Tag Archives: a gathering of stitches

Completed: Linen Archer Button-Up

11 May

Does anyone remember my first linen Archer shirt, and the disaster that it was? Like, I don’t even think I wore that thing out in public one time. I’m pretty sure it went straight to Goodwill, where a less discerning eye was hopefully excited to find it. Hopefully.

Well, I always said I’d revisit this pattern+fabric combination again, once I’d had a little more practice with it – and here we are! I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly 4 years to actually get around to making that linen button-up of my dreams, but better late than never, I reckon!

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Basic details first: This is the Archer button-up from Grainline Studio. Sewn up in a size 0, with all my former modifications (shortening the hem, shortening the sleeves, and also adding a tower placket to the sleeve instead of the bias placket, which I’m sorry but I just don’t like). I’ve made this shirt several times, so if you want more in-depth info from an earlier version – check out this tag! The only former modification that I did NOT make to this version was to sew the side seams at their 1/2″ seam allowance (all my other versions, I used a 5/8″ seam allowance for this, to make the the body a smidge narrower. But for this one, I kept it as-drafted).

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Ok, boring shit out of the way – what makes this one so special is the fabric I used! Omg you guys. It’s hard to convey in a photo – even harder with these less than sub-par ones I have going on (and yah, I’ve already started packing for my move at the end of the month. Backgrounds are about to get a lot sadder ’round here haha) – but this particular linen is one of the prettiest solids I’ve ever seen! It looks like a basic chambray from a distance, but once you get closer – it’s really more of a periwinkle blue, with a definite purple sheen to it. I am not a huge fan of purple – and honestly, wasn’t a huge fan of linen until recently (something about getting old idk but god bless I feel like I sweat more than ever now, which is disgusting I know) – but this one is pretty freaking special.

I got my magical linen from South Street Linen, waaay back in 2015 when I was in Portland, ME for my first retreat at A Gathering of Stitches. We took an impromptu class field trip to the shop after we’d been told there was a linen sample sale going on… and DUDES WHAT A SAMPLE SALE. So many amazing pieces of absolutely beautiful linen, priced according to their yardage. You couldn’t get the pieces cut, but it was easily enough to split with someone else (we’re talking bundles of 6-10 yards per piece, so some people split 3 ways and still had tons). I personally got 2 pieces myself – both shared splits – and this is one of them. It’s been so long that I don’t actually remember what I paid, but I’d guess probably $30-$40 for 3 yards. Maybe less, again, I don’t remember!

Again, these pictures do not do this fabric justice – but it is even more beautiful in person. It’s also incredibly soft – not rough at all like some linens can be. It’s a slightly heavier weight, too, which means it’s more opaque and a bit less prone to wrinkling and fraying. I’ve been sitting on this piece of fabric for a very long time, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I’m glad I waited! I like the idea of having a summery button-up shirt (I’m not opposed to wearing my flannels in the summer, but this just looks better, yeah?) that is made of a nice breathable linen, with long sleeves that can protect my skin from the sun and/or insects (seriously, Morgan had one of these in Peru and I was SO JEALOUS of it!)…. or more specifically, air-conditioning, ha!

Construction-wise, this was waaaaay easier than my first linen attempt. I suspect part of that has to do with my now experience sewing this type of pattern- and part because of the fabric itself. Being a heavier linen means it is less shifty and less prone to fraying, which made the entire experience a BREEZE to navigate.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

An unexpected perk of this style is how good it looks when it’s unbuttoned to be borderline scandalous. Since I’m not rocking much in the boob department these days, I can totally get away with these things hahahaha.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

A few more minor construction notes: the shirt is finished with flat-felled seams, for a neat and durable finish. I did add a tower placket to the sleeve, as mentioned, so it would be easier to roll up (I use the placket pattern piece from the Colette Negroni pattern, but there are other options available). I also added button tabs (nabbed from my copy of B5526) to further aid with rolling up the sleeves (sorry, I didn’t think to take a photo of them rolled up – but you can see a shot here on my Instagram). The topstitching is off-white, and the buttons are just standard off-white shirt buttons, nothing fancy.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

I guess that’s all for this make! I have already worn it several times since finishing (hence the wear-wrinkles in my “modeling” photos – but as you can see, it doesn’t wrinkle that much! And there are pressed fresh-off-the-sewing-machine shots on my dressform, if you’re a hater of wrinkles!) and it’s been a nice and cool alternative to my standard cardigan. I like that the purple makes it a little less plain than an ordinary chambray, yet it’s still a really versatile color that can be worn with most of my wardrobe.

