I think this is my 7th time of making this pattern. Quite a record for me. This is my third plaid version. I have also made versions in denim, linen and cotton shirting and voile. BUT this version is an new and (mainly) improved version.
Why start messing around with a pattern on the 7th time of making you ask? Well, it started when I was featured in one of the “Same Pattern, Different Bodies” posts, about the Archer Shirt, on the Curvy Sewing Collective. (If you read through the comments section on that post, you will see that I did get rather irritated. Oh dear!) Anyway, moving on, one of the commentators said that she felt that all the shirts that were featured basically needed an FBA. I have never felt like I needed to do an FBA on the Archer shirt, but here’s the thing, when you sew a shirt in plaid then the checks can be very telling when it comes to the fit. Here are the first two versions of this shirt, sewn in plaid, without the FBA:
I don’t think the checks look too bad over the bust, but I decided that maybe I could do with just a small 0.5 inch FBA. So that is what I did, using the method described by Paprika Patterns (how to do a FBA on a dartless shirt). I eliminated the dart, and redrafted the side seam as I decided I did not want a bust dart interfering with any futher plaid versions of this pattern I might make.
Yes, I think the checks now lie just that tiny bit more horizontal. So FBA successfully completed.
Other changes I also made:
- I finally got round to adding 0.25 inches to the armholes, sleeves and side seams to facilitate flat fell finishing all those seams.
- I don’t mind using the continous lapped placket method for some shirts – in fact for light weight fabrics I probably prefer that method – but for more weightier fabrics I think a tower placket is more appropriate. So that’s what I did on this shirt, using this tutorial from Off The Cuff – excellent tutorial and surprisingly easy to do.
Now let’s talk about what is not so good: the comically large cuffs. Readers, I am completely baffled as to why the cuffs are as large as they are. I didn’t add anything to the cuff seam allowances, I did the pleats as usual, and the only thing I can think of is that either the plackets have somehow made them bigger, or that this fabric has just somehow grown?! I am stumped. Another version will probably have to be made to investigate. Sigh.
This is my first time using pearl snaps, and I basically followed exactly what VeryKerryBerry says to do in this tutorial, including buying the pliers and a set of Prym jersey snaps so that I would have the plastic attachments. Conclusion: using the Prym snaps gave the best results (rather than the generic snaps), and using the pliers with the plastic attachments gave pretty much fool proof results.
I love how cosy this version of this shirt is, and let’s face it, spring, at least in this corner of the world, is still a way off. If I can resolve the cuff issue this will continue to be a firm favourite.
McCalls 7058 and Grainline Archer: DIY White Linton Tweed Boucle Cropped Jacket and Striped Linen Shirt
I have mentioned before that I live very close (about 25 minutes drive since moving?) from Linton Tweeds in Carlisle. I don’t actually go there very often (although they do a mean lemon meringue pie :-)), and I have yet to purchase any fabric from a roll. What they do have is pre-cut 1 metre skirt lengths for substantially less than the roll price, often with an offer if you buy 2 at the same time. So in my stash I have a few pieces of Linton Tweed fabric in skirt lengths.
What I have realised is that buying these skirt lengths is, for me, not that useful. I don’t make skirts from them, and for me, I probably need more than a one metre length to cut a decent jacket from. But I had two skirt lengths of this white boucle and determined to make something from it I set off. Here’s a close up of the fabric because it is hard to see the beautiful texture in the photographs (sorry the outdoor shots were taken early one cloudy morning):
I needed a pattern that didn’t require too many pieces. Vogue 7975 was out because, with the two piece sleeves I felt I wouldn’t have enough fabric. I also wanted a fairly quick make which didn’t require a lot of fitting. I eventually decided to make a modified version of McCalls 7058 which I made a winter version of earlier this year. Here’s what it looked like last time to refresh your memories:
Here’s my modified version:
Here’s how I approached the sewing and the modifications.
First off, and I don’t recommend this as a general rule for Linton Tweed, I prewashed my fabric. Linton Tweed fabrics are woven using a mixed composition of fibres and if you prewash you do run the risk of ruining your beautiful fabric. But as this fabric didn’t cost me much (less than £15 for both cuts), and I really couldn’t face having a white jacket that wasn’t washable I just went with it, washing it on a gentle cycle with a wool appropriate detergent. It worked out fine. Fabric was unaffected.
Next I block fused my two 1 metre lengths using a light weight weft insertion fusible interfacing. I lined the two selvedge edges up and fused using my press cloth and an iron. Made the fabric much easier to handle as well.
