Completed: Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt (+ Announcing the Sprout Sew-Along!)

23 Feb

It’s that time of the year again – when we start our spring sewing in a desperate attempt to hurry the warm weather up. And by we, I mean me.

While it’s still a little warm here – not quite shorts and tank tops warm, but no-socks warm – I know that we’ll get at least one more cold snap before the temperatures steadily start rising. So while my wardrobe needs to maintain a bit of coverage, I’m using lighter colors and designs that look decidedly more spring than my standard black and grey winter wear.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Like giant tropical leaves. Now THAT is a spring statement, amirite

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

As the title of this post says, this shirt is the Archer button up from Grainline Studio. But wait, there’s more! I ordered my fabric from Sprout Patterns, meaning I got to choose the fabric design as well!

I feel like most people are pretty familiar with Sprout Patterns at this point, but in case you aren’t – owned by Spoonflower (beloved on-demand printer of fabrics, wallpapers, and more) – Sprout offers the same on-demand fabric printing but with the additional twist of also printing your pattern pieces directly on the fabric. This not only makes cutting a breeze (no giant flat table space needed – just sit at your couch and cut along the solid lines), but it also gives you total control over pattern placement without the additional brainbending. There are a few catches to this service – one, you are limited to the patterns they have on their site; two, you are also limited to the types of fabrics they offer; and three, having the pattern printed on your fabric does not leave room for flat pattern adjustments – but overall, I think the pros absolutely outweigh the cons.

I’ve heard of this service before – both through blogs and website ads, and also because one of my students at at Workroom Social class actually works for Spoonflower (!!!) – but I hadn’t actually tried the service until now. This year, I’m cooking up some fun plans with Spout pattern and Spoonflower (Spoiler: It’s a class. More info at the end of this post!!), so they offered to send me one to try out!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

The Archer shirt works in a variety of fabrics, with the most common/easiest ones being the Basic Cotton Ultra and the Kona Cotton Ultra. While the cottons are definitely great, I love being difficult and asked if I could instead try the Polyester Chiffon. I really love this style of shirt in a soft, drapey fabric and I REALLY loved the idea of the cutting being way easier since the pieces are printed on the fabric. I made a size 2, View B (with the butt ruffle, because, butts) printed on Spoonflower’s Polyester Chiffon. The design is Monstera Leaves. You do have the ability to create your own design, but I’ve learned over time that I am decidedly NOT a fabric designer and would rather use something already made by someone who knows what they are doing. I chose this design because I liked the predominantly dark colors over a white background – it feels breezy without actually being super see-thru – and, of course, who doesn’t love some big ass tropical leaves?

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Some notes about this fabric:

  • Polyester is not something that gets a lot of praise in the sewing community, present company included. To be completely honest, I generally HATE the stuff. Hard to wear, hard to sew, sweaty pit dump USA, etc etc. I gave this one a chance because, one, there were no other options for sheer drapey fabric (no silk!); and, two, I thought the sheer chiffon would offset the fact that poly doesn’t really breathe. I am happy to report that my hunches were right, and I actually really enjoyed working with – and now wearing! – this fabric. It’s a great quality poly, feels very nice against the skin, and while I can’t yet report on its heat-retaining properties (it just ain’t hot enough here yet, y’all), I can say that it’s been really pleasant to wear on our warmer days. It also took really well to pressing, so no problems there.
  • I told you this shirt is chiffon, and it is. I should also tell you that I’m only wearing a bra underneath it – no cami. It’s only slightly see-thru, and even then mostly shadows. This chiffon is slightly thicker than some chiffons I’ve tried – almost like a double chiffon – and the dark colors also help with preventing a peepshow. Not having to wear a cami under this really helps me feel, you know, ~breezy~.
  • Chiffon can be tricky to work with, as it is very lightweight and VERY shifty. My first combat against this was to get the pattern via Sprout, which saved me the drama of worrying about whether I was cutting the pattern pieces on grain. Since the fabric has the pattern pieces printed directly on it, cutting is WAY easier – seriously, you can just sit on the couch and cut it with scissors like you’re making a paper snowflake (this was me, in case you were wondering). My other combat for dealing with the chiffon was to soak the entire yardage in a gelatine mixture before cutting, which stiffened up the fabric to more of an organza weight/hand, making it much easier to cut and sew. I talked about using a gelatine mixture in this blog post (and here is the method I used on the Threads website), and ugh you guys it is is a LIFESAVER. Made the fabric soooo much easier to manage, and it washed right out when I was finished with the shirt (machine wash cold, normal dry). If you want to try a tricky pattern like this in a tricky fabric, I really encourage this method – it was one of the easiest experiences I’ve ever had with chiffon! Like, even my sleeve plackets look amazing. Super stoked.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Anyway, I LOVE how this turned out! The soft, drapey fabric – the shape of the shirt – and the leaves offering a bit of modesty so I can continue to be immodest ๐Ÿ˜› This shirt looks equally good with the sleeves rolled up or left down, with the front buttoned or unbuttoned (ok, I guess THEN I’d wear that cami), or even knotted into a crop.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Some additional sewing notes:

