My Archer of Many Details is complete, and I have to say, I really like this one! Not surprisingly, it’s the little details that make all the difference. They take extra time, but to me, it’s worth it. :)
Although I finished sewing this shirt about 2 weeks ago, I’m only getting around to blogging about it now. Life has a way of getting busy sometimes, and sewing is usually the first thing to go when my schedule fills up. Sad but true! My sewing had been moving along at a glacial pace anyway, mostly due to me being exhausted after work lately, so I guess the last few weeks of low sewing productivity aren’t all that surprising. Ah, life. Anyway, back to my new shirt!
Fabric: Robert Kaufmann pinpoint Oxford (100% cotton shirting) in light gray, with a polka dot quilting cotton for the contrast pocket, cuffs, and hem.
Modifications: Oh, the details! This shirt features a contrast pocket, contrast inner sleeve cuffs, grosgrain ribbon on the button placket, tower plackets on the sleeves, hand-stitched false French seams on the armholes (with regular French seams everywhere else), and a contrast bias-faced hem. Check out my in-progress post for more info & close-up photos.
Level of crafty satisfaction: Smitten. :) While I haven’t yet reached professional shirt-making status, I think this Archer is my most professional-looking shirt yet. I’m getting there!
As usual, I left plenty of wiggle room in the upper back so that I can comfortably move around throughout the day. Comfort and freedom of movement are particularly important when you’re running around a lab all day, crawling around on the floor, scrubbing an endless stream of dirty culture flasks, etc. I love my job, but sometimes it’s a workout! My handmade garments have to accommodate that. :)
I think my favorite feature of this top is the black ribbon down the button band. I love the extra pop of color (is black considered a color?), and I really love how the white buttons pop against the dark background. I’ve seen this detail on high quality RTW shirts and wanted to replicate the luxurious look. I think I’ll be doing this for all my future Archers!
This was my first time using bias tape to face the hem. I like the look of it from the inside, but it definitely makes a “stiffer” hem from the outside. I’m not sure that I’m crazy about it, but I don’t dislike it either.
I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/8 inch (i.e., really small) before stitching down the bias tape, and the thin SA really helped to create a flat curved hem at the side seams. The technique worked well, but I’m not 100% convinced of the finished look. We’ll see how I feel over time as I wear it. I’m glad I gave it a try though!
The tower plackets came out great, I think. This was my second time sewing them, and although I still can’t do it without the directions in front of me, I’m getting the hang of how everything goes together. It’s kind of like a little puzzle that magically comes together in the end. This time I remembered to take a little width out of the sleeve side seam (about 1 inch overall) to accommodate the width added by the plackets. The contrast inner cuffs are a fun surprise detail too. :)
All the topstitching is eyeballed, no special foot used here! I actually have an edge-stitching foot that I’ve never used, simply due to stubbornness and pride in my ability to eyeball a pretty straight line. I know, how ridiculous right? I can be really stubborn about things… but let’s not dwell on that!
Like my other Archers, I made the sleeves R E A L L Y long. You can see how they bunch up a bit around my elbows and hang well below my wrists. They look a little silly being so long, but the extra length is a lifesaver in the winter. The sleeves still hit my wrists when I’m sitting at my desk, moving my arms around. etc., which keeps the chill out quite nicely. Yay for warm arms all winter long! One of the many joys of sewing is being able to customize my shirts for my long giraffe arms. :)
Here you can see the contrast hem in action – cute! Also, with all the French seams, this shirt is 100% finished inside and out. No raw edges in sight! I’m pretty proud of that, since my other Archers had zig-zagged armhole seams that frayed a bit after washing. Check out my false French seams in this post, which finish the armholes and give the shirt a little bit of a couture touch.
I think that’s about it! My apologies for the lack of finished projects around here these days, and for the not-so-great indoor photos today. Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got, right?
I’ve already worn and washed this shirt, and it’s held up great. It’s still amazing to me that I now own button-down shirts that actually fit my body. This feat was 30+ years in the making. Yay sewing!! :)