Floral voile Archer – finished!

Floral voile Archer - finished

Today I’m excited to finally share my finished Floral voile Archer!  I sewed this up a few weeks ago but had to delay the photo shoot while I recovered from a slew of various aliments, but thankfully I’m (almost) all better and have a new shirt to model for you.  🙂  It’s no secret that the Archer is one of my favorite patterns, and this is the 6th one that I’ve added to my wardrobe.  This one is made in a blue and white printed voile that I think is perfectly light and breezy for the summer, topped off with some striped details on the collar and cuffs.  Simply put, I love it!

Floral voile Archer - front unbuttoned

Project Stats:

Pattern: Grainline Archer button-up shirt

Fabric: Main fabric – Moody Blues floral voile by Geninne for Cloud 9, 100% organic cotton; Contrast – Robert Kaufman Yard Dyed Small Stripe in Sky, 100% cotton

Modifications: I used my previously modified Archer pattern, which is roughly a size 8 in the shoulders, 0 at the waist, and 4 at the hips.  The sleeves have been narrowed and lengthened, I added length between the shoulder and bust, and I added width to the center back pleat.  You can follow my detailed modifications here.  I had also changed the sleeve placket from a continuous lap to a tower placket, which you can read about here.  The only new things I changed for this version were adding some additional width across the upper back and straightening the sleeve cuff hem, both of which I explain below.

Level of crafty satisfaction: I’m thrilled with my new summer shirt!  I can already feel the cool ocean breeze on my face…  🙂

Floral voile Archer - back

Floral voile Archer - side

Check out my face in the photo above – I wasn’t quite ready for this shot!  John had graciously offered to take some photos for me, and we’re still working out our communication system for blog photo shoots.  First world problems.  🙂

Floral voile Archer - collar detail

I really love the fabric combination on this shirt: a light floral voile with a crisp striped shirting.  I used the contrast fabric on the under collar and inner collar stand, in addition to the sleeve cuffs and sleeve plackets.  Since the under collar is cut on the bias, the stripes wind up going diagonally.  I really like this effect!  I don’t often wear my shirts with the collar popped, but I feel like I have a good excuse to be a little edgy when wearing this shirt.  Watch out, Boston!
Floral voile Archer - grosgrain ribbon along button band

Like I’ve done with my Archer of Many Details and Flamingo Archer, I used a cotton grosgrain ribbon along the button band, simply topstitched in place.  I specifically chose white buttons so they would pop against the ribbon.  I always hand sew my buttons using the toothpick method, which works like a charm.

Floral voile Archer -  pocketsIt’s hard to see from afar, but there are actually two pockets on this shirt.  I didn’t bother to pattern-match the print simply because I couldn’t care less about it (ha), but I could have paid more attention to the placement.  Do you see how one of the pockets is slightly higher than the other?  OOPS!  They’re not even close!  I don’t know what I was drinking while sewing these pockets, but clearly I had too much.  🙂  I think the only thing that saves this shirt is that the print is so busy that you can hardly see the pockets at all unless you’re right in front of them.

I promise, next time I’ll measure more carefully.  🙂

New pattern modifications

I mentioned above that I made two new tweaks to my Archer pattern.  First up, an armscye alteration based on my ongoing journey to fit my broad shoulders and broad upper back.  Based on my sloper back bodice, I straightened the back armscye of the Archer, extending a line straight down from the shoulder notch to the underarm curve.

Archer back armscye adjustment - before

You can see above that I overlapped the back yoke and back bodice pieces along the seam lines before adding the new wedge.  In the photo below, I separated the modified pieces and added seam allowances.  Easy!
Archer back armscye adjustment - after

I’m not convinced that this modification actually resulted in a better fit, but I do have plenty of room to extend my arms forward and move around comfortably.  Behold:

Floral voile Archer - back with arms stretched forward

Glorious full arm extension!  I’ll be curious to see if this newly-modified Archer is any more comfortable in the upper back than my previous versions.  It feels good for now, but wearing the shirt for a full day of work will be the real test.  I’ll have to report back on this.

Next up: I straightened the sleeve cuff hem.  The original sleeve hem is curved so that the finished cuff angles toward the front, in line with how the arm naturally hangs.  That’s great, but since I like my sleeves to be really LONG, I don’t really need them to hang properly.  (My sleeve cuffs just bunch up at my wrists, which is how I like them.  I hate cold wrists!)  Anyway, I drew a straight line across the bottom and just chopped off the curve.