In terms of pattern modifications I:
- removed 4 inches from the View A cutting line for the body
- removed 5 inches from the sleeve length
- removed 1 inch from the centre fronts so there was no overlap
I wanted a very soft look to the jacket so I kept the tailoring to a minimum. I added a backstay and stabilised the front edges and neckline using twill tape hand stitched in place 0.5 inches from the neck edges and 5/8ths inch from front edges.
I added very light shoulder pads and hand stitched all the hems. Here are some pictures on the (too small) dressform. You can see that even though this is a one piece sleeve the elbow dart gives some nice shaping. The jacket is fully lined with a lightweight viscose twill lining.
On this next side lining view you will see a glimpse of my new custom woven clothing labels which were very kindly made for me by Dutch Label Shop – blog post to follow on those.
So this is a very plain and simple jacket but I think it will get lots of wear on the cooler days of our great British summer, especially over dresses. I haven’t added any fastenings or trim to this jacket…I did toy with the idea of adding various trims but I figure I can always go back and add something later if I want. I quite like the simplicity of it. It feels so soft and light on, almost like a cardigan.
A brief mention of the shirt. This is version number 5 of Grainline’s Archer shirt. Made in a striped linen that I bought in India. Hard to photograph but lovely to sew, press and wear (although it being linen you have to deal with the creasing!) My only complaint about the Archer pattern is that I don’t like the 0.5 inch seam allowances because it makes flat fell seaming difficult. But it’s worth doing IMO.
Have a great weekend and enjoy Father’s Day.
I braved the elements today and took photos outside of my latest make. Yep, my second Grainline Archer shirt (first one here). This is one of those rare patterns for me that I can just see in so many different guises. I want to do a more summery one next.
This second version is made from 8oz light blue denim. It has a good weight to it, but is not bottom weight. It will be the perfect tran-seasonal piece as we head into spring (sometime….?!) It keeps the cold at bay, but without overheating, and the lighter colour is great for this time of year. I also think that every woman should have a denim shirt in her wardrobe. It is a classic that you will wear for years to come.
I really, really wanted to put pearl snaps on the front of the shirt, but I did a trial, and not only did the snaps crack whilst I was trying to put them in, but the denim was just a bit too thick for the pearl snap to stay securely in place. So I went instead for these metal buttons. As with my first shirt, I omitted the breast pocket…I just don’t think I need anything else in that area right now!
I flat felled seamed the insides so they look nice and neat. I WISH I had added extra seam allowance on to the top of the sleeve piece and the sides of the front pieces to allow me to do the flat fell seaming more comfortably. I mean, I did it….but it would have been so much easier if I had added to the seam allowance to allow for this slightly thicker fabric.
So that’s it for today. What about you? What are you planning on sewing as we wait for spring to properly arrive?
Have a great week ahead.
Hello Readers, hope you are all well. I have finally got round to making an Archer shirt! I have read sooooo many great reviews about this shirt that I just had to see what all the hype was about. Let me tell you, it does not disappoint.
I made my Archer in a soft flannel (which from these pictures would appear to wrinkle easily!) This shirt is designed to be loosely fitting, and it is. I like the relaxed fit, but next time round I think I would perhaps narrow the sleeves and cuffs down. I did take the precaution of shortening the sleeves by 3.5 inches before cutting the fabric. I used a tip from Beth (having admired her plaid shirt) and used a softer fusible interfacing to give a softer feel to the shirt.
I used the same plaid matching techniques as described in this post, again cutting the yoke on the bias. I think I have conquered my fear of matching plaids 🙂 I also chose to flat fell seam all my seam allowances. Speaking of which, I somehow managed to sew BOTH my shirt sleeves on inside out, AND flat fell seam them (on the outside) before I realised and unpicking them (after trimming seam allowances) was hideous, but I managed and somehow got them back on the right way and flat fell seamed…again.
I would not say this is a beginners project. It does require a lot of very precise sewing. BUT, I have to say that the sewalong accompanying this shirt on the Grainline blog is superb. Jen’s instructions are extremely clear and so are her photographs/ videos. I have previously used the Craftsy Classic Tailored Shirt tutorials to learn about shirt making, and I do still highly recommend them. But I still learned some new tricks using the Archer sewalong which I will carry forward into my future shirt making.
The Archer Button Up is a loosely fitting button up shirt with long sleeves. View A has angled cuffs and a back pleat at yoke. View B has straight cuffs and a gathered lower back detail.
0 – 18
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn’t use the downloaded instructions at all. I just used the Archer sewalong (which is excellent!) and some of my own shirt making knowledge.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the overall fit. It is loose and relaxed. I love the proportions of the collar. I love the fact this is such a versatile pattern (haven’t we already seen so many amazing different versions?!) I think I need to narrow the sleeves for next time.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Aside from shortening the sleeves by 3.5 inches and cutting the yoke on the bias, none.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
YES and YES.
