Tag Archives: Archer

Project Sewn: Hello, Dolly!

4 Feb

All right, dudes and dudettes – Project Sewn is up and running! This first week, the theme is Style Icon.

I’m just gonna be real with y’all – as soon as I saw that challenge, my personal motto started rolling through my head. The thing is – I don’t have a style icon. I honestly don’t have a person (or designer, or whatever) who I use as inspiration for my outfits. I mean, I like the way lots of celebrities dress and I’m no stranger to the siren song of a good Joan Holloway outfit, but as far as picking a particular person… naw. I don’t even know, y’all. In the end, I decided to go with someone who I admire as a person who just happens to have amazing style….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Dolly Parton!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I mean, who doesn’t love Dolly, amirite? She’s such an incredibly smart, funny, generous – and not to mention talented as HELL – woman… a true icon in my book. Speaking of books, have you ever read her memoir, My Life and Other Unfinished Business? Or heard about her program Imagination Library, which sends free books to kids to get them excited about reading? Or, hell, have you been to Dollywood?? This woman, she is amazing. She’s not just a style icon for me – she’s a real life icon, the kind of person I want to emulate.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Plus, Dolly (specifically circa 60s-70s) was no stranger to an overly decorated/borderline tacky western shirt. And, dammit, I wanted a western shirt! I’ve actually been looking for an excuse to sew one for years.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I made my entire outfit, obviously, but let’s talk about the shirt first. My fabric is a tiny check gingham seersucker from Mood. I used the Archer as my base pattern (lol, poor Jen, probably never thought her pattern would get used to make this sort of monstrosity SORRY JEN I LOVE YOUR PATTERN THO), and made a few modifications, beyond my normal ones of changing the sleeve placket, narrowing the side seams, and a different method for attaching the collar and collar stand. There’s quite a bit of piping, since we all know it’s not a real western shirt without gratuitous amounts of piping.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Adding the piping was really fun, and definitely adds some pizazz to an otherwise plain shirt. The piping at the back yoke and top of the sleeve cuffs was easy – I just sewed it along the seam allowance before attaching the other pieces. For the front yoke, I had to do a little bit of drafting and figuring out – I ended up tracing the front piece and cutting off where I wanted the yoke to hit (right above the pockets) and then drew my scallops with a french curve. To attach the piping, I first sewed it to the bottom of the yoke, clipped and trimmed and pressed and it toward the wrong side, and then laid the yokes on top of the front piece and topstitched along the piping. The raw edges of the piping are enclosed inside the yoke, so the inside of the front of the shirt is perfectly clean except for a line of topstitching. I think it worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Once I had the shirt entirely assembled, less the pearl snaps and hem, I hung it on a hanger and stared at it for over a month. What to do next? I liked the way the effect was going, but it clearly needed some embroidery at the yokes to give it that western flair. I realized at the point that the tiny gingham check was working against me – any embroidery was going to get lost in all that action.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I had my epiphany right before I fell asleep one night – APPLIQUE! That would show up against the check, and it would still allow me to involve some of the embroidery I so desperately wanted. I knew I still had a piece of vintage barkcloth in my stash that would be perfect (I used the majority of it for my birthday dress a few years back, and have been hoarding the remaining yardage ever since!). I painstakingly cut around each rose and leaf, arranging the pieces so they would be mostly mirrored at the front, and attached them with fusible web to the yokes. Then I hand-embroidered around every piece – partially to keep them attached to the start, but mostly because I just loove the texture of hand embroidery!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I am pretty freaking THRILLED with how it turned out, what do you think??

