Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pattern Review - Grainline Hadley top view A

The Hadley is the new offering by Grainline Studio. It's a loose fitting top with both sleeved and sleeveless variations, plus the choice between a round/jewel and v-neckline, with back pleat or without. I opted for view A, the sleeved top with the round neck and the billowy back.

If I was a jeans wearer I would be all over this pattern. Late last year I decided to give jeans the flick. I just didn’t feel any good in them any more, and, frankly, with the short hair, I felt like a bit of a boy wearing them. (I know, I know. It's a can of worms). So I made this top as a shop sample, thinking that it’s really not something I’d wear much during this jeans-free phase. However, this top has me questioning my no-jeans policy because a couple of Hadleys plus a reliable pair of jeans could really be a useful sort of Spring uniform. (I’m wearing another Grainline make in these photos, the Moss Skirt).  

There’s a lot of detail in this top that might not be immediately obvious from my choice of plaid fabric here. The nice topstitching down the centre front is one. The Hadley is also a facing frenzy. This version has not one but three sets of facings, for neck, sleeve and hem. With that there’s a healthy amount of clipping and understitching, but the combined effect is that the finish is great. Thankfully every piece is so well drafted they come together without any swearing or unpicking (other than that caused by user error, ahem.) I like the way the hem facing gives the whole thing a pleasing weightiness and helps to add some extra swing to the pleated back.

As is usual with Grainline patterns, Hadley was a pleasure to sew. I usually ignore set in sleeves unless they are really necessary, but in order to sew up the sample and be familiar with the pattern I followed the instructions to the letter and the sleeve went in first time like a dream. Possibly the nicest set in sleeve I’ve ever made! So satisfying!  I love how a well drafted pattern can make you feel accomplished, when all you are really doing is following some thoughtfully prepared instructions.

Fabric choice
This is one of those patterns where the amount of drape in your fabric is all important. I love this yarn-dyed textured cotton fabric (it’s one of the co-ordinating cottons from the Ella Blue/Gertrude Made Outback Wife range) and I really like the finished top, but I don’t think they are a perfect match. With its medium drape, there is a touch of the ‘maternity effect’  in this top when viewed from the side. With a swishier fabric this would not be an issue at all. In fact, this top would be gorgeously flowy in one of these linen/viscose blends, or one of our new washed linens. Or, indeed a rayon.

I cut this out of 2.3m of 110cm wide fabric which is spot on the recommendations. Using contrasting fabrics for the facings would suck up less fabric if you're looking to save a little. As you can see, I was careless when cutting, so after sewing the bust dart any hopes of my side seams matching were kicked to the curb. Jen of course suggests to cut more for plaid matching, and that certainly would have helped. I'm not terribly fussed about it in this case, though. 

I usually fluctuate between an 8 and a 10 for Grainline depending on the pattern, so I didn’t bother making a muslin (also, shop sample!) This one is a 10, and the shoulders are fairly narrow - not uncomfortably so, but I think they sit too far in from my actual shoulder edge. Also, for me the arms are long on this top, so I need to roll them up with facing on the outside to stop them getting in the way. Jane tried this on and noticed the same, so perhaps the arm length is intentional… a design feature? There are lengthen/shorten lines on the arm pieces in any case, so they'd be easy to shorten without needing to mess with the facing. The sleeve facings could also be nice in a contrasting fabric.

On the subject of fit, there's a nice sew-along on the Grainline blog, with a guide to making a full bust adjustment here.

Will I Hadley again? That depends on my ‘difficult’ relationship with jeans. ;) If anything is going to push me back over the edge, though, it could very well be this pattern.

 - Fiona & Jane xx


  1. This looks great on you, Fiona, and I think you would be adorable in jeans. Of course, a top like this looks great with a skirt too! Blouses and skirts are my work uniform, what I wear every day, so that was actually my first thought about the Hadley - that would look great with a pencil skirt!

    1. Thanks so much, Inder, that's so nice of you to say! I think part of this idea I have about the Hadley being a friend of pants is because we are just at the end of winter here. But you are so right, this would work really well with a fitted skirt. Once the weather warms up here and bare legs become an option again, I bet I'll be all Moss and Hadley like nobody's business. :)


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