Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes

Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes
Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes
Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat
Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat

I made a Grainline Willow dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes in preparation for a class on how to make it. No one signed up for the class, which could have been because the weather is still cold in Missoula, or because I finished the sample two days before the class was to begin. Either way, I will offer the class again. The Willow is an easy, loose fitting top or dress, which makes it a great introduction to basic garment construction for beginners.

Pattern Description:

The Willow Tank Dress is a versatile and reliable staple for all warm-weather seasons. It is fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. The Willow is unfussy and can be made into a dress or a tank top. Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, darts, hemming, and applying bias facings.

Pattern Sizing:

US 0 to 18. I used size 18 for the front, and size 14 for the back.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

I think it actually looked better than the pattern envelope because I was able to add some shaping to the sides.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, especially with Jen’s photo tutorials on the Grainline Studio website.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I liked the drafting, the instructions, and Jen’s method for applying bias facings. I always use her method. It works every time. Here’s the link so you can, too.

Fabric used:

A woven stripe designed by Kaffe Fassett. I loved sewing with it. It pressed like a dream and was soft yet stable. I think I need to order some of Kaffe’s shot cottons for the shop now that I know how nice his wovens are for making clothes. As you can see, the stripes went horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt, adding to the fun!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Because I am six-feet-tall, I added two inches to both the bodice and the skirt. I also cut out the front in size 18 and the back in size 14 (a lazy-woman’s full-bust-adjustment!). My mash-up worked well – I just needed to pay attention to make the armholes match. I also kinda forgot that the back was a couple of sizes smaller than the front when I was pinning the fabric to fit, and pinched the same amount from both the front and the back. I should have kept the back seam-allowance at one-half inch, and only taken in the front. Now, the back is a little tight, which I know I can fix, but I’d have to undo the bias binding on the armholes (eye roll). I also made a four-inch sash to wear around my waist for days I want a little more definition.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and yes! I am looking forward to making myself and my daughters Willow dresses for the summer, and making myself a few new tank tops!


This is a great beginner dress or top pattern because of the great instructions, lack of fitting issues, and no sleeves!

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