Sleek Silhouette

Finished! The Archer by Grainline

| 27 Comments

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.
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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.

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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!!!

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It looked worse than this!

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!

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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…
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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 :)
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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 :)
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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!

27 Comments

  1. Ooooh! Lovely;) Such great work! But I dont think I am ready for this yet….:s
    I just finnished my second Mathilde Blouse yesterday, thats right up my alley:D Will post it later today, so “stay tuned!” :D

  2. Love it, so gorgeous! Good work chick. I would totally wear it with a high waisted black skirt if its to short…BAM sexy sheek ;)

  3. It looks amazing! I love this style of shirt in a sheer fabric. Very impressive that it’s your first collar. I also hate fabric that shifts around after you’ve sewn it, I’m glad that yours popped back into shape eventually.

  4. It looks great! I agree – a white shirt is always needed. It’s such a great staple and the fabric you used makes yours unique.

    Your second version sounds awesome!

  5. I also found the pattern instructions a little confusing at times. I thought it was just me. I have yet to finish my archer. I feel like it’s been in the bad sewing corner for too long now. I should really go back to it. I love the fabric you chose! A good white shirt is always useful to have in a wardrobe :)

    • It definitely wasn’t just you, I’m glad it wasn’t just me either! Mine stayed in the bad sewing corner for ages too, I’m glad I picked it back up though I so pleased with it :)

  6. It’s great! I love the fabric, it gives it a classic look with a little edge. I’m with you on the other version, that detail doesn’t do it for me.

  7. Looks great! I love a white shirt and you’ve nailed it, even with the fabric challenges. Nice work!

  8. I think the sheer fabric is great, you’ll be glad of it when it gets really hot (if it ever does) as you’ll be able to keep the sun off. Beautiful shirt, well done!

  9. I was so proud of myself when I finished this pattern. Aren’t bodies weird? I had to take the sleeves up sooooo much and on you they are too short. Makes me laugh.

    Great fabric choice. I was thinking about a white linen one, after seeing this one I think I’m going to do it.

  10. This is fabulous! I must admit I’m still a bit intimidated by this kind of shirt – collar, plackets, pockets, etc but you’ve totally nailed it. And gorgeous fabric. I bet you get loads of wear out of it.

    • I was totally intimidated too, but it’s actually pretty simple, I’m really pleased with it now. Give it a go :)

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  12. Still catching up on unread posts…

    But this is great! Your pattern matching is great, which must have been difficult with such a tricky fabric and it makes for a very pretty shirt.

    I’m sure someone has already mentioned this (sorry, can’t be bothered to read all the others’ comments) but most people who have made this, including seasoned sewers, have mentioned that the instructions are not overly clear, particularly on things like the collar and the cuffs – it’s what’s put me off this pattern so far, so give yourself a break on that one.

    Great job. I’m sure you’ll get lots of wear out of this!

    • That’s actually really good to know, that it’s not just me :) Now I’ve made it once it’s makes sense, thank goodness. I love this shirt now, I’ve worn it so many times.,

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