Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Two-Archer Weekend

From Friday to Sunday, I sewed two more Archer shirts.  These two had been on my list for a long time, and the fabric had been prepped and ready to go for several months.  But I wanted both of them to be perfect, so I didn't let myself make them until I'd gotten the fit just right with this pattern.

Today I'm showing you the first one - a very plain chambray shirt.  I cannot tell you how many times over the last couple years I've been trying to put an outfit together and wished I had a chambray or denim shirt.  I went shopping many times to try to buy one, to no avail.  Nothing ever fit right.  So I am thrilled that this shirt turned out so perfectly.  It really fills a hole in my wardrobe.



I've talked about the construction and fitting on this shirt ad nauseum in a few other posts, so I don't have a whole lot to add.  I'm proud of myself that I took my time and concentrated on getting everything just so.


For this shirt, I used Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp (which happens to be on sale this month) on the collar and cuffs for a more substantial, menswear feel.  On the button and buttonhole bands, I used Pellon SF 101 for structure without stiffness.


When I make shirts out of voile or lawn, I prefer the sleeve placket given in the pattern - it feels more feminine to me.  But on this heavier fabric, I decided to do a tower placket, again more in keeping with a masculine feel.


And for topstitching the cuff, I used a little trick I'd noticed on some of Hubby's business shirts.  Rather than stitching all the way around, I stopped just short of that super bulky spot where everything comes together.


One of the items I "needed" this shirt to go with is that velveteen pencil skirt I made a while ago.  I LOVE how these work together.  The grey/blue of the chambray is the same as one of the background colors on the skirt.



And since what is important to me when I put together an outfit is the shoes and lipstick (truly!), here are the deets:

ShoesFrye Carson Pump in Charcoal
Lipstick:  NYX Perfect Red Matte Lipstick
"Statement" necklace:  Francesca's - the statement being that I'm cheap - or rather, that I prefer to spend my money on shoes
Earrings:  plain pearl studs

I played around with adding a belt, but I'm not so sure I love it.  What do you guys think:  belt, or no belt?  Because I went with the straight waistband (rather than curved) on the skirt, the waist is a bit big for me, so the belt helps in that regard, but I can't decide if I like how it looks.


And here's a little FYI for you:  I've worn this pencil skirt a time or two already and discovered something that did not occur to me when I made it:  if you don't put a vent in your skirt, you can't pull it up over your hips if you have to pee!  Aaack!  I found that out the hard way!  You have to take the whole skirt down like you would pants.   Did you guys know that?

Up tomorrow:  weekend Archer #2, which I'm actually wearing today!

57 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I actually just bought some of that shirt interfacing and I was wondering what it would look like in a women's shirt, so thanks for the illustration! Now if only I could get to those Archers in my queue...

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    1. Thank you, Jenny! It's the best collar interfacing I've used yet (for the heavier collars). I'm really sold on the interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply.

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  2. Shirt perfection! and so good with that skirt (and no, I'd never considered that about pencil skirts!)

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    1. Thank you! And yes - be careful if you make a pencil skirt! My future ones WILL have vents!

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  3. Your stitching is just beautiful! Thank you for the close-ups.

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    1. Thank you! Thanks to a lot of chalk marking, I was able to make everything exact. Love that!

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  4. Your stitches are impeccable. I am in totally awe of your sewing skills. Pairing that with the adorable pencil skirt makes a perfect outfit. Thanks for the use of interfacing. That will certainly help as I aspire to create a blouse.

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    1. Thank you! See above comment: chalk! On a solid-colored shirt, I think it pays to mark everything precisely so you have a better chance of success with the stitching.

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  5. YES to the chambray with white topstitching!!! I love this!

    And your skirt is fantastic. Can't wait to see archer #2!!!

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes it was a little hard to see what I was doing because of the white threads in the chambray! And man, is that stuff fray-tastic! I love the look of it, but I think it will be a while before I'll want to sew with it again!

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  6. Great shirt! Your top stitching is perfect!! I think I like the outfit without the belt just a wee bit more - but the belt certainly doesn't look bad! :)

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    1. Thanks, Marrie! I think I agree about the belt. What I really ought to do is try to fix the waistband, but I'm not sure I have enough fabric left!

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  7. What a beautiful piece of cake sewing! Well done for filling that hole in your wardrobe.I like the outfit both ways but without the belt just a little bit more.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, filling a wardrobe hole gets the Miss Lulu seal of approval, right?!

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  8. This skirt looks fabulous with the skirt. I vote no belt, that one looks too heavy. Maybe if you picked out a colour in the skirt it would look better?

