In Which The Blogger Is Late To The Party

The Archer party, that is. 😀

Hi, everyone! Before I get to the Archer part of the business today, I want to do a quick shout-out to Pattern Review and Creative Publishing International: I won a giveaway at PR!!!!!!! I am the lucky winner of a copy of The Shirtmaking Workbook by the aspirational AND inspirational David Page Coffin–can you hear me “SQUEEEEEEE”ing from here? My very cool and professional reply to PR’s email informing me that I had won began with a solid row of exclamation points. #nochill So thank you, PR and CPI, for offering this giveaway. I will try to do you proud with this resource by my side!

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I’M A WINNER!!!!!!

And appropriately enough, the news of my random victory came during the final stages of finishing up my Archer shirt!

I know that almost everyone else with the internet and a sewing machine has made this pattern, but I’m just now getting to it. I mostly bought it for making flannel shirts for myself, but decided to take a crack at using it for at least one summer shirt when the vintage pattern I was working on proved to be too much of an annoyance. (Seriously, fuck those camp collar/ridiculous facing combos.) I recently bought several stripey fabrics at Mood (who clearly knew that a stripes sale on a Friday the 13th would bring your pal Mads out of the woodwork) and immediately knew which one I wanted to sew first: a denim blue/natural striped cotton voile, which can be found here (for right now anyway).

And now for the big reveal–my favorite part!

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“ALL THE STRIPES” Archer

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Pocket + Buttons

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Side views

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Back view, plus nature

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A perfect shirt for Puppy Playtime, obviously!

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Insides!

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Artful front view

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“Oh, funny seeing you here!”

What do you guys think? I’m really happy with it. It will definitely get a lot of wear this summer!

I took a lot of time to work on stripe matching for this shirt, but it’s fair to say that we had some do-overs before the end, LOL! I had a very specific idea in mind for laying out the stripes (of course) and everything more or less turned out just as I had hoped! The sewn-on right front placket was tough to keep lined up and while it’s certainly not perfect, it’s damn close. Apologies for the styling otherwise: it rained a tiny bit on Saturday night (we did pictures on Sunday) so I wore my big-ass boots for our photo “shoot” to ensure that I could get to any part of the park we wanted. Those boots may not be much to look at, but they are among my favorite things; I got them at the Eddie Bauer outlet like, 5 years ago. $25 for $150ish Le Chameau boots = #winning. And the shorts? I have no good excuses there…making better ones is on my sewing “short” list (HAHAHA GET IT?!?) for sure. 😉

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

  1. I used muslin for my bindings (armholes and hem) and the yoke facing and inner collar stand; voile fabric is light and the show-through from the blue stripes is no joke. (Although shockingly, the shirt isn’t see-through on me; I am not wearing a cami under it in any of these!) I bit the bullet and made my own bias binding from muslin.
  2. This was my first time doing the “burrito method” for the yokes (haven’t dealt with a yoke and yoke facing before now) and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be!
  3. I also used the often-referenced construction order from four square walls for my collar and stand, and I’m never doing it any other way if I can help it–my stand and button bands are perfectly aligned!
  4. I put the pockets on the cross grain for maximum style points. The pockets are my 2nd favorite part of the shirt visually, topped only by my brag-worthy placement of the back pleat, which I can assure you was 100% intentional:
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Attempting to use both pockets at once. #nailedit

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Seriously. LOOK AT IT.

See that?!? Perfectly centered to feature a blue stripe IN THE CENTER of the pleat. BOOM! I’d like to thank my cutting mat, masking tape, clear grid ruler, and obsessive/compulsive tendencies for making this not-at-all-humble brag possible. 😀

Finally, I topstitched the side seams, collar, hem, and armholes; I did edgestitching on the collar stand, shoulders, and back yoke seam. My undercollar is on the bias, which looks AMAZING, but I did not get a great picture of that for you. Seriously you guys, I feel like I could wear this shirt inside-out if it weren’t for the buttons. (Fabric with no “wrong side” makes cutting out and matching things a bitch, but boy does it make the insides look spectacular!)

