Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Archer Construction

I took a few pix:







Oh.  That isn't what you were expecting to see?  Well, that is Archer, and it's under construction!


I snapped these last night when I went over to Chinatown to pick up a few of my favorite grocery supplies.  You see the lengths to which I go to bring you the funny?  Oh, and you can see Big Willie in the background there.

OK - back to crafting content.  I started on my Grainline Archer shirt on Sunday.  Man, it took For. Ev. Er. to tape those 39 pages together and then trace them all out.  I didn't even trace the back pieces for the "Butt Ruffle" version, because I knew I'd never use them.  While I was tracing, I was kind of begrudging having to trace out pieces for cutting interfacing too, but honestly, when I got to the point of cutting out fabric and such, I was glad I had them.  So thank you, Jen.

I made only two changes to my pattern pieces - I traced a size 2 at the bust, based on my measurement there, but graded out to a 6 from the waist down.  My waist really falls into size 6 territory, but I did some flat pattern measurements and figured I didn't need to go any bigger in the waist for this relaxed-fit shirt.  My hips are actually in Grainline's size 10 range, but I scaled back to a 6 because I didn't want it to be too blousy.  But now that the shirt is mostly put together, I'm wishing I'd given myself a little more room there.

My other change was to convert the cuff pieces from fold-over one-piece style, to two pieces which are sewn together.  I traced down the middle and then added 1/4" seam allowance to the former fold edge.  Previous experience has taught me that fold-over cuffs feel too flimsy to me.



This is basically a test garment, but I decided to use this Amy Butler Laurel Dots voile in Cilantro instead of muslin or gingham.  I bought this a couple years ago in my first order from Hawthorne Threads just because I loved it, but it just doesn't float my boat any more so I didn't mind risking it with an untried pattern.

This is a super busy print, so I decided to do foldover plackets on both sides of the shirt instead of doing the sewn-on placket on the buttonhole side.  I thought it would be better not to break up the print too much with a separate placket, but now I'm thinking I was wrong.  I did take care to line up the dots both horizontally and vertically, and cut both fronts as single layers, but I didn't quite make it.  I'm hoping my buttons will distract from that a little.


I did a much better job, matching-wise, on my pocket.  I decided to just go for a pocket on the left side, to masculinize the shirt a little.


I have to admit that I'm using Grainline's instructions only as a guide for which bit comes next.  A lot of the construction techniques I'm using are those I learned from David Coffin's book when I was making shirts for my boy.  Key among those is always sewing from the center out - on the sleeve caps, collar, collar stand and cuffs.  It really does make a difference in how things line up.

I did do the cuff placket her way though instead of creating a tower placket, because I wanted this shirt to be soft and drapey.  Also, I just like this placket treatment - I think it's very feminine.


And because I wanted this shirt to be mostly soft and feminine, I didn't do felled seams like I would on a man's shirt.  After sewing the sleeve head to the body, I serged the two raw edges together, trimming at the same time, and then pressed that seam toward the sleeve.  Then I sewed the side and sleeve seams all in one go from the bottom to the cuff as the instructions recommend and serged that as well.  For some reason, my back ended up being about 1/2" longer than my fronts, so I'll have to trim the back hem.  I'm pretty sure I traced wrong - I was very tired on Sunday!  But initial try-on has revealed that this shirt might be way too long for me, so I may trim an inch or two off the whole thing, and maybe even give myself more of a curve at the sides to allow for those 40" hips.


I'm going to try to finish this thing today.  I only have the collar, cuffs, buttonholes, buttons and hem left to do.  (Interesting . . . when I just typed "hem" it came out "meh"  . . .  twice)  I'm super tired again today and the weather is gloomy, but I'm going to try to power through.

Or take a nap.

23 comments:

  1. ahh... archer under construction? how apropos! this is looking lovely! gah i really need to get to work on my latest archer... i've had it cut out and waiting for me for weeks now! the weather turned back to hot so i lost motivation...

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    1. I thought it was nice of the City of Chicago to plan their repaving around my sewing queue, LOL!

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    1. I'm actually starting to like it again now that it's taking form. Whether the color suits me is another matter entirely!

