Thursday, 10 April 2014

Swiss Dot Archer Shirt

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

Just to warn you, this post is going to get all kinds of photo heavy and talky talky about construction details but I'm so proud of all the new sewing techniques I accomplished with this shirt I'm not going to spare you any of it! I completed this shirt (and actually a shirt for my boyfriend too) before I made my tester version of Pauline Alice's Carme Blouse, so the whole sewing a blouse/shirt thing was entirely new to me. It's is by no means perfect but I feel like I did a pretty great job on this one, especially considering it was my first time sewing most of the major parts of a shirt including, collar, plackets and cuffs!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

So anyway, on to the details. I'm sure many of you will recognise this as the every popular Archer Shirt from Jen at Grainline Studio. I love Jen's patterns for their versatility and wearability; she designs the kind of garments that are handy to have in your wardrobe and that end up being worn over and over again because they work as part of so many different outfits. This is exactly how I feel about this finished shirt and it has been getting a lot of wear, especially as spring finally seems to have hit the UK!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

After seeing so many fantastic makes out there on the internet using this pattern I've ended up with plans for many, many more versions of the Archer, but I wanted a bit of a practise with the techniques before I branch out into anything too wild! This is partly why I chose a simple white cotton swiss dot first one; as well as just loving having a reason to use swiss dot and thinking it would work well with most of my wardrobe. The fabric is from Simply Fabrics in Brixton, in fact the same place that the buttons and interfacing for this project came from. I discovered some amazing reasonably lightweight cotton fusible interfacing there a while back which is a better quality than any other I have used before and it really does make a difference. I bought a fair few meters when I found it but supplies are already rapidly dwindling so fingers crossed they have more!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

I cut a size 4 as I didn't want it to be too roomy around the waist and managed to squeeze it out of 1.5m. I love how relaxed fit shirts look on other people, and may try making one of these up in a drapey silk or rayon, but I didn't love the idea of that style in a cotton on me. It fits just how I like it across the shoulders and back but has turned out just a teeny bit snug across the bust as you can see above it pulling in that area, although that may be partly to do with the way I'm standing. Next time I'll probably cut a 4 at the shoulders, grade out to a 6 at the bust then back in to a 4 at the waist. It's fine as it is for this version though as I've been wearing it mainly open over vests or under crew neck jumpers.

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

I knew this project was going to be a challenge for me so it was quite nice just to relax into allowing myself as long as it took to make it without imposing a deadline on myself. I made it alongside a couple of other less challenging makes so I could step away if I was struggling with a particular aspect and come back to it later with fresh eyes and a bit calmer! It's a really great make to spread out over a period of time as there are small involved parts to it that you can break up into individual sewing sessions. I found the whole thing really satisfying to put together as there's plenty of ready to wear aspects that you can feel super pleased with yourself for achieving. Lots of little pats on the back to be given the whole way through!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

I used Andrea from Four Square Wall's tutorial for 'sewing a collar in a different order' as I've seen this referred to a few times. I can't really comment on how good a technique it is, it being the first stand collar I have ever sewn, but I can say that I found it so much easier than I had imagined it to be! There's plenty of photos and she includes some really great tips and tricks. As an explanation it read more clearly to me than others I looked at and the order of construction just seemed to make sense.

I'm really proud of the collar itself but not so pleased with the collar stand. I gave it a few goes and tried shortening my stitches e.t.c but sewing around those tight little curves at the very front was pretty difficult! I think maybe I need to treat myself to an edge stitching foot at some point as the topstitching on Andrea's collar looks so perfect.

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

With the exception of the collar stand I found the cuffs the most fiddly construction aspect. It was more the binding of the slit and how that joins the cuff than the cuff itself. I've since discovered how to do cuff plackets like on men's RTW shirts which I've managed a much neater finish on and will probably add to the Archer when I make it again. For now I'm not fussed though as I wear the sleeves rolled up most of the time.

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

Is it strange that I really love topstitching? I think it's one of my all time favourite sewing techniques for the professional look it gives. There's plenty of it on this shirt and I love how it turned out, especially around those patch pockets which, can you believe it, I almost left off! I can't wait to make another and get some contrast topstitching going on. Another aspect I had no trouble with were the buttonholes. I used to be so apprehensive and wary of making buttonholes (only my absolute determination to make a Robson coat cured me of my avoidance!) and it's now one of my new favourite things to do. I whizzed through these like lightning!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

I overlocked all my seams on my lovely, shiny overlocker so I'm in love with how it looks inside. Jen's instructions for creating the look of a flat-felled seam without doing one create an awesome finish really easily, even around those pesky armholes.

I think the majority of sewing bloggers have already given this pattern a huge thumbs up and I'm definitely adding mine to the mix. Jen you're a bit of a pattern drafting wizard and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you've got on the way! Now just to decide what to make my next Archer out of...chambray or silk? A floral or a plaid? So many ideas!

Diary of a Chainstitcher White Swiss Dot Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

48 comments:

  1. It looks great Fiona, and good work on all the fiddly bits, they all look really well finished. I've got the pattern in my stash to make up once I find a suitable fabric, so I'll remember that collar tutorial. I think a lovely drapey silk one would look fantastic on you.

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    1. Do make a note of the collar tutorial! I don't think I would have managed anything near as neat as I did without it! I'm a bit hesitant about making up those fiddly parts in a silk but maybe with good interfacing...

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  2. Cute! If you don't have an edgestitch foot, you might be able to use your blind hem foot instead (depending on what your foot looks like), just set it where you want and go. :-)

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    1. Oo good tip! I hadn't even thought about that. I'm going to investigate thanks!

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  3. Such a beautiful shirt! Your top stitching is so neat (I'm a bit envious!). I'm sure it will be a wardrobe staple, you look lovely in it.