If you are looking for a casual, feminine shirt with some great features then try this pattern.
Until later my friends, have a great week.
Hello There Friends,
This is the last of my unblogged projects from last year, and, I think, my first ever project sewn using a vintage pattern. The pattern used was Style 3247; you can see the (obviously aged!) pattern envelope below. (I wonder who Mrs. Clark was and which part of the world she lived in?)
The pattern actually has rather cleverly designed facings which mean the front buttons are fully functioning, and how the pattern intends you to get in and out of the dress. I decided that a double breasted look was not going to be the most flattering for me, and so I decided to omit the front opening and instead install an invisible zip in the centre back seam. I also ended up adding some fish eye darts in the back to provide more shaping.
Here are some inside shots. The pattern included facing pieces but as the outer fashion fabric is a wool/ cashmere blend that I purchased locally to me and is dry clean only, I opted to also add a full lining. The pattern made no mention of interfacing but I did add interfacing to all the facing pieces, as well as to the centre back seam where the zipper was being inserted. I also chose to draft hem facing pieces to finish the hems.
Pattern Alteration/ Sewing Notes:
- Omitted front opening and inserted centre back invisible zip
- Removed 2.25 inches from length and ended up taking 1 inch seam allowance when attaching hem facings
- Drafted hem facings
- Added full lining in addition to facings
- 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length being added back to lower back hem
- Added interfacing to all facing pieces and to centre back seam
- Added fish eye darts to back
- Narrowed shoulder straps (removing approx. 5/8ths inch from outer edge of each strap)
- If making again consider narrowing width at front neckline
So, anyway, after I saw the pictures….I don’t know…I just wasn’t sold on this whole look for me. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I feel like it makes me look broader somehow through the front? Is it the square neckline? Is it the lack of waist seaming? Maybe it’s one of those garments I just need time to play around with and style a few different ways? It is lovely and warm and I like the colour. But hmmm….at present it’s not a wadder, but just a bit meh.
That’s the last of my 2016 makes! Already sewn up a tunic style top and most of an Archer shirt in 2017…but this week I am doing a spot of pattern testing.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.
I actually still have 2 unblogged items that I completed this year but I am not going to rush into blogging those before the year end. Instead, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the items I have made this year and also share some items that those of you who are not on Instagram might have missed (because I felt they were not worthy of a blog post of their own).
It’s been another great year of sewing for me. I feel like my skills are improving and I am getting more practised at refining the fit of garments – that’s not to say I always get it right – because I don’t! I think I am also more confident in my own sense of style and picking patterns that I think might work on my body shape etc. So all in all, 2016 was a successful year for me.
Here is the complete breakdown (not including the two unblogged items) with some pictures of things that have appeared on the blog before, as well as some pictures of items I shared on my Instagram account.
- 4 coats – including one for Kezia. These are probably my most favourite items of all the things I have sewn. I have to wear a coat of some kind most days for at least 9 – 10 months of the year and reaching for these items makes me happy. I really enjoy coat making.
- 2 blazers – both huge learning curves for me. One was a hand tailored wool blazer and one was a wool ponte blazer constructed using fusible interfacings.
- 2 jackets – one made from Linton tweed and fully lined (that was worn lots when travelling on planes in America) and one unlined kimono style.
- 3 pairs of pull on jeans made using the Jalie Elenore pattern (my red pair got worn loads – see below for picture. My black pair are in the donate pile – fabric didn’t have enough stretch to make them comfortable).
- 3 pairs of pants made using Simplicity 1167 – this pattern has become my go to pants pattern – for now. So proud of myself for making pants that fit ME!
- 2 pairs of culotte style trousers.
- 2 skirts, both made using Simplicity 8019. I made a version in suede leather and then this (unblogged) denim version, which has gotten a fair amount of wear.
- 1 pair of workout leggings
- 5 shirts – including one made for Philip’s big birthday and a floral Grainline Archer made for myself from some soft cotton voile type fabric I purchased a few years ago in Paris that I LOVE wearing.
- 11 further tops/ blouses/ workout top, including this modified McCalls 6886 breton style top. Sadly this has also just gone into the donate pile on account of the fabric not washing very well. It’s a shame as I LOVE the first breton top I made using this pattern and it still gets regularly worn (in a black and white stripe). Need to find the perfect fabric to make more!
- 2 cardigans
- 4 shirt dresses
- 6 further dresses – one of which was a wadder. The wadder was my attempt at turning the True Bias Sutton blouse into a dress with an elasticated waist. I made the top part way too blousey and I ended up chopping the dress apart before giving up on it completely.
