Grainline Archer Button-up – mixed De Linum linens

Learning to make shirts has been one of my favourite sewing journeys. Why?

Grainline Archer Button-up sewn in a striped and a checked linen
An Archer Button-up Shirt, sewn in two linens, checked and striped.
  • They are a practical garment that you can wear all year round
  • They are perfect for layering, perfect under jackets and jumpers, fantastic worn open over dresses and camisoles
  • They are the perfect step-by-step project that you can break up into 15 minute slots. I Love sewing a shirt over many, many sessions. I
  • and finally… the details… ah the details! The seemingly endless array of collar styles, sleeves, cuffs, plackets and more. They are a great canvas for your imagination – but still result in a wearable, practical outcome.
Earth & Sky Stripe and Earth & Sky Check from De Linum

I’ve seen a lot of mixed solid and print garments lately – it’s a perfect way to use up those odd lengths of fabric that we all hang onto… because it’s too much to throw away… but too little to make another garment. It’s also a brilliant way to combine sew up those remnant pieces we can’t seem to resist in the local fabric store!

I’ve pulled several of those smaller linen pieces out of my stash but never settled on a combination I thought I’d wear. Then I spied a lovely stripe and matching check in the De Linum range and thought they would make a perfect pair!

I wanted the shirt to be more subtle, but to play with stripes and break up the larger front panels. These fabrics presented the perfect opportunity.

Pattern: Grainline Archer Button-up

After my usual bout of extreme procrastination, I settled on the Grainline Archer Button-up as my pattern choice, one of the classic shirt patterns available online. I’ve also made this twice before – here and here.

This is a great pattern if you haven’t sewn a collar shirt before – or want to brush up on your shirtmaking skills. Grainline has an extensive number of free video available online, to walk you through the process, step by step. You can find them all online here.

Sleeves rolled up… because mine always are!
Checked back and sleeves. Striped collar and yoke. Random thread which I noticed once i download the photos and the sun had gone down ūüėā.

French Seams

This linen is very fine and well suited to French seams. This entire shirt is French seamed, the inside is immaculate (if I don’t say so myself!). The French seam finish isn’t part of the Archer instructions but a very easy seam finishing technique. There’s information aplenty out there about how to make French seams, including this post by Grainline Studios, so I don’t need to re-invent the wheel – or seam allownace as it may be – however here’s a little technique that I find really useful.

The Archer has a 5/8 inch seam allowance. To French seam this pattern…

  • Sew the first seam, wrong sides together, with a 3/8in seam.
  • Trim the seam to a very scant 1/4in – or about a 3/16in if you want to be very precise.
  • Press the seam open. This can be tricky when you have a hot, steaming iron and a tiny seam allowance. I’ve found if I use a seam presser tool, I achieve a much neater French seam. The Clover Finger Presser (see below) keeps your fingers off the fabric, away from the iron’s steam and helps gentle open the seam up while creating a nice gentle finger press.
    This technique works even better if you have been pressing fabric as the gentler heat of the board is very useful. Once the seam is open, I give it a light press with the iron and then use my clapper to set the seam open.
  • Then turn the fabrics right sides together. As you have pressed the first seam open, you will find it much easier to get a crisp, neat edge. Press.
  • Then sew a 1/4in seam, encasing the raw edges within.
Clover Finger Presser Tool – one of those weird tools you don’t realise you need until you own one. I got mine for $2 in a bargain bin… the only reason I have it!

Bias Tape Hem

The Archer calls for a traditional double-turned 1/4in hem.

I did some research and opted for a bias tape hem due to the curved edge of this shirt pattern. This sewalong for the Closet Core Kalle Shirt/tunic is very useful if you haven’t sewn this hem finish before.

Bias Tape hem for the Archer Button-up shirt
Bias Tape hem for the Archer Button-up shirt – soooo neat and flat!

I cut 1 inch bias strips from leftover fabric, joined them end-to-end to form a long strip and then used my Simplicity Bias Tape maker to create folded bias strips. This handy machine came back into production a couple of years ago and is a fantastic tool for the sewing room. I picked mine up on special and glad I did. It’s worth every penny.

