I don’t have a whole hell of a lot to say about this piece other than that this is the final garment I made for the self-made wardrobe project, and I’m sure it’ll get plenty of wear now that the project is complete. One of the upsides to making your own clothing, is that you get to make clothing that lasts for lots and lots of wears, so I’m looking forward to having this shirt in my closet for a damn long time.
Now lets get into the details:
3 yards plaid cotton twill
13 half inch buttons
The Archer Button Up Shirt from Grainline Studios – just like for my first shirt, I cut a straight size 4 & made view A. Then I added length and worked an inverted box pleat (instead of the regular box pleat the pattern calls for).
I kept the pattern modifications from my first Archer which were to add 5 inches (12.7cm) of length to the body and 1 inch (2.5cm) of length to the sleeves. Since I added so much length I also added more buttons.
Starch. Lots of starch. I don’t often use starch when I’m sewing, but this fabric is a cotton twill that ended up being very woodgey-wibbly-wobbly once I washed it, so after an age & a half of fighting to get the pockets to behave, I began applying starch liberally, and after that everything was smooth sailing.
The fabric is a nice medium weight cotton twill that I think will wear really nicely, and is a nice wardrobe complement to my first archer which is a very light weight cotton.
And as weird as it is, I love the brown/orange/white colorway of this plaid!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK SO WELL
The fabric was a total pain to work with at first, but after a good starching it started to behaving itself. Unfortunately I started with the starch at the front pocket stage – so the cutting was a total nightmare. The only good thing about the cutting stage, was I got the plaids to match (unlike my first Archer).
But it would seem that I cannot make an archer without screwing something up, so this time it was the button placement.
But at least that’s the only major thing that went wrong, and it does make the shirt really hard to mis-button.
I do plan on making more button up shirts, so maybe the third Archer is the charm? Maybe if I make it in a solid color?
This is one of the earliest pieces of my self-made wardrobe, right up there with my blue kimono.
If you were going to embark on any sort of me-made/self-made/hand-made wardrobe adventure – I would suggest either working your way up to it, or giving yourself lots and lots of preparation time, which is a perfect case of “do what I say, not what I do” (because that type of advice always works so well…)
If you don’t give yourself enough prep time (or you spend you prep time tangled up, and not really sure what to make), you’ll probably end up in a couple situations with nothing to wear (kind of literally).
There were plenty of mornings at the beginning of this project where I woke up, had nothing to wear, and scrambled to make something in time to wear to whatever I needed to do outside my apartment that day.
– A million yards of a crinkle rayon, that I got from my great-aunt. I don’t know what she was planning to make when she bought it (she doesn’t know either), but there were two pieces that probably totaled 5 or 6 yards.
– 3/4” elastic
– 2” safety pin
I based the skirt off of this pin on pinterest. It’s a page from a vintage homemakers magazine or pamphlet, for a “4.5 hour skirt.” The skirt is made up of 6 trapezoid panels, this gives the skirt a really nice shape, and also lets you be really efficient with your cutting layout (not that I had a shortage of fabric).
I assume that the original skirt has you put a zipper in, but I went with a simple elastic waistband instead.
Since this was one of the first garments I made for the self-made wardrobe, time was a very real constraint, so I used the selvage of the fabric as a hem – which I think lends an air of modernity to the skirt, and which set off my love affair with unhemmed clothing.
I love drapping, and since this fabric has such an amazing drape to it, I added a tuck and secured it in place with a safety pin.
WHAT WORKED WELL
The shape, the fabric, and the safety pin.
The shape – I love the shape of this skirt, and how the pattern is so simple, but so wonderful.
The fabric – It’s a simple printed crinkle rayon with a beautiful drape, and a really nice weight. And most importantly, it’s a floral print without being flowery.
The safety pin – I originally planned on replacing the safety pin with stitching, once I decided on the final placement, but I really love how it gives me options. Some days I fold one layer, some days I fold both layers, some days I fold neither layer – so I’m leaving the safety pin.
WHAT I’D DO DIFFERENTLY
I’d use wider elastic – this skirt is quite heavy, and the 3/4” elastic is teetering on the edge of not being up to the job. So I think once this elastic wears out, I’ll replace it with 1” elastic.
And as soon as this project ends I’m going to have to go at that hem with some stain remover and a scrub brush – regular washing is just not cutting it against a year of New York City dirt.
Sometimes projects work out perfectly the first time. And sometimes they don’t.
This skirt project somehow manages to fall into both these categories at the same time.
I originally bought this fabric way back in the fall, with the intention of turning it into a loose, lightweight, hoodie/cardigan of some sort. My idea was to start with a basic kimono, and then add a hood, plus gathers/tucks/pockets/whatever to pull it out of the realm of dull grey sack, and into the realm of cool versatile cardigan.
That plan very much didn’t work out. I cut and sewed the kimono, and started playing, but nothing worked. It refused to look like anything but a dull grey sack. It was at an advanced level of “just not working out” and I didn’t even bother taking photos.
So I did what any experienced crafter would do, and shoved the project in a drawer for a couple months.
Then when I was thinking about what to make this summer, I thought back to this fabric, thinking it would make a great maxi skirt.
Even though the fabric is a wool jersey, it’s lightweight enough and breathable enough, that it doesn’t feel too hot. It’s that perfect middle ground of warm enough to be able to wear into fall, and airy enough to wear though the spring & summer (though probably not when the temperature works it’s way into the 90s with 100% humidity.)
This skirt is a basically sweatpants in skirt form.
2 yards of a wool/spandex blend medium weight grey jersey
Since I had already cut & sewn the kimono, and had to take it apart to make the skirt (I just cut off the seams, not even bothering with a seam ripper.) I pieced the fronts & back together to create enough width for a skirt.
After that I did a super basic maxi skirt, with a yoga style waistband.
Just like with my black maxi skirt, I made the skirt body slightly wider than the waistband, and did small evenly spaced pleats to make walking a little easier.
I then took the strip that was going to become the neckband/hood/pockets, and fashioned a twisted yoga pant style waistband.
And the sleeves got pieced together to become a sort of underskirt/lining. This part wasn’t strictly necessary, but I did it to a) help with panty lines, b) to smooth out the fairly drastic difference in thickness between the waistband and the skirt, and c) to cover the exposed seams where the waistband attached to the skirt.
The seams are all sewn with a straightforward zig zag, and all the edges are raw, mostly because I like the raw edges, and partly because I was in a hurry.
To form the twist in the waistband, I folded the waistband inwards on the right hip and sewed about 5 inches of it in place. Then I take the left hip, where the waistband is not permanently folded, and fold it towards the outside of the skirt.
I love the yoga style waistband, and also this fabric for this style skirt – since it is a wool/spandex blend, it’s very stretchy, and springs back into shape really easily. This means that I can take long steps, without needing to add a slit or tie the hem up.
What I’d do differently:
Maybe next time making the underskirt/lining out of a different fabric – this certainly isn’t bad enough for me to change now, but the two pieces do have a tendency to cling together.
I do wish that I had spent a little more time evenly distributing & more carefully placing the pleats around the waistband. I just eyeballed it, and they all came out pretty even except for two in the back, which came out a little funky.
Since I finished it, I’ve been wearing this skirt a possibly embarrassing amount.