- A gymnastics outfit for Kezia
- 2 pairs of cotton pyjamas – made using Simplicity 2317. These have been washed and worn and washed and worn. I hope to make more (and more luxurious) versions next year.
- 2 refashions: a blouse of mine which I no longer wanted refashioned into a top for Kezia and a denim peplum jacket made from 2 pairs of old jeans.
- 1 baby dress and pantaloons
Phew! Quite the list. I am proud and happy of all I have achieved this year 🙂
What does 2017 hold? I am not one to tie myself down with challenges/ resolutions or even firm plans. I like to run wild and free, haha. But….
- More coats: a waterproof Kelly anorak, a trench coat of some kind and another blazer (still need to find my perfect one in terms of fit and style!)
- Workout tops in the supplex I purchased in America this year
- More pants! Maybe another pattern?
- Feel like I need some new tops to freshen my wardrobe up.
Not going to think beyond that. I like to draw up a more specific list up about 3 or 4 times a year and edit as I go along.
So all that remains is for me to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my followers and to all of you who read my blog and comment. It’s great to be part of this community and also it was great to meet some of you in real life and make new friends. Actually, that’s something I hope I get more chance to do next year. I wish all of you health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the new year. Happy and fruitful sewing!
Muse Patterns Jenna Cardigans and Jalie 3461 Eleonore Jeans: DIY Cardigans and Pull On Corduroy Jeans
Sharing some cold weather sewing today. Not fancy. Not complicated. Just practical.
Version one is made using an acrylic knit that I purchased from Fabworks (no longer available in this colourway) during the Yorkshire Spoolette’s meet up earlier this year. The only modification made was to lengthen the cardigan by 5 inches and omit the buttons (I have added a hook and eye at the neck). TBH I am not sure about this version, although I did wear it over a dress for the first time the other day (see how I wore it here on IG). It is a great layering piece but I am not sure about the length and the overall slouchiness. I think the neckline and the sleeve cuffs have generally stretched out and perhaps that is what is further putting me off. Time will tell whether this gets worn or not.
The second version was made using some Isabella Wool Mix Jersey that I purchased from Sewessential. This colourway (which I think was called claret) appears to have sold out, but there are several other colour options available. When I first received the fabric I was a little concerned how it would work with this pattern because it does have some amount of two way stretch and I wasn’t sure how that would work with the interfaced button band. But I found some suitable knit interfacing in my stash and everything worked out well (except I inadvertently took 5/8ths inch seam allowance at the shoulders when the seam allowance on this pattern is 3/8ths inch). I do think if I make this pattern again maybe I should consider a small shoulder adjustment.
Anyway, I like this version a lot and it has been worn a fair amount already. And to finish just wanted to say I made the black stretch corduroy jeans I am wearing in these latter two pictures (sorry, I know you can’t see them very well). They were made using Jalie 3461 which I have written about here, and the only change I made was to add 0.25 inches to the inner and outer lower legs on the front and back pieces. Again, these have already been worn lots. The only thing is that, as corduroy tends too, these do stretch out a little with wear, but they are just so nice and warm on a frosty day that I know they will get worn lots over the winter.
Boring basics? Perhaps. But probably the ones that, realistically, get worn the most.
See you soon!
Whilst STILL waiting for decent weather for outdoor photography (possibly by the weekend/ early next week!) I have wanted to share a baby gift I have just completed. This is a two piece set consisting of a short dress and matching “pantaloons” (New Look’s description, not mine, but as I would rather not attract any more dubious searchers than I already do I am using that description :-)).
The pattern is New Look 6970 and I LOVE it. Not only because it is easy to sew, but there is also the cutest romper/ dungaree option included in it as well. I only wish I had a cute, chubby cheeked baby to photograph it on, but oh well, you are just going to have to squeal over the cuteness of frilly legged pantaloons!
I made views C and D. The bodice part of the dress is self lined so it is cleanly finished inside and no seams to irritate baby. The pantaloons are easy to sew and have casings for the elastic at the waistband and around the legs. I made my own bias binding to use for the leg casings. You don’t have too. I serged whatever seams needed to be. And my set is made in a soft dotted chambray. Note to my husband: girls don’t have to just wear pink!
Sooo cute I can hardly bear to send it away but there you go. It will be sent off for a friends baby girl. I can’t comment on the fit…I will let you know once I find out.
And the little knitted bunny was made by a talented lady in my art class. Is there anything more satifying than an all handmade gift?
Made with love in every careful stitch.
Hopefully back sharing some of my new summer sewing soon….