The Spoonflower Grainline Portside Duffel

Aka the Crazy Love Duffel for Giselle

If you are interested in trying Spoonflower – here’s a discount code Lizzy10 to receive 10% off your order – valid until 17 July 2018.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

Now onto blogging business!

When Spoonflower asked if I was interested in their fabric…. of course I said yes! I’d always been curious about this service and I know so have plenty of others.

For those who don’t know what Spoonflower is… from their siteSpoonflower is the world’s first web-based service for custom, on-demand fabric creation, making it possible for individuals to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap. 

So really the limit is your imagination – or wallet.


I decided that I had more than enough clothes for myself – and thought it would be a unique opportunity to create something memorable and special for my youngest daughter Giselle. She’s not the dancer. She’s my crazy love girl: kooky, kind and funny as the day is long.

While I could have chosen an existing design, I thought it would be more fun to try out the design element of the service as well – and to capture a moment of Giselle’s creativity and personality.

I walked into her room one evening and immediately loved one of her mad ‘doodles’ that she had stuck to the wall. And that’s when I realised what I wanted to do wih the Spoonflower offer…

I scanned in the doodle and loaded it to the Spoonflower site – incredibly fast and easy.

I chose ‘dogwood denim’ which is a great heavy non-stretch woven fabric, perfect for bag making. I’ve paired it with a black non-stretch denim from the stash. This bag should last for YEARS.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

I love the selvedge on the fabric -complete with details. It’s almost like a old-fashioned silver hallmark.

I was initially concerned about the tiling of the design and how to manage that in the project – however it turned out to be a dream to pattern match & made for some fun positioning on elements of the bag.

Giselle’s Verdict

The coolest thing EVER.

Thank you so much Spoonflower!

I do also have some matching fabric in the organic knit – so watch this space!

Pattern Comments

I’d definitely make this again. In fact I know I will. Very easy to put together. The biggest barrier is finding the notions, d-rings etc. I still haven’t found any swivel-clips locally – hence no shoulder strap yet.

Some of the cutting notes on my pattern pieces didn’t always specify to cut interfacing – however the cutting layout diagrams did. Regardless of this inconsistency, I think it is up to the individual to decide which pieces require interfacing, based on their fabric choice.

The most challenging element of this project was simply the weight of the fabric and the size of the project.

I’ve got the pieces cut out for the Dopp kit & travel pouch to go with these – however I ran out of time & am currently in Perth to run a half marathon relay leg in the Western Australian Marathon (about 4000kms from home). Home to sew soon!


I really enjoyed this process and particularly enjoyed the smile it bought to Giselle’s face. A really special sewing project. Thank you Spoonflower.

Fabric: SpoonflowerinDogwood Denim, design by my daughter Giselle
Pattern: GrainlinePortsideDuffelbag

Fabric supplied by Spoonflower – all opinions my own.


Looking for Australian Sewing Blogs to follow? Check out this list – surprised to find myself on there but delighted to see familiar & some new faces as well.

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The Shining Archer… Grainline Studios

or the Twilight shirt… it reminds me of how Edward’s skin in the Twilight movies sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight.

This is yet another project that has taken me forever to blog. I finished this shirt just after Christmas. The threat of rain inspired me to get out late this afternoon & get some shots! My kids love this shirt.

I’ve been obsessed with sewing some more shirts. I really enjoy shirts, shirtdresses… all those little details and pieces really appeal to me.

I sewed the Archer several years ago – my first shirt… in silk no less!

I’ve always wanted to return to this pattern but there have been many distractions since then.

Last month I picked up some ‘foil’ crinkle cotton from The Fabric Store in Brisbane. I would describe it as fancy cream-coloured cheesecloth – that lovely, soft cotton, crinkled fabric – coated in a light silvery foil. It seemed appropriate to sew my own Shining Archer – as knights in shining armour are a bit thin on the ground these days.

Grainline Archer Shirt - front view

Grainline Archer Shirt – front view

The texture of the fabric had put me off. I was concerned that it might stretch and distort as I sewed. My concern was misplaced as it proved to be very easy to work with.

I opted to make the Grainline Studios Archer in View B with the ‘ruffle butt’ feature.

I sewed size 0 and while it’s oversized by nature, in this shining fabric I feel like that over-sized fit looks more exaggerated. Any folds or excess fabric catches the light and highlights them.

Grainline Archer Shirt - back view

Grainline Archer Shirt – back view

Grainline Archer Shirt - back view

Grainline Archer Shirt – back view. Afternoon breeze makes this look more fitted than it is! LOL

I decided to leave the pockets off as the fabric is so light and delicate that the pockets felt too large and heavy.

