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!

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Floral voile Archer: sneak peeks

Floral Archer in progress - under collar

I think shirtmaking is my absolute favorite type of sewing.  I find so much peace and satisfaction in all the precision and details, and I love the endless possibilities for customization.  Also, there’s nothing like wearing a crisp button-down shirt, especially one that’s light and airy on a warm summer day.  I suspect this shirt will get a lot of wear once the weather warms up, and I can almost feel the warm breeze of the harbor on my face…. almost.  It’s still snowing around here.  🙂

Floral Archer in progress - sleeve placket

This weekend I indulged in some super-slow sewing — my favorite way to sew.  Tower plackets, collars and collar stands, grosgrain ribbon along the button band.  Lots of precision topstitching.  A handful of pointy corners.  Does it get any better than this?

Floral Archer in progress - collar

The combination of this floral voile and striped shirting is divine, and I’ve been enjoying the feel of the light and soft fabrics against my fingertips.  I tried to minimize the use of interfacing on this shirt to maintain the light feel, but I did use some lightweight fusible in the collar.  A floppy collar is too sad a thought to bear!Floral Archer in progress - sleeve cuffI keep petting my creation-in-progress as I walk by, admiring my work and imagining all the summer adventures I’ll have in this shirt.  At least the sun was out today — a promise of warmer days to come.  I’ll be ready with a new shirt when spring decides to finally show its face.

Until then, I’ll remain chained at the hip to my puffer coat.  At least my prison is warm and fluffy.  🙂

Where are they now: Archer edition

Where are they now - Archer edition

Do you ever wonder what happens to handmade garments after their initial blog debut?  I do!  It’s one of the reasons I always enjoy Gillian’s year-in-review series where everyone confesses which garments didn’t quite live up to their expectations.  We all put so much work into our garments… but then what?  Are we still wearing them a year later?  Did our tastes change?  Did the garments survive the wash?

And why am I talking about failed garments and my beloved Archers in the same post??

Well, I have a confession to make.  As the long winter drags on, I’ve realized that I haven’t been reaching for my Archers anymore.  It’s not that I don’t love them.  In fact, I’m actually kind of sad that they haven’t been making the rounds lately.  So what gives?

People, IT’S COLD.  So cold, in fact, that a loose-fitting woven top just doesn’t cut it in the warmth department.  I’ve been layering with close-fitting tops and sweaters that hug my body and keep in the heat.  The lightweight cotton of my precious Archers combined with the generous cut (read: plenty of room for cold air to seep in!) are just not a good combination for winter.  There, I said it!  I’ve come to the conclusion that my Archers are 3-season garments.  Perfect for transitional weather in spring and fall, and even great for summer in all those air-conditioned buildings.  But winter?  Not so great.

Some of you may recall my grand plan of sewing Renfrews to match my Archers, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  It turns out that getting a long cotton sleeve to fit into another long cotton sleeve produces almost enough friction to start a fire, and if you do manage to squeeze into those sleeves, it’s pretty uncomfortable to wear all day.  Womp womp.  I am crying a single tear.

So where are my Archers now?  Hanging in my closet, being neglected, and waiting for warmer days when I can wear them with a tank top.  Until further notice I’ll be living in my huge puffer coat and covered with a down blanket.

Do you have any handmade garment confessions to make?  It feels good to let them out.  🙂

Everyday wardrobe: four Renfrews with coordinating Archers

Four Renfrews with coordinating Archers by Allspice Abounds

The image above is the culmination of a grand sewing strategy.  Are you strategic with your fabric and pattern purchases?  I’ve been trying to get better at planning ahead with the goal of creating a wearable, everyday wardrobe.  The idea is to create comfortable, easy-to-wear pieces that are functional in my daily life, and to create new pieces that work with existing pieces.

I had identified a few problems in my existing wardrobe:

  • I needed more long-sleeved t-shirts for layering in cold weather.
  • Wearing an Archer with a tank top underneath doesn’t keep me warm enough.
  • My existing knit tops don’t match with my Archers.

The solution: Buy some jersey in colors that match my Archers, and sew up a bunch of Renfrews!

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Chambray Bird Archer – finished!

