my favorite grainline patterns are scout and linden. jo has a bunch of scouts...they are simple to sew, don't use much fabric and look cute in quilting cotton prints (which aren't usually very good for clothing). i like that scout has a very slight a-line cut, which is accommodating for the hips and makes for a non-constricting comfy fit. we have lengthened scout for a leggings-friendly tunic, and i have made scout without sleeves and with a tulip back (shown above- and could probably be shortened a bit). when removing the sleeves, the arm holes need to be carved out a bit before adding the bias binding.
aside: i always like to make my own bias binding out of the same fabric as the garment. this way the bias tape is never noticeable. i find those bias binding tools fiddly and unnecessary. just cut strips on the bias and sew it in. the folds are totally unnecessary. also we don't need all that extra fabric that the patterns call for when bias binding is included in the pattern instructions. there is usually a way to cut it out of the fabric left-over from cutting the pattern pieces alone. i just make my pieces of bias as long as possible, and then sew them together. let me know if further clarification is desired here. :)
grainline's newest pattern, willow, looks perfect, it is quite similar to the wiksten tank. what i like about willow, is that it has the adjustments i make to the wiksten tank built in...bust darts and a raised neckline. i think i'd like to sew an alder shirtdress at some point, and this version of the archer turned dress is lovely too.
i believe grainline patterns are some of the most reliable sewing patterns out there. jen is a professional who has grown her company slowly and wisely. the fit is spot on and the instructions leave nothing to the imagination. a beginner could easily tackle scout or willow. just go slowly with the sleeves and bias binding...and remember that the result doesn't have to be perfect, especially at first. practice will breed improvement and confidence. :)
sewing gives such an incredible insight into what skilled garment workers are doing every single day. they have my respect!
parts 01, 02, 03, and o4 of this series.