I often sew with a similar RTW garment beside me – to check details, techniques and so on. I noticed in all the RTW shirts in the house that the sleeves has been set-in with flat felled seams. I also wanted to do this as the fabric is quite sheer and I didn’t want to seam allowances to shift about and look untidy. I think those little details really irritate me.

Unfortunately I realised this after I had cut out all the fabric – and I hadn’t allowed enough in the seam allowances to accommodate this… so I just faked them by top stitching down the seam allowances. I’m a little disappointed however the outside finish is still quite nice. It’s our little secret.

Grainline Archer Shirt - side view

Grainline Archer Shirt – side view. Again – more afternoon breezes!

Grainline Archer Shirt - side view

Grainline Archer Shirt – side view

I also attached the collar using the Four Square Walls method. I always hand stitch the lower edge of the inner collar band in place before I top stitch the band. I had a little giggle when Handmade by Carolyn posted about how she does this too – I had always wondered how many others couldn’t achieve a neat collar finish without the help of a little more hand stitching than a pattern dictates! I think it results in the neatest finish and as I tend to sew a shirt over several shorter sewing sessions, a little more time spent hand stitching really isn’t onerous.

I will also confess that I often machine baste a line of stitching along the finished stitching line of the collar band and then press a crease along this before I sew the collar. Then when I do go to turn the collar band edge and hand stitch it in place, it is precise. Pedantic I know.

I also hand stitch the inside of the cuffs closed before top stitching the cuffs as… I guess I can just be a little obsessive about the strangest little things. I’m a little bothered by my cuffs rather ‘flappy’ ends and thinking about putting a second button on them to keep them neat against my wrists.

Grainline Archer Shirt - the cuffs

Grainline Archer Shirt – the cuffs

I know some replace the Archer plackets with tower plackets, I opted to stick with the pattern. This fabric is so light and sheer I preferred the original more delicate plackets of the Archer pattern.

Really there is not much more to say about the Archer. It’s a nice reliable staple shirt pattern.

I uncovered my David Coffin Shirtmaking books during my sewing room clean-up and I can see more shirts in my sewing future.

Pattern: Grainline Archer
Fabric: Foil Crinkle Cotton, The Fabric Store (Brisbane)
Also see: my all-time favourite Archer…. True Bias. And just Google Grainline Archer – this has been made over and over and over again!

Random: I’ve been running 5km a week for the last month, just on Saturday mornings. It’s a bit of a new year’s resolution that I haven’t ignored. While I hate ‘times, ‘weighing’ or anything that numerically tracks my progress, today I took another 96 seconds off my time. I’m not fast or pushing myself too hard but I’m doing OK for starting at ‘ground zero’.

The Unblogged – Penny Raglan by Grainline Studios

or more than one Penny for your thoughts… 

I impulsively bought the Grainline Penny Raglan – after resisting it for quite some time. Even after I bought it I thought “did I really pay that much for an oversized raglan tshirt pattern??” Yes I did.

It was money well spent. I’ve made four of these and I love them all. It’s the tshirt I reach for every other weekend and afternoon. It went so quickly from my sewing machine into my wardrobe I barely thought to blog it.

Described by Grainline as “The Penny Raglan is an oversized tee perfect for summer fun. The breezy shape keeps the fabric from clinging so you can stay cool while looking great.”

Penny Raglan, Grainline Studios

Penny Raglan, Grainline Studios. I hate these pictures – taken months ago. Just having a bad day 😦

My first one, pictured here, was sewn from a double-sided knit, stripes one side and dark grey marle on the other. I simply flipped the fabric for the sleeves… and hey presto, saved on some stripe-matching trauma. Yay for contrast raglan sleeves! This is a rather heavy knit but I actually like the body the knit has and how boxy it is. Not to everyone’s taste but I’ve worn it a lot – so clearly my taste.

Is it flattering? Not particularly… but it’s perfect for lazy days. I like it with skinny jeans.

Is it huge? Yes. Massive. The neckline is wide and the armholes deep. Sometimes I like that. I made size 0 which matches my measurements.

I think I added an inch in length as I favour lower cut jeans and have a longer torso.

Penny Raglan - back view

Penny Raglan – back view. I was post-gym and in hockey mother Saturday morning mode – hence the sports crop top. Hockey has been over for months – which shows how far behind I am!

I have no doubt I will try it in a light knit sooner or later… but I need to sew some dresses and skirts for summer first.

Penny Raglan - contrast mostaches.

