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’.

The Unblogged – The Burdastyle Shirt

During the times I have been steamrolled by life, lots of things I’ve made have not made it to the blog. So I’ve decided to ‘release’ them as I stumble across them on my hard drive or wardrobe – for better or worse. I’m calling them the ‘unblogged’ which once the posts go live, they will no longer unblogged but whatever!

Some things I have loved & worn to death, others I’ve failed to love but worn anyway. Some I’ve never worn.

I made this shirt in May 2015. I actually spent a great deal of time squeezing the shirt out of the chosen stash fabric, a lovely soft cotton check.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Front view

I’m yet to wear it. I even photographed it twice. Trying to fall in love with it. I was feeling pretty blah – which never helps. I suspect this is one of ‘those’ garments. I can’t bear to throw it out as I hope I might suddenly figure out how to wear it. I did put a lot of effort into finishing it well.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

front/side view

I ditched the placket pieces from the pattern and referred to the David Coffin Shirtmaking book to create my own pattern pieces. I do love how the long placket features a button mid way to prevent gaping. The two buttons on the cuff are cute too (I used pink here due to not having enough of the clear buttons!).

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Sleeve placket

I cut the button bands, plackets, pockets and yoke on the bias.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Back yoke

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Button Band

I cut and attached the pockets with care.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with it. I’m sure some people roll their eyes when I call it a fail or dud. However I consider garments I’ve made for myself and not worn as a dud. After all, if you are sewing for yourself and it doesn’t work out – whether it’s construction or style – if you don’t wear it, well what was the point?

I think Sue on instagram nailed it with “The fabric is all kinds of wrong for you… dye it black (as above) or move it along for someone else to love” And believe it or not it was MARCY HARRIELL who made the most unexpectedly outragreous suggestion of dyeing it BLACK. However they are both right. It’s just not right and maybe it’s as simple as the colour… unless it’s the shape…

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

back view

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

I’m now seriously considering the black dye option.

Maybe if I had made it in a more sheer voile type fabric… maybe if I’d made another shirt… who knows.

It makes me feel like a ‘country girl’ and I’m really not.

Fate currently undetermined.

Pattern: Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109
Also see: Nine Stitches – LOVE this version
Fabric: cotton check shirting from Spotlight

Floral Riot, Burda 6849 from Mood Fabrics NY

On the side, I’ve been suffering from a quiet obsession with shirts… this one I’ve made as my Mood Fabrics NY project, using a lovely Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile.

I took two lots of pictures – one just as a storm was hitting at lunchtime – then about 24 hours later on the beach… this winter has been ‘all over the place’! I decided to use a few from both as the stormy backdrop really did make the colours jump off the screen – I habitually roll up my sleeves – fortunately I managed to get one photo before the sleeves assumed their ‘normal position’, half way up my forearm.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C – yes it’s mid-winter here…

When I unpacked this fabric I immediately thought of making a shirt. I think voile would be one of my favourite fabrics. It’s not as fancy as silk or wool but it’s one of the most wearable and washable fabrics I’ve encountered – which means that it passes my ‘lifestyle’ test with flying colours.

According to the Mood Fabric Dictionary (this always helps me when I’m stuck wondering what some mystery fabric is in BurdaStyle!) Voile is: “Plain, loosely woven. Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand”

This fabric is not loosely woven and is not semi-transparent as I would expect with a voile. It strikes me more as a lawn than a voile. A fabric of this nature is perfect for shirtmaking – I found it an exceptionally easy fabric to work with to create finishes such as flat-fell and French seams, rolled hems and more. It’s remarkably easy to cut out and iron. In short, it’s a dream to sew with.

Shirts have a few tricky elements if you have never sewn one before – I confess my first few shirts gave me several heart attacks during construction. Perhaps that is part of the addiction, conquering the challenges one by one. There is no doubt for me that sewing with a lightweight fabric with high thread count certainly makes those tricky elements much easier to handle.

Burda 6849

The insides – no overlocker required! I flat felled the centre back seam and then French seamed the sleeves and side seams.

Shirts are a staple in my wardrobe. I tend to wear dresses to work however my out-of-work uniform tends to be denim jeans/skirts with t-shirts and button-up shirts.

