The Archer of Many Details: finished!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - finished

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!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - sleeves rolled up

Project Stats:

Pattern: Grainline Archer, modified for fit in previous iterations.

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!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - side Grainline Archer of Many Details -

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.  🙂

Grainline Archer of Many Details - collar detail

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!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - hem in progress

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.

Grainline Archer of Many Details - button and hem detail

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!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - sleeve placket closed Grainline Archer of Many Details - sleeve placket open

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!

Grainline Archer of Many Details - front

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.  🙂

Grainline Archer of Many Details - open showing contrast hemHere 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!!  🙂

18 thoughts on “The Archer of Many Details: finished!

  1. Wow, this shirt is more than perfect! I have also started with biastape for all kind of round hems. That works much faster than ironing pleats and open up more possibilities for cute little details.
    You may be very proud about this archer, and all the patience you put in beside daily work.
    Ha ha you are so right the personal adjustments makes sewing so awesome!
    Hope you ease up at work soon 🙂


    • Thanks Tutti! I don’t know if I’d call this shirt perfect, but I’m happy with how it came out. 🙂 My sewing skills improve with each project, but I have so many more things to learn (pants!!). Isn’t bias tape great for hems? I can’t believe it took me so long to give it a try.

      Thankfully my work schedule is getting back to normal now… which hopefully means lots more sewing. 🙂


  2. Woo! You’re really becoming an Archer expert! Love the shirt and all the fun details you put into it! That placket is definitely something to be proud of 🙂


    • Thanks Kat! I’m definitely happy with the sleeve plackets, and I think they give the shirt a more RTW look than the continuous lap that the pattern instructs you to do. I’ve been inspecting my boyfriend’s work shirts, and they all have really nice tower plackets. Please tell me I’m not the only one to inspect the construction details of other people’s clothing… while they’re wearing it!


  3. As I get more experienced and confidence in sewing and I find my finished items looking more professional, I always then see you and your fantastic perfect creations in my head, and I remind myself of how much more there is to learn, and how I look forward to learning more and more. You are such an inspiration to me. This shirt is fab, by the way!


    • Wow Jodie, what a compliment! Thank you so much for your very kind words. 🙂 My sewing is far from perfect though! I still have so much to learn and so many new techniques to try. Actually this is one of the things I love most about sewing – the endless stream of new things to try. There is always a new challenge to tackle.

      We all get better with each new project. Glad to hear your projects are getting better and better each time! 🙂


  4. It looks fantastic! I’ve got to get to this pattern in the fall. It keeps getting pushed back in my sewing queue in favor of quick sew projects, but I need to make it a priority.


    • Thanks Teri! A button-down shirt is definitely not a quick project, but I enjoy taking my time with all the fiddly details and putting all the puzzle pieces together. Plus, these shirts are perfect for my job, so I enjoy adding them to my wardrobe.

      All your projects always come out great, and I can see how much work you put into them. I’m always amazed at how quickly you crank them out too! I sew at a glacial pace, LOL.


  5. I think the ribbon is my favourite part as well. I’ve used biastape to finish hemlines of shirts as well but find that after a while they tend to curl to the outside so nowadays I prefer to do a narrow double fold hem. That does take more time though…


    • Yeah that’s what I’ve done on all my previous shirts, and the hem has held up great. We’ll see how I feel about the bias tape over time. It looks cute but definitely behaves a little differently.


  6. Great job on the shirt! The fit is great on you- and super thumbs up to the longer sleeves for winter. The beauty of customization in action!

    Also, I think you made an excellent choice for the contrast detailing. It’s interesting without being overwhelming.


    • Thanks so much! I really love the super long sleeves – they make a huge difference when the air is chilly. Thanks for your comment on the polka dots too. You can pretty much never go wrong with polka dots. 🙂


  7. I love this shirt – really makes me want to start another one. The details make such a difference -I love the contrast ribbon on the button band and the lining inside the cuffs – it makes it totally unique – which is the whole joy of making things for yourself!



    • Thanks so much, Louise! Yes, I love that the shirt is so unique and customized to fit my shirt-wearing preferences. Sewing is so liberating in that respect! I don’t know what took me so long to start adding the ribbon on the button band – I think I’ll be doing that from now on. 🙂


  8. Oh God, I love everything about this! The fabulous polka dot contrasts, the black button band – especially the black button band! You did a fantastic job with this!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.