Grainline Chambray Bird Archer - finished

One last Archer to round out my Summer of Archers!  This rich burgundy/aubergine combo is pretty dreamy and looks fantastic in this golden hour light.  The main fabric has a slight sheen to it in the right light, which hopefully you can see above.  I love the subtle woven dots combined with the whimsical birds on the pocket and back yoke.  This project was quite a roller coaster, but I’m really pleased with the finished garment.  Read on for all the details.  🙂

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Flamingo Archer – finished!

Grainline Flamingo Archer - finished

The 21-year-old version of myself would have hated this shirt.  It’s very PINK.  I distinctly remember going through a phase in college where I hated pink and refused to wear it no matter how small the dose.  I would go on and on about how I’m not a girly girl and how pink epitomizes everything that feminists rage against.  Fast forward about 10 years.  I’m still not a girly girl, but I absolutely love this shirt.  🙂

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One Week One Pattern: the Parade of Archers

OWOP14 Collage by Allspice Abounds

[1] Spring Archer [2] Archer of Many Details [3] Flamingo Archer
[4] Oxford & Liberty Archer [5] Spring Archer [6] Archer of Many Details [7] Chambray Bird Archer

One Week One Pattern appears to have been a smashing success!  Created by Tilly and The Buttons and hosted this year by Handmade Jane, the challenge was to wear garments made from the same pattern for 7 days in a row.  This year, the challenge lasted from Saturday Sept 6 through Friday Sept 12.  Yes, that’s seven full days of wearing almost the same thing in row.  Phew!!

One Week One Pattern - large

I chose the Grainline Archer, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite TNT patterns.  (I could have chosen my all-time most-used pattern, the Renfrew, but most of my Renfrews are long sleeved and not really suited for late summer weather.)  I had 4 Archers going into the challenge and set a goal for myself of finishing the 5th one in time to wear for the last day of the challenge.  As you can see from the collage above, I made it!  Sort of (keep reading).

So let’s see what I wore all week!

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Video sewing update!

That’s right folks, I’m now on video!  My blogging has taken kind of an experimental turn lately – first I wrote a poem about sewing, and now I’m trying out a video sewing update.  I’m not sure what’s spurred on this deviation from my usual posting routine, but hey, I’m embracing my various adventures into new territory.  🙂

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing regarding posting videos on my blog, or on YouTube for that matter, so please let me know if you can’t view the video, if there are any strange formatting issues, or if anything else isn’t working properly.  You can view the video directly on YouTube here.

With that said, I hope you enjoy “meeting” me in person!  I chat a little bit about why I decided to make a video in the first place, and I show off my purple Archer-in-progress, slightly further along than in my previous post.  Added bonus: now you can hear how nasal my voice is.  🙂  Enjoy!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

One Week One Pattern – sneak peeks

Sneak peek Archer with Maggie Sleeve cuff finished

How do I love the Archer?  Let me count the ways… wait, actually I’d better start counting how many Archers I’ll have by this Saturday.  It’s the start of One Week One Pattern 2014!  Yes my dear readers, I, Carolyn of Allspice Abounds, will actually be participating in something online.  Gasp!  Horror!  Hold on to your seats – the daily wet-hair selfies are on their way.  🙂

One Week One Pattern - largeMy goal is to have 5 completed Archers for the 7 days of the challenge.  I’ve already got 4 done (one, two, three, and the fourth in the shockingly pink photos above – proper blog post coming soon).  The fifth is just starting to take shape in some lovely Robert Kaufman chambray dot.  And yeah, I put a bird on it.

Dot Archer - pocket sewn on

The blog-post-writing has been a little light these days, but the sewing keeps on truckin’!

Are you participating in OWOP this year?  What will you be wearing for 7 days in row??  🙂

The Writing Process Blog Hop comes to town!

Carolyn sitting at the computer

Am I about to write something brilliant??

Do you find yourself yearning to know more about me as you’re sipping your coffee each morning?  Are you constantly thinking, “I wonder what Carolyn’s doing right now?”  If so*, you’re in for a treat, because I was recently nominated by the very talented Kat over at The Couture Academic for the Writing Process Blog Hop!

*I sincerely hope no one is doing this.  🙂

Kat is one of those sewing bloggers that I not-so-secretly wish I could meet in person someday because I suspect we would get along fabulously.  Her attention to detail in finishing her garments with couture techniques is admirable, and I really enjoy her positive attitude and genuine love for sewing.

Anyway, onto the questions!

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