I decided to wanted a feminine, slim-fitting shirt and Burda 6849 delivered. It has a shaped centre back seam, four fish eye darts at the waist, shaped side seams and a curved hem. The sleeves are also quite slim fitting.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Due to the nature of the print and the weight of the fabric, the seams, darts and pockets just disappear and you focus on the silhouette created by the sewing pattern. And this fabric just sings, it’s so pretty!

Burda 6849

Pocket and buttons

As this lawn was so lovely and fine, I flat-felled the back seam with a neat 4mm seam. I also decided to French seam the sleeves and side seams. These types of seams are so easy to achieve in a high-count light-weight cotton.

Burda 6849

The cuffs

I did add a slight curve to the cuff edges. The placket is a simple one and while I thought about adding a tower placket, I decided not to as I liked the light nature of the fabric and how neatly it rolled up at the sleeve end.

Some techniques used:-

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Pattern: Burda 6849
Fabric: Pink Carnation Cotton Voile, Mood Fabrics NY
Also see: Creating in the Gap – gorgeous shirt by Margo. I’d like to steal it 🙂

Buttons: the buttons were a surprise gift from Vicki Kate Makes – which were also perfect on my daughter’s Japanese shirt. They just seem to go with everything! Thank you xo.

Shirtmaking

I think shirtmaking is a long journey, I have many miles to go. I love making shirts, I find them methodical and precise – it’s like sewing yoga to me – I really relax when making them.

I decided to invest in a few resources including both David Page Coffin books (read GingerMakes. review of The Shirtmaking Workbook). I’ve made a couple of shirts (sorry behind in blog posts), stalked menswear stores for inspiration (just the shirts I promise!) and crawled my way across Pinterest.

So I hope there will be more shirts to share in the future.

Out & About

Busy times coming up with three weekends away. This weekend it’s Newcastle for dancing mum duties, then Melbourne for Frocktails, followed by Brisbane for the theatre – Dracula! Somehow must find time to sew.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C. Sometimes I get demure and cover my wrists…

‘She Wears the Pants’ a review, a blouse and a giveaway

I’m not a country girl… it really gets up Willy’s nose…

Gathered Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Gathered Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Given my current fascination with Japanese pattern books, when Tuttle Publishing contacted me about reviewing a couple of their titles, it was an irresistible offer. I received She Wears the Pants (released this month) and Sewing For Your Girls (I will review this soon – I have a backlog of projects!).

She Wears The Pants - published by Tuttle Publishing

THE BOOK

The garments: This book does have a range of garments – from mini dresses to tshirts, shirts and jackets, pants and culottes. Yes, I was incredibly tempted to make that draped mini dress but I’ve got three draped dresses – my wardrobe needs other types of garments! I really like the range and style of these garments.

Some of the garments from She Wears the Pants

Some of the garments from She Wears the Pants

This book had been around for some time before being translated. Several of the garments have been made Top Notch (velour top, draped cardigan, draped dress, square top) & Handmade by Carolyn (tapered trousers, square top); and Meggipeg (Gathered Blouse).

Not all of the garments pictured are patterns in the book, ie the tank with the short/culottes pictured above or the pants with the mustard top pictured below.

There is one knitted garment in this book – a belt stole. There are some tippets – one of these is pictured below.

She Wears the Pants - back cover

She Wears the Pants – back cover

There is an excellent review of this book and more images on Japanese Sewing Books.

Photography: I might be precious but I did find some of the photography a little bewildering. The images are very dark and this is exacerbated by the matt stock they are printed on. Some of the garment details are very hard to see in the photographs. It seems to me that these images are more about projecting a mood, intended as ‘fashion’ or ‘inspiration’. The construction section of the book has line drawings that provide the design details. I love line drawings.

She Wears the Pants - example diagram

She Wears the Pants – example diagram

Instructions: The instructions are brief. There are some general instructions. In some cases, such as sewing on a collar, it is outlined once in a projects and then other projects simply refer back to those earlier instructions. Having some knowledge of garment construction is helpful. Like many Japanese pattern books, diagrams form a large part of the instructions. I don’t mind this – I find it interesting to puzzle through a project and think about how the project has been constructed and the other approaches I could take.

