Monday, May 24, 2021

Grainline Tamara-hack

A lot of us use sewing to relax. It’s down time, it’s meditative, it’s restorative. Sometimes though, for me, it’s more about the mental challenge. A hack, a RTW idea, something will inspire me to think outside of a pattern and problem solve to create a unique piece. Those are the projects that keep me awake at night, that make me neglect my housework and serve frozen pizza to my kids (okay, I do that during a regular week).

A few months ago, I watched the show Behind Her Eyes on Netflix (book was better, but both were ultimately very silly). The main character, Louise, wears an amazing quilted green jacket that I HAD to recreate.

I googled around and discovered it was originally from Anthropologie. I asked for pattern suggestions on IG and that's how I ended up with the Grainline Studios Tamarack Jacket. I knew that Merchant and Mills made a quilted cotton gauze in the exact right color, and I went on the hunt for some yardage. This hunt was harder than you might expect! (M&M *just* restocked last week.) A friend tipped me off that she knew someone looking to unload from her stash, so I snatched it up. 

Next I had to find matching ribbing. Long story short, Merchant and Mills makes their own. Doh. I found some at Bolt and Spool, and decided to go ahead and line the jacket after falling in love with this floral print from Art Gallery Fabrics (Indie Folk Collection-Meadow, Vivid). All of my zips are from Zipper Stop.

I started with a size 2 and made a quick muslin. I knew I needed to crop the original pattern, adjust for a ribbed collar, figure out the zip front and zip welt pockets. The muslin fit well and I ended up dropping the CF neckline 1 inch. The bodice has been cropped 5 1/2 inches straight off the bottom. The sleeves have been shortened 1 inch from the hem to accommodate the ribbed cuff. The welt pockets have been moved up to the lengthen/shorten line. Thank goodness I took notes in my Sewist's Notebook, because I barely remembered any of this!

Deep breath, and I began cutting pieces. I knew I had juuuuuuust barely enough fabric. No room for mistakes. I spent a lot of time overthinking my construction process. Ripping out stitches was not easy and I wanted to avoid destroying my fabric. I relied on a blog post from Loni (@havinsewmuchfun) for help with the zipper front, and an Oliver+S post here about zip welt pockets.

I got about halfway through the jacket and left the remaining cut pieces on my desk. When I came back, horror of horrors, the pieces had cat vomit on them! I got as much as I  could off by hand, but it was clear I would need to wash the sleeves. I serged the edges and washed them. Horror of horror of horrors, the sleeves shrank in the wash. I was almost in tears when I decided to try steaming them. That did the trick and they were back to their original shape. The fabric definitely relaxes with wear and handling.

I had fun adding cute details. The ribbing feels pretty stiff but wasn't difficult to sew. I did not line the sleeves and bound the armscythe seam allowances. I had a teensy bit of trouble easing the sleeve head in, but the oopsie tucks are hidden in the wrinkle of the gauze.

I shortened the zipper and used pliers to pull the extra teeth off the tape. It was a HUGE pain. Do not recommend! I've been told I can gently heat the frayed part of the tape to neaten it up, but I haven't tried it.

I see a lot of people use this quilted fabric for tops. I could see it working for that, if you want to make a jacket I do suggest lining it for more structure. The reverse side is cozy and soft on its own, however. 

I adore this jacket! It makes me feel so put together but has the ease of a sweatshirt. I'm quite proud of figuring out how to make it like the original inspiration, and I think that pride comes through in my confidence when I wear it.

There's a saved highlight of this process on my Instagram profile!


  1. Smashing! I love everything about your jacket. Great job!

  2. Hi! Love it! Im going to make a tamarack jacket soon also. I am wondering, did you use batting in between your lining and outer fabric? Or did you leave it out?

  3. This fabric came pre-quilted!


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