Penny Raglan – contrast mustaches. Life selfie (again). The ‘matching shirt is simply reversed – black jersey main and mustache sleeves.

My second and third were from a mustache print and black jersey and the fourth a blue floral french terry (no pictures sorry). My daughters love these oversized tees too and are eagerly waiting for my cast-offs… The black jersey one with mustache sleeves has already been claimed by the ‘posing coach’ as a PJ top.

It’s simple to make, allows for some fun sleeve or neckband options. And it’s the easiest thing to wear with jeans.

I sewed all seams with my overlocker (pattern is designed with seam allowances for this). I did pin and use my machine to first attach the neckband before serging it as serged ‘oops’ are much harder to fix!. I used my coverstitch to finish the hems.

If you prefer a fitted tshirt – this is not the pattern for you!

I have much love for the humble Grainline Penny Raglan. Simple, basic, easy to wear.

Perhaps unblogged but not unworn.

Pattern: Penny Raglan by Grainline Studios, size 0
Fabrics: Make It Fabrics Brisbane (stripes) and Spotlight Stores Australia (mustache & floral)

Grainline Driftless and Tessuti Megan Cardigans

or the Tale of Two Cardigans…

Driftless and Megan Cardigan

Driftless and Megan cardigans

I confess I’m one of those people that decide they want a cardigan and then endlessly obsess over ALL the cardigan patterns. I do this for most garments. I comb through all the independent and Big 4 options. I’ll pour over blog posts, Google images, websites and in-store catalogues. I’ll decide what I want to make and then when I go to pick up the scissors… I’ll change my mind.

While Vogue 8780 continues to be one of my most worn and loved cardigans/jackets, I did want to find another cardigan pattern for a little variety.

I confess that I was luke warm when both the Grainline Driftless Cardigan and the Tessuti  Megan Cardigan were released. Nothing wrong with either, perhaps it’s the simple fact that cardigans are practical garments and it’s hard to get a blood rush about them?

To solve my usual inability to lock myself down to one pattern, I decided to make two different cardigans. I find sewing multiple versions of one pattern or different patterns of a similar garment interesting. Seeing how different fabrics change the same garment or comparing different features and construction of two garments is always interesting to me.


I’ve always found Grainline patterns to be endlessly wearable. I think Jen designs the perfectly practical, highly wearable designs that always seem to go together without a fuss. I also find her designs fit me well and so I keep returning to her patterns. My three Alder dresses and little linen Morris are some of my favourite things to wear.


The Driftless body is very wide and boxy with dropped shoulders and very fitted sleeves.

The pockets remind me of the Vogue 1247 skirt and are constructed in a similar way – minus all the Hong Kong binding of course! I’ve noticed that these sorts of pockets are popping up in a lot of RTW cardigans this winter in Australia.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Front view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Front view.


This is a very easy cardigan to construct – don’t let those pockets fool you. I managed to cut this out and nearly complete it in an evening. It’s largely constructed on the overlocker (serger) with the exception of the pockets, thread chains and hand sewing down the neckband.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view. I do like how it hangs across my back. I am a definite ‘slouch’ girl.


It’s a bit ‘Sunday afternoon’. Very casual, slouchy and not very dressy. I guess that sounds negative but it’s not at all. Those types of garments have a place in many wadrobes. Can’t be ‘fancy pants’ all the time! While it isn’t my favourite cardigan, it’s been worn a lot anyway as it’s ‘easy’ to wear, the type of garment you grab as you head out the door in case the breeze turns chilly. I don’t think my fabric choice helped. It’s some sort of cotton knit terry fabric… from the bargain table at Spotlight. I think it would be might nicer in a marle, slightly textured, merino knit. It may also be interesting with thoughtful colour choice as a colour-blocked cardigan.

I made view B with the split hem that is slightly lower at the back.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view.


MEGAN CARDIGAN – Tessuti Fabrics

Now this lass and I became instant best friends. I’ve worn Megan a lot. She’s popped up on my Instagram feed quite a few times already. She was impatient and didn’t want to wait to be blogged. She simply screamed ‘WEAR ME – you know you want to’ and so I did.

I honestly had dismissed it as being ‘not for me’ as I had concerns about the fit on me, I thought the shoulders would be too wide and it would swamp me… thanks to the encouragement of Melanie, I decided to give her a try.

I do own several beloved longline RTW merino cardigans. They seem to go with everything from dresses to jeans, casual wear and a stylish office warmer on those chilly air conditioning days. Logically I should have made this cardigan a long time ago, alas I’m not always logical when it comes to my creative pursuits.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Side View


Megan is a very simple cardigan, full length sleeves, flared side seams and a quirky side hem detail.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View


Again a very simple sewing project. Sewn up in no time at all on the overlocker with the shoulder seams having added seam tape to keep them in shape (I also did this with Driftless).