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Completed: Vanilla Latte Socks // +My sewing retreat at AGOS

2 Nov

I am on a sock ROLL these days, you guys! Trying to up my sock drawer game before the cold weather really sets in – there’s nothing like a cozy pair of hand-knit socks to keep your feet warm! Not to mention, socks are THE BEST travel knitting project. I love that the project is small enough to fit in a Bento Bag (my Bento Bag is actually homemade and pretty terrible looking, but this is the one I want and HINT HINT MOM CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT HINT ::ahem::) so I can carry it around in my purse for whenever the maker’s urge strikes. Plus, I don’t need to carry several skeins of yarn to complete the project – or lug around a huge half-finished piece (as is with the case of a sweater). AND, sock yarn makes a great travel souvenir. Done and done.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m going to skip out of order and share my most recent sock project first (oh yes, there’s an unblogged sock project before this one hahaha) because I also want to talk about the trip I took while I was working on sock #1 from this pair! Oh yes, these are totally my travel socks.

But first, I will talk about these socks a little bit more! The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks, which is a free pattern on Ravelry and makes for a simple top-down sock, knit in sock weight yarn. This is one of those projects that has thousands of makes, and for good reason – it’s easy, it’s straight forward, and it makes a really nice pair of socks. I like that the pattern includes different options for knitting the heel flap and finishing the toe. It was a GREAT travel project, as it didn’t require a lot of my attention, but it was interesting enough to knit so that it didn’t get boring.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

For my socks, I knit the size small (I wear a 6.5 shoe) and followed the instructions for the Eye of Partridge heel flap and the rounded wedge toe. I knit the pattern via Magic Loop on circular needles, as I reeeeeally don’t like to travel with DPNS because my stitches always fall off!(even with the little rubber stoppers. Or they poke through the stoppers and stab me through my bag! This happened in Peru with the aforementioned Previous Pair of Socks haha) Changing the pattern to incorporate Magic Loop was as easy as just switching the needles. Seriously. Really easy. Although I would recommend if this is your first pair of socks, follow the instructions exactly as written before you start changing needle type, as patterns written for DPNs will have you put a certain number of stitches on each needle, which can get confusing if you’re a n00b. Once you figure out the anatomy of the sock, though, changing things up is a breeze.

I wanted to try self-striping yarn for this pair, and HOLY SHIT I AM INFATUATED. For those of y’all who don’t know what the deal with self-striping yarn is – those stripes are all the result of the way the yarn was dyed. I didn’t have to switch yarn colors or weave in ends or anything. Self-striping yarn is AWESOME, you guys!! Instant striped socks, wheee!! 😀 And this particular yarn is pretty cool, too – this is Jawool Color Superwash by Lang Yarns, which I’ve never heard of, but my local yarn store totally sold me on it. It comes with a little spool of reinforcement yarn, which you can hold double with your regular yarn to reinforce the toes and heels (or darn future holes with). I reinforced the toes, but not the heels – only because I forgot to when I was knitting the heels 🙂 There are tons of color options for the stripes, but I really loved the unusual color combination of this one. Since it’s fingering weight yarn, I knit the socks with size 0 needles.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I found the pattern really enjoyable to knit, and waiting for the next stripe color to appear was way more entertaining than I could have imagined. I started this pair en route to Portland, Maine, where I had a sewing retreat a little over a month ago. I finished the first sock exactly one week later, while I was waiting in the airport to fly home. The second sock took a couple of weeks to finish – mostly during weekly knitting group meetings, or watching TV with Landon. Not a lot of memories attached to that second sock, ha!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I did want to talk a little bit about that trip, because it was a really wonderful week! As I mentioned, I had a Sewing Retreat held at A Gathering of Stitches (or AGOS, as we call it 🙂 ), which is located in beautiful Portland, Maine. Y’all. I was warned by some people that I’d really like Portland, but I had NO IDEA how much I was going to fall in love with that city! Portland is absolutely amazing – it’s a beautiful town with cool little shops (like an entire shop dedicated to SOCKS, ahh!) and places to eat, there’s a big emphasis on local food and culture, and the place is so small that you can really just walk to anywhere you need. So many cool old New England houses, so many cool businesses, so much amazing coffee (my very favorite was from Tandem Coffee, which of course I brought a bag home and I’ve been trying to drink it as slooowly as possible. It’s the weirdest, yet most amazing coffee I’ve ever tasted. Trust.). If it wasn’t for the awful winters, I would move to Portland in a heartbeat. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t dream about it while I was there. I had my house picked out and everything hahaha.