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    1. Thanks, Sam! I agree that this belt is too heavy. It's the only one I had that sort of went with the outfit! I think I ought to invest in some more belts!

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  9. This looks beautiful! What a gorgeous, crisp shirt! Absolutely lovely! I love how the tower placket looks. I need to figure out how to sew one. I have David Coffin's book, but I found it a little confusing! I really like the skirt without the belt- it looks great!

    Sadly, I DO know that you can't pull a pencil skirt up without a vent... but mine is attached to a bodice! Guess how often I wear that dress, ha!

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    1. Thank you! I know what you mean about the book being confusing. I've done it a few times, but each time it takes me a while to puzzle it through. I bet Pam Erny has a tutorial though, and I might take some progress pix at some point when I do one. I didn't here, because you have to be able to tell which is the right and wrong side of the fabric for it to make sense, and this fabric is the same on both sides, so it would just end up being more confusing!

      OH NO! A whole dress you have to take off is WAY worse than just a skirt! I'll quit my whining, LOL!

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  10. Great shirt, Gail! You are a true inspiration!
    I will buckle down and deal with learning to make decent buttonholes. Eventually.
    I also prefer the outfit without the belt, for what it’s worth. Perhaps a red belt would be better, but I think that it looks great without the belt!

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    1. Oooh, red belt! Great idea! And thank you for those kind words!

      It's funny - I know a lot of people hate making buttonholes, but they've never bothered me! My Kenmore makes great 4-step buttonholes, and my Janome makes great 1-step ones. And since I discovered the buttonhole chisel, cutting them open doesn't terrify me anymore!

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    2. I’m not afraid of cutting them open either, it’s just that I haven’t quite figured out how to get them to look even, and ripping out buttonholes is … not fun. The zig-zag stitch is usually tighter on one side, and I’m struggling with starting and stopping in exactly the right places.
      I have an old, handed-down Toyota sewing machine with four-step buttonholes (that I’m really grateful for because I couldn’t afford a new machine!). I guess I just haven’t spent enough time on figuring out its idiosyncrasies. I think that there’s a little dial thing with which I can control the relative zig-zag tightness on the two sides, so I should be able to fix this issue if I play around with it. If only there were more hours in each day!…

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  11. Gail, your first Archer perfectly completes your velveteen pencil skirt ensemble! This outfit is classic and classy! LOVE!

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! This is the direction I'm hoping to go with my wardrobe, so I'm glad to hear it works! I feel like myself in this outfit, if you know what I mean!

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  12. Great outfit! Good tip about skirt vents, too. Forewarned is forearmed!
    -- stashdragon

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    1. Thanks, Gretchen! Yes - be careful!

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  13. The entire outfit is perfect! You've inspired me! I have to make a button down shirt now.

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    1. Thank you! I do love a button down shirt! I'm looking forward to seeing what pattern you choose. I love this one - I think it's expertly drafted - but I know it's not for everyone.

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    2. I did try the Archer but it was not a flattering look for me. I need darts :( Tried adding some but it did not work out.

      I do agree that it is well drafted, probably one of the best drafted patterns I've used in a while.

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    3. Ah, I see! Sadly, I don't have that problem ;-)

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  14. Your finishing on this shirt is impeccable! And you look so good in it! I know that I can't walk properly without a vent but I didnt know this other important fact!

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    1. Thanks, Erin! I was super careful this time!

      I thought I was OK because I could walk easily in this skirt. But later I discovered the above mentioned problem, and also that going up the stairs is a challenge, LOL!

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  15. No belt! I love the high-ish waistline on the skirt and the way it integrates with the tucked in shirt. The belt kind of oddly breaks up a beautiful line. And I adore your shirt! What beautiful finishing! But my friend where do you find the time for two shirts from Friday to Sunday?? I am so extremely time poor right now I have had my machines packed away for weeks and weeks :(

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    1. I so appreciate everyone chiming in. No belt it is!

      How to find time to sew all weekend:
      1. Don't have children.
      2. Have a husband that has a work project due.
      3. Live in a place with crappy weather.
      4. Decide nothing else really matters as much as having two new shirts :-)

      That said, it takes me about 9 hours to make a shirt, from cutting out to completion. On the second one I got my time down to 6.5 hours by sewing everything I could (out of order) before heading to the ironing board. So, 15.5 hours over 3 days isn't too bad . . . is it?

      I know I have a problem.

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  16. I love this outfit!! A chambray shirt is such a versatile piece and I hope to have one someday. It goes so beautifully with the skirt (I vote no belt). Yes, I know all about pencil skirts with no vents! The first Charlotte I made had the ruffle on the bottom so no vent. My two more recent Charlottes have vents!

