Grainline Scout Tee: Knit Madewell Variation

madewell scout tee grainline studio sewing

This top was a no brainer. I had a little over a yard of black ponte knit fabric left after making this simple half-circle skirt, and I’ve been crushing on Jen’s Madewell Scout variation since she posted the pattern and sewing tutorials this spring.

madewell scout tee variation sewing

The tutorial was easy to follow and well photographed, making for a relatively quick project, albeit finished over a couple days because of weekday time constraints. Sidenote: Kudos to anyone with the patience to start and finish a project during the workweek. Try as I might, I always end up finishing on a Saturday or Sunday and then promptly celebrating with several cold beverages.

The Madewell variation calls for three changes to the original Scout pattern:

  1. Raised neckline with a split opening
  2. Slightly curved bottom hem
  3. Longer sleeves with a fold

I had every intention of incorporating each change, but I was just shy of having enough fabric for the lengthened sleeves so I sewed those up like normal. Since I used a knit, this knit Scout tutorial also came in handy when it came to cutting the fabric, hemming, and cutting neckband binding.

I’ve gotten lots of wear out of my first Scout tee, but I have noticed a tiny bit of tightness across my back from armpit to armpit. One of my goals this year is to achieve a more perfect fit with my garments, so I wanted to make sure that I addressed the tight-back issue on this Scout. A Google search turned up this gem from Threads, and it goes into lengthy detail about how to adjust a pattern piece if you have a broad back (or a narrow back, but I have no clue what that looks like since the breadth of my upper ribs rivals that of most NFL linebackers).

threads magazine adjust a pattern for a broad back

I slashed the pattern and added about a half inch between the mid-shoulder to hem, as the Threads image shows. After that adjustment, I simply altered the neckline and hemline per Jen’s instructions and got to work.

grainline studio scout knit madewell tee

Creating the split front was surprisingly easy, just make sure to leave enough binding on either side of the V (Grainline’s tutorial pic here). I left too small an amount on one side and struggled to get a clean finish on the wrong side of the garment. I also wasn’t entirely sure how to hem the curved edges where they met, so I just tapered the standard half inch hem at those spots. Other than that, this came together like a dream and is amazingly comfy. I’m glad to have some solid black staples in my wardrobe now, but my print-hungry brain is dying for an insanely bold pattern.

grainline studio madewell scout tee

The Hudson Pant is next up on my docket, so stay tuned for some possibly wacky-printed track pants. Let me know in the comments if you’ve sewn these up yet and have any tips!

Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee

sewing project grainline studio scout tee

I think it’s safe to say that Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee is the darling of the indie pattern world. I’ve read rave reviews from probably 15+ bloggers at this point, most commending the pattern for its sizing, breezy fit, and ease of construction. Not to mention that it makes it really easy to highlight a fantastic print.

But, being slightly cynical, I wasn’t quite sold by the blogosphere’s near-unanimous praise. A slouchy, loose-fitting T-shirt with no bust darts (no darts at all, actually), to be made with a nonstretch woven fabric. Uhhh, I’m all for embracing this summer’s boxy shirt trend, but I was a little afraid this would veer into the “looks like you’re wearing a tent” arena. Still, at only $6.50 ($7.50 total because of dumb Illinois tax), I had to give it a shot.

Scout calls for a lightweight woven fabric. Per usual, I hit up the Needle Shop in Chicago’s North Center, where I found a beautiful Leah Duncan hyacinth fabric (not in stock anymore).

It’s 100% cotton and super soft—really an awesome print for summer with its crisp off-white color and pops of navy. I washed and dried it, then got to work laying out my PDF pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric.

There are only four pattern pieces total—the front, back, sleeves, and bias neckline binding—making the cutting process a total breeze. The pattern includes seam allowances (my last PDF pattern did not), which is another huge plus in my book. So far, so good, Scout.

scout tee bias neckline sewing

After sewing the back and front pieces together, I used Grainline Studio’s tutorial, Getting Flat Bias Necklines, to finish the scoop neck. If you haven’t visited the Grainline Studio website, check it out. Jen Beeman, the brain behind Grainline, sells her PDF patterns there and also shares super helpful tutorials and tips that complement her designs. Plus, I read an interview that revealed she lives in Chicago and likes Black Dog Gelato, the best dessert in the city/state/world. OK, done fan-girling and pining for goat cheese cashew gelato. Back to the pattern!

I finished the bottom with a simple double-fold hem. Next were the sleeves, and the directions call for a double row of basting stitches in order to gather the sleeves when attaching them to the bodice. The sleeves went in without a hitch, and I finished each edge with another double-fold hem and gave the whole thing a quick press.

At this point, I was… done?! How could it be!? Surely this was too good to be true. I’d never sewn a (wearable) shirt in less than 90 minutes, so naturally I assumed it would look wonky when I tried it on.

To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure about it when I first tried on the finished product. I usually wear more fitted tops or ones that are cinched at the waist. This tee is kind of the opposite of all that. The garment details aren’t lyin’ when they say that “this top falls into a loose shape below the bust.” But within 15 minutes of wearing Scout, I was converted. It’s loose, yet somehow manages to skim the body in a flattering way. It’s also insanely comfortable. I can see pairing this shirt with everything from linen shorts to skinny jeans or even tucked into a pencil skirt with a belt thrown on top. This is really a great, simple pattern and I can’t wait to sew up a few more. Maybe I’ll try Jen’s Madewell Scout variation next.

Grainline Studio Scout woven tee sewing

And that’s about it! PDF pattern #2 complete for my summer challenge. If they’re all as easy and awesome as Scout, I might need to up the ante and start sewing two or three per month! Any personal favorites?