Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sewing: Blue cotton chambray Grainline Archer shirt

If you had to choose one outfit to wear for the rest of your life, a uniform say, what would you choose?

For me the answer is easy, it would be a loose fitting shirt and skinny jeans. I can think of a variation of these two garments for almost any occasion.

  • Black jeans, crisp cotton poplin shirt and high heeled pumps for the office.
  • Black jeans, silk shirt, high heeled sandals, red lips and big earrings for dinner out or cocktails.
  • Blue jeans and a chambray shirt with ankle boots or plimsoles for running errands.
  • Oversized flannel shirt and knitted socks for spending a rainy Sunday in bed reading books or binge-watching shows on Netflix.

And so on....

So naturally it was just a matter of time before I made myself an Archer shirt. It is the perfect loose fitting shirt. Sufficiently androgynous for my taste.

I finally bought the Archer pattern during the Grainline Black Friday sale. I waited until Christmas to make it because I didn't want to rush. This pattern had the potential to become my new favourite pattern and I wanted to do it justice.

These photos were taken during Archer's first outing -  a little trip to Morocco. Lucky Archer.

I planned it so meticulously. I ordered my fabric, a light blue chambray from Stone Fabrics, weeks before Christmas, washed it, ironed it and folded it away nicely. I made sure I had interfacing and buttons at home. I kept my diary completely empty between Jan 1 and Jan 6 and planned to do one or two steps each day, starting with a muslin of course. Not for the fit, but to nail the techniques before attempting them with my nice chambray.

Day 1, Jan 1, I got to work. Taped the pattern and cut it out. This was such long, dull work that I gave up for the rest of the day. Jan 2 I cut the fabric. And decided to skip the muslin and get to work straight away. And it was so much fun I couldn't stop! I left the sewing machine at 8 at night having only the collar and buttons left.

And...well, it didn't turn out quite as terrible as I feared. In fact, not terrible at all. Sure, the topstitching could be better and I had to unpick one sleeve placket and both sides of the collar stand, leaving the fabric at those spots a bit damaged, but these are details and the overall look is great!

The blue chambray was so easy to work with! I couldn't have asked for a more well-behaved fabric for my first shirt.

I have to say just how amazing the sew along is. I have been terrified of making cuffs and a collar, but with the sew along it was kind of easy! In fact, there was nothing difficult about the construction of this shirt. And I have no comments on the pattern, it is a delight to sew.

The fit is a little bit off on me. But it's off all over, which makes me think I need to go down a size. That's annoying, because while I'm itching to make another Archer I can't face printing, taping and cutting another one. I should have measured more carefully.

Overall, I'd call this a success! I probably should have done the toile, but let's call this a very wearable toile. I feel so ready to make many more Archers! In fact, I have to. I managed to stain this one so badly and so extensively that it is no more.

So now that I have the perfect pattern for the top half of my perfect outfit I have my eyes on this Indian indigo blue cotton and this Irish linen from Merchant & Mills for my next Archers.

All photos by Josh.


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