Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Archer Hits the Bullseye

Just under the wire, here's my MAGM offering for April; the Archer Button Up Shirt by Grainline Studio. The pattern comes as a PDF, which you tape together and then trace. The actual pattern pieces run to 36 pages, but slapping them together really went pretty quickly, and all the little markers lined up very nicely.

Being the brick that I am, I traced a size 6 up top and graded down to a size 2 in the hips.

This is the most precise garment I've ever tried sewing. It's a real shirt, with a collar stand and cuffs and a button band and everything.

What they say is true though: this pattern is very nicely drafted and the instructions, plus sew-along, were so detailed and logical that I feel like I did a pretty good job!

Front view, worn here with a pair of Clovers from pre-blog days
You know how you notice things in photos that you don't see when you look in the mirror? The sleeves look too long here, but they feel good in real life. In any case, I usually wear my sleeves stylishly rolled up when I'm out and about.

Side view
I really like the fit everywhere else though. It's slim enough not to look sloppy but generous enough to look casual, maybe even a bit raffish. The perfect boyfriend shirt.

Back view
I used a cotton shirting (Italian!) that I got at Stone Mountain & Daughter while on a recent weekend in the Bay Area with The Man and his brother. Brother was sweet as pie. He accompanied me to the store and gave me advice on fabric weight and color. He was a lawyer in Chicago before he retired and is still quite the snappy dresser. He knows what a good button-up shirt should be made of.

Dang, should have clipped those threads more carefully before the photo session...
The fabric is a muddy green, with a very subtle navy blue stripe. I tried to pull out the navy by using some dark blue buttons. It has a somewhat crisp hand and a close weave that probably makes it super durable. I can also tell you it has no ease whatsoever. Thankfully, the pattern has you sew in the sleeves flat before seaming up the sides, and there's very little ease in the sleeve cap, so even this sturdy, professional-grade shirting worked out just fine.

My attempt at a Burdastyle model pose. Notice how you can't see the shirt much at all?
I'll probably wear it more as a light jacket than as a shirt. In my old age I'm trying to be more conscious of how much sun I'm getting. Kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, but what can you do? In my youth, tanning was all the rage. Anyway, a light, loose layer with a collar and long sleeves should be just the ticket for summer sun protection.

I also bought a length of shirting in black with a very subtle lavender stripe. It's destined for the version with the back ruffle. Or maybe that would be better in something with more drape? Some stash-diving may be in order!

My pattern review is here on PatternReview.com


  1. The shirt looks good, Nancy, and should work great as a light layer this summer. I'd agree that the sleeves are a little too long. That's a pretty common complaint about the drafting, judging by all the reviews I've read. The Archer has been on my list of to-sews for far too long. Gotta get to it!

    1. Thanks! I've seen a couple cute versions that have short sleeves, or no sleeves. I may swing that direction next time!

  2. Fantastic fabric and shirt. Looks great on you. This is one of my favorite patterns....the sew a long is the best! I also like to wear my like jackets.

    1. Thank you! Archer does seem like a basic I'll use again and again. Plus it taught me how to do some basic shirt techniques. Definitely worth the money!

  3. Very nice Archer, Nancy. Practical and good looking. I answered the questions you posed for the Liebster award—thanks so much again for nominating me, I'm very pleased to know someone enjoys my blog.

    1. I love your sewing trick answer - both the general "take your time" and your trick for a perfect hem. I'm going to give that one a try on my next skirt for sure!