February 6, 2015


Whew! What a week! Work has been insane, and the weekend cannot come fast enough. It's been so busy, that I haven't really sewn in the evenings (too worn down) - which is usually a stress reliever for me. But I do have another pair of Ginger Jeans almost finished (waiting now on rivets of the silver variety - the jeans are gray), and I'm planning a Darling Ranges for this weekend with rotated darts as a test for a spring dress.

My goal with (randomly occurring) Friday Archive posts such as this one is to display old/well loved/pre-blog/or otherwise special makes in more of an archival way - and to maybe tell a short story about them :D

Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer
Size: 14
Alterations: None
Fabric: Red chambray from Denver Fabrics (similar to this)

Not long after I began sewing clothing in earnest (the beginning of 2013) - Jen at Grainline released her Archer pattern, and being the head-strong/stubborn person I am - I just went for it. The pattern was soooooo over my head and I didn't even care. I bought the red chambray (similar to this) - waited eagerly for sewalong posts, and bumbled my way through it.

This shirt was a struggle for sure (it didn't help that I was using my old, old shit sewing machine that was in serious need of maintenance) - and while I was happy to finish it, I was very disappointed that it didn't fit. It also has really crappy top stitching and the fabric is oddly stretchy and weird.

Something I've learned over the last few years (and rectified on my second Archer) is that Grainline's sizing doesn't really fit me well right out of the envelope. This might have something to do with the fact that I match her size 12/14, but really need more of an 8 with an FBA. By the time I made a second Archer, I still didn't know about FBAs so I frankensteined my pattern to be a 10 (bust) / 8 (waist) / 12 (hip). This has worked pretty well for me over the course of 8 or so more Archers, but I'd really like to go back to the base pattern, add an FBA and make a new version of this TNT pattern.

Looking back on this make recently, I realize that it actually isn't that bad. I also feel really proud of myself for giving this a go, and for doing pretty well despite having basically no experience. Unfortunately this is about the only light of day it will ever see - it just sits in the back of my closet... but it serves as a reminder of how far I've come!


  1. A great post! It's so good to look back on ones previous makes and see the progression and improvement. You're such a shirt making machine now! Tell me what method do you prefer for doing your collar stand? its the trickiest part for me....

  2. Thank you, Sarah!! After I made this one I thought it was terrible, but I really shouldn't have been so hard on myself :D

    For collars I prefer Andrea's method (http://foursquarewalls.blogspot.com/2013/09/sewing-collar-different-order.html) - it's SO much better and easier than any pattern instructions I've seen. It pretty much takes all the guesswork and fiddly parts out of collar making! :D

  3. Thanks Katie - that's what I've used mostly. I've just finished a shirt using a different method, just for something new, and I wasn't that happy..... But I love trying new methods so it's all part of the learning process. Have a super weekend!

  4. I think it awesome!! You did a great job!
    I have the same sizing issue with Grainline too - although my measurements match up close to a 12 or 14, I'm more like a 6 in the shoulders. I have found with Archer that adding an FBA does wonders, although I am struggling with Alder at the moment. :) I'm liking these posts!

  5. Thanks, Heather! I love being able to put old stuff on here without a lot of fanfare (and photos of myself :D). And I love Grainline patterns sooooo much, I just wish they could be a little easier to fit right away (the Linden being the exception!). I'm working on the Alder next week - I'm nervous!

  6. Don't be nervous - you're awesome! I have made 2 Alders in the last week and I have discovered that you need to choose a different size than Archer for sure, because it's more fitted. I went over the choosing a size post in the sew along and that helped. For Archer I am a size 6 with a 1" FBA and for Alder I am much closer to a size 10. I am about to start on a shirt version of Alder and I think I may have finally nailed the fit (fingers crossed!). The dresses I made are okay - but not perfect so we'll see how the shirt turns out. The good thing is that once you get the fit right, you don't really have to do it again.

  7. I love this fabric! But dude, way to go for diving into this so fearlessly as a newbie! It's so fun to look back at older garments and see how much you've progressed. It's nice to have a visual record of your learning and experience!