Archer sleeve cuff adjustment - before

While I was at it, I moved the slit 2 inches toward the front of the sleeve — in this case, to the left.  Once I changed the sleeve placket from a continuous lap to a tower placket, I noticed that the plackets tended to sit along the bottom of my forearm, instead of on the outside.  The buttons clicking and clacking below my wrists while I’m working was getting a little annoying, so those plackets had to be moved!  I also moved the 2 pleats toward the front to go along with the new slit placement.
Archer sleeve cuff adjustment - after

The finished sleeve pattern is above.  This was a little change that made a big difference in how the sleeves feel during wear.  No more buttons clicking against my desk all day!

Floral voile Archer - sleeve cuff with contrast placket

And here’s the finished sleeve cuff and placket, in all its stripe-y goodness.  I don’t know what it is about this fabric combination, but I just love it!  One of the great joys of shirtmaking (and sewing in general) is the ability to customize a garment and add special details.  I could never, ever find a shirt with these details that actually fit my long torso and long arms in RTW.  Goodbye forever, ill-fitting RTW shirts!

Final thoughts

Floral voile Archer - front buttonedIn a floaty voile, this shirt is light and summery, just begging for some warmer weather and walks by the harbor.  Although it’s not *quite* warm enough here in Boston to wear this shirt yet, we’re definitely getting there.  I saw the first flowers and leaf buds this weekend!  PEOPLE, WE HAVE BUDS!!  Good thing too, because I had almost forgotten what green plants look like.  🙂  Happy spring, everyone!

30 thoughts on “Floral voile Archer – finished!

  1. This is totally gorgeous! The blue and white colours are so fresh – I really like the blue ribbon on the button placket – and it’s floral but not too floral! And you know that no one would have ever noticed the pockets if you hadn’t mentioned them! I am interested in your shoulder adjustments – I made my Archer oversized so I didnt have problems there but it is an issue on pretty much all woven tops for me



    • Thanks Louise! Subtle florals for everyone! 🙂 I’m in the same boat with shoulder adjustments. I think I manage to scrape by with the Archer because it’s cut so generously, but basically any woven top with sleeves is a problem for me. Honestly, I may just stick to knit tops in the winter and sleeveless tops in the summer!


  2. Gosh this is beautiful!! In addition to the lovely combination of fabrics, it’s clear from the photos that your work is impeccable. I really love the ribbon detail too – that wouldn’t have occurred to me, and it really takes it up a notch.


    • Thank you so much! I saw the ribbon on a RTW shirt once, maybe even a men’s shirt. I really liked the extra bit of contrast and figured it would be an easy detail to add to my own shirts – just topstitch that sucker on! 🙂


  3. I love all the details in this shirt. Really beautiful. I’m sure I’ve told you, that broad shoulder adjustments are a staple for everything I make too. Thankfully, with my adjustments, I seem to have narrowed down mine to a fairly black and white – 5/8″ wedge in the back and a 1cm extension on the shoulder seams – it makes for fairly predictable results for me now and I can deal with most patterns this way off the bat without muslins, but it took me a LONG, and very round about way of getting to this. Probably, there is more finesse I could do too, like you, but this seems to work well enough for me for wearable everyday. I enjoy reading your struggles 😉 or should I say process, because I understand it well ;-). Hopefully, you can take away all these changes to apply more simply to other shirt/top/dress patterns too.


    • Thanks Debbie! I think there are a bunch of us in the broad shoulder sewing posse, LOL. 🙂 I’m glad to hear you’ve found a set of adjustments that seem to work consistently for you, and this is exactly where I’d like to be eventually. All my little tweaks to the Archer seem to be working for me, more or less, but I don’t want to have to make so many adjustments to all new patterns. Then again, maybe I’ll just stick to knit tops or oversized wovens!


  4. I just love the blue and white combinations in this shirt. The stripes look so good with the floral and I love the blue ribbon with the contrasting white buttons. I’m glad you mentioned the clinking buttons with the change to the tower placket. If I ever get to my first Archer I was planning to do a tower placket and I will probably make that same shift. I don’t sit at a desk too often, but I think that would drive me crazy, too!


    • Thanks Teri! Yeah, the clicking buttons were driving me crazy at work all day, and I often wound up rolling up my sleeves to avoid it. The shift in location of the placket (and therefore buttons) was an unexpected side effect of switching to a tower placket. I think the problem is that the overlap winds up being much wider, so the “end” of the overlap is further away from the original slit in the sleeve. It’s an easy fix though, and now you know ahead of time. 🙂


  5. Lovely shirt, I really like the fabric! It reminds me a bit of Delft blue. I usually thread trace one corner of the pockets when the pattern is still attached to the fabric. That way it is really easy to get two pockets aligned perfectly without having to think too much about it.


