Tag Archives: button-up

Completed: Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt

11 Jun

I finished this shirt about 2 months ago but am just now getting around to posting it! I have worn it TONS since finishing, and it’s definitely one of my 2018 Summer Staples.

Linen Kalle Shirt

This is the Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns. I made the dress version in linen last year, and I wore it a LOT, so I was interested to try the shirt for this summer. It’s a basic little collared/buttoned shirt that has plenty of options (exposed or hidden placket, collar or no collar, cropped or long), and I like the nice loose fit paired with the banded kimono sleeves. I always felt so pulled together when wearing the dress, and I figured the shirt would make me feel similarly.

Linen Kalle Shirt

I did make a few changes to the pattern due to fabric amounts & personal preferences. Having sewn a few Closet Case Patterns in my time, I find the cropped version of the tops to be VERY cropped. I measured the length of this top and realized it was going to be too short for me to comfortably wear, so I added an extra 2″ of length, which makes the finished top reach right at the waistband of my pants (the shorts I’m wearing in these photos are just thrifted jeans that I cut off, FYI, but they hit close to the same spot that my Ginger jeans do). I added length to both the front and the back, however, I thought the back looked ridiculously long once it was finished so I chopped that added length back off. The back is still longer than the front, only not as dramatic now.

The other changes I made were due to fabric shortages, as I was working with a very small piece of fabric for this shirt. I had an offcut piece of medium weight white linen that measured out at less than 1.5 yards (I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was definitely less than the suggested 2 yards that the pattern calls for), which I was bound and determined to use. It was just *barely* enough to eek out the main pieces of the shirt, and I did not have enough fabric to cut the facings or the pocket. I made an executive decision to finish the hem with a bias facing (made of an entirely different fabric – cotton lawn to be exact) and leave off the pocket.

I can’t say for certain, but I believe the fabric came from an Elizabeth Suzann sample sale last year (hence the weird size). It’s a nice medium weight linen that feels wonderful and also does not wrinkle as much as the lighter weight linens – it’s actually very similar to the Vivaldi Linen from The Confident Stitch (I think the Vivaldi is slightly softer, but that also may be because I’ve washed it more), if you are looking for a good sub 🙂 (and go back a couple posts to my OAL Announcement for a discount code that’s still good as of this writing :)). This shirt has done really well with traveling especially – the worst wrinkling I get is at the collar, which I usually end up fixing with my flat iron 😛 As you can see, it does rumple a bit but I actually like that.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Sewing up the shirt was easy – I’ve made dozens of these sorts of patterns, so I feel like I can almost do it in my sleep at this point. The seams are flat-felled and there’s lots of satisfying topstitching (albeit white). I realized about halfway through that the shirt really, really needed that pocket – I think it just looks barren without it. But, y’all, I am not exaggerating when I say that I had fumes of fabric leftover after cutting. You’d think I’d be able to squeeze out a pocket – it’s a tiny piece, after all – but I was playing some serious Fabric Tetris as it was and the leftover pieces were miniscule. After thinking on it for a minute, I realized I did have a couple of pieces that were about half the size of a pocket… so, again, I made an executive decision and decided to sew them together to make a full sized piece that I could then cut the pocket out of. To make this look a bit more intentional, I flat-felled the connecting seam. I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with this save; the shirt looks great with the pocket and that flat-felled seam look intentional as fuck amirite.

Hemming was a whole other beast that I had to work my mind through before I came to a solution. I usually just hem my curved woven hems with a bias facing – it creates a beautiful finish with minimal effort – but the way the side seams are curved on this top doesn’t work terribly well with bias, it really needs a facing. Especially when you are connecting that to a flat-felled seam (which would otherwise be hidden under the facing). I ended up hemming the front and back separately, then clipping the side seam and bartacking it down over where the curved side meets. One thing I didn’t consider is that the seam allowance for the hem (due to the facing) is 5/8″, and you sew a bias facing on at 1/4″… so my side seams have extra seam allowance and thus overlap differently than the pattern intended. It’s not a bad thing, but it is different! Something to keep in mind if you decide to omit the facing and use bias instead.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

It looks cool buttoned up all the way, but let’s be real – I won’t wear it like this, like, ever haha

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

The aforementioned side seam with overlapping curves and a bartack!