You probably noticed how few buttons this shirt has (6) vs. the pattern’s recommendations (9). I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want my summer shirts to button all the way up to my larynx. Once I decided on which buttons to use, I opted to start from a decent-but-still-casual location at the pockets and space the buttonholes 2″ apart until I ran out of buttons or made it really close to the hem. The buttons I used are vintage; a friend gave them to me from her late MIL’s stash and I am so thrilled to have found the perfect use for them! I was thisclose to using Size 16 pearl snaps but felt they looked too puny against the 1/2″ stripes on an oversized shirt.

PATTERN NOTES

I followed Grainline’s own recommendations for sleeveless alterations, which worked perfectly. The only other alterations I made were:

  1. Added 1″ of length at the lengthen/shorten lines
  2. Took a slightly smaller hem than recommended (somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″)
  3. Increased my side seam uptake below the underarms.

With respect to that last part, I ended up with about 1″ seam allowances at the waist and 5/8″ at the hip. That’s why the stripes get a little different as you look down the sides. I could have taken more at the underarm as well, but didn’t want to make the shirt uncomfortably snug or create drag lines once the buttons were added later. I don’t think it made much difference though, so I either need to be more aggressive or just surrender to the “wearing a rectangle” thing entirely next time.

For next time (and there will be one), I will omit the cut-on button band on the left front and do it as a sew-on. In a perfect world, I would have had the button band stripes going the same way as the pockets; I just didn’t want the extra annoyance after dealing with the failed vintage pattern (2 muslins and still not right–ugh). I plan to make lots of plaid flannel versions of the Archer, and will definitely want bias button bands for those! 🙂

That about wraps up the details on this one; it was a very simple project apart from the stripe matching! And now for outtakes!

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“YOU’RE A MONKEY, DEREK!!!!!”

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Classic Mads. The camera isn’t tilted, btw: that’s the angle of the slope and tree!!

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Flailing

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Having a Narcissus moment

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Poppin’ the collar so you guys can see the bias effect…kinda.

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Messing with the buttons

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Mulder learned to levitate for this picture.

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Puppy kisses!!!

What’s on your sewing table for the new season? Have you made an Archer? Would a sale on striped fabrics be enough to get you to hit “Add to Cart?” 

SUPPLIES

1.5 yards Cotton Voile, from Mood
~1/2 yard cotton muslin, from stash
6 x 5/8″vintage buttons, from a friend
80/12 Universal needle (should have gone down one size)
Thread

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In Which The Blogger Is A Magpie

Happy Thursday, friends!

Thank you to all those who have commented about Tom’s jeans! Being able to share things (successes and failures alike!) with such a great and varied community of people makes sewing that much more rewarding as a hobby: you guys rock!

Since my last post, I have finished and delivered the two L’il Sharks to their new home. All that’s left now is for their tiny humans to arrive, which should happen in the next several weeks. Yay! I forgot to take photographs of them (#sosorrysostupid) but I used the free pattern provided by Cation Designs here. It is SO CUTE and makes very adorable little hammerheads for the shark enthusiast or baby in your life. (Or your softie-loving dog, if you care to put this much effort into something they can trash in 10 seconds.) The little sharks were very easy to make, and the tutorial linked above is very helpful if you aren’t sure where to start putting everything together. I am certainly grateful to Cation Designs for making her pattern available to the rest of us, and promise to only use my shark-producing powers for good (i.e., I will never make them for profit, per her request). I ask that you please do the same, if you decide to try her pattern. (In other words: Don’t be an asshole.)

The giant shark (using M7103) for the same couple’s toddler is now finished; it will be a birthday gift for her. (Welcome to Toddlerhood: have a shark.) Isn’t it cute?!?!?

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Sherk MkII (Mulder added for scale)

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View from above

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Squishy underbelly!

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‘Sup

I can’t get over how amazing this pattern is–I love it so much! Someday, I shall have a Sherk of my very own. 🙂 I had briefly considered using View B–the Hammerhead version–to coordinate with the baby sharks I made for the gift recipient’s future brothers, but ultimately opted to make the Great White again. (It is the biggest one, and therefore the best.) #noragrets

The plaid fleece I used for MkII (who I am affectionately referring to as sHERk) was a pain: unbalanced and not really on-grain (as far as fleece goes, that is). I realized these things AFTER painstakingly matching large intersections with pins, naturally. Since that part took 2 hours, I decided to just cut it out as-is and not worry about it. I decided to put the fins on the bias for effect, since I couldn’t really match them properly with the body. Had I bought double the recommended yardage, I could have matched everything. But this is a fleece object, and I don’t need extra fleece flopping around my house. I have plenty of scraps left from all this Sharking as it is! (And if I’m honest, this was part of my bias fin motive: do a wasteful layout to use up that fleece!!) And really, this is for a little kid to beat up on and drag around the house: it didn’t seem worth beating myself up over the plaid as long as she enjoys playing with it. I’ll save my sewing stress for clothes! 🙂