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The last thing my shirt needed was a little bit of pearl snap action! I got mine from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall experience. I actually bought both red and black pearl snaps, but once I got the shirt finished, black was the clear winner. Also, I just really love hammering shit in my sewing room, ok.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Ok, now let’s talk about the pants! I used a Theory stretch denim from Mood and my pattern is McCall’s 6440. This is my first version of this pattern (you’ve already seen my leopard pair, ooh la la), and I went through a BIG fitting curve with these. I initially cut the size 8, based on the finished measurements – and they were huuuuge! Pretty much every thing about them sucked except the crotch curve, basically. I spent an entire evening trying on, pinning, basting, trying on, repinning, basting, trying on… ad nauseam. I’m happy that they worked out in the end – they are SO fun to wear, and look super pin-up, yay! – but getting there was a process, plus the insides are full of thread tails from all that basting. Oh well!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Some gratuitous butt shots for ya. You’re welcome.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Oh, yeah, and in case you were wondering – I can also wear this shirt untied with the sleeves rolled down, like a proper Archer, which makes it much more wearable in day-to-day life 🙂

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now at this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Ok, fine, but where the hell are you going to wear that thing, anyway??” Guys. Guys. I live in Nashville. I’m not so stuck up my own butt that I’m not above rolling down to the tourist district and getting my Honky Tonk on. Let’s be real – Honky Tonkin’ is the best part about living in Nashville, as far as I’m concerned. OF COURSE you can go dancin’ in normal people clothes, but why the hell not throw on your best western digs and cowboy boots and dress the part? This being made of seersucker is even better – it’ll be much more comfortable come summer, compared to my RTW black cotton western shirt, especially with the looser style.

I’m also going to wear it just for the heck of it because, well, it’s awesome 😉

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Also, in case you were wondering – I DO have cowboy boots! I just thought this outfit needed a little tone down from the ~country~, hence the Keds 🙂

Ok, hope you’re ready for some detail shots… I took a million :\….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The waistband of the pants is faced with more gingham seersucker. I love when my pants match my top, even if it’s only on the inside!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Don’t look too closely, but the embroidery on the front yokes is actually not a perfect mirror. Since the flowers weren’t printed to mirror, I had to get super creative with my cutting and appliqueing on one side, but I think it worked out quite nicely!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Sleeve placket + pearl snaps + piping = ♥

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Yokes

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Embroidery – the flowers are outlined in a 4 thread split stitch, and the leaves are outlined in a 2 thread chainstitch. I love the effect and textures with the applique and embroidery – it’s just a little bit Alabama Chanin.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Snaps to anyone who sat through this entire post! I have one gift for you, which I found while I was trolling the nets for Dolly inspiration (click for source):

dolly parton style inspo

NOW do you see why I chose her as my inspiration? God, I love that woman.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now head on over to Project Sewn and see what everyone else has been up to! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

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Tutorial: Matching Plaids Like A Boss

17 Oct

I know this is going to make me sound like the biggest dork ever, but I loooove matching plaids. It’s really fun and it makes me feel super smart when I get all my lines to match up. I know a lot of people are skeered of dealing with The Plaid (or The Stripes, or the Gingham, or the Buffalo Check for that matter), but I promise they’re not hard to sew! It just takes a little prep, a bit more attention while cutting, and then you’re golden!

Plaid Negroni

The first think you need to do is determine what areas need to match, and what you can get away with cutting on the bias to avoid matching. My biggest #1 tip for plaids is cut whatever the fuck you can on the bias. It breaks up a monotonous pattern, it creates visual interest, and it saves you a few matching sessions. Generally speaking, the parts that go bias tend to be pockets, the yoke and the button placket (on a shirt), princess seams (on a dress), under sleeves (on a jacket) and waistbands (on a skirt or pants), as well as anything that is a small detail (such as pocket welts).

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

A couple things I never cut on the bias – sleeve plackets (those shits are fiddly enough without throwing bias in the mix), shirt cuffs (tends to be too busy; just accept that the lines won’t match up all the way across and get on with your life), collars and collar stands (you can’t see the collar stand, and a collar doesn’t have to match up to the lines on the shirt if there’s a bias piece underneath it. And, again, too busy). It should go without saying, but try not to sew bias pieces next to each other. They are good for breaking up the lines, but use them sparingly!