Linen Kalle Shirt

My cool little pocket 😀

Linen Kalle Shirt

I think that’s all for this little shirt! I’m surprised at how much I love wearing it – it’s been in regular rotation since I’ve finished, as it’s light and airy in the heat but still looks very pulled together – and I get loads of compliments on it. I’d love to make another in a different color or even a patterned fabric, once I find something suitable. Making collared shirts is so much fun!

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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 😛 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 😛

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? 🙂

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.

Completed: Pink Flamingo B5526

27 Mar

Another sleeveless B5526! Betcha didn’t see that one coming :B

B5526 Flamingo

I am pretty certain I’ve shared this pattern enough times that it definitely absolutely does not warrant another blog post, but, oh well. My blog, my rules, my pink flamingo shirt haha.

Some very brief info for anyone who is just dropping in for the first time:

  • The pattern is Butterick 5526. Yes, it is my favorite shirt pattern. I’ve made it over and over and over again. It’s a great, versatile pattern that is easy to fit and easy to modify. I lurvs it.
  • I originally cut a size 6, but have made several additional modifications – including shortening the length of the body and making the sleeves full-length (that is, when I add sleeves. Ha).
  • I have only made view D, which has the princess seams. I am sure the other versions are nice, but view D is the only one I have experience with!
  • I have finished my shirts with both flat-felled and French seams. Yes, you can do both on sleeves. Totally possible. I am living proof right here.
  • In other news, I think my sewing machine could sew this thing SOLO at this point.

For those of you who have seen every version of this shirt I’ve made over the years, here’s another one for you to enjoy!

B5526 Flamingo

Isn’t this pink flamingo lawn the cutest? I bought it ages at Craft South, aka where I work a couple of days a week. It’s from the Cotton+Steel Les Fleurs Collection, one of the pieces from their Rifle Paper Co collaboration. I had actually put myself on a fabric-buying ban just that morning (thinking I had enough beautiful fabric that I needed to actually use without buying more) and then this shipment came in. What do you do when you are presented with pink flamingo lawn? YOU BUY THAT SHIT. I got 1.5 yards and I’m glad I did, because it sold out quite quickly!

I’m not generally a fan of Cotton+Steel designs – I appreciate what they do, and I think their fabrics are lovely for quilting – but even the rayons and lawns tend to look, well, quilt-ty (except that cherry print rayon I got a couple of years ago, which is equally gorgeous and ooh I can’t wait until it warms up to wear again!). I think the collaboration with Rifle Paper Co was incredibly brilliant – pretty much all the pieces sold out as soon as they hit the shops – but again, too quilt-y/floral for my tastes. But these flamingos totally appealed to me. They’re kitchsy and novelty without looking too much like I made the shirt myself.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

When I buy fabric, it’s about a 50/50 even split on whether or not I have a pattern in mind. I try to always have a plan, but sometimes you end up seeing something fabulous that just needs to go home with you RIGHT THEN and you will figure out the logistics later! But for this piece, I knew it would be a great button-up shirt. I actually prefer my button-ups to be in a drapier fabric – soft chambrays and silks are tooootally my jam – but a crisp lawn is also wonderful to make and wear them with. Since I knew I would be making this shirt for summer – aka without sleeves – the 1.5 yards I bought was plenty. I actually cut the pieces within a week or so of bringing the fabric home… and then it just sat for months. ha!

I eventually finished the shirt in February (seriously, months… according to Instagram, I bought that shit back in AUGUST hahahaahaha), when we were having this weird warm spell of 70-80 degree days. I figured if it was gonna feel like summer, I might as well dress the part! Of course, it immediately went back to frigid here, but after that Freak Snow we got at the beginning of March, we are creeping back toward warmer days. Which means I’ll be prepared now!