Sizing: Japanese sizing is small. I fit into the Small category & Medium height. While Japanese sizing puts some off I would say that they often allow A LOT of ease, in some cases much more than you might expect. Csews wrote about it in this February blog post.  My second make from this book swims on me. It’s meant to but it could fit most sizes.

 
Title: I find the translation of this title odd. To me, ‘she wears the pants’ means something completely different to ‘she’s got mannish style’. To me ‘she wears the pants’ means that in a relationship the ‘she’ wearing the pants is in control, the dominant partner/personality or the boss of the relationship. To me, having ‘mannish style’ simply means a girl dressing in a ‘tomboy/masculine’ style. Handmade by Carolyn mentioned the translation of titles on her blog recently, in particular talking about this new title and her preference for the Japanese title. I don’t mind either way but I do interpret the new title as meaning something completely different to the original title. That said, it doesn’t impact on the contents of the book!

She Wears the Pants - pattern sheet

She Wears the Pants – pattern sheet

Pattern sheet: There are two double-sided pattern sheets. They are printed in a single colour and while the print is quite clear, the sheets are quite ‘busy’ and it took me quite a while to find one piece! Each sheet does have a list of the patterns on it, and the pattern pieces you are looking for – which is very helpful. Most of the pieces are listed around the edge of the pattern sheet with a line going from the text at the edge to the pattern piece… not always! There are some lurking in the middle of the pattern sheet swamp and you may need some patience to hunt them down.
When confronted by a busy pattern sheet, I find each piece and trace around it with my fingers. This might sound odd but when I am tracing a piece I have a general idea of the shape of the pattern piece and don’t make many mistakes.

Seam allowances: This book does not include seam allowances. The layout diagrams indicate how much allowance you should add as this can vary from the hem to the side seams etc. I don’t always add the recommended allowance, I tend to add what I prefer to work with in different areas of the garment – which just comes with experience.

Different approaches: I do think that with any translated book that you need to really think every step through. Not only may there be some issues with meaning and possibly conversion of measurements between metric and imperial, I think that there are many ways to approach garment construction and you need to be mindful of that when sewing outside your ‘usual’ patterns and books.

 

THE GATHERED BLOUSE

I love clothing that was a touch of quirkiness without being too odd. The Gathered Blouse ticked that box for me.

Gathered Blouse - while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned... that's how I wear all my shirts.

Gathered Blouse – while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned… that’s how I wear all my shirts.

Gathered Blouse – while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned… that’s how I wear all my shirts.

This blouse has a very full back, is quite cropped at the front with a slightly longer back. The collar is rounded and the front pockets are slightly angled. The shoulders are dropped and sleeves arejust below elbow (on me anyway), quite full with pleats at the cuff with a simple finished slit  and button cuff closure. The combination of a ‘mannish’ shirt with some soft feminine features was interesting to me. Funnily enough the detail the pattern is named for is not photographed in the book – the gathered back. Unfortunately my shirt got creased in the car – but you can see how full the back of the blouse really is.

Sorry - shirt and car seat was not a happy marriage and my back is creased.

Sorry – shirt and car seat was not a happy marriage and my back is creased.

I have always steered clear of patterns without seam allowances for shirts as the accuracy required for creating a good button band, collar band and collar scared me. As I was working with this pattern that had not seam allowances I decided to re-think my former shirt making techniques and took a different approach.

The back is very full and the hemline dropped.

The back is very full and the hemline dropped – strong breeze is blowing. Oops, thought I had ironed this to death but must have missed that last bit of hem!

I decided to use sew-in interfacing rather than fusible for the first time – which has given the collar some lovely structure and I’m quite taken with it now. I traced these pieces directly onto the sew-in interfacing – without the seam allowances. I then added the allowances as I cut out. I then used a fabric glue stick to attach the interfacing to the collar, band etc. This provided me with the exact sewing line and everything went together perfectly… I think I’m sold on this method!

I can't see myself every wearing it buttoned up, I always wear my blouses/shirts slightly unbuttoned. I just did this for the blog.

I can’t see myself ever wearing it buttoned up, I always wear my blouses/shirts slightly unbuttoned. I just did this for the blog picture. I know, I spoil you and make a goose of myself far too often.

