Grainline Linden….relearning a sewing lesson.

Wadder alert!

Whilst I love sharing things that have gone swimmingly…I think it’s also good to share the stuff that doesn’t quite work.  

I’ve learnt from this project…maybe someone else will too.

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I’ve had my eye on the Linden pattern since Grainline initially launched the pattern.


I love traditional sweatshirts but they don’t love me…I’m the wrong shape for them. Despite this I had high hopes of Linden opening up lots of opportunities for sweatshirt love.

Sadly…I don’t think it’s going to be the case.  Be warned…this ain’t pretty!

Cue massively unflattering photos.

Cue massively unflattering photos. Not helped by the sweater being dragged back by my hands…but you get the picture!

I’m going to start out by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this pattern. It’s my first Grainline pattern and it’s immaculately drafted and the instructions are really clear.

This is a clear case of hope triumphing over experience.

I know that raglan sleeves aren’t the best for me because I have sloping shoulders that don’t support the top of the sleeve.

I know I need to be cautious of scooped necklines…if they’re loose then they tend to slip and slide.


I knew I needed to do a FBA and that would involve adding a bust dart.  In this case it’s still a tiny bit long and a tiny bit low.  Which would be hidden in a plain fabric but isn’t on this striped fabric.


The fabric comes from the “what the hell was I thinking pile”!

And I know I just need a bit more shape in a garment.

Whilst this is undoubtedly a trainwreck of a garment, it’s all good! This has been a great and worthwhile process for me.

Over the last year I’ve gained quite a bit of weight….you can hardly have missed it. Mostly this has been driven by medication impacting on appetite, quite a bit of it steroid based because of my repeated bouts of bronchitis and accompanying chest infections.

(Cue too many cakes and too much pasta!)

These chest problems have also severely limited my ability to exercise, as has a very frozen shoulder for the last 6 months.

My changed shape size has undoubtedly knocked my sewing mojo.  I’m not overly inclined to sew for myself at this size as I’m determined that this isn’t a permanent state of affairs. Getting back to full health/fitness is a huge priority for me.  It seems such a waste of fabric…which is frankly crazy.  I still need stuff to wear…

My judgement as to what suits me is also off at the moment.  The photos above evidence that.

However….I do know that I’m glad I tried this pattern.  I bought it on sale and the fabric was very inexpensive too.  So it was an experiment that cost me a little money, a little time, but has taught me to really trust my instincts.

If I listen to myself I know what suits me.  It comes back to the work I did with Wardrobe Architect last year.  I need to revisit this because, even with this fuller shape, the principles still apply.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I spent some time this past week sorting fabric and patterns in my stash.  Some are to go into storage until I have my new sewing room up and running, hopefully by the end of the year.  These are mainly lovely vintage winter fabrics…I see some beautiful jackets in my Winter 2015 wardrobe.

Others are patterns that I’m planning to build my Summer 2015 wardrobe around.  I have a few fabrics that I’ve been hoarding for too long….and a pile of patterns that had me exclaiming over and over again “oh!  I’d forgotten I had that!”.

It’s time to build a plan, I think.  I’ll be back with that soon….and a much more successful make!

27 Responses to Grainline Linden….relearning a sewing lesson.

  1. I love the fabric of this and think that you look great at any size. And you make beautiful things. I mean, check out your pattern matching. Maybe this sweatshirt is not the most streamlined garment but it looks like it would be very warm and comfy indeed. To be honest I think that sweatshirts probably don’t suit anyone except for the very svelte and modest of bust. Were they originally unisex garments or designed for blokes? I should really Google that. xxxx 🙂

  2. Marianne says:

    I know how you feel! After I gained some weight I kept telling myself i would only cut that beautiful fabric when I lost the weight again. That was silly, because when you don’t like what you see in the mirror, the best thing to do for yourself is make some stunning garments. Did you ever try making a Moneta dress? Will look good on you now and will still look good after dropping some weight. Treat yourself, buy some bright coloured fabric in a print that makes you smile and make a happy dress!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      It’s so hard, isn’t it. And really not the smartest idea, because feeling good in your clothes can help motivate you. And it’s not as if we’ve not got the skills to alter them!
      I do have the Moneta dress pattern…although until you mentioned it, it was in that pile of patterns I’d completely forgotten about…hidden in a folder on my laptop.
      Thanks for the kind words and the great idea!