I’m really delighted with this hem finish. It looks immaculate on the inside and outside – and the hemline sits perfectly flat. Well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Archer Button-up shirt with a bias hem finish

Small details

I was going to use just the checked and striped fabrics … but stumbled across a small sample of another De Linum linen in my stash which seemed like a perfect match, so added two very small touches, contrasting sleeve plackets and inner collar stand.

Contrasting inner collar and “one of the kind” label from Kylie & The Machine

I also cut the button band on the bias. The patch pocket appears to the pattern matched… and it is but I’ve offset it so the contrasting colours are matched. I decided on pocket placement while wearing the finished shirt, I attached it twice before I was happy.

Archer Button-up details. It looks a little hectic when you pause and REALLY look at it – but I think it works due to the subdued colour palette.

Minor pattern changes

I didn’t want to break the front panels at the bust point or under the potential pocket I might add. So I sliced the left front panel approximately 8 inches from the hemline and added 5/8 seam allowance to the upper and lower piece. I split the right front panel approximately 5 inches above this point and also added 5/8in seam allowance to these pieces.

I ran the stripes in different directions for interest and also used a check fabric piece for the larger lower portion. The yoke, collar and cuffs uses the stripe fabric. The sleeves and back are checked.

Archer Button-up – the finished product.

I absolutely loved making this. Considering how to use the fabric, sewing a step or two a day, researching how to better finish the garment – it was hugely satisfying. That’s the joy of sewing, not just the end product but also the process.

Details

Fabrics: Earth & Sky Check, Earth & Sky Stripe, Icy Baby Blue
Pattern: Archer Button-up by Grainline Studios, available in 0-18 and 14-32 size ranges.

Note: there is also a yellow/tan combination at De Linum: try Earth & Sunshine Stripe and Creamy Lemon Oatmeal check

Next up

With my leftover pieces, I whipped up some handkerchiefs with tiny mitred corners.

Nicks Dress by Core Closet… unless I change my mind of course!

Life…

I’ve been very absent in the past two years. Life has been extraordinarily hectic – more on that later!

Grainline Archer Button-up in linen

The Spoonflower Grainline Portside Duffel

Aka the Crazy Love Duffel for Giselle

If you are interested in trying Spoonflower – here’s a discount code Lizzy10 to receive 10% off your order – valid until 17 July 2018.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

Now onto blogging business!

When Spoonflower asked if I was interested in their fabric…. of course I said yes! I’d always been curious about this service and I know so have plenty of others.

For those who don’t know what Spoonflower is… from their site:¬†Spoonflower is the world‚Äôs first web-based service for custom, on-demand fabric creation, making it possible for individuals to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap.¬†

So really the limit is your imagination – or wallet.

SpoonflowerDesign

I decided that I had more than enough clothes for myself – and thought it would be a unique opportunity to create something memorable and special for my youngest daughter Giselle. She’s not the dancer. She’s my crazy love girl: kooky, kind and funny as the day is long.

While I could have chosen an existing design, I thought it would be more fun to try out the design element of the service as well – and to capture a moment of Giselle’s creativity and personality.

I walked into her room one evening and immediately loved one of her mad ‘doodles’ that she had stuck to the wall. And that’s when I realised what I wanted to do wih the Spoonflower offer…

I scanned in the doodle and loaded it to the Spoonflower site – incredibly fast and easy.

I chose ‘dogwood denim’ which is a great heavy non-stretch woven fabric, perfect for bag making. I’ve paired it with a black non-stretch denim from the stash. This bag should last for YEARS.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

I love the selvedge on the fabric -complete with details. It’s almost like a old-fashioned silver hallmark.

I was initially concerned about the tiling of the design and how to manage that in the project – however it turned out to be a dream to pattern match & made for some fun positioning on elements of the bag.

Giselle’s Verdict

The coolest thing EVER.

Thank you so much Spoonflower!

I do also have some matching fabric in the organic knit – so watch this space!

Pattern Comments

I’d definitely make this again. In fact I know I will. Very easy to put together. The biggest barrier is finding the notions, d-rings etc. I still haven’t found any swivel-clips locally – hence no shoulder strap yet.

Some of the cutting notes on my pattern pieces didn’t always specify to cut interfacing – however the cutting layout diagrams did. Regardless of this inconsistency, I think it is up to the individual to decide which pieces require interfacing, based on their fabric choice.

The most challenging element of this project was simply the weight of the fabric and the size of the project.

