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!

0612161322

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!

Striped Shirt-36

“ALL THE STRIPES” Archer

Striped Shirt-38

Pocket + Buttons

Archer Collage 4

Side views

Striped Shirt-26

Back view, plus nature

Striped Shirt-49

A perfect shirt for Puppy Playtime, obviously!

Archer Collage 2

Insides!

Striped Shirt-10

Artful front view

Striped Shirt-8

“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:
Striped Shirt-27

Attempting to use both pockets at once. #nailedit

Striped Shirt-41

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!

Striped Shirt-12

“YOU’RE A MONKEY, DEREK!!!!!”

Striped Shirt-15

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

Striped Shirt-17 (1)

Flailing

Striped Shirt-23

Having a Narcissus moment

Striped Shirt-29

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

Striped Shirt-34

Messing with the buttons

Striped Shirt-50

Mulder learned to levitate for this picture.

Striped Shirt-55

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

“Mads” for Marfy 3093 (aka B*tch Made A Button-Up)

Howdy, internet people!

I have a thing to show off–hooray! This particular thing is one I’m rather proud of, because it’s from a Marfy pattern. Marfy, if you are uninitiated, is a line of patterns that tend to be the purview of more adventurous and/or advanced sewers. They can be purchased in a few ways: via the Vogue website (not all Marfy patterns are available that way), the Marfy website (again, not exhaustive), or by ordering their annual catalog (see Marfy’s website). When you order, you get only one size; the pattern arrives pre-cut, folded into a rectangular packet. The kicker? No seam allowances, no hem allowances, and NO INSTRUCTIONS. You’ll get markings for grainlines, notches, buttonholes, etc., and a few hints as to where certain pieces attach to one another, but that’s it. Apart from that, Marfy tend to offer beyond-a-beginner patterns, and some of their stuff is really complex. Their bridal patterns are legendary. Once I saw a version of this blouse–3093–at poppykettle, I knew I had to have it. A few weeks ago I bought a big piece of heavier-than-average chambray at a lady’s stash sale for $3 with this pattern in mind–behold!

Front--plenty of buttons!

Front–plenty of buttons!

A better view of those sleeve tabs

A better view of those sleeve tabs

Back view; how about that curved yoke??? <3

Back view; how about that curved yoke??? ❤

Full-length shot

Full-length shot

Hanging out with my shirt and my blurry dog...

Hanging out with my shirt and my blurry dog…

I made a straight size 42 in this pattern with no adjustments whatsoever, apart from some extra length at the bottom. (I did make a muslin first.) 42 is the smallest Marfy size this pattern comes in, and even though a 40 would be closer to my measurements, I ended up liking the roominess of this size.

I’m going to come right out and say it: this pattern was not difficult! I think that’s down to the fact that this isn’t one of their more advanced patterns, like a cocktail or bridal dress; I mean, my skills have improved quite a bit since I finished my first-ever garment back in 2013 (which, OMG, simultaneously seems like it was yesterday and forever ago!), but I am not prepared to give myself that much credit for this pattern resulting in a great shirt. The drafting was absolutely excellent, which is in line with Marfy’s reputation. One word of warning though, if you feel like making this exact pattern: it is LOW. LOWWWWWWW. Camisoles are mandatory, folks. Unless of course you have a life and/or job where your bra and tits are allowed to show their faces at will, in which case, I fucking envy you.

My

My “My tits should not be this close to showing in public” face.

I even wore my loudest bra–blue leopard!–for this shoot, thinking it would show up when I demo’d the low front. And while my bra decided to be camera-shy, trust me: we were close. Tom made sure to note that any time I moved, he could see it. So keep this in mind if you pursue 3093.

**WARNING: Word dump imminent.**

So, even though I am inclined to give the exceptional pattern most of the credit today, I did take quite a lot of care with this project. We’re talking chalk outlines, thread-tracing those chalk outlines, and marking all important items with a different thread color: think buttonholes, the roll line for the lower collar, the shoulder position (which was very necessary because of the yoke–no shoulder seam!), which side of the sleeve was the front, pocket placements, etc. After all that, I went through and added seam allowances with my seam gauge. I did 5/8″ everywhere, to facilitate french seams. I added 1″ of sleeve hem allowance and 1 1/2″ of body hem allowance. The bias hem facing only ate about 1/2″ of that, which is good because I needed that extra 1″ or so.

