I’ve finally done it! I first bought this lovely Archer pattern by Grainline months ago – or at least it feels like months ago. It sat on the side waiting to tackled, but it was scary and intimidating with all the new techniques it promised, so there it continued to sit. But this last week I decided I really needed to get on and do it, especially as I wanted to add a collar to my Re-creKate dress and needed to practice. So I picked it up and soon realised that I was making a big fuss of nothing, and it’s really not as hard as all that.
Having said that it still is probably one of the most complex things I’ve made so far. I really enjoyed making it though and the tasks really can be broken down into small manageable steps – perfect when you don’t have much time in the evenings for example.
I made it from some lovely white striped shirting cotton from Croft Mill, unfortunately it’s no longer available. I know a white shirt might be considered boring, but alternatively a crisp white shirt looks SHARP! This cotton is very soft, but sadly also pretty sheer – meaning I have to wear a little top underneath when I wear it. It has lovely stripes that are different sizes and some are… not shiny exactly, but ‘catch the light’? This fabric was another reason why this Archer has been a long time coming. After it’s pre-wash the stripes shrunk more than the rest of the fabric resulting in weird puckering (Annoyingly no photo evidence as it’s on the camera, which I can’t get photo’s off yet, believe me it was BAD). No amount of pressing would help. Then when I decided to persevere anyway just so I could make a wearable muslin and see how it fits, the iron did this to it! Grrrr!!!
This mixed with failing to match up the stripes perfectly on the button band made me put the Archer aside for a few weeks. I think we both needed some time apart.
Miraculously, when I picked it up again last weekend the wierd puckering had totally fallen out! I gave it another go and this time it came together quite easily. Although it sure does like to stretch out of shape! A lot of steam was used to bring it back to shape as any kind of handling meant the fabric not only frayed like crazy but it became so misshapen!
I decided to make view A as I’m not sure I’m a fan of that bum flap thing. I really like the shape of it, it’s loose and relaxed but not too roomy, just the right size collar – not too big, not too small. It’s a pretty perfect shirt. Although, stupidly, when cutting it out I decided not to add any length. Seeing other people’s versions I thought it would be long enough, but I was wrong! It needs another couple of inches in length at least for my liking, and the sleeves are too short – another inch needed there. Duh! That’s my usual alteration, not sure why I didn’t bother this time…
This is it since it’s been handwashed again to get rid of the ironed on stain and, despite the length, I have to say I’m pretty proud of it! It’s not a perfect shirt, (and looking at these photos needs even more of an iron!) but for a first go I think I did ok. I’m particularly proud of my pattern matching on all seams, my french seams at the sides (the seams need to look neat as the fabric is semi-sheer), the collar – my first collar!, and the majority of the top-stitching
In terms of the instructions, I thought there were ok. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled with the last couple of items I’ve made which had very in-depth instructions, but I found these a little confusing and basic at times. I found I had to read a few of them a couple of times before they made sense, and with the collar a lot of fiddling was needed till I had any idea what was going on (even watching the online videos). Luckily the sewalong instructions really helped, although I swear at times they give slightly different instruction to the pattern… It is likely that my confusion is due my lack of knowledge, as this was my first shirt, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!
Overall I’m pretty chuffed. It might not be perfect but it’s not too far off, and will get worn with pride I’ve paired it with a (sorta) high waisted skirt for work today, so you’d never know it was a tad short, I’ve already got compliments
I’ve just bought some yummy patterned cotton which is intended to be a sleeveless dipped hem version for my upcoming holiday. Fingers crossed second time works as well!