I’ve got the pieces cut out for the Dopp kit & travel pouch to go with these – however I ran out of time & am currently in Perth to run a half marathon relay leg in the Western Australian Marathon (about 4000kms from home). Home to sew soon!

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this process and particularly enjoyed the smile it bought to Giselle’s face. A really special sewing project. Thank you Spoonflower.

Fabric: SpoonflowerinDogwood Denim, design by my daughter Giselle
Pattern: GrainlinePortsideDuffelbag

Fabric supplied by Spoonflower – all opinions my own.

Random

Looking for Australian Sewing Blogs to follow? Check out this list – surprised to find myself on there but delighted to see familiar & some new faces as well.

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

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 – Penny Raglan by Grainline Studios

or more than one Penny for your thoughts…¬†

I impulsively bought the Grainline Penny Raglan – after resisting it for quite some time. Even after I bought it I thought “did I really pay that much for an oversized raglan tshirt pattern??” Yes I did.

It was¬†money well spent. I’ve made four of these and I love them all. It’s the tshirt I reach for every other weekend and afternoon. It went so quickly from my sewing machine into my wardrobe I barely thought to blog it.

Described by Grainline as “The Penny Raglan is an oversized tee perfect for summer fun. The breezy shape keeps the fabric from clinging so you can stay cool while looking great.”

Penny Raglan, Grainline Studios

Penny Raglan, Grainline Studios. I hate these pictures – taken months ago. Just having a bad day ūüė¶

My first one, pictured here, was sewn from a double-sided knit, stripes one side and dark grey marle on the other. I simply flipped the fabric for the sleeves… and hey presto, saved on some stripe-matching trauma. Yay for contrast raglan sleeves! This is a rather heavy knit but I actually like the body the knit has and how boxy it is. Not to everyone’s taste but I’ve worn it a lot – so clearly my taste.

Is it flattering? Not particularly… but it’s perfect for lazy days. I like it with skinny jeans.

Is it huge? Yes. Massive. The neckline is wide and the armholes deep. Sometimes I like that. I made size 0 which matches my measurements.

I think I added an inch in length as I favour lower cut jeans and have a longer torso.

Penny Raglan - back view

Penny Raglan – back view. I was post-gym and in hockey mother Saturday morning mode – hence the sports crop top. Hockey has been over for months – which shows how far behind I am!

I have no doubt¬†I will try it in a light knit sooner or later… but I need to sew some dresses and skirts for summer first.

Penny Raglan - contrast mostaches.

Penny Raglan – contrast mustaches. Life selfie (again). The ‘matching shirt is simply reversed – black jersey main and mustache sleeves.

My second and third were from a mustache print and black jersey¬†and the fourth a blue floral french terry (no pictures sorry). My daughters love these oversized tees¬†too¬†and are eagerly waiting for my cast-offs… The black jersey one with mustache sleeves has already been claimed by the ‘posing coach’ as a PJ top.

It’s simple to make, allows for some fun sleeve or neckband options. And it’s the easiest thing to wear with jeans.

I sewed all seams with my overlocker (pattern is designed with seam allowances for this). I did pin and use my machine to first attach the neckband before serging it as serged ‘oops’ are much harder to fix!. I used my coverstitch to finish the hems.

If you prefer a fitted tshirt – this is not the pattern for you!

I have much love for the humble Grainline Penny Raglan. Simple, basic, easy to wear.

Perhaps unblogged but not unworn.

Pattern: Penny Raglan by Grainline Studios, size 0
Fabrics: Make It Fabrics Brisbane (stripes) and Spotlight Stores Australia (mustache & floral)

Grainline Driftless and Tessuti Megan Cardigans

or the Tale of Two Cardigans…

Driftless and Megan Cardigan

Driftless and Megan cardigans

I confess I’m one of those people that decide they want a cardigan and then endlessly obsess over ALL the cardigan patterns. I do this for most garments. I comb through all the independent and Big 4 options. I’ll pour over blog posts, Google images, websites and in-store catalogues. I’ll decide what I want to make and then when I go to pick up the scissors… I’ll change my mind.

While Vogue 8780 continues to be one of my most worn and loved cardigans/jackets, I did want to find another cardigan pattern for a little variety.