I drafted a back neck facing–the pattern does NOT have one–for a cleaner finish in that spot, and I am very pleased with how that worked. The undercollar got put on the bias to ensure a good roll. I interfaced the upper collar, but kept my interfacing out of the seam allowances. Looking back, I sort of wish I had interfaced the front facings as well, but I gave those roll lines a good press and am happy with how they sit. This, along with the above paragraph, was all stuff I did before sewing one stitch on the machine! Needless to say, this project felt like it took forever and I expended a lot of mental energy making sure my prep work was up to scratch. And it’s just a chambray shirt!!! 🙂 But it’s a Marfy chambray shirt, so I wanted to make sure I gave myself every chance to be successful. Which reminds me: PRESS YOUR SHIT, guys. It’s so important and it makes a huge difference. I pressed every. single. seam. I sewed on this blouse and was amazed at how much more professional everything looked once that step was done.

When it comes to construction, I did my french seams nearly everywhere that I intended to, with the yoke seams at the front being my most shameful exception. No good excuse for that one, guys–I got really caught up in making sure those front pleats faced the right way and utterly forgot to french that area. The back yoke was another tricky spot, so I just pressed the yoke seam allowance under and edgestitched that motherfucker. The armscyes are another area I didn’t french, but that was according to plan–I didn’t feel like messing with that, frankly. I know it’s possible, but I felt like I’d done my fair share of tedious bullshit for this shirt already. For all these un-frenched areas, I zig-zagged the seam allowances close to the stitching line and trimmed them down. I tell myself that, from far away, it looks like serger stitches. LOLOLOL. 😉

The only photo I have of the innards, for some reason

The only photo I have of the innards, for some reason

As for instructions, I double-checked myself only one time (yay!), and that was to make sure I sewed the sleeve tabs to the appropriate side of the sleeve, since I’d never made them before this. They go on the inside and your buttons go on the outside, FTR. 🙂 (The post I referred to was on Dixie DIY; I literally just needed to know which side of the sleeve to sew the tabs to, and one look at the post of hers that came up on Google made it obvious. Yay!) If you have some solid garment construction experience, and especially if you’ve ever successfully done a collar and facing insertion, you can absolutely handle this blouse. Although, if anyone wants to know what I did here (order of construction, etc.), just ask in the comments and I’ll share. I just didn’t want to make this textbook of a post any longer than it is already!

I guess the moral of the story here, apart from “Mads has a new shirt to parade around in, hooray!”, is that you should not be afraid to try something just because you know it might be hard. Maybe don’t start with fabric that has sentimental value or that you would be sad to ruin, but just get in there and try things. As long as you learn something, it was probably worth doing. If you get to a point with your sewing where you think, “Gosh, this pattern seems difficult, but I feel like I could do that,” then DO IT. Personally, even though I think this pattern was simple enough for me to tackle, I felt AMAZING when I looked at the finished shirt and realized that I had done a good job on a Marfy pattern. Finishing this project has even made me reconsider how I “rate” my skills…I have always considered myself a beginner, but I’m wondering now if I have finally surpassed that classification. Do you categorize your sewing skills this way? Did you have that “ah-ha!” moment when you realized you had crossed over to the next level?

We had another great shoot for this blouse–Tom really likes taking photos!–so here are some extras. (And seriously, I say “shoot,” but this whole process took 15 minutes at most.) Some are silly, some are “arty,” and one of them (of me, mid-strip down) is both. 🙂

“Haven’t you guys ever seen an album cover? You’re supposed to be standing in random places, looking away like you don’t care!”

“Dude, what were we doing again?”

“Mulder, come here!!”

“Good boy!!!!”

Is my dog the only one obsessed with lipstick??

Is my dog the only one obsessed with lipstick??

My dog should be a model...

My dog should be a model…

Sunbeam

Sunbeam

Artful strip-down: A Lifetime Original Movie

Artful Sunset Stripping: A Lifetime Original Movie

What, you mean you don't flit around your house like this??

What, you mean you don’t flit around your house like this??

If you’re still with me, thanks so much for checking in with my silliness–see you soon! ❤

Supplies:

Approx. 2-2.5 yds chambray
9 plastic buttons in two sizes (courtesy of a lovely sewing friend)
Marfy 3093
White Gutermann polyester thread