Inevitably, after my foray into the world of Grainline Studio sewing patterns with my scout tees, I fell completely in love with the Archer Shirt. I wear a lot of button-down shirts so I was really interested in making one, and loved the design of the Archer, with the pocket and optional skirt back on view B. I also made this approaching the summer so I considered the idea of making a few which were sleeveless to wear on holiday. I ALWAYS manage to burn my shoulders, chest and back of my neck, no matter how much suncream I apply, so thought this might save me from that agony again! (It did, until the day I wore a RTW tee on a boat – sunburn time!) I only had a little dressmaking experience anyway, so this was a big leap, however I was desperate to make it so stopped caring and had a go anyway.
The pattern again I bought before Jen increased her prices a little, so I think I paid around £6.00 for it which was amazing for such a complex pattern with so much work in it! At the moment it retails for $12 for the PDF on Jen’s site, making it about £7.40. Still a pretty awesome price!
I bought the fabric at my local fabric shop, Fashion Fabrics in Bath. They have a huge range of fabric but not a lot of the weight I prefer for my garments. (If anyone knows where to find a good range of 100% viscose fabrics, please let me know!) This was a Japanese print cotton lawn, which although lighter than the fabrics I used for my Scout tees, was still a little stiff. Having since used other cotton lawns, I know that this was perhaps a heavier one than usual. This probably wasn’t helped by the interfacing I used. An Archer wasn’t my initial plan for this fabric. I initially bought 1.5m to make another Scout, however I played around with the archer pattern and found that, as I had cut a size 0, it fitted on 1.5m rather than the 2 Jen had suggested. Because I hadn’t planned for an Archer, I hadn’t bought any interfacing of the right weight and I am far too impatient to wait for the postman to bring some. Because of this I just used one that I had in my stash which I had been using to reinforce some of my fine-art textiles work for University. This was probably double the weight it should have been and also a little ‘crunchy’ sounding, but after a few washes it is definitely improved.
I have to admit that, due to my lack of experience, I did get stuck at the very first hurdle on this shirt, having never constructed a button band and I found the explanation a bit confusing. However Jen has uploaded these fantastic sew-alongs to her blog, with photos and even a video for the most confusing collar bit, which made it so much easier. I also had to set sleeves in flat for the first time which was really interesting and definitely a favourite method now. I also had to try sleeve plackets which is still my least favourite job as they are so fiddly. The shirt came together really quickly. I finished my first day after setting in the sleeves as, much as I wanted to continue, I didn’t want to make any mistakes by sewing at night! I finished the shirt by lunchtime the next day. These days I can finish a shirt in a day, but obviously I have the pattern pre-cut to my size so that always makes things quicker.
For the buttons I used mother of pearl buttons I had been given by my mum from her collection. They’d been in my sewing box for months and, as I was so desperate to finish the shirt, I didn’t really care what I used as long as I had the required nine buttons. However I think they worked really well and looked so lovely. This was also the first time I had had to sew buttonholes in at least 5 years, so I looked though my sewing machine manual to find out how to use the buttonhole foot. Whilst reading I also discovered the spare piece of plastic floating around in my sewing machine was actually a button foot! Clearly I should have read the instructions sooner as I had been hand sewing buttons for years! I have since sewn on probably 100 buttons and haven’t had to hand-sew a single one!
My only adaption I have made to this pattern on later shirts is to increase the length by 2″. I have a naturally long body so I like a more long-line garment. Overall I have worn this shirt to within an inch of its life and I love the style, I have now replicated it another *ahem* NINE times! More posts to follow!!
Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
Materials: Floral Japanese cotton lawn from Fashion Fabrics, Bath. Interfacing from eBay. Mother of pearl buttons, gifted.
Sizing/Alterations: cut size 0, although I have since lengthened the pattern by 2″.
Cost: Pattern One-off cost – £6.00. Fabric – £7.99m x 1.5m = £11.99. Interfacing from stash – probably about £0.50. Buttons were gifted – Free. Thread – £1.80.
Overall cost without pattern: £14.29