For some reason I imagined this blouse in a chambray fabric with jeans – a bit of a take on the country girl that I’ve never been. I might have spent two years at boarding school in the country but I was a ‘fish out of water’. That’s a whole other story and not for here in the middle of a sewing blog 🙂

 

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE…

I’ve made two things from this book – I’ll post the other shortly!

 

GIVEAWAY

I had already pre-ordered this book before Tuttle contacted me so I’m giving this one away. Leave a comment below to be included in the draw.

The draw closes on Sunday 17 May at 6pm (my time EST Sydney/Australia). Open to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Pattern: Gathered Blouse from She Wears The Pants (English version), published by Tuttle Publishing.

Fabric: it’s a mystery fabric (seems to be a chambery, fine linen type fabric) from The Make It Fabrics in Logan, Brisbane. This place is a rather unexpected treasure trove, a tip off from blogless Alison (thank you thank you!). Busy Lizzie was the most obliging chauffeur on a recent trip to Brissie – mwah. Finished with matt metal buttons from Lincraft.

Note: Tuttle Publishing provided this book for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links on this post.

Sew Bossy… falling in love with (silk) Archer

Like everyone else, I’ve fallen in love with Archer by Grainline Studios.

It was extremely windy - so this looks way more fitted than it is!

It was extremely windy – so this looks hard more fitted than it is!

We took these photos on the way home from Dubbo Zoo (site of the infamous leopard culottes shoot). Unfortunately it was blowing a gale and getting shots where my face wasn’t covered in hair was challenging. I love driving through this country, the colours are so muted, the hills roll away into the distance, the sky seems closer and the grass is soft and brown. I’ve always wanted to take a blog shot in this area – perhaps next time when the weather is more agreeable!

Archer by Grainline Studio, Sewn by SewBusyLizzy

I’ve chosen this as the back view shot – simply because all the other shots, it’s quite creased as I fell asleep in the car!

This make is courtesy of Leila of Three Dresses. Not only did she get me sewing a ‘proper’ shirt, she also got me to tackle silk – thank goodness for the gelatin bath for taming the slippery beast. This make re-fuelled my love of sewing. I certainly had not fallen out of love with sewing (not possible) but I had been feeling flat and weary about most things for a while.

Leila has made Archer – and has great fitting tips.

Once I pulled out the scissors and cut into the silk, I just went bananas.

Not my favoutire shot - however it's slightly less windy and the shirt is sitting more 'normally'!

Not my favoutire shot – however it’s slightly less windy and the shirt is sitting more ‘normally’!

I did not read the instructions – I used Jen’s online sewalong, which is fantastic.
I did get slightly stuck with the burritoed yoke (you attach the yoke without a single hand stitch – love that!) and hopped between Jen’s tutorial and Peter’s of Male Pattern Boldness which helped me get the concept straight in my head. If you haven’t even sewn a yoke this way – I recommend you try it!

I hit an absolute road block with the collar and collar stand. Not because of the pattern or instructions, just my lack of experience and agility with the machine! I put it aside for a few days, realised it wasn’t as bad as I thought and ploughed on. Next time I’ll be trying Andrea of Four Square Walls method – which popped up post my collar horror!

I so enjoyed making this Archer- I promptly purchased the Tiny Pocket Tank, Mini Moss Skirt and Maritime Shorts from Grainline Studio!

windy!!

windy!!

I do love long-sleeved, masculine shirts and I think that I will be making a more Archers (I might have fabric queued for two more…). LOVE.

I’m going to wear this with pencil skirt and heels to work – it looks fabulous like that too… for some reason heels didn’t seem so appropriate in this setting…

Thank you Leila. xox

Pattern: Grainline Archer
Material: 100% silk shot with metallic thread
Location: 10 minutes east of Walcha NSW Australia

Also see: True Bias (this is my all time fave Archer) | Did You Make That | Ginger Makes | Sew Amy Sew | Four Square Walls (adore this outfit) | Notes from a Mad Housewife (love the back of this one – great shots & advice) | Handmade by Heather

As for the holiday – it was ‘rad’ – just ask Miss 8… thanks to all our family and friends!

Apsley Falls near Walcha, NSW

Apsley Falls near Walcha, NSW

And if it’s quiet around here… I’ve been at home for a whole four days – so it’s time for another break – this time with friends at the beach (a different one!).