My Grainline Archer shirt

I’ve been stalking the Grainline Archer shirt pattern online for longer than I can remember, and finally bought it from the Drapery here in Adelaide a couple of weeks back.

Check out all the different versions on Instagram – I mean seriously, this pattern is the megastar of Indie sewing patterns.

It’s a dartless shirt pattern, so I knew I’d need an FBA. I’ve done a few of these now, so I’m finding it pretty straightforward and am now wondering why I wasn’t doing this years ago.

I’d also read this article in the Curvy Sewing Collective, which gave me a heads up to check the sleeve length and cuff, which I would not have done otherwise.

I’m very glad I did – the arms were waaay too long and the cuffs waaay too loose in the original pattern. Both problems easily fixed and have made the difference between this shirt being wearable and not.

The best thing about indie patterns like this one is the online sewalong posts. I followed this one carefully at a few points. The first was the burrito style rear yoke, for which Jen from Grainline has provided an online tutorial here. It’s such a great neat finish, and very easy to do if you follow along step by step.

Perhaps the most important part of a nice shirt is its collar. And the collar was the main reason I picked this pattern. It has a neat shape, crisp corner and classic collar and collar stand construction.

My last attempt at a collar with stand was so abysmal, I was very keen to redeem myself this time around. I made that shirt for my husband. Bless him, he even wears it occasionally!

I feel like these photos need some kind of warning, but here they are, in the interests of full disclosure… (I’m looking away)

So this time, I followed the Grainline Archer sewalong closely in all the parts that mattered (most importantly: the collar), and the written instructions to the letter for everything else. And just look at the result! It’s perfect and I couldn’t be happier with it. I could stare at this beautiful crisp collar for hours.

The next decision was which buttons to sew on. Selecting buttons is my nemesis. It takes me ages. Don’t ever go into a button shop with me – I’ll drive you mental. I tried several this time – shell buttons (close, but I don’t know), metal buttons (nice, but a bit casual really), and novelty pink buttons (ok, I know these were never going to work out…).

In the end (drum roll please…) I have sewn on some classic plain black buttons. Cue the balloons and fanfare!

I am very proud of the construction of this shirt, but I don’t yet love the shirt itself. It’s a bit stiff and boxy and I’m hoping the fabric will wear in and become softer over time.

I will definitely be making this shirt again, but in a softer fabric next time.The only other thing I’d change would be to raise the bust darts an inch or so, as they are currently sitting a little low on me.

Still, it’s a pretty good shirt don’t you think? I don’t think anyone would pick this as home-made.

I am now craving a flannelette version, and a lightweight cotton check would also be nice. And perhaps a rayon version, once I feel confident I could pull off the collar in a fabric that soft. And then perhaps a lightweight wool version for winter….

I can certainly see why this pattern has so many people hooked.


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