As Autumn approaches I’ve become very aware that I have very few weather appropriate clothes – almost nothing with sleeves! Having gotten used to wearing mainly home sewn clothes over summer it feels like cheating to go back to RTW. I have therefore been sewing like a mad woman
to avoid all my uni work to sew a more useful wardrobe! I seem to have gone a bit shirt crazy, and decided to sew not one, not two, not three, but FOUR shirts/shirtdresses. I thought four might be a tad much for one post, so here are the two Archer’s I made. and I’ll show you the other shirt dresses in another post
I have made a few Archers in the past (here, here and here) but they have never fitted quite right, and I finally worked out why. This is a lesson in always checking the ‘fit to page’ box when printing your patterns. I am normally soo very careful about this, but my computer makes it tricky to do this and I guess one of the first times I printed with it I forgot to uncheck this box – meaning my Archer pattern printed too small, Grrr! I finally printed it all out again, properly, and hey presto! The pattern now fits perfectly without any alterations SO be warned, check the ‘FIT TO PAGE’ box and untick it! I feel a bit stupid…
My first shirt was made with a teeny tiny black and white polka dot cotton. I bought pretty cheap cotton for this which means that although it was a breeze to sew it’s not the softest against my skin (not compared to some the other versions) but it’s still wonderfully wearable. There’s not too much to say about this version, other than it fits really nicely and was very enjoyable to sew! I think shirts may be my favourite item of clothing to sew as they are so intricate with so many different elements to perfect – I can totally get my perfectionist geek on!
Speaking of which, here are some details. Since I topstitched everything in black thread it’s almost impossible to see it but hopefully you can see a bit on the cuffs.
I have now made so many of these that I feel I could make shirts in my sleep! However, I should mention that the instructions for the Archer are very clear and easy to follow, and if you need any help there is a fabulous sewalong on the Grainline blog. I only stray from these when adding in the collar stand, which I find fiddly if done the way Jen recommends, so I follow this tutorial instead.
If there was one thing I might change about this shirt it’s that it feels a little poofy at the back. It feels too big. I think this is in part due to the difference in my back measurement and my hip measurement – my hips are much bigger! Therefore the shirt is a bit tighter here, throwing the proportions off.
I therefore decided to make a change in my next version – a blue chambray shirt! I have wanted a chambray shirt for forever, I think it might have to be compulsory for every sewist to make one? haha. And WOW I love this shirt! I love the colour, I love the symmetrical pockets, I love the cream stitching against the blue. LOVE! This really is an excellent pattern. The only change I made to the pattern this time was to omit the pleat on the back piece below the yoke. However, this omits two inches from the whole back piece – which I need when it gets to my hips – so I graded out an extra inch (to where the pattern would be if I had not taken out the pleat) from the waist to the hips.
This completely reduced the poof at the back of the shirt and makes it far more stream lined, Fab!
Some of the topstitching isn’t absolutely perfect, but it’s good enough you’ll have to excuse the creases, this stuff does not stay crease free for longer than a few seconds!
You may think I’ve had enough of shirt making for now (and I kinda have) but I have another, slightly more glamorous version planned and I think I’ll remove the pleat again, I’m also thinking about slimming down the sleeves, and possibly increasing the length. I can’t wait to see how that version looks! Stay tuned for my shirt dresses too (I know you can hardly wait ;))
I still have more autumn sewing planned but these will keep me going a while longer Have you started autumn/winter sewing yet?