The Shining Archer… Grainline Studios


or the Twilight shirt… it reminds me of how Edward’s skin in the Twilight movies sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight.

This is yet another project that has taken me forever to blog. I finished this shirt just after Christmas. The threat of rain inspired me to get out late this afternoon & get some shots! My kids love this shirt.

I’ve been obsessed with sewing some more shirts. I really enjoy shirts, shirtdresses… all those little details and pieces really appeal to me.

I sewed the Archer several years ago – my first shirt… in silk no less!

I’ve always wanted to return to this pattern but there have been many distractions since then.

Last month I picked up some ‘foil’ crinkle cotton from The Fabric Store in Brisbane. I would describe it as fancy cream-coloured cheesecloth – that lovely, soft cotton, crinkled fabric – coated in a light silvery foil. It seemed appropriate to sew my own Shining Archer – as knights in shining armour are a bit thin on the ground these days.

Grainline Archer Shirt - front view

Grainline Archer Shirt – front view

The texture of the fabric had put me off. I was concerned that it might stretch and distort as I sewed. My concern was misplaced as it proved to be very easy to work with.

I opted to make the Grainline Studios Archer in View B with the ‘ruffle butt’ feature.

I sewed size 0 and while it’s oversized by nature, in this shining fabric I feel like that over-sized fit looks more exaggerated. Any folds or excess fabric catches the light and highlights them.

Grainline Archer Shirt - back view

Grainline Archer Shirt – back view

Grainline Archer Shirt - back view

Grainline Archer Shirt – back view. Afternoon breeze makes this look more fitted than it is! LOL

I decided to leave the pockets off as the fabric is so light and delicate that the pockets felt too large and heavy.

I often sew with a similar RTW garment beside me – to check details, techniques and so on. I noticed in all the RTW shirts in the house that the sleeves has been set-in with flat felled seams. I also wanted to do this as the fabric is quite sheer and I didn’t want to seam allowances to shift about and look untidy. I think those little details really irritate me.

Unfortunately I realised this after I had cut out all the fabric – and I hadn’t allowed enough in the seam allowances to accommodate this… so I just faked them by top stitching down the seam allowances. I’m a little disappointed however the outside finish is still quite nice. It’s our little secret.

Grainline Archer Shirt - side view

Grainline Archer Shirt – side view. Again – more afternoon breezes!

Grainline Archer Shirt - side view

Grainline Archer Shirt – side view

I also attached the collar using the Four Square Walls method. I always hand stitch the lower edge of the inner collar band in place before I top stitch the band. I had a little giggle when Handmade by Carolyn posted about how she does this too – I had always wondered how many others couldn’t achieve a neat collar finish without the help of a little more hand stitching than a pattern dictates! I think it results in the neatest finish and as I tend to sew a shirt over several shorter sewing sessions, a little more time spent hand stitching really isn’t onerous.

I will also confess that I often machine baste a line of stitching along the finished stitching line of the collar band and then press a crease along this before I sew the collar. Then when I do go to turn the collar band edge and hand stitch it in place, it is precise. Pedantic I know.

I also hand stitch the inside of the cuffs closed before top stitching the cuffs as… I guess I can just be a little obsessive about the strangest little things. I’m a little bothered by my cuffs rather ‘flappy’ ends and thinking about putting a second button on them to keep them neat against my wrists.

Grainline Archer Shirt - the cuffs

Grainline Archer Shirt – the cuffs

I know some replace the Archer plackets with tower plackets, I opted to stick with the pattern. This fabric is so light and sheer I preferred the original more delicate plackets of the Archer pattern.

Really there is not much more to say about the Archer. It’s a nice reliable staple shirt pattern.

I uncovered my David Coffin Shirtmaking books during my sewing room clean-up and I can see more shirts in my sewing future.

Pattern: Grainline Archer
Fabric: Foil Crinkle Cotton, The Fabric Store (Brisbane)
Also see: my all-time favourite Archer…. True Bias. And just Google Grainline Archer – this has been made over and over and over again!

Random: I’ve been running 5km a week for the last month, just on Saturday mornings. It’s a bit of a new year’s resolution that I haven’t ignored. While I hate ‘times, ‘weighing’ or anything that numerically tracks my progress, today I took another 96 seconds off my time. I’m not fast or pushing myself too hard but I’m doing OK for starting at ‘ground zero’.

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34 thoughts on “The Shining Archer… Grainline Studios

    • Thanks! I visited that Fabric Store several times over many months… kept patting the fabric & imagining this shirt & eventually gave into the urge to make it. It’s nice when it all comes together.

