SPECIAL NOTE: Sprout Patterns which is discused in detail in this post is no longer open. I have decided to keep all the Sprout content as part of this post. Unfortunately you will not be able to purchase the product I used. You CAN still get the Lark Tee Pattern from Grainline Studio.
It is time for another installment of “Sewing and Design Meet”. This time I am sharing all about my Pebbles design and what I have made with it. The majority of this post will be focused on the Lark Tee I sewed via a cut-and-sew project I ordered through Spoonflower’s sister site, Sprout Patterns, and I will be speaking a bit about that experience too. At the end I’ll share a quick look at a simple winter accessories set I also made. This post is LONG. If you don’t care about sewing details you can read about the design and then just scroll and look at all the photos 🙂
Pebbles is a coordinate I created to go with my Sandcastles design as part of my Beach Bliss Collection. I originally offered this print in 2 different colorways and then added a third one which does not actually color coordinate with the collection because I specifically created it for the winter accessories project.
The Sandcastles design was created from hand drawings that I vectorized and turned into a pattern in Illustrator. I included pebble details on the sandcastles and as background infill. To create the Pebbles print I pulled out pebbles from the pattern and arranged them into vertical lines. Below is a look at Sandcastles and some of the original hand drawings. Most often, even if I do a hand drawing first, I completely redraw them in Illustrator, but this time I used auto trace since I wanted to maintain the feel of the hand drawing which I think matches the beach theme well.
FABRIC AND SPROUT PATTERNS:
Instead of purchasing “raw” fabric for this project I ordered my fabric AND pattern through Sprout Patterns. If you are not familiar with Sprout they are one of Spoonflower’s sister companies. With Sprout, you can order sewing patterns from a wide range of companies and designers printed directly on the fabric! It is the ultimate, cut-and-sew: all you need to do is cut around the outlines of the pieces and start sewing! With your Sprout purchase you also get a pdf copy of the pattern so you can sew it again in the future and also use the pieces for adjustments, etc. (Which I definitely did). I chose the Multicolored version of my Pebbles design printed on Modern Jersey. Here is a look at a portion of the printed fabric where you can see a pattern piece and how the design continues on the unused fabric:
There are some pro’s and con’s to using Sprout and I think ultimately it will vary person to person on whether this sort of sewing experience is right for you.
- This is definitely a time saver. Not only does it save you the time of printing and assembling a pdf or cutting out a paper pattern, but it saves on the time it takes to cut fabric too since all the arranging of the pieces on the fabric and lining up the grainlines etc. is already done for you.
- You can order exactly the amount of fabric you need! Instead of having to over buy on yardage numbers, the cut of fabric you get from Sprout will give you the fractional yards without having to buy a full 2 yards for example for a 1.5 yard project. You can also mix and match fabric designs within a project… so if you want all your trim pieces to be a different fabric, you can select a different fabric design or even a solid color for those pieces.
- Even though the fabric is sized to fit the pattern, for many projects there will still be some unused spaces leftover. Sprout prints the fabric design on these areas too (as you can see in the photo) so you might end up with some bonus fabric pieces you can use for something else. (I did end up NEEDING some of my extra, which you will read about below).
- You can only choose to have one size printed… they do not grade between sizes. If you are a “straight out of the package” size this is probably not even a con. I am most definitely NOT a single size gal and this is a big issue for me. I found a way to work around this and grade a bit between sizes which I will discuss in the sewing section of this post.
One last detail that is VERY important to note is that you MUST follow washing instructions. I learned this the hard way as I shrunk my fabric, which changed the size and proportion of the pattern pieces! I am so used to pre-washing my fabric in a blast of hot water and hot dryer to get the fabric to shrink as much as possible before I sew with it, I was basically on auto-pilot and did the same with this project. BAD IDEA. I was able to make it work, thankfully, but my shirt is a bit shorter as a result. AND I had to cut new sleeves. Thankfully they were the cap style and needed very little fabric and were able to fit on unused portions of the fabric but it is a bummer that I had to do that instead of saving those sections for a future project.