  • I used French seams to construct the shirt, 1/4″ for each pass (for a total of a 1/2″ seam allowance). Since the fabric is so sheer, I like how the visible seams look this way.
  • I used black thread for constructing and topstitching, and a new 70/10 microtex needle for this lightweight fabric.
  • For interfacing, I made a few test swatches (there is plenty of extra fabric around the perimeters of your pattern pieces that is ideal for this use) to determine what would work best. I ended up using this lightweight woven fusible interfacing (from Workroom Social), which was a perfect match for the chiffon – it offers enough support for the collar and buttons, but it is light enough that it doesn’t interfere with the drape of the chiffon. And since is it white, it brightens up the white background of the fabric without looking super obvious. I also considered interfacing the back of the yoke for this same reason (since the yoke is a double layer of fabric), but I found that I actually preferred the look of the 2 layers so I left them as-is.
  • Like I said, this chiffon pressed without a problem. I use a gravity feed iron (affiliate link) with a shoe, which works the same as using a press cloth. This allows me to press at a high heat without melting my fabric or giving it a weird shine. I definitely do not recommend trying to sew a shirt like this in a fabric that won’t hold a press, however, this fabric didn’t give me any issues!
  • Buttons are just plain black plastic buttons from my local fabric store. Nothing fancy there!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Ok, so here’s the fun part! I was sent this fabric + pattern by Sprout patterns, in preparation for a workshop that I will be teaching at Spoonflower! Here are the details:

Spoonflower presents the 2018 Sprout Sew-Along with Lauren Taylor (also known as Lladybird)! With the help of Lauren and her sewing expertise, students will be led through the construction of a Grainline Studios’ Archer Button Up from start to finish using their custom printed Sprout Pattern. Our intimate class setting ensures all students the chance to get one-on-one instruction from Lauren as we tackle this wardrobe staple. This class is sure to build your confidence in garment construction! We hope you can join us!

Class fee includes the printed Archer button-up, and there is an early bird discount for those who register before March 3! The workshop is April 6 – April 8, and will be held at Spoonflower Greenhouse in Durham, NC. If you’ve been wanting to tackle this pattern but feel a little overwhelmed with the steps, this is a great opportunity to have a little bit of guidance and hand-holding for your first go! While we will be sewing exclusively with the Kona Cotton Ultra for this class (just because we gotta speed everyone along so we actually finish in two days!), it will give you the skills you need to try this pattern later with a more complicated fabric – such as the polyester chiffon ๐Ÿ˜›

You can find all the details of the workshop – as well as sign up – here!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

A side note about the sunglasses – it was very bright outside and I thought I would pretend like I was a fAsHuN bLoGgEr. Suffice to say, I am not happy with how these pictures turned out (and I had to delete more than half of them because it bothered me that you could see the tripod in my lenses haha) but I also don’t care enough to retake them. No more sunglasses photos for me. It weirds me out that you can’t see my eyes. Oh well, you live and learn!

**Note: The fabric for this shirt was given to me by Spoonflower, in preparation for my workshop with them in April! Will I see you there? ๐Ÿ™‚


29 Responses to “Completed: Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt (+ Announcing the Sprout Sew-Along!)”

  1. Abbey February 23, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    Ermagherd, Lauren!!! THIS IS SO BEYOND FABULOUS!!! Love it! And congrats on the Spoonflower/ Sprout Collab!!! I’m going to be patiently waiting to hear how you and this fabric holds up in actual heat though…

    • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

      I wore it on an 80 degree day and itโ€™s been done! I think itโ€™ll be too hot for super warm Esther (but, I also hate wearing sleeves in temps over 90s so take that as you will), but it is awesome for warm days with a slight breeze ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. dobbs1222 February 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

    WHAT?! This is a game changer! All of my tiny-skull-&-crossbones-on-sheer-fabric-shirt dreams are about to come true!!!! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

  3. heather February 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    love your blouse! didn’t know about sprout – thanks for the info! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:23 pm #

      You are so welcome! Go forth and prosper with this knowledge ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Julie Culshaw February 23, 2018 at 5:17 pm #

    Your shirt looks great, and your sewing skills are top-notch.