    • Thanks Emmely! Believe it or not, I actually did mark the pattern placement with the pattern still attached to the fabric, but I still managed to goof it up. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it! Thankfully the print is so busy, so you can hardly notice it.


  6. You look stunning in that shirt! The fit is great! I appreciate you showing us how you did the alterations! AND, I love your color combinations! Hope you get back to feeling 100%


    • Thanks so much, Barb! I’m always interested in seeing other people’s pattern alterations, so I try to remember to show mine as well. Thanks for the well wishes too – I’m about 95% recovered and looking forward to 100%! 🙂


  7. Happy spring to you! I really, really enjoy seeing your altered patterns – good motivation to remember to start photographing mine. I know we talked about sharing alterations in a group, but I actually think including them in a blog post is great!


    • Thanks Morgan! It was actually thinking about your recent shoulder alterations that made me remember to include mine here. We can all remind each other. 🙂 I’m really interested in sewing from a technical standpoint (more so than fashion – I’m an engineer by training), so I like to nerd out about alterations and drafting anyway. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the fabric combination! Stripes + florals are my bliss… 🙂 Hopefully the new set of alterations works out for you. Getting a proper fit for the shoulder/arm can be so hard! It’s right up there with the crotch curve in terms of difficulty, IMO. And yay for spring! Suddenly, the grass is greening up and and flowers are budding… I thought we’d never get there!


    • Thanks Lisa! Yes, between shoulder/armscye fitting and crotch curves, I think I could probably spend the rest of my life sewing muslins and never complete another garment again. 🙂 It’s funny because I have a pretty rectangular (not very curvy) body shape, yet I still manage to have some hard-to-fit curves! Glad you’re enjoying the long-awaited spring. This week has been amazing – more new buds everyday!


  9. Carolyn, this is simply gorgeous, love all the details you’ve added and that make this shirt so professionally looking, I wouldn’t have notice the misplacement of pockets, the print is so busy that it covers it.


    • Thank you! I really love adding details to my shirts. I like to wear them to work and look professional, even though I work in such a casual environment. I suppose I dream of being a corporate woman again, LOL!


  10. This looks great! I’m definitely into the sewing for slightly warmer weather. We are crazy, too, looking for flowers and buds everywhere. The psycho winter really makes you appreciate spring! I love what you did with this shirt. I agree about the joy of being able to add your own details, and I love the ones you chose, plus the idea of summery voile. I would never notice the slightly different height of the sleeves–the print hides it. Thanks for being so thorough! I love your projects!


    • Thanks so much, Lisa! This shirt was a real pleasure to sew between the soft voile and looking ahead to warmer weather. I love sewing summer clothes because there are so many more options when you don’t have to worry about keeping warm, but I try to remind myself that summer clothes only get worn for 3 months and I really don’t need an army of them. 🙂


  11. Fantastic shirt Carolyn! I really like the striped contrast fabric. Fabulous.
    I find the balance between how a garment fits and is originally designed versus how it moves (or doesn’t) with the body and works in someones life fascinating. So, I really liked hearing about your armscye and placket alterations. Hooray for full arm motion and quiet sleeves.
    Also, loving the blue, on blue, on blue ensemble. Please tell me you were wearing blue shoes too!


  12. That looks great! Well done you! I’m taking my first shirtmaking class next week and am a bit nervous that it will come out looking more like a horse blanket. Hopefully, I’ll achieve something even close to what you’ve made.


    • Hahaha, a horse blanket!! I’m 100% sure you will not sew a horse blanket. 🙂 I think shirtmaking is a skill that you refine over time, with practice. This latest shirt is a lot neater than my first shirt, with various levels of improvement in between. Just take your time and enjoy the process. Shirtmaking is all about precision, and I find that going slowly and being patient are key. Good luck and have fun in your class! You can do it!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m working backwards and catching up on my reader…, glad I did! This is stunning! I will get around to using my archer pattern soon…I’ve had it traced off for months, and it’s not like there’s not enough inspiration out there! 😀


    • Thanks so much, Ali! The Archer is one of my all-time favorites. If the Sewaholic Granville were drafted for my body type, I’d be all over that pattern too. I hope you give the Archer a try – it’s so versatile. Depending on what fabric you use (voile, flannel), you may be able to wear them all year long!


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