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  3. Too funny - I thought you were posting those pics since you hadn't gotten to the archer shirt yet. Who or what is Big Willie (I was afraid of the google search results I might get). I love how you've included all of the details. I wanted to add this to my queue, but I really hate putting pdfs together so 39 pages seems like a huge mountain to climb (or maybe I'm just lazy). It's gloomy here too so a nap sounds perfect. I can't wait to see the 'real' archer finished (I bet the archer road construction is never done!).

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    1. No, it was just a happy coincidence I couldn't let pass! Big Willis is the Willis Tower - formerly known as Sears Tower. It's the big black skyscraper to the right of the Citibank sign. Best not to google Big Willie though, LOL!

      My instinct was also not to do a 39-page PDF pattern but everybody says this is THE shirt pattern. They better be right!

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    2. Ha,ha. Under the pic you have it spelled 'Willie', but I wouldn't have known what Big Willis was either! We have Willie Penn (Benjamin Franklin) on top of city hall in Philly, so I was looking for a statue. I've googled Willis tower and it's on Wacker Drive so this keeps getting funnier to me! I do need a nap!

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    3. I meant Willim Penn. I really wish you could edit comments!

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    4. No, I wrote it correctly - it's the Big Willie. On Wacker. That's how we do it in Chicago, LOL!

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    5. Oh duh! Totally on board now! Maybe I'll just stick to commenting on sewing. I'll blame it on vacation brain!

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  4. Ahahaha, Archer construction! How fitting! I like this yellow, and I think it's going to look great on you!

    I really need to pick up the David Coffin book. The word on the street is that we have to do a shirt as a final project for my patternmaking class, so I'd like to beef up on good construction techniques before then! I'm anxious to see how you like your shirt!

    Oh, and I never trace PDFs. Is that bad? I don't tissue fit as I can't really do it to myself, so I just work from the taped-together PDFs. Do you tissue fit?

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    1. You should pick up the book. I won't say I follow all his advice, but there are a lot of really great techniques in there. Sewing from the middle out was a revelation to me!

      No - I don't tissue fit. It seems like an exercise in tedium - you may have noticed that it sounds a lot like "hissy fit!" And I don't always trace PDFs - only if I think there's a chance I may have to make some adjustments, like on this shirt. The Hemlock, for instance, I just cut out and used. I don't hate taping them together with a passion like some folks do, but I don't like it enough to have to do it over if I need to make a different size!

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    2. Ahh, that makes sense. I totally agree-- tissue fitting seems completely unpleasant to me!

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  5. Bahahaha love the construction pics! :) Can't wait to see the finished shirt!

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    1. Thanks! The only thing that could have made this better is if I were posting it on April 1, hahaha!

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  6. All of your sneaky pete shots have me very curious about how this turns out. I hope the power is with you today so that I can see it soon!

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    1. Well, I finished! And it looks pretty good, although I think I do need to do a little tweaking. I'll try to get some pix tomorrow!

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  7. I'm so impressed how professional you sound on the construction of shirts and blouses! The pattern is really nice and the fabric is interesting, this will turn out a perfect autumn shirt.

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    1. Thank you, Carmela! I'll admit, I've learned a LOT about shirt construction this year!

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  8. My Archer wearable muslin has been sitting half-finished since the SEWALONG for the damn pattern -- ridiculous! Something shiny came up, plus I'm not very inspired by the fabric I was using, so it's reeeeeally hard for me to get back to a UFO after that long. I'm still holding out hope though. (Hopefully my shirt will be done before Chicago's Archer construction is? Hmm. It's good to have goals I guess.)

    What you described, about using fabric you've fallen out of love with for wearable muslins, is what I *always* do... I only use actual muslin if I'm testing part of a garment. :)

    Miss Lulu has that Shirtmaking book so I might need to schedule visitation of it (again).

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    1. You better hurry then, they're just about done! LOL!

      I so rarely use real muslin - only if I think I'm going to have to do a lot of adjustments and want to be able to see my markings clearly. I usually use cheap $3 a yard fabric I get from my local, so using this $12/yd. voile was way out of that league! But I've added a lot of stash lately, and needed to make some room :-)

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  9. Look at those mad matching skillz on that pocket!

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    1. I was pretty proud of myself for that! Didn't do so great on the center front though, LOL! Oh well!

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