to alter the armhole on the dress. Maybe I’ll do a quick tutorial on that technique in the future.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2I hemmed everything by hand which was easy with double gauze since I only had to stitch through one layer of the fabric. That makes for a perfectly invisible hem.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I love how soft and flowy this dress is – as you can tell from these pics taken on a windy day.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2
Happy sewing, y’all!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt Version 2

Grainline Linden

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

It’s already getting too hot to wear long sleeves in Austin but I loved this chunky, coral, rib knit fabric from Joann so much that I decided to try sewing a “summer sweater.” That’s not a real term but I’m claiming it now.

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

This is my second version of Grainline Linden Sweatshirt pattern.

This time I went with View B – slightly cropped without the hem band, shorter sleeves and no cuffs. The boxy shape of this design makes it less restricting in the heat and the shorter length works well for mid-rise shorts.

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I didn’t look closely at the bolt when I bought this fabric but it clearly has some poly in it. My favorite part is the color, though, gotta love that coral pink!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I’ve actually taught the Linden several times as a class at The Cloth Pocket so I know the pattern well, even though I’ve only sewn it twice. The entire thing is stitched with a serger and a zig-zag for the hems.

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

This shirt is already in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I think we have a winner!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Mid-1300s Kirtle and Veil

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

There’s nothing like a strict deadline to motivate you to finish a project. That’s what I gave myself for this newest historical costume. To celebrate my birthday I decided to visit the Medieval Faire near Austin and of course, I needed clothes to wear.

The Faire I went to is themed more toward the European middle ages than the Renaissance so I went with something in the middle – the 14th century. Plague times, yeah! Woohoo! What, no cheering for the bubonic plague? Ok, whatever…

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

The distinctive features of this era of dress are full-length gowns (called a “kirtle”) with gores in the skirt to add fullness, no waist seam, with a broad neckline, and a bodice that is tightly laced to the body.

This time period was a transition between the looser garments of the early middle ages and the highly supported bodices of the Renaissance period (and what we like to think of as early corsets).

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

This fabric sat in my stash for years(!!!) with the intention of becoming a kirtle but never got around to it because the idea of drafting a kirtle pattern from scratch seemed so daunting. You have to get the fit just right so that the tight lacing supports the bust but also doesn’t gape.

I’ve seen people use this tutorial in which a helper squeezes and pins fabric around your torso to make a bodice pattern. But I don’t have any costuming friends nearby who could do this for me.

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

Instead, I went with what I knew – flat pattern drafting. I took measurements. A ton of measurements! Both vertical (shoulder to bust, underarm to waist, shoulder to wrist, etc) and horizontal (high bust, full bust, underbust, shoulder to shoulder, etc) and using those, I drew a “curved-front-seam” bodice pattern.

The bodice section is lined with white linen, same fabric as the veil. I didn’t line the sleeves or the length of the kirtle to save fabric and reduce layers.

All of the structural seams were machine sewn with finishing done by hand. All hems are hand sewn.

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

The 3 dozen or so lacing eyelets are all sewn by hand (and if you’re wondering how long it takes to sew 3 dozen eyelets by hand… it’s about a season and a half of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

The lacing opening and neckline are faced with red twill tape for strength and durability.

Kirtle insides close up

I finished the skirt gores’ seam allowances by flat felling by hand. I haven’t yet finished the other seams because of time.

Underneath my kirtle I’m wearing an 18th-century linen shift (minus the sleeves, I ripped them off because I didn’t like the way they fit).

I’m wearing some simple brown leather flats which are the closest thing I own to appropriate medieval shoes I own.

As for the hairstyle, I followed the basic idea of this tutorial with twin braids at the top front of my head that are pinned behind and under the veil.

The veil is a big linen circle with a hand-rolled hem all around. It is folded over my head twice – once at my forehead, bobby pinned behind my ears – then folded again around the top of my head and pinned to the braids and crown with little straight sewing pins.

The “correct” way of doing this would actually be to wrap my head in a white linen cap, then layer the veil on top and pin the veil to the cap (easier to pin fabric to fabric than fabric to hair). But I didn’t have enough time to make a cap and the veil stayed on well enough on its own.

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

This was my first costume from this period and I wasn’t expecting perfect historical accuracy. It served more as an experiment to see if it could be done. I’d say it was successful for the most part.

One major anachronism – my fabric. I used a linen blend, which, while blends weren’t a thing in the 1300s, linen was used for kirtles although it was a lot less common than wool. But I live in Texas where wool is hard to come by and I’d rather wear cool linen over wool.

But the other problem is color. Firstly, linen didn’t take dye as well as wool back when only natural dyes were available. I doubt that this deep red could have been achieved on linen. Also, dark reds colors were more expensive as they required rarer dyes or longer dye time. I’m not dressed as a princess but I’m not a poor peasant farmer either. I’m not sure a middle-class, 14th-century lady would be wearing bold red.Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

Things I would change if I made another 1300s costume:

  • Make a cap to go underneath the veil. And make a wimple, which is like another veil that goes under the chin, pins to the back of the head, and tucks into the kirtle neckline.
  • Use 100% linen fabric rather than a blend, in a more muted color.
  • Inset the gores higher up, nearer to my waist. I inserted my skirt gores at hip level because that’s where my lacing eyelets ended, but now I realize it would probably be more accurate to have the gores higher, and it would also likely make the skirt seem fuller.
  • Make the sleeves a little longer. As I was wearing the dress the sleeves felt short on my arms.

I made this kirtle purposefully unfussy with front lacing rather than fancy buttons so that, in the future, I could wear an overdress on top. I hope to make/buy some accessories to go with it like a belt and maybe a pouch or two.

Mid 14th Century Kirtle and Veil

Two Grainline Willow Tanks

Grainline Willow Tank
A double feature for today! Two versions of the Grainline Willow Tank. Perfect for scraps or short yardages!

I love all the Grainline patterns I’ve tried. I’m surprised it took me this long to make this pattern.Grainline Willow Tank

I had enough leftover cotton from my Grainline Farrow dress to whip out my first Willow.

Grainline Willow Tank

It’s a super simple pattern. Only two pieces plus bias for facings. I like the extra deep hem which helps give the bottom of the shirt some structure.

Grainline Willow Tank

For this first shirt, I tried a size 6 but decided the fit was just a wee bit too big. The dart points are also a little low.

Grainline Willow Tank and Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

So for my second version, I made a size 4. Better. The dart points are still slightly too low but they’re not terrible. When I make this a third time I’ll probably just rotate the points slightly higher.

Grainline Willow Tank

This version used a Japanese cotton also from The Cloth Pocket.

Grainline Willow Tank

AND (!!!) I used leftover suede from my A-Frame skirt to make bias binding for the neck and armholes! It’s an effect that’s better felt in person than in pictures but I love the added texture and sheen of the suede against the palm print.

Grainline Willow Tank

I’m teaching a class at The Cloth Pocket for this pattern if you want to learn to make it yourself (or just want to spend some social sewing time with me and a few new friends)!