  1. This shirt is so lovely on you! This is one pattern that I have been on the fence about getting, but every time I see one made up, I think I should just get it. I haven’t seen the back ruffle until now; I really like that. I too baste the collar and cuffs. That way when I do my top stitching, I know everything will stay in place. Nothing worse than finishing and realizing something wasn’t caught in the seam. I’m finding that the more complicated, time-consuming project, I like to break it up into shorter sewing times.

    • It’s a great pattern, one of reasons I choose this over others was I love that I can print the pattern on A0 sheets at the copy shop – and Grainline always seems to deliver a successful end result for me.
      I actually slip stitch the collar and cuffs down and then top stitch them. I agree, why do all that work to find one pesky seam has decided to misbehave? Far better to pick up a needle & thread and ensure it’s perfect.

  2. I too love your shirt! I’ve been on a shirt making binge over the past month – now I’m just working on the Rosa by Tilly which I really like! I haven’t tried the Archer but seeing your with that puff in the back (and I visited True Bias on your recommendation which is gorgeous too!) has definitely inspired me to buy it. I laughed reading about your hand basting because on my last one I thought to myself, “I think I should just baste this down before committing myself at the machine!” I actually don’t mind hand basting. It actually saves a lot of time!

    • I love hand stitching, I tend to do it at night and then sew the next day. It’s relaxing and every step is thoughtful. I think that’s the joy in shirt making, the process. It’s a great pattern & the online sewalong on the Grainline blog is very useful.

  3. This is one of the best archers I’ve seen! I love the shimmery fabric, and the ruffle In the back. I’ve hesitated to try this pattern because of the oversized style but yours has convinced me to give it a go. In your lightweight fabric it looks so great on your tiny frame!

    • I’m surprised the ruffle back isn’t made up more often, it’s a lovely feminine touch.
      I don’t tend to wear oversized clothing but I do think the Archer works beautifully in lighter fabrics as it drapes nicely – a fitted shirt wouldn’t be as nice in this fabric – well in my opinion.
      I think the Grainline Archer is a great pattern. It’s endlessly wearable, thoughtful details & great instructions. I’m very tempted to make another right away!

  4. I’m just about ready to make another Archer, or some shirt anyway, and you may have pushed me over the edge! I find shirtmaking to be pretty relaxing. None of the steps are so difficult as to be stressful, but the precision needed keeps you focused. Good for busy times of life 🙂

    • Best typo ever! 💩
      I find it hard to get inspired to get up & go running. However the local Park Run is a free & regular event. I’ve found just committing to turning up each Saturday helps & there is one just about everywhere I travel – so no excuses. Plus while I don’t talk while I run, I do enjoy group jogging, it removes the boredom for me & keeps me running

      • Oops😊 shouldn’t type under influence of wine ! Sorry….fantastic shirt
        I work Saturday so can’t do park run unfortunately. Hopefully spring weather will help me get back into it

        • Oh it made me giggle!
          That’s a shame about Saturdays. We have local jogging groups. They do various activities every other day – I haven’t joined as I’m not that serious about my running. I just rather intimidated by too much analysis. I just Run!

  5. Fab shirt. I appreciate you telling us all your sneaky tricks for better sewing. Thanks
    And big congrats on your weekly run. If it’s the one I’m thinking of – its addictive. Sometimes I look at the times and stats but mostly I look at the scenery!
    And it’s an excuse to make some running gear – fehrtrade’s patterns are good.

    • It’s the Park Run. Ours is along the river, breakwall & beach so it’s quite pretty & often there’s a slight sea breeze. I’m finding it impossible to get to the gym anymore but taking an hour out early on a Saturday morning is achievable.

  6. Your shining Archer was well worth the wait, and I love it! (It reminds me of a shimmery shirt that I had in the 80’s. It was lovely, except…the girls “lit up” in photos! Funny NOW!)

  7. This shirt turned out beautifully! I love the shimmery fabric. I confess that I don’t slipstitch the collar stand or cuffs before top stitching… I use lots of pins and can usually feel if things are in place. I just really hate stopping to hand stitch—lazy me! Nice job on shaving the time off your runs. It’s surprisingly hard to do! I used to time and track distance on my runs, but it would stress me out if I was having a slow day. I finally decided that I just don’t care since I have zero aspirations for racing!

    • I tend to hand stitch at night when I can’t sew because my sewing room is next to the kids’ bedrooms.
      I actually was turned off Park Run (it’s a weekly free timed volunteer-run event) because of the timing issue. While I don’t love it, it’s a weekly ‘thing’ that isn’t too hard to get to or takes up too much time. About 200 people do the local one. Some sprint, some run, some walk – so it doesn’t feel too competitive.

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