Do you ever buy a killer new pair of boots, or a fancy candle, or even a perfectly baked asiago cheese focaccia—and feel a pang of sadness on first wear, light, or bite? You’re not alone. Shopping-induced dopamine is a real thing! And so is the wistful feeling you get the moment your shiny new purchase isn’t so new anymore.
Anyone who buys fabric knows this feeling all too well, which is why so many of us hoard some of our most beautiful textiles. If we never cut into it, we can hold on to that shopping high forever… right?!
Wrong. If you’re anything like me (as in, you have the occasional neurotic tendencies), your fabric taunts you at every turn.Read More »
Have I mentioned that I like making shirts? 😜 This is my fourth Grainline Archer Button Up. I should branch out with another women’s shirt pattern, but I honestly don’t know if I will. This workhorse of a pattern puts me in my comfort zone, in a good way.
It’s time for me to get back in the blog saddle. I recently started a new job, and I gave myself a little break for a few weeks to adjust. The gig’s been great thus far, but I’m still getting used to dressing like a real person (business casual, y’all!) and coming into the office five days in a row without feeling like a zombie.
My previous job offered Work from Home Wednesdays. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact that had on my energy levels. Doing work braless, in my pajamas once a week really did wonders for my well-being. But alas, that life is no more. I’m finally used my new schedule and workload, and that means more energy for blogging. 😀
I know Halloween has come and gone, but daggumit I worked hard on my costume and I want to share it. Here’s the outfit breakdown:
Earrings and necklace: sourced from my late grandma’s fantastic costume jewelry stash
Emerald ring: panic attack central AKA Forever 21
The gloves were slippery, the wig was a little itchy, and the coat was hot as hell at the indoor party I attended. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel like a badass the entire night. Being a glamorous Disney villain has its perks.
When it came time for a practical sewing project, I turned to the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio. Last year, I sewed view B in a red chambray. This shirt is view A, a classic boyfriend-style button up, in a super-soft Robert Kaufman flannel from The Needle Shop in Chicago. I was very, very hungover when I took these pictures (like, “oh god why did I do this to myself never again” stupid hungover), so I apologize for my glazed-over eyes and general derpness.
The sewing process was so much less intimidating this time around with one Archer under my belt. I don’t have a ton to say about construction, but I did fudge the collar a little bit. Instead of using Andrea’s collar tutorial like I did last time, I followed along with the pattern directions and referred to Jen’s sew along. Her video on how to attach the collar is helpful, but my collar stand ended up jutting out past the button band a little bit on one side. It’s not enough to be bothersome, so it’s staying as-is.
I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I’m coming to accept little imperfections in my handmade work. Part of me wonders if I notice the mistakes more because I’m gaining experience. But, I could just be getting lazier. Either way, I have a wearable shirt at the end of the day. Right now, that’s good enough for me.
In case you’re interested in the boring details:
Size: Straight 8. My measurements are 36″-29″-38″ and I’m 6’0″ tall.
Finishing: Used my machine’s overcast foot for a faux-serged look (this foot is AMAZING by the way); sewed faux flat-felled seams throughout.
It feels good to be back! Before I leave, did you all see Heather’s latest release over at Closet Case Files?
The Clare Coat just pounced to the top of my queue. I know, I know, I did a whole post about which coat pattern I wanted to make and actually bought one from Burda. But this pattern just speaks to me. Now to source some wool and super-warm lining…
Have any patterns cut the line in your sewing queue?
I don’t have a dog, but I loooove me some pups. By some karmic miracle, Marc and I moved to an apartment across the street from a dog park, meaning I can get my fill of doggie action without the responsibility of owning one. (Though I want to someday!) When the sun finally broke through the clouds this past chilly Sunday afternoon, Marc kindly agreed to snap some pictures of me outside, and we found ourselves chasing golden-hour light in the snowy field adjacent to the dog park. Within seconds, a couple of rambunctious ladies were barreling toward us, blissfully unaware that they were crashing my photo shoot. It was perfect.
Their owner must’ve asked me if I was freezing about 10 times. One of the pups obviously picked up on that and proceeded to nuzzle my legs before plopping down directly on my feet. Canine foot warmers are the best when it’s 22º F and you’re laughably underdressed.
I could muse about pups all day, but then I’d never get to the juicy stuff: this brand spankin’ new Archer Button Up, another slam-dunk pattern from Grainline Studio. I’ve been drumming up the courage to sew this for awhile now, especially after seeing so many lovely versions (here, here, and here, among many others). This turned out to be a refreshing departure from the walking foot and finicky fabrics of my recent knits binge.
Alterations: lengthened the sleeves and body by 1.5″; cut the back pattern piece in a single layer since I was low on fabric (it’s supposed to be cut on the fold); used Jen’s alternate Archer pocket tutorial to create the envelope-look pockets
I truly took this project one day at a time, and it could not have been more rewarding. I followed with the Archer Sew Along instructions pretty religiously, sometimes sewing up a few days’ worth of steps at a time if I was in a particularly productive mood. I’ve read quite a few blog posts regarding construction and fit, and it seemed like the general consensus is that Andrea’s collar tutorial is fantastic when it comes to attaching the Archer collar. I haven’t had the best luck with collars in the past, but her instructions were incredibly clear and easy enough to follow. I got a little tripped up by being too eager to kill two birds with one stone: I should’ve slipstitched the inner collar in place rather than go straight for the edge stitching. I ended up not catching the seam allowance in two spots and had to rip some stitches and re-sew in order to ensure that I caught the seam allowance. Le sigh. I’m hoping that step that will become easier with more practice.
For some reason, I was super nervous about sewing the plackets and cuffs, but those went on without a hitch. And the buttons! Ohhh the buttons. I picked up these awesome, kooky shank-style buttons at Soutache in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, and I’m pretty sure I ended up spending more on them than I did on the fabric… OOPSIES.
Before hemming this bad boy, I sewed a row of basting stitches at 1/4″ all the way around, a curved-hem tip picked up from the ever-helpful By Hand London blog. That made it infinitely easier to press the seam allowance up and then fold it over again before stitching in place. I finished all the inside seams with a zig-zag stitch, but I wish I would’ve tried bound or flat-felled seams instead, since the chambray is ravelly and a little scratchy at the edges.
I’m considering adding some bias binding to the offending side and sleeve seams, but it might be tricky since I already topstitched that seam allowance to create the look of a flat-felled seam. I’d say there’s about 1/4″ of excess to work with, so I might give it a shot.
I’m racking my brain for other pain points, but construction went more smoothly than I had hoped. The shirt also miraculously fit right out of the package (minus the length additions I made); normally my RTW button ups pull a bit at the chest since I have a broad back, but I haven’t seen any such issues yet. I’m already dreaming up a color-blocked version for the spring after seeing this little number on the Dusen Dusen blog:
The wheels are turning! The possibilities seem endless with the Archer—it’s probably one of my favorite, most satisfying projects to date. Here’s hoping there’ll be a few more in my future!