The Lark Tee is a basic tee shirt with a ton of options. For my Sprout project I chose the scoop neck with cap sleeves (but as I mentioned above you get the pdf so you get ALL the views and variations with it and can print it and use it like a regular pattern. I have already made several other versions). I chose Modern Jersey as the fabric option. The sewing is very straightforward so I won’t really go into that, but I do want to talk a little bit about grading the pattern.
I am pear shaped and in this pattern (and pretty much all Grainline top patterns per the SIZE CHART) I am a size 4 bust and my hips sort of hover between size 8 and 10. But with Sprout you can only pick 1 size, so I had to do some creative thinking. I have square shoulders and a wide upper back so I usually like to go up a size (to a 6) for my bust. And since this was a stretchy tee, I figured I would be safe going with the size 8 for my hips. So I ordered a size 8 with plans of using the pdf pattern pieces to grade the top smaller. Of course needing to print and assemble ALL the tee pieces pretty much negated the fast and quick factor of Sprout, but I really wanted to try the whole process once to see how it worked, AND it was still faster having the pieces already outlined on the fabric since it saved me from laying them all out and finding the grain, etc.
As I mentioned above, I unknowingly shrunk my pieces, so when I laid the pattern pieces on the printed fabric things did NOT line up like I expected. The fabric shrunk WAY MORE vertically then it did horizontally… so they weren’t smaller everywhere, more like squashed. In the end it was almost good that I was grading it smaller, because I was able to fix this with my adjustments. It did mean however, that the top got shorter. AND, the size 6 sleeve piece did not fit within the outline. Thankfully, there was enough extra fabric elsewhere to trace the sleeves. After that was all worked out the sewing was easy! Especially since I sewed it twice with other fabrics prior to cutting into the good stuff.
Overall I am very happy with the fit of this tee. I LOVE the size of the scoop neck! It is basically my “dream scoop”. The sleeves are maybe a tad snug for cap sleeves and I would like the tee to be an inch longer (but that was the fault of the shrinkage). I absolutely LOVE the Pebbles design as a tee, but the white background version might not have been the wisest choice. (Thankfully I ALWAYS wear a tank top under everything). I also do not love it in Modern Jersey and wish I would have chosen the Cotton Spandex instead. I have sewn a TON of things with Modern Jersey, I love the fabric, but for a tee shirt… it is just not breathable enough for my tastes. But this is totally personal preference. I am a natural fibers gal.
*** You might have noticed a pants change in these photos… I actually took photos on multiple occassions (months apart!) and locations. I actually finished this top last year! The blog post was so delayed I had a chance to take another round!
As stated at the start of this blog post, Sprout Patterns is no longer open. You can still make your own! You can buy the Lark Tee Pattern from Grainline Studio directly. It is also available as a paper pattern. And the Pebbles design on Spoonflower seperately.
PROJECT #2: Neck and Ear Warmer Matching Set
Technically this Project #1 since I made this well before the tee shirt but the blog post flows better to have it at the end. Using the Drizzle colorway of the Pebbles design, printed again on Modern Jersey, I made a matching fleece-backed ear and neck warm set. Both of these are self-drafted. I love the fit of the ear warmer but I think I would tweak the neck warmer proportions should I make it again. And I would not use the Modern Jersey again. While I do love it for infinity scarfs, in this application where I backed it with fleece, a fabric with more structure like cotton spandex works better. I have made several ear warmers and the ones that used cotton spandex are much smoother against the fleece.
That’s it! You made it to the end! Woop! I actually have made one other item with some of Sprout leftovers, a headband, but I don’t have a good photo to share. (And still have pieces left I could use as accents on a future project too!) I think I covered everything, but feel free to ask any questions or just say hello in the comments.
Thanks for reading!