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    1. Thanks Vicki! I love topstitching! I can see why everyone loves this pattern now.

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  4. Gorgeous! I love dotted Swiss and this top is perfect. What a great finish!!! :)

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    1. Thank you Jessica! It was worth the time as I feel so proud of it when I'm wearing it!

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  5. Beautiful Fiona! Well done! A full bust adjustment will give you the extra room just where you need it. The rest of the shirt fits perfectly as it is.

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    1. Why hadn't I thought about an FBA?! Of course that's the solution thank you!

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  6. Swiss dot is inspired! Your topstitching is fantastic but you should still totally get an edge stitching foot (mine was called an "edge joining foot" for some reason) - I cannot believe how much neater my stitching is now...

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    1. I do love a bit of swiss dot so I'm always excited whe I find a pattern that it's a perfect partner for! An edgestitching foot has definitely been added to my wishlist!

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  7. I love swiss dot - it always gives a project that a little extra. It looks great on you and I'm impressed you got through all of those new techniques with such good results. Great work!

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    1. Thanks Claire! I just took my time with it as I really wanted to do a good job. I think it helped that the fabric was so nice to work with and forgiving to the unpicking!

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  8. Lovely job Fiona! A walking foot will really help you with those collar stands :)

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    1. A walking foot is at the top of my wishlist to be honest - I've been hearing such good things about them and I was sewing stripes the other day and thinking I wish I had one! Thanks love!

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  9. Wow, it's gorgeous, very simple and chic. It looks SSOOO professionally made too, you clever thing! x

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    1. I'm not sure it looks all that professionally made in reality but thank you! Can't wait to make more!

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  10. This is fab! What a great first effort! And your collar and collar stand look pretty much perfect to me! I have this pattern already bought, but never got round to making it due to a pesky pregnancy. A shirt is probably not the thing to make on asleep deprived brain, but I am desperate for one of these once the baby is born! And I think a chambray version would be perfect for summer!

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    1. I am so tempted by a chambray version, I bet it would be really satisftying to sew up too! I reckon you could make this up and and just wear it open when pregnant plus it might be a good project post baby as you can attack it in short little bursts as there are so many small steps!

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  11. Well done you! It looks very professional :)
    Good luck making many, many more!!

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    1. Thank you! I promise not to bore you all with Archer shirt after Archer shirt!

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  12. Gorgeous shirt! I really want an edge stitching foot too. The swiss dot makes this both a classic but pretty version. Nice work

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    1. Thanks Amy! I like that the swiss dot makes it a little different to a plain white shirt.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so pleased I took this nice and slow now it's turned out well

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  14. Really, really beautiful and very neat! I've only tackled one shirt so far so I think it's time to sew another one. Perhaps an Archer. Well done on a great sew! x

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    1. I highly recommend this as your next shirt pattern! It's cut beautifully and has great instructions available via the Archer Sew-along for all the little steps

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  15. This is a beautifully done and finished! I definitely have this pattern on my list of things to work my way towards, and like you, I love the versatility. Can't wait to see your next one. A silk version sounds fantastic!

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    1. Thank you! Looking forward to seeing yours when you get on to it! It's a really great pattern to challenge yourself with as you feel like you've learnt so many new things by the end of it. Plus there are so many great resources out there to help you along!

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  16. You've done a super job with this. I love the close-ups of the collar and cuffs - perfection! I think you will be making more of these, and soon - plaid flannel would be a good choice - but you could go for anything really.

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    1. Mmm plaid flannel! I'm a bit scared of the pattern matching when there are so many pattern pieces but maybe I should just go for it with some fairly cheap fabric!

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  17. I am so impressed by this! It looks really polished and professional. I am still scared of proper shirts, I don't have the patience for all the fiddly bits, so I am a bit in awe when people manage to make them look this lovely and neat.

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    1. Yeah it is a bit of a test in patience! I wouldn't start one of these when I'm in one of those 'I just want to have a finished garment in my hands in an hour or two' moods! You totally could do it though

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  18. This looks great! There's something so spring-y about a crisp white shirt... what a great way to ring in the new season! Absolutely lovely work!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! We've been getting a fair bit of sunshine and putting on light colours and fabric weights puts me in such a good mood after all these months of coats!

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  19. Really great details, you have done a fab job, Fiona, and don't worry we love to see/hear about all the details. I really want to try the Archer but have to make up some of the patterns I have in my backlog first. A bit addictive these indie patterns aren't they?!

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    1. SOOOO addictive! My list is so long at the minute! Glad to hear you enjoy hearing about all the nitty gritty, I love reading that kind of thing on other people's blogs to be honest!

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  20. This looks great, well done on all that construction! And thanks for sharing the details! :-)

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    1. Thank you! I hope people find the details useful!

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  21. Great shirt, and I love your fabric choice, it's perfect for spring!

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    1. Thanks Sabine, let's hope the sunshine contiues so I don't have to hide all the bits I'm proud of under a jumper!

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  22. Congratulations on your first shirt! I love your fabric & it really suits you. I'm really hoping to try this pattern this year - I've seen so many great versions!

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! I hope you do try it, it's so versatile and easy to make your own with different fabric choices

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  23. Gorgeous. A great topstitching tip I got from Katie - move your needle position to the side by the amount you want to topstitch inside the seam line and line up the seam line with the usual sewing line. Perfect every time!

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    1. Excellent tip Jo thanks! Might keep me going without an edgestitching foot for a while yet then!

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  24. This is just the most perfect white shirt. You've done an amazing job!

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  25. You learn so many techniques when making a shirt but I'm not been brave enough yet. If I was to make one I'd start with the Archer pattern. You've done an awesome job on yours.

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!