And I say ‘first’ because there will definitely be more! This is the Archer Button Up by Grainline Studios.
This was the most complicated sewing project I’d tackled, and I love the way it turned out! This was a muslin, out of some thin cotton I found at the bottom of my stash bin. It may be quilting cotton, but it is much thinner than the fabric used for my Clemence skirt.
I sewed the size 4 exactly as written, as that is the size appropriate for my bust measurement. I’m more like a size 8 at the hips, but the pattern booklet generously has the finished garment measurements listed, so I thought I’d risk it.
As mentioned in the Julia Cardigan post, there is a… shelf behind me for fabric to pool on. It isn’t usually as bad as this photo, but it is a tiny bit snug around my hips. I was staring in the mirror, thinking about how to change this (same size, but grade to a 1/4″ seam allowance at the bottom of the side seams? Grade the entire pattern to a larger size on bottom?) but then I thought about the length – I want to make the next one 1/2″ shorter in the body, which means the bottom of the shirt will no longer be hitting me precisely at my widest point, so I think I’ll just stick with the same size and see how that feels.
I did all sorts of new-to-me things with this shirt! I’d never done a collar like this before – the magic of sewing the collar stand together around the button band and collar, then popping them out was as magical as turning a sock heel.
I’d never used the button hole feature on my sewing machine before, and it went quite smoothly. I got a little fancy with the button holes – most are the same taupe-y thread I used for the whole shirt but the top and bottom of the button band are bright blue.* I just trimmed the threads after doing the button holes, but most seem to be unraveling, I guess you’re supposed to tie the threads in a knot before snipping? The manual didn’t mention that, and it was so much dense sewing in the same spot, I thought it’d be ok.
I’d never used my machine to SEW ON BUTTONS! I knew that was a thing that some machines did, but I assumed it was fancier machines than my 20+-year-old Kenmore. But as I was going through the manual to figure out how to do the button holes, I noticed the button page. Luckily, I still had the darning plate (little plastic thing that covers the feed dogs) and you don’t need a special foot, so I experimented and it was amazing. My front buttons had 4 holes, and I could have done an X, but I decided on two horizontal passes instead. Either way would take 2 passes.
I did the cuff button holes last, so I made them slightly bigger to fit the 2mm bigger matching buttons I had. All the buttons are sewn on with blue thread. All these brown shell buttons that match so well were actually cut off a button-embellished sweater that I got rid of last week!
I tried to see if I could do it just from the instructions in the booklet – for the most part I did, but it was nice to have the Archer sew-along up on my computer to fall back on as well. There is one definite mistake though: my right cuff is wrong. In the placket stage, you press the placket so one bit is on top of the other – I got that wrong, so now my right and left cuffs are the same when you look at them, not mirrored. I only noticed when I went to put it on, and couldn’t figure out why that cuff was so hard to button!
Before I started this project, I bought myself an edge stitch foot, knowing that there’d be lots of detailed topstitching. I went to a local quilting store and asked helplessly – my machine is a Kenmore, but I’d had luck getting an invisible zipper foot from them. I ended up having to buy (so the lady said, I have no idea) an adapter and an edgestitch foot. The adapter bit has a bit of spring in it, and she said that meant I could use it with other Janome (? I think?) feet that needed the oscillation. No idea, but it worked. I’m not sure if that foot needs the movement, or if that was just the only adapter she had. Nothing was packaged, so I don’t know exactly what they are.
I am absolutely making this shirt again! I honestly can’t quite believe I made this, even with all the little flaws. I found some lilac chambray the last time I was at Fabricland, so I think that may be my next try.
Changes for next time:
- Sew the cuffs right. Dur.
- Shorten the body 1/2″
- Shorten the sleeves 1/2″
- Make pockets smaller (1″ shorter, 1″ thinner?). These just overwhelm me, I think. If you could see past the crazy pattern.
- The sleeves are a good size in the upper arm, but feel big on my forearms. Maybe just change that in the seam allowance? 3/4″ SA on the lower arm?
I want to try snaps at some point, but hubby and I are pretty much on a buying freeze right now, so here’s hoping I have 9 mostly-matching buttons in that button jar! This wearable muslin would actually be pretty great for Stampede week with snaps. I’m not really sure what cowboys have against buttons, but oh well.
Sewaholic just released a collared shirt pattern, and I’m torn about getting it. It has a different placket, and princess seams in the back. After taking a closer look at the storebought button ups I own, they all have those back seams. Oh well, buying freeze, so I guess it doesn’t matter!
*True story: I had planned on the bottom buttonhole being different, and it turned out I had exactly enough taupe thread to sew this whole shirt, minus that one button hole. I felt like a sewing pro. Then I found out I’d sewn the top button hole too small. I doubt I’m going to button it, but by then it was the principle of the thing, so I ripped it, and then had to sew it in blue the second time.