  5. Kimbersew February 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    Awesome! I’ve got to try the gelatin trick. Did it gum up your iron shoe at all? Did you avoid steam? thanks!

    • Chris Griffin February 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm #

      Seconded on how did you iron with the gelatin? Cause I have some great chiffon that I havenโ€™t sewn because holy shifty fabric Batman! Plus, I can totally afford gelatin ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

        No issues with ironing – it doesnโ€™t gum anything up or come out with steam. 100% recommend this method for washable fabrics ๐Ÿ˜€

    • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:24 pm #

      Nope, I treated it totally as normal – including ironing – and there were no after affects. Steam and everything, it was fine!

  6. diaryofasewingfanatic February 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm #

    This is tooo funny because I loved the pics of you in the sunnies! Also your hair is looking good, girl! I like the new longer length. Finally, I’m sure the class is going to be great and I hope you get a lot of sign ups.

    • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:24 pm #

      Thank you, Carolyn! Miss you!! โค๏ธ

  7. KathleenS February 23, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    That’s a great shirt Lauren! It’s also a really good idea about getting the chiffon with the pattern printed on. I wish Spoonflower would offer some softer fabrics in natural fibres. The cottons are pretty stiff.

    • LLADYBIRD February 23, 2018 at 9:27 pm #

      Yeah, I wish they had softer natural fabrics but I understand their limitations. The poly has worked well for me so far and the price point is great!

  8. Jonathan Caswell February 23, 2018 at 9:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    gorgeous redhead in creative high-rnd clothing equals a winning combination. But then I’m partial to redheads! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Becky Thompson February 24, 2018 at 7:04 am #

    Beautiful blouse Lauren! And congrats on the gig with Spoonflower. I’m in the process of using them to print a map of Port O’Connor, Texas where we have our coastal home onto some canvas. Then I’m going to whip up tote bags in said canvas and sell them at a local shop for scads of cash to weekenders from Houston with nothing better to do with their oil money than spend it on super trendy locally made bags. LOL Like over $100 each. Cha-ching! Love Spoonflower!

    • LLADYBIRD February 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

      haha awesome!! Sounds like a win win for everyone involved ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. liz-o-matic February 24, 2018 at 7:18 am #

    Very nice! Turned out gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on the gig with Spoonflower! I grew up in the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). If you have the time you should check out Mulberry Silks in Chapel Hill, super awesome local fabric store in a gorgeous old mill building! I always end up spending WAY too much money there when I’m back in town visiting the folks. They also host classes if you *hint, hint* wanted to pick up another gig in the area….say a jeans making class??? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD February 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm #

      Ohhh yes, I didn’t even think about Mulberry silks! I’ll definitely want to visit them. I don’t think I’ll be able to do another class this time around (I’ve already booked my ticket, and plus, it’s a pretty short notice at this point!) but it would be cool to meet them and check out the shop ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. PsychicSewerKathleen February 24, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    So beautiful! You’re right “who doesnโ€™t love some big ass tropical leaves?” :)) especially in a chiffon blouse? I bookmarked the Threads site re gelatin and I just might give it a whirl. I am a silk fiend and have as a general rule avoided the super slinky varieties but they do call to me tantalizingly…

    • LLADYBIRD February 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

      They are my favorite fabrics to wear, but not necessarily to sew! This method of stiffening them first does make it sooo much easier, though!

  12. ule February 24, 2018 at 11:41 am #

    It looks great! The print is totally my cup of tea. But I don’t wear synthetic fibers except in performance wear (I cycle). I don’t like that they shed microplastics in the wash and that they trap odor.

    • LLADYBIRD February 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

      I don’t typically wear synthetics either, but every now and then I like to shake things up a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Eleyna February 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

    LOL!!! Sweaty pit dump USA. I live there sometimes because I love wash and wear camis. I love that you chose view B of the archer for this, totally femmes it up even more.


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