Gingham Shorts - front

Once you’ve determined your bias pieces, now is the time to locate all the seams that need to match up. Generally, it’s not very many – for my Archer, I matched the side seams and the sleeve seams. The back yoke, pocket and button placket were cut on the bias, and the remaining pieces (collar, collar stand, sleeve placket) were cut without any matching. Sounding easy so far? Ok, let’s get cutting!

Now, just a head’s up – I don’t cut my plaids on a folded layer. I know a lot of people do it that way but I personally have never ever had any luck with that method – there is always oneeee line that is slightly off, and ugh, do not want! So I cut my shit on a single layer whenever I can get away with it. This goes the same for bias pieces (if your piece is on a fold – like the back yoke – trace it so it’s a full piece and cut it on one layer. Trust me.).

1 matching plaids

Of course, there are some pieces you have to cut on the fold – like the back for the Archer shirt. Start with this piece. Fold just the amount of fabric you need, being very careful to match up every single line (and now you realize why I cut shit on the single layer, right? This part is maddening!).

2 matching plaids

Once you’re satisfied with how everything matches up through both layers, pin the selvedge down so the fabric won’t shift. Cut out your pattern piece and clip all your notches.

3 matching plaids

For the next piece – in my case, the two front pieces – open out your fabric so it’s a single layer. Take the folded piece you just cut and open it up (hope you marked those notches, buddy!). Line up the side seam – the part that needs to match – with the plaid lines on the fabric. Get it so it’s totally even and basically plaid camouflage.

4 matching plaids

Then take your front piece and align it on the fabric so the side seams match, from underarm to hem. I know it’s hard to see the in the picture, but the piece I’m holding at the bottom is my back piece, lined up with the remaining fabric.

5 matching plaids

Make sure your notches are aligned on the same bit of plaid, and then cut your one front piece. Don’t forget to clip your notches!

6 matching plaids

Now take the piece you just cut – the front piece – and flip it over on the single layer so the pieces are mirrored with the same sides together. Take care to match the lines on every single cut edge.

7 matching plaids

If you squint your eyes and can’t see the piece you pinned down, you know it’s matched up there perfectly.

Once you cut this piece, you should have two front pieces that are a perfect mirror image of one another – this means that the side seams will match the back on both sides, as well as the center front matching (since it’s a mirror).

I’ve found this technique to be much more successful as you have complete control over the matching and cutting since you are doing everything on a single layer (so no unhappy fabric-shifty surprises when you open up the pieces). And bonus – cutting a single layer means you use less fabric. Seriously! I think I eeked that Archer out in like, less than a yard and a half of fabric. Crazy talk, y’all!

Also, I should probably point out now that once you’ve cut all your pieces, you don’t have to give any other thought to matching the lines as they should perfectly fall into place. Yay for mindless sewing that looks difficult!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Now go forth and match up those plaids like a BOSS!

boss
Man, this shit will never not be funny to me.

Completed: Plaid Flannel Archer (+ Draping winner!)

10 Oct

Finally, a successful Archer button-up – in my dream plaid flannel, no less (seriously, I keep eyeballing all the other colors… do I take the plunge and buy them all?? Because I want to!)

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I am pretty proud of this shirt, so let’s be honest – there are lots of pictures in this post.

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Although the more I look at these pictures, the more they appear to just be the same picture at a slightly different angle or pose. Oops 😦

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

ALSO, please forgive my awful editing and how the color changes in every picture. I bought a new photo editing software with my new laptop (Corel Paintshop Pro, if you’re curious!) and I’m still trying to get used to it 🙂 BUT HEY, I can edit out zits and stuff now, so that’s pretty freaking awesome!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Anyway, ok, let’s talk about this Archer I made! Using my failed linen Archer as a wearable muslin, I shortened the sleeves by about 1″ and left the body length intact (you’ll recall that the linen one I ended up cutting too short. Or maybe you don’t recall, see if I care). I think my sleeves are still a little long, but I also anticipate this shrinking more in the dryer (I only washed the flannel once before cutting, sorry, I was just excited!) so hopefully they won’t end up too short!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I also made the pocket smaller! No rhyme or reason to how I did it, I just eyeballed until it looked “right.”