I confess that I was luke warm when both the Grainline¬†Driftless Cardigan and the Tessuti ¬†Megan Cardigan were released. Nothing wrong with either, perhaps it’s the simple fact that cardigans are practical garments and it’s hard to get a blood rush about them?

To solve my usual inability to lock myself down to one pattern, I decided to make two different cardigans. I find sewing multiple versions of one pattern or different patterns of a similar garment interesting. Seeing how different fabrics change the same garment or comparing different features and construction of two garments is always interesting to me.

DRIFTLESS CARDIGAN

I’ve always found Grainline patterns to be endlessly wearable. I think Jen designs the perfectly practical, highly wearable designs that always seem to go together without a fuss. I also find her designs fit me well and so I keep returning to her patterns. My three Alder dresses and little linen Morris are some of my favourite things to wear.

Features

The Driftless body is very wide and boxy with dropped shoulders and very fitted sleeves.

The¬†pockets remind me of the¬†Vogue 1247¬†skirt and are constructed in a similar way – minus all the Hong Kong binding of course! I’ve noticed that these sorts of pockets are popping up in a lot of RTW cardigans this winter in Australia.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Front view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Front view.

Construction

This is a very easy cardigan to construct – don’t let those pockets fool you. I managed to cut this out and nearly complete it in an evening. It’s largely constructed on the overlocker (serger) with the exception of the pockets, thread chains and hand sewing down the neckband.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view. I do like how it hangs across my back. I am a definite ‘slouch’ girl.

Thoughts

It’s a bit ‘Sunday afternoon’. Very casual, slouchy and not very dressy. I guess that sounds negative but it’s not at all. Those¬†types of garments have a place in many wadrobes. Can’t be ‘fancy pants’ all the time! While it isn’t my favourite cardigan, it’s been worn a lot anyway as it’s ‘easy’ to wear, the type of garment you grab as you head out the door in case the breeze turns¬†chilly. I don’t think my fabric choice helped. It’s some sort of cotton knit terry fabric… from the bargain¬†table at Spotlight. I think it would be might nicer in a marle, slightly textured, merino knit. It may also be interesting with thoughtful colour choice as a colour-blocked cardigan.

I made view B with the split hem that is slightly lower at the back.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view.

 

MEGAN CARDIGAN – Tessuti Fabrics

Now this lass and I became instant best friends. I’ve worn Megan a lot. She’s popped up on my Instagram feed quite a few times already. She was impatient and didn’t want to wait to be blogged. She simply screamed ‘WEAR ME – you know you want to’ and so I did.

I honestly had dismissed it as being ‘not for me’ as I had concerns about the fit on me, I thought the shoulders would be too wide and it would swamp me… thanks to the encouragement of Melanie, I decided to give her a try.

I do own several beloved longline RTW merino cardigans. They seem to go with everything from dresses to jeans, casual wear and a stylish office warmer on those chilly air conditioning days. Logically I should have made this cardigan a long time ago, alas I’m not always logical when it comes to my creative pursuits.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Side View

Features

Megan is a very simple cardigan, full length sleeves, flared side seams and a quirky side hem detail.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View

Construction

Again a very simple sewing project. Sewn up in no time at all on the overlocker with the shoulder seams having added seam tape to keep them in shape (I also did this with Driftless).

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Oh that lovely little side hem detail ūüôā It makes my heart sing.

Thoughts

I adore this cardigan. I’ve received an amazing amount of compliments on it when it’s worn – which I think is the combination of the lovely flare of the hemline and the rather funky fabric that I paired with this pattern. It’s been worn a lot in its short life so far. I guess it also slots perfectly into that grungey casual vibe that I love to wear.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View – a nice flare without being overly cumbersome in ‘swooshiness’

The fabric I have had stashed for about three years, waiting for the right pattern as I feared the wrong choice would drop me into tragic acid wash territory. I picked this up at Clear It in Melbourne for the less than princely sum of $4 a metre. It’s certainly not high quality, a simple cotton interlock but it just seems to work with this pattern design.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. front view

There will be many more Megans in my wadrobe in the future. The perfect layering cardigan.

ALSO SEE

Driftless: I simply visited Instagram and searched for the hashtag #driftlesscardigan

Megan: Made by Melanie  | Clever Tinker  |  Boo Dogg  |  Rennous oh Glennuss