Part of the reason why I waited so long to finish this shirt is because I was stuck on a few details. I had considered adding piping (Rosa had just been released and I was feeling mad inspired by the black piping detail), but I wasn’t sure what fabric to use to make my self-piping – silk crepe in my stash, or go buy something? How big should the piping be? Where exactly do I want to put it? What should I use to finish the arm holes? Also, I had just finished 2 other button-up shirts and was feeling really shirted-out at that point (that’s totally a thing). So I shoved it in my not-technically-a-UFO-because-I-haven’t-actually-started-it box for a few months. I am glad I waited because I am quite happy with all the design decisions I made!

B5526 Flamingo

I did end up using piping – just around the collar and outsides of both button bands. I made my own self-piping, using 1″ bias strips of silk crepe (ultimately, it was the right color/weight and what I had on hand, so I went with that. I prewashed the silk ages ago, so the shirt should launder up in the machine fine). For the cording, I found a thick cord in my stash that was made with big twists and untwisted it to get 3 narrower cords. I had originally experimented with flat piping, but it looked a hot mess so I unpicked everything and added the cord.

Sewing piping in was very easy – here’s a tutorial from Tilly that goes over it. I can’t remember the last time I sewed piping into a collar (if… ever?) but it went in flawlessly the second time (first time being flat piping… yaaaaah, don’t do that you guys haha). Piping the button bands was really easy because they are separate pieces, so you’re basically just piping a seam. I topstitched 1/8″ away from the piping with black thread, to keep it in place and also cos it looks cool. I also topstitched all my flat-felled seams with black thread as well, to keep the look cohesive.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

The arm holes and hem are finished with the same 1″ bias silk crepe, to make bias facings. The black buttons are just from Craft South. I bought an extra one so I could sew it on the inside of the button band as a spare, because I am a huge nerd and am delighted by details like that.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this shirt. This was a fun little project and it layers nicely under a sweater, and will look awesome with shorts in the summer.

B5526 Flamingo

In other news, I know my pictures here aren’t that great. I feel like I am experiencing growing pains with my photo situation. I can’t go outside (ok, I can, but I live in a busy apartment building and I’m not gonna. Sorry.), and the lighting is really lacking inside. I just keep moving around my apartment in search of good light. It’s hard to tell how bad it is from the camera screen, and by the time I upload the pictures, I’m like “fuck it, I’m not taking those again” soo this is what you end up with. In the meantime, I guess it gives prime Lurk opportunities in my living space. That’s my living room! The creepy bust staring at me is named Saul, if you were wondering.

Completed: The Archer Popover

29 Dec

Oooh, one last make for this year!!!

Gingham Archer Popover

I made this about 4 months ago, but it was a sample for Craft South so I’m just now getting possession of it to actually wear! I love making samples for the shop – you get access to the pattern + materials for free, and are allowed to sew during downtime at the store – but the trade-off is that you have to leave it at the shop for at least a couple of months. Which makes sense – it is a sample, after all, haha. But it can be frustrating when you have to wait to be able to wear it!

For this top, I used my personal Archer pattern (which we do sell in the shop, but I didn’t want to rip one open when I had a perfectly usable pattern at home), and I downloaded the popover variation. The fabric is Cotton + Steel Checkers, in the 1″ black and white. It’s a nice woven cotton that feels similar to a yarn-dyed cotton – it hangs (and feels!) nicer than a quilting cotton, but it does have a dense weave that still makes it have quite a bit of body. The checkers are woven, not printed, so the design is the same on both sides of the fabric. I did take this fabric home and prewash it before actually sewing the sample – I wanted to be sure it got its shrinking out of the way before I cut it up. Actually, I also cut it while I was at home, and fused my interfacing as well. Matching plaids takes some focus and concentration, and there are a lot of pieces to contend with on this pattern. I didn’t want to have to try to juggle cutting/matching while also dealing with customers as they come in and out of the shop, so it made more sense to tackle that part of the project at home away from distractions. But all the actual sewing did happen while I was at the shop!

