This shirt has been a long time in the making (I started it in March) and I made ALL the mistakes during sewing it so the finished product is rather shonky. Luckily, shonkiness doesn’t stop me wearing things I’ve made – though I do have a tendency to point out the flaws to people who wouldn’t even notice.
So, what went wrong?
It was all going quite well until I got to the sleeves. I’d sewn the sleeve placket binding thingies and was pinning the sleeves to the armholes when I realised that I had pressed one of the bindings wrong. Instead of pressing them both to the inside I’d pressed one to the outside because the right and wrong side are really difficult to tell apart. There’s a little bit of stitching on the top of the binding on the inside to keep it in place so I put the shirt aside to unpick and redo that. Then it got warm so the shirt waited.
I picked it up again as the warm weather started to die down, fixed the placket and cracked on with setting the sleeves. I pinned the sleeves in place to sew and then realised* that I’d pinned them wrong side to right side. So I unpinned, repinned, sewed them both, overlocked them both and topstitched them both. Only then did I notice that my sleeve seams were on the outside.
*I now think that I hadn’t pinned them wrong the first time at all and just got myself mixed up because the side with the undercollar is actually the right side of the shirt.
It got put aside again for a bit because I was too frustrated to even attempt to fix it. I eventually decided on an – imperfect – fix and got to work unpicking. I removed the topstitching then sewed a line of stitching 1/4″ away from the original seam line to use as the first pass of a french seam. I unpicked the bits of overlocking that were on the wrong side of that stitching and then trimmed the seam down, unpicked the original seam and sewed a french seam.
This did mean that my sleeves are wrong side out (and I had to twizzle my sleeve plackets – again) but I don’t care. I don’t think it’s noticeable and this was only supposed to be a wearable toile anyway.
Now I’ve shared my woes I suppose I should go back to the beginning. I find the shoulder on Grainline patterns really wide so I measured the shoulder on the Archer before cutting it out and compared it to my favourite oversized shirts from H&M. It was a full inch wider so I did a stonking big narrow shoulder shoulder adjustment.
I cut everything out on a single layer and I can honestly say I HATE cutting out plaid/check/tartan/whatever. I cut a bunch of pieces on the bias because I like the way it looks (and it avoids having to pattern match).
I’m holding the hem out like that because it seems to get all hitched up on my bum really easily. I thought there was more ease at the hip than this or I would have graded out. I’ve just checked the finished measurements and there are 2.5″ ease, which explains it a bit.
The sleeves and cuffs are both bigger than I like in a shirt. I actually moved the cuff button over by quite a bit because in the right place the cuff is way too big – it would probably fit around my, not insubstantial, upper arm. It’s a bit too wide for my preferences too. I looked at my RTW shirts and they’re a good 1/2″ or more narrower.
The buttons are recycled from an old shirt of the manfriend’s and I sewed them on BY MACHINE! Yes that needed to be shouted. I’d seen people rave about sewing buttons on by machine and I never trust my handsewn buttons – it’s not my strength – so I invested in a button sewing foot. I’m never looking back. It’s excellent. A bit nerve wracking at first, making sure that you’ve got the stitch width right. But I just used the handwheel until I was certain everything was lined up right.
I’ve sewn things with collars before but this was my first proper collar, with a collar stand. It went okay but I definitely need more practice. One side of the collar stand is a much better shape than the other…
Pattern: Grainline Archer shirt
PDF or Printed: PDF
How many pages: 46 (that’s for two views so it would be less if you wanted to figure out which pages to print for the view you wanted to make. I couldn’t be bothered and just printed the lot.)
Easy to put together?
I don’t know if I did something wrong when I was printing but it didn’t have a border and I’m sure previous Grainline patterns I’ve sewn have had a border box. I found it made it really difficult when trimming the pages and to know if I was lining things up correctly when assembling.
A0 file included?
Yes. (2 pages)
Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist: 31″ – Hips 41″
Size made: 12
- Narrowed the shoulder by 1″
- Shortened the sleeve by 2″
- Sewed an inverted box pleat on the back instead of a box pleat – I just prefer the way they look
- Left the pockets off – but I may still add one
Fabric used: 1.75m cotton cranleigh tartan flannel from Plush Addict.
Yes, I think so.
Any changes next time?
Quite a few. I’ll pinch the tower placket from another pattern (Deer and Doe Melilot or Sewaholic Granville) and use that instead of the bound placket. I’ll slim the sleeves down, probably by as much as 2″. I’m also going to shorten and narrow the cuff .
The fit is possibly a little too boxy for what I wanted so I might add some curve at the waist. Though I’ll be adding some more room at the hip so maybe I’ll just add that first and see if that visually balances things out a bit. I can always take the waist in during sewing if I think it needs it.
I’m basically trying to recreate my favourite H&M shirts so I’m going to have a look at them and see what changes I need to make it more like them.
I think I’ll do a bias bound hem next time too. Oh and the interfacing I used was too heavy so I’ll use a much lighter one next time. If I interface at all as I don’t think the H&M shirts are interfaced.
Listing all the changes I want to make does make me think about whether I should just use a different pattern. Manju shared her Simpicity 8104 shirts recently and I really like the look of the fit on her so I might think about giving that a try.
Resources/tips I used:
I’d always seen people rave about this collar insertion method so I didn’t even bother trying the method from the instructions.
I used pritt stick for sticking the inner collar stand down while I sewed it. It washes out and I didn’t find it gummed up my needle or anything. I’d tried fabric glue before and didn’t find it very sticky so when I saw Kelli from True Bias saying that she uses a normal washable glue stick I thought that was a great idea.
There are also some great tips in this post on Sarah’s blog – I saw this post after I’d already sewn the collar or I definitely would have used the tip about making a collar stand template (tip #8).
I’m really pleased that I’ve made myself a shirt and I’ll definitely wear this a lot even though it seems like all I’ve done is moan in this post.