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Oh that lovely little side hem detail 🙂 It makes my heart sing.


I adore this cardigan. I’ve received an amazing amount of compliments on it when it’s worn – which I think is the combination of the lovely flare of the hemline and the rather funky fabric that I paired with this pattern. It’s been worn a lot in its short life so far. I guess it also slots perfectly into that grungey casual vibe that I love to wear.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View – a nice flare without being overly cumbersome in ‘swooshiness’

The fabric I have had stashed for about three years, waiting for the right pattern as I feared the wrong choice would drop me into tragic acid wash territory. I picked this up at Clear It in Melbourne for the less than princely sum of $4 a metre. It’s certainly not high quality, a simple cotton interlock but it just seems to work with this pattern design.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. front view

There will be many more Megans in my wadrobe in the future. The perfect layering cardigan.


Driftless: I simply visited Instagram and searched for the hashtag #driftlesscardigan

MeganMade by Melanie  | Clever Tinker  |  Boo Dogg  |  Rennous oh Glennuss

A double take… Morris Blazer Grainline Studio

Morris was one of those patterns which just seemed to be a guaranteed hit before it was even released. Everyone was talking about it. Instagram and Twitter went a bit barmy on its release. It seems everyone is now madly printing and sewing it. I anticipate our blog feeds will be brimful with blazers! These blazers (yes I made two) are huge queue jumpers. I’ve been working on a vintage muslin and have four other projects in the blog queue. I just wanted to make Morris… so I did!

Morris Blazers

Morris Blazers

The Morris Blazer is the latest release from Grainline Studios. I will admit before I even write anything about Morris that I am a huge Grainline fan. I haven’t made all her patterns but I have made the Maritime Shorts (x 3), Moss Mini (x1), Archer (x1), Hemlock (x1) and Alder (x 3). The Morris Blazer is described by Jen as “The Morris Blazer is the perfect mix of casual and cool. It will quickly become the go-to garment to complete any outfit. With a mixture of drape and structure, bracelet length sleeves, and gentle shawl collar, it looks great dressed up or down. It works up well in fabrics with stretch, making it comfortable on top of everything else!” It’s rated as an advanced beginner and I would agree with that. I made two of these in two days (OK, one evening and one day). Probably the trickiest thing is putting in the shawl collar but it’s not that difficult. Techniques include:  sewing a straight seam, setting sleeves, sewing a shawl collar, facings, and topstitching. I made my first Morris in one of the suggested fabrics: a medium weight ponti style fabric. I have no real idea exactly what is it – it’s been maturing in my stash for about three years. I found it on the Spotlight bargain table for the princely sum of $5 a metre. Anyway, shut up Lizzy and show us some pictures… OK.

Morris Blazer by Grainline Studios

Morris Blazer: Excuse the ‘resting bitch face’. Had zero sleep the night before due to 12-year-old molars! Complete bummer as she never teethed badly as a baby!

Morris Blazer, pattern by Grainline Studios

Side view – sorry that dratted cloud in the background suddenly slid across the sun and we were done for the day. Boo!

The edges of the jacket at the lower front don’t seem to sit quite as smoothly as I would like. The jacket has a front facing, which rolls over to become the shawl collar. I think the texture of the medium weight knit tends to catch against each other or perhaps the body of the interfaced knit is not playing nice with the non-interfaced jacket front – if that makes sense. I’ve been wondering two things… if I lightly interfaced just the front section (where the front facing is) of the front pattern piece if this might alleviate this issue. I wouldn’t interface the entire front of the jacket – just the front portion. The knit properties are very comfortable and I would want to retain that quality. Would the front then have the same structure as the front facing piece and be less likely to collapse against the facing thus creating a smoother jacket front?? I have no idea – but I’m interested to find out. While it’s made from a stretch cotton, my Papercut Patterns Bellatrix blazer has the front facing and front pieces lined… just food for thought. Jen has made a hefty number of these blazers so I’m sure she will have some strong opinions about that! I’m all ears! The only step I got a little confused was Step 15. Most likely because I was tired. Earlier in the process you join the two facing pieces at the back neck. You then fold over the inner edge of the front facing pieces by 1/2in to the wrong side. You join the back and front hem facings and turn their upper edge under by 1/2in. Then you join the facing pieces to the front facing pieces.

