I made a shirt! And I love it so much more than I thought possible – I have worn it today and been feeling very proud of myself!
December was Archer Appreciation month – a challenge organised by Lucky Lucille, Miss Crayola Creepy and Grainline Studio to sew an Archer shirt. I already bought the pattern in the Thanksgiving sale, so I was ready to go but it took a little longer to find some suitable fabric – I was tempted by a cosy check/plaid flannel but I didn’t find one and I didn’t quite feel up to the pattern matching. I find I don’t love the cutting out stage so trying to match up lots of little lines seemed like a challenge too far. I am a bit rubbish with sew-alongs though so I didn’t actually start cutting out until late on December 28th.
The fabric I got was a lightweight cotton, with a very tiny blue/white houndstooth check. It presses nicely and doesn’t fray too much so it was a good fabric for this make. I would like to try this again with a drapier fabric – maybe View B with the back ruffle but I have struggled with slippery fabrics which fray a lot on previous makes!
I wanted the shirt to be loose as I will probably wear it with a t-shirt underneath. I cut a size 12 which is bigger than I would usually go for and graded out to the widest size over the hips and used the length for that size. I also added another 2 inches to the length as I want it to come down over my hips. I then forgot to add the extra length to the button band and interfacing so I had to re-cut those pieces. If I make another I think I could go down a size for the chest/shoulders/sleeves but I will definitely keep the other changes. I decided to skip the pockets on the front as I am not a big fan of pockets that I won’t be using – I am now in two minds about whether I should have added them or not?
I followed the directions from the Archer sewalong. The pattern directions are clear but quite brief so it was very helpful to me to have more detail and pictures and videos for the tricky parts.
This is my first shirt – so new skills included making the collar with collar stand, plackets and sleeve setting (I have only done sleeves on knits so far). I got a fabulous new sewing machine for Christmas which really made a difference – I was going more slowly as I got used to the machine, which helped me to be more precise on the top stitching and I think I had better control of my stitching. Also – the one step buttonhole is an absolute dream! I really struggled with buttonholes on my old machine.
The sew along instructions were so clear that I can’t say that any part of this was really difficult. The plackets were definitely the most fiddly part to do – having to sew so close to the top of the slit and just catch a few threads was a challenge but going slowly definitely helped. I used the zipper foot for top-stitching as it was easier to sew close to the seam with this foot rather than the standard foot.
For the collar I used the method on Four Square Walls blog. I read this a while ago and it seemed manageable and I had seen several comments about how well it worked, so I decided to give it a go. I haven’t tried any other way so I can’t say that the sew along instructions wouldn’t have worked as well – but I found my notches had ended up a bit off centre so I had to move the collar off the notches to get it even on both sides and I feel as if this method probably allowed me to adjust for this more easily.
So I am a day late but I have finished my first Archer – three days start to finish isn’t bad! I can honestly say it is a fab pattern – it went together really smoothly – the drafting was spot on (notches problem was entirely my cutting) and I really enjoyed the new challenges, particularly as I have had more time to sew over the past week. I am really tempted by View B with the ruffle back now – I found this version through the ArcherAppreciation flickr pool and it is exactly what I have in mind! I bought some lightweight voile today with a drapey version in mind but I may wait a little before torturing myself by attempting that…
Has anyone else been appreciating the Archer shirt?