A few years ago, I tried to sew a Grainline Linden. These were my pre-muslin days, when I would hack into fabric with the absolute certainty only granted to those who know nothing. The fabric was a beautiful dark gray knit with a touch of sparkle purchased at Joann. I had read on many blogs that the Linden runs big, so I sized it down. Really down. And in my carelessness, I sewed the sweatshirt without sleeve or hem bands. The thing is comical—short long sleeves, long crop top. I was so upset to waste good fabric that I vowed to save what was left of it until I was certain I could do it justice.
I rediscovered this fabric as I was re-organizing my (out-of-control) fabric stash. I had just completed two very successful Helen’s Closet Blackwoods, and I would be very happy to add a third one to the collection. The only problem? No matter what I did, how much Tetris I played with the pattern pieces, I could not fit the Blackwood on the leftover fabric. After a moment of woe-is-me, I remembered my failed Linden. I had just enough fabric to get the sweatshirt done, and I knew what I had to do to make it work. Linden time!
The Grainline Linden is a modern update on the classic sweatshirt. Designed to work alone or as a layering piece, the Linden has a scooped neckline and raglan sleeves. View A falls to the mid hip and has cuffed, long sleeves; View B hits at high hip and has short sleeves. This is a beginner pattern; it is easy and quick to sew, and it works as a great introduction to sewing with knits.
The only thing I remember about buying this fabric is that I got it at Joann. It is a soft and drapey knit that feels really nice on the skin. The fabric is beautiful—and really hard to photograph. It has a subtle shimmer that my camera had a hard time to capture, so please use your imagination and add the sparkle when looking at the picture below.
When I first sewed the Linden, I cut a size 12. It fit well at the time, but now it feels a bit snug on account of me gaining some pounds. I decided that I wanted a bit more room, so I sized up. I made a muslin (just to be 100% sure), and a size 14 worked perfectly.
I did not like how wide the neckline is, so I raised it by 1 inch (added to front, back, and raglan sleeves). This change impacted the length of the neckband; I took an inch from a neckband size 14. I don’t always topstitch the neckband in place, but here it was a necessity. Without topstitching, the neckline did not lay flat against the body.
I was not planning to add cuffs to the sleeves, but I made a boo-boo and cut them too short (again!). I had to add the cuffs. Once they were in, I had to ask myself why I did not want them in the first place. I really don’t have a reason. For future reference, sleeve cuffs are a good thing.
The same I cannot say for the hem band. I don’t like them. Never did. They create a strange bubble effect that does nothing for me. To account for no band, I added four inches to the front and back body pieces. I would have added more, but I ran out of fabric. To be completely honest, I feel that the Linden is a tiny little bit too short—not enough to be unwearable, but just enough to be a constant reminder of all the fabric I wasted on my previous attempt. I have to learn to let go.
I used my Coverstitch to sew the hem. I am still learning the ways of this beast. I removed the needle farthest to the right, and now I need to adjust for that whenever I sew hems. My hems always end a bit wavy, like I am forcing the fabric against its grain. Once I iron the hem, though, everything ends up looking nice. If anyone has wise words or tips to make the hem not go rollie pollie, any information is much appreciated.
As soon as I was done, I felt meh about the final product. It was nice and comfortable and oh, that fabric!, but was it me? I have nothing like it in my closet, and I wondered if this is because I know instinctively that this is not my style. I am happy to say that after wearing it to take pics for this post, I feel much better about it. I don’t think I will be able to use it over a T-shirt (not roomy enough), but it works well with a black skirt and boots… and that’s 90% of my work wardrobe! And I get to add some sparkle to my everyday life.