Saturday, February 27, 2021

Grainline Tamarack: What the World Needs Now


Hello! Hope that wherever you are, you're doing very, very well. It's hard not to feel cautiously optimistic these days with the vaccine becoming more readily available and spring on its way here in the Northern Hemisphere.  

I'm super excited to finally get to blog my brand spanking new project: the sewing world-famous Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio. How did Jen of Grainline know way back in 2017 that the world would need to wrap itself in a quilt right now? 

I actually don't sew a lot of Grainline patterns, mainly because they're drafted for B-cup, but I've always liked the aesthetic. And now that they've extended their sizing, I just may have to give the  Scout Tee a try. I love basics, and it looks infinitely hackable. Also, the extended pattern is offered in PAPER! Being relegated to PDF-only in the larger sizes is one of my pet peeves. 

Okay, so about this jacket...where do I start? I think I started working on it a little over a month ago. It doesn't take nearly that long to make, but I was still figuring out what exactly I wanted to do for the quilting, color scheme, and gathering scraps. I took my time, working on Saturday and Sunday evenings while working on pottery projects during the day.  I made two purchases after Christmas that inadvertently helped me figure out my jacket gameplan: 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks, by Judy Hopkins, and a 12.5 square quilting ruler.  The book has measurements for each block in 6 different sizes. The possibilities! The ruler just makes it easier and faster to cut multiple squares rather than the cardboard templates I'm used to making. I went for a classic Sawtooth Star in the 12-inch size. Once I had figured out the colors for my star, everything else started to fall into place. 

Okay, onto fabric: I shopped my stash and used some of the lovely black linen I bought from Elisabeth Suzann last year. The inside is pieced out of the same blue scraps I used for my star, as well as some black linen scraps. For the sleeves, I used a black and white, geometric-patterned silk (pictured below) that was smooth enough to slide my arms into easily. I also like that the triangles reminded me of quilting motifs. 

Speaking of quilting motifs, one of my favorite details is something I don't think many people will notice. I incorporated 6-inch sawtooth stars in the patch pockets. I made them all black, though, because I wanted it to be a subtle way to repeat the star on the back. It's also a great way to use up some of the smaller, odd-size scraps. I'm additionally glad that I kept it subtle because piecing small scraps of linen is a pain, and they're not my best work. But, hey, they're still cute!

As far as the pattern goes it is top-notch, and I benefited from four years of it being a popular pattern and took advice from many sewing bloggers. For example, I opted out of welt pockets as that was a common caveat.  I ended up really liking my oversized patch pockets much better. They are deep and comfy, and I don't have pocket bags flapping around on the inside.  I also strayed from the directions in that I quilted blocks of fabric and then cut my pattern pieces from the blocks. The instructions have you quilt the individual pieces but I'm not good enough at quilting to maintain accuracy that way. I ended up having to unpick some of the quilted scraps to piece together my pockets and reduced fabric waste that way.  

And here's an "action shot" of me loving life in my Tamarack. It's great to wear for a walk after work. The large pockets make it unnecessary to carry a purse, and it's warm enough when the wind picks up and the sun begins to set. Now I just need a dog for the perfect after-work walk. I would keep my jacket by the door, next to a leash and poop bags, and be ready to go. Sigh, now I'm wishing I had a dog. 

Here are a few more sizing details and notes.

  • Size 18, Version B which includes an overlapping placket for buttons or snaps, although I didn't add any closures. 
  • No FBA and no muslin. I was really rolling the dice there. I looked at SewManju's version for sizing and sewed a straight size 18 but added 1/2 inch to the sides of the front and back and to the sleeve sides.
  • As usual, I shortened the sleeves by an inch. I have them rolled up for my pictures, but that's just because I like the look of the contrasting cuffs. 
  • I shortened the back to be the same as the front. Overall, I like the sizing. It's roomy enough for outerwear, but it doesn't swim on me. The only thing I would change if I ever made a second version is to do a narrow shoulder adjustment. The shoulders are just a teensy bit too wide. 
  • The pattern calls for several yards of bias tape which you can make yourself. I enjoy making bias tape for smaller projects but five yards--aw, hell no! Black is easy enough to match and the stiffness of store-bought tape isn't such an issue for a structured jacket. 
  • ETA: I forgot to mention that I changed the angle of the neckline to be more of V shape. I thought that would be more flattering for my curvy frame. To do this, I simply folded down the corner of the neckline on the front pattern piece. 
So I think I've said everything I can think of about my new jacket. If you can't tell by my review, I really love it. It's cozy but not sloppy, with some nice customization that makes it feels special.

Thanks for reading! Be well. 


  1. I love your jacket. The patch pockets were a good idea. And the flying geese pieced into the lining adds something special.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! This is such a great pattern for adding special details. :)

  2. I wish your pockets came as an add-on to the pattern. The shape and size is perfect!

    1. Thanks! I used the pocket bag pieces from the pattern and, I think, added an extra inch all around. Then I folded down one corner so I could easily slide my hands into them at a comfortable angle. My mods don't usually work out this well, so I was pleasantly surprised! :)