Step 15 - Grainline Morris Blazer

Step 15 – Grainline Morris Blazer

This is where I go confused – Step 15. If you are purely a diagram person then you might not get confused – however it wasn’t clear to me that I had to fold the folded inner edge of the front facing back out before I attached the hem facing pieces to the front facing piece. You need to unfold the front facing edge before joining the pieces. Yes, the diagram does say ‘foldline’ but I managed to get confused anyway. I read the words and cross check the diagrams and they didn’t quite click for me. I’m not sure if this is any clearer but I think it better matches the diagram and desired outcome. Step 15: With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, line up the bottom edge of the front hem facing with the bottom edge of the front facing. Stitch the two together starting at the hem edge and stopping at the point where the 1/2″ front hem seam allowance is folded under. Press seam open.” Fortunately it’s about 3 inches of unpicking to rectify. Not a big drama. Maybe it should also say “Unfold the front facing edge. Then with  rights sides together… etc With my curiosity sated about this new much-anticipated pattern, I got thinking and wanted to make another straight away! A LINEN MORRIS

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer - front view

Morris Blazer – front view

Then I just couldn’t get a Morris linen idea out of my head… so I made it despite the fabric not being a stretch. It’s a rayon linen blend with a tiny bit of give. I really should have perhaps sized up or altered the pattern… or been sensible and chosen a jacket pattern designed for non-stretch wovens. Since I’m not altering guru (at all!), I decided to make it, rather than seconding guessing what would happen and trying to counteract it. I’m one of those idiots who learn best by making mistakes and analysing them. This is why I have a fabric stash – to enable excessive amounts of sewing, my imagination and sometimes my idiocy. I decided to underline the back and front pieces with very light white cotton voile. I was concerned about the soft drape of the linen. I choose a very light fusible interfacing for the front/back/sleeve facings and front facing pieces. Interestingly the jacket front doesn’t seem to have the same tension issue around the lower hemline. Whether it this is because the front and facings have the same body due to the interfacing and underlining – or whether it’s just because it’s a woven rather a knit? I’m looking forward to seeing all the other makes.

Morris Blazer - in linen

Morris Blazer in linen – back/side view. Should have rolled that collar over more, should have pulled my top down, should have worn a belt… Oh for a blog stylist. LOL

Overall the jacket sits very nicely and went together without any hiccups. As it is a casual jacket, without shoulder pads interfacing around the upper jacket shoulders etc it does fold slightly as it sits – but I wasn’t after a structured blazer so I don’t mind those features. In fact I’ve always wanted a linen jacket, I love the soft creases they get in the elbows and the gentle worn look they have. I find it very distracting to talk to people wearing linen jackets, or men in great dress shirts (I have a fascination with shirtmaking at the moment), as I have an urge to turn over their button plackets and feel the quality of the fabric. Sorry, I digress.

Morris Blazer

I’m a fiddler. Is it just me – it doesn’t how much you press – you always miss a tiny bit?

While it’s a neat fit, it is comfortable and will definitely be worn. I rather like it. It’s important to note, I don’t have broad shoulders and I couldn’t swing a golf club in this. Fortunately my golfing is limited to living within walking distance of two golf clubs and playing hydro golf with the kids… which I’m not bad at and don’t wear linen jackets to at any rate. All credit to Busy Lizzie who suggested the navy trim when I was pondering the lapel – whether to make it contrast or piped or who knows! A very indecisive morning! It’s just a navy bias binding, sewing to one side and hand stitched down. Thoughts about Morris

  • A fast  and easy jacket pattern – some sewing experience is needed or wait for the sewalong.
  • The instructions are excellent (except for possibly Step 15, although it could just be me! I read this Morris  blog post by Saturday Night Stitch and wondered if it was the same step that tripped me up.
  • Fabric choice is important.
  • The sleeves are short. I like this feature as I tend to roll up my sleeves – or shove them up my arms in the most untidy fashion.

Note: I would not recommend making this jacket in linen or a non-woven. It’s not designed for it and I respect for Jen’s knowledge and pattern drafting skills (I just like experimenting). The linen jacket works for me – but perhaps not for everyone.

Pattern: Grainline Studios, Morris Blazer. PDF purchased.
Fabric: First version: medium weight ponti style knit and a  linen rayon blend from Lincraft (purchased at a 50% off sale). All purchased by me.
Size made: 0 (my measurements: 32 bust and 25 waist)
Construction: Sewing machine and seams neatened on the serger/overlocker.

Also see: Crafting a Rainbow | Saturday Night Stitch

WordPress editing mode is impossibly slow tonight – I can’t write any more as it takes several minutes for a line to appear. No more words possible.