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)!

Blueprints A-Frame v2.0

Grainline Willow Tank and Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

This is my second version of the BluePrints for Sewing A-Frame skirt. This fabric is black so it may be hard to see the seam lines. You can click on the images to zoom in.

I’ve now taught this pattern as a class a few times and I’m always impressed at how well it fits everyone who has made it. It helps that the pattern includes fitting instructions.

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

For this skirt, I again made the pencil skirt version, this time in a faux suede. It’s been several years since I’ve sewn faux suede but this fabric from The Cloth Pocket washes very well and was easy to work with. It’s obviously thinner than the corduroy that I used last time so it tends to wrinkle and show lines where I tuck my shirt into it. Gotta work on that.

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

I was concerned that this fabric was a little thin for this project and bounced around the idea of interlining it with something stronger. I’m glad I didn’t do that to the body of the skirt because I liked the result but I should have used a thicker interfacing in the waistband. It has a tendency to roll over time. Not sure if I want to take the waistband off and re-stabilize it. Not sure if that’s even possible now that I’ve already added the buttonhole in back.

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

I lined the pockets with the same scraps as my last A-Frame because I had enough fabric left and that fabric is so finely woven and thin I knew it wouldn’t add bulk.

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

I still love that lapped zipper in the back. It’s a nice touch you don’t often find in modern clothing.

I hand hemmed the skirt but with this suede, you can still kind of see the line of stitching. It’s less noticeable without the camera flash.

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

I sewed the same size as my first A-Frame and it fits well everywhere… except that darn waistband. It’s just a little too snug. Just goes to show that two different fabrics will not behave the same way with the same pattern.

Ok, I think I’ve now convinced myself that I need to replace that darn waistband…

Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt

Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

You guys!!! I think I found my new favorite pattern…

My apologies for the high number of photographs. What can I say? I love this skirt so much and it looks so good in every single picture that it’s difficult to choose which to show.

This is the A-Frame skirt from Blueprints for Sewing, view A – the pencil skirt version.
Blueprints A-Frame SkirtThe fabric is red corduroy from The Cloth Pocket (beware, the fabric is a more muted color in real life than in these photos). It’s a great medium weight – not too thick, which is important when seam allowances get bulky. I used a thin leftover cotton for the pocket lining which also helped reduce bulk.
Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

The skirt came together fast and the instructions were clear. The pattern also includes several fitting tips, which is always nice. And I generally liked the techniques, order of assembly, and little details included in the instructions which helped to create a professional finished project. You get the feeling that the drafter knows what she’s doing.
Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

I cut a size B in the waist and graded to a D in the hips. It fit great! The only change I made was to slice off about 1/2″ at the center back grading to nothing at the side seams. I maybe could have cut a bit more. This need was likely due to my sway back which made the skirt sit higher on my back waist than in the front.Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

One thing that is interesting about this design is that the kickpleat isn’t “open.” It’s stitched together then folded over. It’s more like a real pleat and less like a slit.

This might be ok on a different fabric but looking at these pictures, I think unless I press the kickpleat down quite well, it has a tendency to flop out slightly. It’s not a big deal. What I can do next time is just leave it open and fold under my seam allowances for a smooth finish.

Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

I appreciated that the pattern included instruction for a lapped zip, invisible zip, as well as a handpicked zip. I chose a lapped as I worried the corduroy wouldn’t handle an invisible very well and lapped zips always look extra professional.

Blueprints A-Frame skirt

I used a button from my stash. I always like opportunities to show off a unique button.

Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

I love the angular style lines and the seams curve really well over my back half which gives it more of a “pencil” shape than a standard straight skirt.

The pockets are just the right depth to hold a cellphone without it falling out.

Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

I can’t wait to sew this skirt again! Just gotta get the right fabric. I think I even want to shorten it to above the knee and make it mini-length. That way I can ditch the need for the kickpleat, too.

Blueprints A-Frame Skirt

BTW, if you’re in Austin I’m teaching a couple classes on this skirt so if you want to make one for yourself, learn new techniques, and sew with some new friends check out the schedule!

 

Simplicity 8441 – Stuffed Llama

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama
I sometimes sew gifts for the holidays, but not regularly. I’ve sewn dresses for my cousins before and a quilt or two. Usually, time constraints keep me from finishing my ambitious projects.

Luckily my sewing group scheduled a retreat last weekend which was the perfect time to complete this stuffed llama!

I used Simplicity 8441 although the designer also has her own PDF version. The Simplicity pattern includes the pillowcase as well.

I bought the fur and face-fleece from Joann. They have a big faux fur selection in the winter. The other pieces – the mouth, ears/tail/base, and blanket fabric were all leftovers from other projects.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

I was able to cut the fur from the wrong side with tiny snips in the fabric without cutting the hair itself. When I sewed the fur I brushed it away from the seam so I didn’t need to trim the fur from the seam allowance.

I made one slight mistake, however. The pattern is well designed in that the neck and body are cut in such a way as to make the llama’s face turn slightly to the side. But attaching the face and neck to the body was a little tricky for me. I wasn’t using a walking foot so my face and neck ended up a little off-kilter. In the end, though, it just looks like my llama’s face is tilted a bit. So if you’re making this llama, be sure to match the head and face up just right when sewing!Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed LlamaMaking the yarn wig was difficult. I found it helpful to wrap the yarn around a longer piece of cardstock. With the original three-inch-long piece of cardstock, the yarn kept sliding off the cardstock as I sewed it. You make the little wig separately then hand-sew it to the llama’s head. I used chunky yarn with a metallic thread to match the metallic in the blanket but I think I used too much yarn as the wig is very full.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

There’s quite a bit of hand sewing/embroidery on this project. I chose to blanket stitch around the mouth applique piece.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

The hole for the stuffing is not large (it’s at the base of the body near the neck) and I used the kind of stuffing that comes in little tiny pieces of fluff. I had to jerry-rig a paper cup into a funnel to fill the llama.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

The only significant change I made was to tack down the blanket rather than attaching the string ties that wrap around the llama’s body. I wish I had stuffed the tail to make it stand up better. The ears stand up just fine without any stuffing.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed LlamaHe’s super cute! If you like sewing stuffed animals and can deal with fur I’d recommend this pattern.

So that’s it, I’m now going to end this post with a series of choice llama gifs. Enjoy!