Remember that Monet of an Archer I posted with my lime green Maritime shorts the other day (which turned out totally awesome, and yes, that’s me tooting my own horn, toot toot)? Remember when I said I was too traumatized to talk about it any further? Well, I think I feel like dishing today. Let’s dish!
(I took these pictures at the same time as my last batch – hence the exact same outfit – but I moved to a different side of the yard so they’d look a little different. That’s how much I love y’all. Also, this is pre-skeeter attack, fyi).
Ok! This is the Archer from Grainline Studio. I cut the smallest size and shortened the hem (too much, it looks). I think my relationship with this pattern has definitely gotten off to a rocky start, but I’m willing to give her a second chance. Funny, I thought this style looked horrible on me when I checked myself out in the mirror, but it’s not so bad in pictures!
I made this using some scrumptious Ralph Lauren linen from Mood Fabrics – doesn’t the idea of a floaty linen button-up in September sound so luxe? Nice and airy for the AM, but you can roll the sleeves down with the sun sets. Also, I just really love navy and I needed a shirt to go with my new aforementioned shorts, so I was feeling pretty confident about myself. So confident, I sliced directly into the linen without the benefit of a muslin or even reading the directions carefully. Oops.
Now, don’t get me wrong here – I don’t think a shirt like this necessarily requires a muslin, so to speak. It’s fairly loose-fitting and very forgiving in that sense. However, I do think a shirt like this requires the correct length when it comes to the body and the sleeves, and I think it is kind of a bad idea to dive into something so precise as shirtmaking without giving yourself a few test runs before you get into the good stuff. These were my mistakes. Had I made a little mock-up, I might have had the chance to try out that collar deal before I done goofed it up, ripped it out, realized that the linen was fraying at an alarming rate and oh god what have I done.
Also, the sleeves are way too long and the body is a bit on the short side (the latter isn’t the pattern’s fault, I just got a little too slash-happy with the scissors).
With all that being said, I actually really enjoyed sewing this pattern – it’s very precise, with all the top-stitching and perfect pressing, the kind of thing that I find SO relaxing to sew. Rather than get bummed that I made a shirt that isn’t up to my personal sewing standards, I consider this a muslin and I can’t wait to start my ~real~ version. The instructions are clear, albeit brief (if you get stuck, there is an entire sew-along with plenty of words and pictures), and every piece fits together nicely.
I know. The shirt looks fine in the pictures.
Which is why I took close-ups of the bad parts. You know you wanna see!
My first fuck-up was the top stitching on the button band. True, it’s not tooooo bad, but it’s definitely crooked. I’m not even sure how I managed to get that seam so crooked, but a crooked seam means crooked top stitching which means sad button band.
If you zoom in, you can even see an errant line of stitching running straight into a button. What is this I don’t even.
Then I tried to attach the collar stand.
And this is what happened. The fuck is that bump sticking out there? What the hell is going on?
And here is the crowning glory, which I obviously saved for last. This is what happens when you sew the collar stand wrong, then try to unpick it, then realize that the fabric is unraveling and now you have no seam allowances so you just sew haphazardly across a few points and hope for the best. It’s wonky and terrible and I can’t even button the top button. OOPS.
Speaking of buttons, the button holes *do* look nice. Thanks, Bernina!
If you were wondering, here is what I plan on changing for my next version:
- Shorten the length (although maybe not quite as much as this one!)
- Shorten the sleeves – they are WAY too long on me, like, the cuff starts below my wrist. I actually did not even bother sewing the buttons on the cuff here because they are so laughably long, I figured I’d just roll these up 4evs. But for my next version, I need to get the sleeves the proper length.
- Change the placket to a more traditional sleeve placket (such as the ones on the Negroni pattern). The ones on this shirt are much more simple – just a little binding, which isn’t bad, but I like the fancier look of the Negroni.
- I think I need to take out some of the width of the back, it’s super blousey on me.
- Draft smaller pockets; these are a little overwhelming on my frame.
- Get that god-forsaken collar stand under control, I mean, WOOF.
If you were also wondering, here are my suggestions should you decide to tackle this pattern yourself:
- MUSLIN IT. If you feel confident in your fitting skills, you may skip this, but I strongly encourage you to at least make a mock collar/collar stand so you can get an idea of how this shirt gets put together. You may also want to consider measuring the sleeves against some sleeves that fit you, unless you prefer the perma-roll.
- Don’t make your first version in linen. Just… don’t.
Despite an iffy start with this pattern (which I’m chalking up to user error), I think it’s a keeper and I will be making this shirt again. It’s a lovely design and a fun pattern, and I’ve already sourced my dream plaid flannel. I have an entire outfit planned around this pattern in that fabric, ain’t no one gonna stop me.