The First of Many Archers
I’ve been planning on making at least one button up shirt since the very beginning of this self-made wardrobe project. The Archer pattern from Grainline Studios was perfect, and after this one I plan on making at least two more, (one of them in a solid so I don’t need to do any pattern matching).
– 3.5 yards (45″ wide) of a very lightweight basic plaid cotton that I got at Elegant Fabrics in NYC
– 10 1/2 inch “la petite” buttons with a fake metallic looking finish (they say “not recommended for washing or dry cleaning,” which I didn’t notice when I was buying them – so we’ll see how the hold up in the wash)
– lightweight black fusible interfacing
– basic black thread
“Archer” from Grainline Studio – Jen did a great sew a long on the Grainline Studio blog, which I followed for some of the steps, since the instructions included with the pattern are concise
I cut a size 4, then added about 5 inches (12.7 cm) of length to the body, because I like my button up shirts long.
I also added 1 inch (2.5 cm) of length to the sleeves, which makes the sleeves a smidge too long when the sleeves are rolled down, but the absolute perfect length when they’re rolled up (which is how I always wear them.)
I made view A, and did an inverted box pleat at the center back.
What Worked Well
I love the fabric, I love the pattern, I love the fit, I love the length, and I’ve been wearing it basically nonstop since I finished it (and even before it had buttons). Now that it’s winter, the heat is cranked up, and since I don’t have control over my heat, it makes the perfect light indoor layer.
When it came to attaching the yoke, I used the “rolled up burrito” method that Jen wrote about during the sew-a-long, and loved it. I hadn’t done it before and it’s so much easier than anything else.
What I’d Do Differently
I placed the center of the box pleat at the center back, on one of the white plaid stripes, and I really wish I had centered it on the yellow stripe that’s less than an inch to the left. It’s hard to see in the photos, but feels a little off kilter in person.
There isn’t much I’d actually do differently, I’d just pay much more attention when cutting because there was a fabric and/or pattern piece wibble, which led to the left front being off grain, which means the center front stripes don’t match up.
To be fair, I do my pattern cutting on the floor of my living room, which involves sometimes stepping on my fabric to get to the other side to move pieces around. I’ve been doing this for years without a hiccup, so I was probably long overdue for a mishap.
Lets Talk Pattern Matching
(in sewing pattern matching is where you cut your fabric so that the fabric matches across a seam – kind of like in knitting when you increase/decrease within a stitch pattern, the goal is to create shaping without interrupting the patterning – it can sometimes get a tad crazy making.)
I laid my pieces so that the body of the shirt would match (side seams & center front). I’m not super concerned about the sleeves matching the fronts, or the cuffs matching the sleeves.
I cut the yoke, and the right front button band are cut on the bias, so no stripe matching necessary there.
(for the people who don’t sew: when talking about woven fabric, “on the bias” means” at a 45 degree angle from the warp, vertical threads, and weft, horizontal threads – since, in this fabric, the stripes are made with the warp and weft, cutting on the bias gives you a piece with diagonal stripes – more about warp & weft here.)
So I pattern matched the sides and center fronts, but then something happened to my left front that caused it to slip (probably me stepping on the fabric), this caused the center fronts to no longer line up, and it also means that I cut the left center front off grain (not quite parallel to the warp, vertical threads). Sad panda.
Unfortunately I didn’t notice it until I was attaching the pockets, and didn’t have enough fabric to recut the piece. Super sad panda.
Want to see exactly how far off it is?
And the most annoying part?
Look at how well that side seam matches!!!! You can barely find the damn seam! Grrrr!!!
Ah well. If I wore my button up shirts closed it would be one thing, and I’d figure out how to make the misalignment less noticeable (probably by adding a wide bias button band to the left front to help fool your eye).
However since I never close my button up shirts – unless it’s stupidly cold (in which case I don’t care about much and hopefully wouldn’t be wearing this shirt), or I’m taking photos to show you how far off the stripe matching is, – I decided it’s something I can live with.
At least the not-matching-ness at the center front isn’t noticeable while the shirt is open.
I did however, get a touch of totally unintentional pattern matching on my right sleeve cuff. Maybe it was a consolation prize.
WOW! it’s lovely. i hope one day to have confidence to sew more than skirts!
Thanks Penny! It’s a great pattern if you want to try a button up shirt, no darts, and the sew-a-long on the Jen’s blog is great about stepping through all the details.
It looks fantastic, plaid mishap or not! I had a mishap of my own with my plaid. My fronts match, but the grain is slightly off on the fronts. It was really noticeable when I put on the pockets. Whoops!
Thanks Melissa. At least the mismatching isn’t noticeable when the shirt is open.
Whoops, on the slightly off grain. I love plaid matching you had going on along the yoke, collar stand & collar though.
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