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

I’ve made lots of Archers in my time, so there’s not much to say that I haven’t already said. I made a size 0, and followed the instructions as they are written. This particular version is a bit different in that the button placket doesn’t extend all the way to the bottom of the shirt – hence, that it’s a popover, not a button up. The variation pack includes a new shirt front, a new front placket, and a different sleeve placket, as well as the instructions you need to actually sew them in. It’s been a few months since I made this top, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I recall the instructions being easy enough to follow. I do remember that I did not like the instructions or pattern pieces for the tower placket on the sleeve – I found that whole process unnecessarily fiddly, although it did turn out nice in the end. Personally, my favorite way to sew a tower placket is by way of the Colette Negroni, it is very straightforward and simple, with a really nice finished result.

Other changes I made to the pattern was to include tabs for rolling up the sleeves (I swiped the pattern piece from my copy of B5526) and different shaped pockets (pattern piece swiped from the Negroni). I cut the gingham on the straight grain as directed, except for the outer yoke and pockets, which were cut on the bias. The inner yoke is also cut on the straight grain, to give the bias side some support. I didn’t get any photos of me with the sleeves rolled down, but they are full-length.

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

There were 2 reasons why I wanted to make this particular shirt – one, I really liked that Cotton + Steel fabric and I wanted to sew something out of it; and two, I wanted an excuse to bust out some fancy machine embroidery. I love embroidered western shirts, hence the inspiration for this one. Because I work in a sewing machine shop and we have several models out on the floor to play around with, I went straight for the Rolls-Royce of the bunch and did all my embroidery (and sewing, for that matter!) on the Horizon Memory Craft 15000. Y’all, we sell this sewing machine for a little over $10,000 (yes, all those zeros are supposed to be there). It comes with a fucking IPAD. It’s a super badass machine that I’m going to confidently say will never ever be in my personal budget to own, but you bet your ass that I’m gonna take advantage of the fact that I can sew something on it right now. Ha! Honestly, it was actually a good thing for me to sew this project on that machine, because it gave me lots of time to play around with it, learn how to use the embroidery features, and get comfortable sewing on it. I can’t imagine anyone would ever want to buy a sewing machine from someone who doesn’t even know how to use the thing themselves, so it was beneficial for me to learn all that in shop downtime. Also, I have a new shirt from it. Yay!

Anyway, that particular sewing machine comes with a bunch of pre-loaded embroidery designs, plus you can download (or create) more designs and upload them straight to the machine (either via USB, or with that aforementioned iPad haha). I get too overwhelmed when presented with way too many options, so I kept it simple and stuck with what was available on the machine. This little floral design fit right in the back yoke, although the suggested colors were a little weird (those were easy enough to change, obviously). I made a few practice pieces to get a feel for the finished size and also how the embroidery goes on, then I embroidered the actual garment piece. To do this, I first cut my piece and fused a piece of interfacing to the back to stabilize it (this isn’t 100% necessary in all cases, but since that piece is on the bias, it was needed). I used my sample piece to determine where the machine would start the embroidery, and centered my pattern piece in the hoop with tear-away stabilizer. Then you just turn the machine one and let it go to town! I can’t remember how long the embroidery took – we turned the speed down and let it roll on in the background while we worked – but it wasn’t super long. The machine will stop when its time to change the colors, and thankfully its also smart enough to pick up where it left off if you run out of thread or have to stop the embroidery for any reason.

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Other than that, sewing was pretty uneventful. I finished the rest of the shirt on the same machine, which let me play around with all the available feet and additional sewing settings. It was pretty fun! All the seams are flat-felled, so it looks just as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

Gingham Archer Popover

I think the shirt turned out really nice, however, I’m not super crazy about how much it stands away from my body. I normally like my Archers in a stiffer fabric, but all the others I’ve made button all the way to the bottom, so I can leave them open and wear them sort of like a little jacket.This particular style might do better in a drapier fabric. With that being said, I am hoping the fabric will soften with more washing, as cotton tends to do. We will see! In the meantime, it gave me an excuse to sew something on a machine that costs more than the first 3 cars I owned combined, so that’s saying something haha.

Gingham Archer Popover

Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! 🙂