agos2

So, the retreat was a pretty loose, relaxing 4 day weekend of sewing. I had 11 awesome women who showed up at the studio every morning, and each had their own individual project to work on. AGOS Studios was the perfect spot to have this – it’s a large space, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out. There were cutting tables, multiple irons (including, of course, a gravity feed iron – which I think most everyone was planning on buying one after the week was over haha! Gravity feed irons are AWESOME!), sergers and sewing machines (everyone had their own machine, whether they brought one or borrowed from the studio). Each student was given a little goody bag of small sewing supplies and notions – stuff like seam gauges and tape measures and my favorite Chaco Liner and candy. It was a really good goody bag haha. Samantha (the owner of AGOS) also had a selection of additional notions and fabric and supplies (such as thread and interfacing) on hand in case anyone needed to buy last-minute for their project.

We were provided lunch every day – and it was always something amazing and local, with dessert included. The food was REALLY REALLY good!! We had a “get to know each other and eat pizza” night the evening before the weekend officially started, which was a great way to get to know all the people who showed up, and learn a bit about each other. And we had a multiple-course, incredible farm-to-table dinner at The Well at Jordan’s Farm on the last night. I still have dreams about that meal, tbh.

agos3

All the students who signed up for the retreat were just amazing. There was a huge variety of projects and skill levels – from beginners to people who have been sewing for 40+ years, learning basic construction, tailoring, fitting, and even making jeans (I had 2 students who made Ginger jeans! And another who made some awesome red pants). I wasn’t sure how exactly the weekend would work out, since there was only 1 of me to help 11 people, but it ended up working really well! Everyone was fairly self-sufficient, and while I certainly stayed busy, there was never really a long wait if anyone had a question. People were also keen to help each other out, which is my favorite part because I love eavesdropping in on that shit and learning a thing or two myself! We had one woman at the retreat who wasn’t a student, but just there to check things out the first couple of days – her name is Adele, and she rents studio space at AGOS and is a master at bridal alterations (or, rather, a master at every sewing project she puts her hands on. Adele is amazing!). Adele actually made me a custom sloper; she wants to teach a class on this technique that she perfected and she needed a body model. The accuracy of that sloper was incredible – I think the only fitting we did needed a small change to the shoulder, and that was it. Plus, she drafted it up in about 20 minutes, on less than a dozen measurements (it’s my understanding that body slopers usually need something like 40 measurements). Pretty neat stuff! Plus, I have a sloper to play around with now, yay! 😀

I had such an amazing time at the retreat – hanging out with and getting to know all the awesome people who signed up, and falling in love with Portland! Samantha was really great to work with, we got along right off the bat and she was so helpful with any Portland-related questions I had. Plus, she put together this entire retreat on her own – from the space, to the catering, to booking my AirBNB for me (which was ADORABLE, btw!). I just had to show up on time haha. I’m a shitty planner, so this was perfect for me. While I like doing project-based classes, I really thought the loose layout of this retreat worked out really well, since everyone got to work on projects that they were actually excited about. Plus, it was really fun to go from talking about finishing knits, to hammering in jeans rivets, to figuring out the kinks in a FBA. That might sound stressful to some teachers, but I was in heaven!

agos1

Post-retreat, I took a Megabus up to Boston and spent a couple of days there before flying home (at that airport was where I finished my first sock haha). That was more of a personal trip than anything, so I’m not going to go into detail about everything I did there. I did, however, spend my days with Jenny, where I saw the Appleton Dress pattern right before it was released! And I had Shabu Shabu with a bunch of awesome Boston sewing bloggers! And I had drinks with Norma and we talked about bras! And I got to go shopping at Grey’s Fabric and Gather Here! And I saw robots at the MIT Museum! So yeah, Boston was great!

So yeah, good times in September! Like I said, I reallllly loved Portland, and I am dying to go back! Samantha and I have talked about doing another retreat for 2016, and hopefully we’ll be able to work something out. I really loved doing the bring-your-own-project style that we had going on, and I’m certainly keen to do more. If you’d like to read more about the retreat and see more photos, Sam has a post up on the AGOS Blog about her experience. And if you know of any other places where I should be stretching my feelers about one of these sorts of retreats in 2016 – holler! I’d love to travel more for this sort of class next year, I’m just not sure where to start asking!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m actually headed back out this week for another sewing class – the Pants Making Intensive at Workroom Social! YAY!! I am really excited to see the new space that Jennifer has, and super excited to get to making some pants! Speaking of which, I think we have one more space open in that class – so if you’re a last-minute kinda person and were thinking about signing up, go check it out 🙂 In the meantime, I will see y’all next week!