  3. Donna says:

    I’ve done that to myself several times…it looks so cute on the models and on the various sewistas, but then it looks not so cute on me ‘cuz it just doesn’t suit my body. Sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to find a suitable person for the finished item, so all the work didn’t go to waste. But sometimes it just sits, waiting to be repurposed!! 🙂

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I do rather feel like beating my head against the table because this isn’t the first time I’ve done this.
      One day I’ll get the hang of this! 😉

  4. Annie says:

    You know how it feels and behaves in the flesh so to speak, however, it doesn’t look so bad that it couldn’t be improved.
    I think it would look neater with a band of navy at the hem that would snug it in a bit, a la Renfrew, I’d also suggest cutting off the neckband and making another to sit closer, not quite a yoke but more like a neck facing shape, or possibly add a huge navy cowl. Many folk have made Tasia’s pattern and it works on all body types, I think all this top needs is a few boundaries!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      When I first took the pictures I really was ready to throw this straight in the bin….but as the day progresses it’s so comfy and cosy (it’s very chilly here today) that I’m very tempted to put it to one side for a wee while and come back to it.
      I like your idea of a wider neckline…I’ve got some navy ponte that would do the trick, or can always snag a small piece of navy sweat-shirting from Abakhan on my next trip.
      Thanks for your feedback…it’s got my thinking cap on!

  5. K-Line says:

    This whole mid-life, body change shit is BANANAS. And, I know that prednisone is the devil (except for it saving your life by allowing you to breathe, and all). All I can say it, try to make sense of it. Make things for yourself because you are gorgeous and you need gorgeous stuff. But don’t make this top again. (I don’t like any of the versions of it, truth be told.)

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’ve always battled my weight but I don’t recognise this body AT ALL at the moment…it’s not doing any of the things I want it to do and lots of things that are irritating in the least. That said, having had something of a scare a week or so ago, I’m awfully glad that today I can breathe much more easily as long as I don’t over exert. But I’m researching like a demon ways of prevention and returning to health and am planning vaccinations up the wazoo and massive, gentle self care. It’s the only way forwards I think.
      As for the Linden…you made me so jolly with this comment. I love you forthrightness and am grateful for it. You’re right. After a nights sleep I know it’s not for me. Onwards. Pretty fabric awaits!

  6. prttynpnk says:

    I totally get the not wanting to sew to a size your don’t want to be, but please don’t punish your now self and treat your body like it’s not still the beauty it is. Give it a little fun sew textile treat now and again- sew for the enjoyment and enjoy your art. You are beautiful and articulate and I’d miss your creativity inspiring me!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      You are so kind…and very right. It’s exactly what I’d say…I just need to heed the advice.
      Thank you.

  7. I think you look gorgeous and love that you’ve shared this with us. I agree with a comment above that a cowl neck would look good – I think they’re really glamorous and the top looks so cosy and comfortable it would be a shame to ditch it!

  8. Ginger says:

    Oh man, I bet every single one of us has fallen prey to the pitfall of making something because it looks cute on other people when it isn’t our shape or style! I tried what I thought was a very fun shape from a Japanese pattern book and as it turns out, a boxy, oversized woven on a flat-chested tall-ish person made me look like a scarecrow! Seriously, you could have plopped me down in a field and I would have scared away birds and small children!

    But, I really feel like the neckline could be easily fixed and you might feel much happier with this! I wouldn’t try to make a wider neckband or anything, but I would just take off the neckband and then take in the raglan seams by 1 cm or so and then shorten the neckband by that amount and reapply. That will snug it up a bit and help it stay on your shoulders. The stripes are so cute and this looks so nice and cozy!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’ll admit that this version has been banished. However…I’m entirely tempted to give myself a little breather and then return to it and tweak it…including those raglan seams.

  9. Melizza says:

    I just finished this top yesterday. Did you find your neck binding too small? I had to make a new one and it ended up being too long. I fiddled with it until I got it mostly right. No one seems to have this issue so I may have cut the binding on the less stretchy side of the fabric. Who knows?!

    I hope you figure out the wee kinks. It will be a great wardrobe staple!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I saw yours and it’s absolutely stunning. So much so that having binned my hideous version I’m contemplating trying again with a different fabric and some tweaks. I did have problems with the neck binding…it was waaaaaay to small originally. I thought it was user error! 😉

  10. Why is it the ‘simple’ things are so hard?! I wish I could make t shirts, but they always look terrible. Thank you for sharing, and Mr D just looked over my shoulder and commented on your fantastic pattern matching!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I love that your chap can talk sewing too. Hubby is becoming something of an expert!
      The trouble with simple is there is nowhere to hide!

  11. Also, it looks really cozy! I would wear it.

  12. It’s so annoying when after all the time and effort spent sewing a garment, we don’t like the end result. On a positive note, you didn’t just spend hundreds of pounds for a designer sweatshirt you end up not liking! I really hope you recover soon and get your full energy back!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’m finally feeling like myself again. Hurrah!
      I’m glad I tried this pattern…it was niggling at the back of my head. To be fair…it’s still niggling…I may have to revisit at some point.

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