Grainline Tamarack Jacket in Velveteen

Have you ever sat with a quilt on your lap in winter and thought how cosy it would be if you could actually wear it? Well the Grainline Tamarack is your opportunity to do just that - and look socially acceptable at the same time!
Jen of Grainline Studios first released this pattern in October 2015. Since we were heading into the Aussie summer we didn't really think a lot about it. But Jen seems to have a way of being a little ahead of trends and designing long-lived classic garments, and the Tamarack has been sneakily growing on us. I loved this one by Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns, and the final push for me was seeing this quilted jacket by Kate of Bombazine. I was in need of another casual, warm jacket that I could throw in a bag and take anywhere. My Grainline Cascade Duffle has been possibly my most worn/thrashed item of handmade clothing ever, and although it's holding up pretty nicely in its third winter, it could use a little respite.
I'd been hanging out to do something with the beautiful new cotton velveteens we had in the shop, so I chose Cherub (Millennial pink, anyone?) and carried it around the shop until I found it a partner in this subtly awesome Cotton + Steel print of grey and silver bunny heads. Add a puff of pure Australian wool quilt batting (available in store) and I was off.

I have discussed previously that Grainline drafting 'out of the packet' doesn't work for my shape. With my full bust measurement putting me in a size 12, and my high bust in a size 8, I decided to split the difference, trace the size 10 and make a small full bust adjustment, adding a dart. Whilst an 8 might have been ideal in the shoulders, I didn't want to end up putting a giant bust dart in a pattern that was intended to have none.

There's plenty of wearing ease in the Tamarack pattern (and Jen very helpfully always includes finished garment measurements in her patterns) but actually getting this to fit across my bust was not the only concern.  It was more a matter of how the finished garment would sit: without a dart, a jacket can tend to be pushed up and back over my narrow shoulders and ultimately, hang really poorly. A dart will give me a nice sloped roof and straight wall below, if you get the picture!

How did the bust dart work in quilted fabric? It was a bit of a gamble but in fact it worked quite well. I thought I may need to trim off the dart inside but it folded and pressed just fine. There are two things to watch out for:
- what does the dart do to your quilting pattern? In my case it meant that the quilting lines at the jacket side seams did not meet up below the dart. Not ideal but I can live with this. A more complex quilting pattern would help hide this difference.

- how will you deal with the bulk of the fold in the side seam? You'll end up with 3 layers of quilt, which is 9 layers of substrate, at one point! My regular sewing machine was quite happy to chug through this but my overlocker struggled... and the result was ugly. Perhaps a blessing in disguise though, because I decided to bind the seams to hide all the mess. I simply sewed bias tape over the seam allowance. After sewing down the first side I trimmed the seam allowance back considerably to reduce bulk, then folded it over and sewed the second side. Much, much better and a finish I would highly recommend for all the interior Tamarack seams. (I wish I'd done the shoulder and armhole seams this way but by this stage I'd overlocked them neatly and they were joined to other seams and they're not visible when I'm wearing the jacket anyway.)
The slight patchwork effect on the pocket bags is a long and uninteresting story but I get bunnies on the inside and outside!
Apart from adding the bust dart, the other small changes I made to the pattern were:
- shortening it and straightening out the bottom, cutting off just below where the curved hem begins on the pattern. In a colder climate the extra warmth of a longer jacket would make a lot of sense but a shorter one seems more versatile for an Adelaide winter.
- rounding off the corners of the front edges. I simply took a small saucer from the cupboard and traced the rounded edge of that, after the jacket was constructed but before binding. I was a little worried the binding may bunch up a bit around the curves, but I stretched it out a little (it's bias cut) on the first pass and it folded over and sewed down beautifully.
The majority of construction is pretty straightforward. I followed the quilting instructions (making the sandwich and basting) to the letter and my fabrics, with the help of a walking foot on my Singer, behaved very nicely. The welt pockets were a bit different to my previous (limited) welt experience and it was one of those occasions where I couldn't quite picture the end result and just had to walk through it with blind faith. And it worked. Since I shortened the jacket, I had to also shorten the pocket bags but they're still a really useful size.

I am simply delighted with my Tamarack. It's so cosy, so comfy and really, really like wearing a quilt. (#secretquilt ?) Go on. If you've been on the fence, hop on over into Tamarack land. You'll like it here.

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Anna, I think I'm going to thrash it all winter!

  2. Oh my goodness, Jane, this is smashing! I love the color! (And I'm not a millennial, even!) Your changes are excellent, and although you complained about looking poofy in it (michelin man), I'm here to tell you, you really don't!! The dart is totally game changing for me. As much as I liked this pattern when it came out, I was like, um, my top heavy figure does not need poofy square pieces, ya know? But the dart really helps provide that small amount of shaping that makes the difference.

    1. Oh thanks Inder, and also for the reassurance about Michelin Man status :D Yeah I am so glad I added the dart. If I was to ever make another Cascade I would size down and add a dart to that too. I love that there are always new adventures in sewing! I bet you would get a tonne of wear out of a Tamarack in your climate.

  3. I love the jacket on you, that is a beautiful colour, it will work with so many other things. Nice work!!

    1. Thanks so much! It was a fun project and is very cosy to wear!

  4. I'd never have thought of this! This is AMAZING!

    1. Oh gosh thank you Rona - I've been wearing it a lot1

  5. Wow! Beautiful. Great job. Just a quick question what brand of Snap fasteners did you use? Mine do not look half as good.

    1. Hi Sara, thanks for your comment and sorry for my slow reply. The snaps are Hemline brand (common haby brand) but I have to say, although they look great, they're not all that easy to use. They don't all fasten very well. It's fine because I don't often want to do up the jacket but next time I'd test them all out carefully before applying.


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