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    1. Thank you! No belt it is then! Yikes - yes, the ruffle would really inhibit things!

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  17. i love this outfit so much! all the details look perfect, i love that you take shirt making as seriously as i do!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I've been trying to figure out why I love making shirts so much. I can't really put my finger on it, but somehow it just feels so satisfying!

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  18. Oh beautiful! I have been wanting a shirt of similar color and style. It can go with so many things in the wardrobe. I can tell you took your time with this because the stitching is perfection.
    I'm so happy you reached a perfect fit with it too! I can't wait to see tomorrow's version. Man, you have been sewing up a storm!
    And that skirt still wow's me. I prefer it sans belt ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Kristin! I've already tried this shirt on with a few different things, and it goes with so much. Glad I finally got around to making it!

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  19. That is why all my skirts are either of stretchy fabric, or have vents! :) I love the blouse. And the skirt!

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    1. Thank you! I made 3 versions of this skirt; the other two have stretch fabric but I haven't worn them yet. Will have to test them out for this situation soon! ;-)

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  20. The outfit looks very smart. I prefer it without the belt. As for no vent - how do you walk in it, or get into a car?? I have had trouble walking in a tight skirt but never had problems pulling it up for toilet breaks :)

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    1. Thank you! Well - it's not really tight. In fact, the whole skirt is a bit loose on me. And when I lay it flat, it doesn't taper in at the bottom - it just looks like a straight skirt. But I guess it must taper a bit, because while it's big enough at the bottom for me to take a normal step, I can't pull it up over my hips! As for getting in a car: I don't know! When I've worn it so far, I've taken public transportation! I guess I'll have to get in the car the old-fashioned, ladylike way :-)

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  21. What a beautiful and crisp shirt!! But two in one weekend... ? Yowser. Oh, yes, and all the important deets!

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    1. Thank you! It was kind of an intense weekend :-) I mostly included the shoe deets for you and Lisa W. - my fellow shoe enthusiasts!

      Next up is probably the Liberty Isle of Wight version I'm completely stealing from you!

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  22. Oh now I'm going to have to copy you! I was just looking up chambray for an autumn shirt on line in my lunch break today! Love it with the pencil skirt and agree no belt. As for vent or no vent - my charlottes have a vent and I still can't pull them up to pee - too fitting! (Too much info too I guess) . I struggle to even be able to tuck clothes into my denim one!

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    1. Please do! You will love it! I have another piece of chambray - that dotted Robert Kaufmann stuff - that I'm going to also make in to an Archer. It's much finer and softer than this one.

      Oooh, good to know about the vents! Although I tend not to make my skirts quite that tight because they just don't look that good on me that way. I've got some stuff to camouflage :-)

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  23. Chambray is not my thing. Button shirts are not my thing. But that outfit is totally my thing! Excellent workmanship and beautifully styled, G!

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  24. Thanks for the tip re. the vent on the pencil skirt. Never thought about it. I really like this shirt on you and the way this outfit came together. Do you know that I never have any idea of how to wear chambray? Maybe it's because I wear jeans all the time, and a chambray shirt with jeans always feels like a jailer outfit to me. I'm going to have to start to pay more attention to how everyone else styles chambray.

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    1. Yes, I think chambray goes with everything BUT jeans! I've been seeing a lot of print or floral skirts with chambray, and I love that look. Also tulle skirts, or any kind of lace, I think is a nice contrast. And I'm thinking army green might look good too . . .

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  25. I am DROOLING over how beautiful your buttonholes are. Mine always look ragged after I cut them open. I'm obviously missing something, like anti-fray stuff.

    Gorgeous shirt. Like always :)

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    1. Thanks, Mela. Well, don't put me on a pedestal just yet!

      I usually don't use Fray Check because I hate how that stuff feels. But a button chisel is a must. Even so, there are always a few stray threads, and I do go back and trim them - that kind of thing just bugs the heck out of me! And I do it again and again after the first few washes, until it doesn't happen any more. So, no magic - just obsessive behavior!

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  26. I LOVE your sewing! Your pencil skirts are PERFECT!!! Your body is very much like mine and we are the same age so I really want to stay in touch with your blog - if possible, could you sign on to Bloglovin'? That would make it way easy for us followers!

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    1. Thank you so much for those lovely compliments, Dante!

      Is that the "claim your blog" thing? I never did it because I didn't really think it mattered! All the blogs I follow (on Bloglovin') I do by searching them. Still, I'll go back and do it now :-)

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  27. Lovely outfit, Gail. Yes, I do know that about pencil skirts, and also that you can't get in the car very well without a vent!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! Hehehe - I haven't tried the car yet, but walking up stairs is a bit of a challenge too!

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