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Making this shirt was super fun, from cutting (what can I say… I love matching up plaids haha) all the way through sewing. I forgot how much I love sewing really precise things like button-down shirts. Makes me want to sew another shirt for Landon, maybe. What’s funny is I actually caught myself starting to rush through the construction of this – not because I was on a deadline, but because it’s starting to get cold and I wanted to wear this shit nooooooow – and I decided to force myself to slow down by sewing flat-felled seams instead of just serging the seam allowances off. Even the arms are flat-felled. I’m so glad I did, because the end result turned out pretty fabulous if I do say so myself.

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I cut the back yoke, pocket, and front button band on the bias. Everything else is straight and painstakingly matched. The only boo-boo I made was that I put the button band on the wrong side – oops! I originally chose the opposite side of the flannel as the right side, then changed my mind when I started sewing. Since the front pieces are not mirrored, this meant I had to compromise my button band side. Oh well, I am just pretending that it’s actually a men’s shirt, haha!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

At any rate, the side seams match up beautifully. Look at that shit!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I changed out the buttons for pearl snaps, so I can hulk my way out of this shirt when the urge strikes. Funny thing about those pearl snaps – they actually started out white, and while it looked ooookay, it also just looked like I bought the wrong color pearl snap. I can’t get black snaps locally (and DAMMIT that I SAW them in Chicago and was like “nah I don’t need that” lol oh Lauren, hindsight is 20/20 or some shit) and I couldn’t wait sooo… I painted these with black nail polish. Black glitter nail polish, to be precise. Hey, it works!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I sewed the size 0, as I did last time, except the side seams are sewn at 5/8″ instead of the pattern’s 1/2″. This makes for a slightly (very slightly) smaller fit.

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

The collar stand turned out fucking perfect, which I’m VERY proud of! I followed Andrea’s tutorial and I had no unpicking with that method. I’m sold, and Andrea, I owe ya a beer for that. Thanks bb♥

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

I also changed out the sleeve plackets and used the ones from the Negroni pattern. I just think these look so much better with the flannel check, plus they are more conductive for rolling up sleeves. I also find this type of placket easier to sew. Man, I love sewing plackets.

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Oh, I also made my leggings! You can’t really see any detail because they are black, wah, but I did make them! I used the Ooh La Leggings pattern and a black ponte knit from Mood Fabrics. My take on ponte leggings – AWESOME. So so awesome!! I actually wore these when I traveled to/from Chicago (so, 18+ hours total) and they were SO comfortable – and they actually look like pants! Guys, I am so sold on these.

I don’t have much else to say, so have some pictures –

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Glitter buttons, yeah? 🙂

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Collar stand pride~

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Placketz

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Flat-felled seam, curved hem

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Proof that these are actually leggings and not some black blob.

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

This outfit has basically become my fall uniform. Seriously! The flannel is so warm and cozy – and easy to throw on if I’m chilly (which is always. Yes, I have worn this shirt every day since I finished it, don’t judge me). I am really happy with how both turned out, and definitely plan on making more. Question – is it really dorky to make me & Landon matching plaid flannel shirts? Because I’m totally about to go there.

One last thing – We have a winner for the Draping book! Random number generator, who do you choose?

random

yaywinner

Congratulations, Jennifer Stephenson! I can’t wait to see what vintage recreations you end up making!

Completed: My First Archer, A Linen Disaster

5 Sep

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!

Archer Shirt
(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!

Archer Shirt

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.

Archer Shirt

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).

Archer Shirt

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!

Archer Shirt

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.

Archer Shirt

And this is what happened. The fuck is that bump sticking out there? What the hell is going on?

Archer Shirt

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.

Archer Shirt

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.