So apart from Sharking and summer wardrobe planning/starting (hopefully I’ll be back soon to share some results!), there has been one other BIG, HUGE time-suck happening at the “Mads” House: knitting. Let me repeat that: KNITTING. That’s right folks, this dimwit has learned to knit!!! Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!

Although knitting prowess runs in the family (my grandmother–the same one who quilted proficiently–and my oldest sister were/are both very talented knitters), I never had the desire to learn until very recently. There are two reasons for my sudden interest: Sock People and fucking Brooklyn Tweed.

I follow tons of sewing folks online, and have noticed that many of them also knit; plenty of those who knit like to knit socks, and they waggle those beautiful, toasty tubes of wooly goodness in my face seemingly every day. And as someone who wears socks to bed and inside my boots in the Fall and Winter, I quickly began to covet the pretty socks that everyone was making. When Ginger Makes posted about her foray into sock knitting, I realized that the only way to resolve my bitter jealousy toward these Sock People would be to learn to knit them myself; I even made a declaration of intent in the comments on that post! But somehow, that still didn’t motivate me to start learning immediately. That took the release of Wool People 10, which set alight a dormant lust for big, almost-certainly-frumpy, intricately cabled sweaters that I could no longer suppress. I sent a text to my sewing friend (who is an accomplished knitter as well) stating my intention to learn, starting with socks, on circulars, two-at-a-time. (Hey, I learned to sew on vintage patterns: I would rather jump right in with knitting, too!) And because she is a saint, she volunteered to teach me.

That very weekend, we set out for our local yarn store and got me a set of circulars and 100g of sock yarn. Saint Friend kindly did the cast-on and toe increases for me (stating that it would be too frustrating for my first try) and set me up for two-at-a-time socks; she does them that way too, so it took her all of 5 minutes. Here are a few in-progress shots up to this point:

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Week 1 (aka “Toe Warmer Stage”)

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Week 2

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SO big!!

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Happy feet + pet hair

Aren’t they too cute?!?!? UGH sock yarn is so awesome. I want ALL OF IT. Already, I have 4 pairs worth of sock yarn stashed in addition to the pair I’m working on now. This week, Saint Friend will be showing me how to do the heel turns; hopefully I remember the immortal words of RuPaul as I work! While my saintly friend worked on the cast-on and toe, she handed me some (already cast-on) thick yarn and straight needles and let me just knit back and forth to get the idea. Since, you know, I had literally NEVER KNIT A STITCH before then. O_O I still have that rig in my possession, and plan to use it to practice new stitch patterns…provided that I can tear myself away from my socks! (This first pair is all stockinette, but the self-striping and overall “new-ness” of the experience has been enough to keep me ALL CAPS EXCITED about them.)

Here are some things I have learned so far:

  1. I am a tight knitter. Very tight.
  2. Also, very slow with moderately clumsy mechanics.
  3. Righties teaching Lefties to knit gets complicated.
  4. I need to figure out tension for the first and last stitches in each row on socks, because they turned out loose as hell despite Thing #1.
  5. Knitting makes a great lunch hour activity.
  6. Always keep a crochet hook in the knitting bag in case of dropped stitches.
  7. Saoirse is as good at “helping” with knitting as she is with sewing.
  8. RAVELRY, THO.
  9. 2-at-a-time forever.
  10. Self-patterning yarn forever.

I am desperately excited about this new hobby of mine, you guys. I sleep in socks damn near every night of the year, and can’t wait to have a whole drawer full of adorable hand-made foot cozies to wear. And the craft itself is interesting and complex, which makes it more exciting. Having said that, I don’t know how much of my knitting I will share here apart from occasional pics of the finished things; it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and take a picture, you know? But I’m determined to make a go of knitting, so watch out, Sock People: I’m one of you now! 😀

Do you knit? Any advice for a newbie? Have you ever picked up a whole new hobby because there was One Thing you really, really wanted to make?