I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I first saw the Willow Tank/dress pattern from Grainline Studios. I thought it was a bit boring, but once it started to warm up a bit I realised that woven tanks would be a really good addition to my wardrobe. I was loving my Ogden Camisoles, but I also really like to be able to wear normal (not strapless) bras, so Willow started to look more appealing!
I’ve made three so far this summer, its a nice quick little project to sew, and doesn’t use too much fabric so is good for some of the precious lengths I have stashed! All three are cotton (perfect for warm weather), but I’d like to have a go at making one out of a fabric with more drape, maybe rayon or silk. It could also be fun in velvet or sequins…
The first version I made is a cotton from The Fabric Store, I love the water colour gingham print. I’m always really attracted to gingham, but I always worry that it can look a bit childlike. I think the washed out paint-like quality of this one makes it look more adult! I made a straight size 6 (my standard Grainline size), but I drafted an all in one facing for the neckline and armholes. This marks a fairly abrupt change in my feelings about facings, in the past I would always opt for bias tape to finish my edges over facings! I’ve come to really appreciate the clean look facings can give though, even if they can be a bit more of a fiddle.
I sewed these facings using the instructions that come with the Deer and Doe Datura blouse for sewing an all in one facing with no CB opening. It’s a bit fiddly, and I remember it totally doing my head in when I sewed up my first Datura blouse, but it works really well. I’ve just tried to describe what I did, but it was utterly incomprehensible, so here is a sew-along post for the Datura which describes it instead! For my next two Willow tanks I made my life a bit easier and added a CB seam…
Not that you can tell there is a centre back seam in this Liberty tana lawn! This is probably my favourite ever Liberty print (I find a lot of Liberty really pretty, but its not something I often want to wear). This is my favourite version of the pattern so far, the lawn is so soft and light to wear, and I think the deep hem helps it hang nicely. Its definitely had a lot of wear so far! I do wish it wasn’t so wrinkly across my back, I didn’t realise how bad it was until I saw these pictures. I’m not sure if I need a sway back fix, or if I need to widen the hem slightly.
The final version is a cropped version with a faux button placket up the back, because I can’t help myself sometimes. It’s made out of a lovely Japanese cotton seersucker which I bought at Tessuti when I was over in Australia, and have been hoarding. I only had a metre, and being Japanese it was only about 112cm wide, so it was perfect for a cropped version. I took 4 inches off the bottom of the pattern, following the tutorial on the Grainline blog. I was very careful and cut it out in a single layer so that I could match all the stripes, but of course this meant that I cut out two left backs, instead of a pair. I should never try to do anything that requires thinking after 9pm! I didn’t have enough fabric to cut another back half out, so I had to do some careful patching. Luckily, stripes make invisible piecing reasonably simple, and I think I’ve managed ok.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might be thinking this combination of buttons and stripes looks familiar, and that’s because they’re the same buttons I used up the back of my striped Scout tee a while ago. I’m a bit predictable!
I made this version specifically to go with my Safran Jeans, I’ve been loving the cropped boxy top trend recently, but I’m not keen to be flashing any tummy! This length with my super high waisted jeans is perfect. There is only one problem with it…
It swings way out in the front! I think this means that I need an FBA, but I’m not sure why it’s doing it here but not on the longer ones. Unless its just because the seersucker is just stiffer than the lightweight cotton of the other two, and that combined with the shorter length is making it look like a cow catcher on the front of a train (thanks to Hamish for that bit of imagery). At least it’ll ensure that there’s plenty of fresh air circulating around my torso when it’s hot! I’ll need to do a bit of experimentation if I want to make another cropped version.
I’m talking about warm weather like it isn’t currently 12 degrees and pissing with rain, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get some more summer before autumn closes in! If not, I’ll need to pack them for our September trip to the UK, in the hope that we’ll get some good weather then…
16 thoughts on “Willow Grove”
These all look lovely, it’s funny how patterns can take a while to grow on you sometimes. Well done on rescuing the stripey version, it’s so nice!
Thanks! I think I was a little disappointed by how simple it is, but a blank canvas is just what I need really!
Oh, I really like the striped one. The pattern seems very basic but I like the style and how you realised it 🙂
Thanks! It is a basic pattern, but I keep reminding myself that not everything needs to be a party dress 🙂
A nice little batch indeed! Not sure re the swingyness of the striped version but I suspect you’re right in needing an FBA…. the mysteries of sewing! And great work on the patching – I truly can’t see where you’ve done it!
Thanks Sarah 🙂 got to love stripes for being forgiving of mistakes sometimes!
They all look great! I love the faux placket on the stripey one, and the darts in the stripey one look very mesmerizing!
Good luck with the fit adjustment!
Those stripes gave me such a headache trying to cut them out, so dizzying! Thanks 🙂
These all look so great! I wasn’t totally sold on this pattern right off the bat but seeing all of the cute cropped tanks brought me around to buying it. I got it late in the season last Summer and never made it. I have to be sure to get it made in time for this Summer. It’s such a nice silhouette that will look good with so many different bottoms. I especially love your striped one with your high waisted jeans!
Thanks! It’s a nice wee pattern, I can totally see you wearing it 🙂
These all look great! I had similar feelings when this pattern was released, but it’s grown on me too. It’s a really great basic. I think you’re probably right about the last one, it’s a combination of the stiffness of the fabric and the length, the shorter length means you’ve lost a bit of weight to hold the bottom down (if that makes sense, not very articulate this morning. Ha!).
Thanks Heather! Ok, I’m editing this reply because I had a total reading comprehension fail and thought you left your comment on my post about my Flint trousers! It was very early when I was replying, in my defence 😅