Skip to content

Grainline Archer: The Silk, Sleeveless Edition with the moving dart

2014 April 22
by elizabeth_admin

As soon as I finished my Kelly green Archer, I knew I wanted to make another sleeveless Archer right away, but this time in a flowy silk.  I have many silks in my stash and auditioned quire a few for this make.  This sheer, Swiss dot-esque silk from Metro Textiles in NYC practically jumped out at me.  It’s drapey, it’s silky, it’s sheer and it has a Swiss dot look?  How much more perfect could it be???  It was exactly what I was looking for to make my next Archer.

First things first though, I needed to adjust the back pattern piece to accommodate my bum.  If you will recall, I had to add a side seam gusset mid-project for the green cotton shirt.  For this and any future make, I widened the back pattern piece to a avoid the complications of adding a gusset.



I also raised the dart on the front pattern piece thinking that it was too low after altering the pattern to be sleeveless.  WRONG!  The too low dart on the green shirt was purely a product of the fabric.  On this silk version, the dart is now too high.  Unfortunately, the silk does not take kindly to needle marks and I had to leave the too-high dart as is.  Sigh.  It’s not too disturbing as long as I wear only a certain bra with this top.  So going forward, I will test where the dart falls before sewing it up as the fabric greatly changes where the dart lies, for whatever strange reason.

Unfortunately, I had a several  issues while making this version.  First and foremost, this is a slippery silk.  It was really shifty.  I kept having to use the paper patterns to recheck that the cut pieces hadn’t gone all wonky.  Secondly, as mentioned earlier, the dart turned out high.  Thirdly, I accidentally cut a large hole into my outer back  yoke while grading the seam.  Doh!  I had to cut out all three yoke and back pieces over again as I had graded the seams and the shifty silk made it hard to match up the seam lines again.  What a pain!



Fourthly, I didn’t have quite the right buttons for this make in my stash.  I auditioned some glass buttons.





But they didn’t seem quite right to me.  Then I thought of covered buttons, but I didn’t have the right size in the stash.  All my kits were too large.

So I had to wait until today to hit my local fabric store to find a button to suit this project.  But patience is apparently a virtue and I did find the right buttons.IMG_8783



But despite those issues, this shirt is exactly what I envisioned it to be.  Flowy, silky, sheer, cute.  Seriously it’s exactly what I set out to make.  Well, except for the too high darts, but we’re just going to ignore them, right?

I love this fabric and I love this top.  Here’s how it looks on.







A peek at the binding…



And one more pic for good measure.



And just for kicks, here’s a picture of me and the little boy who lives with me at Easter.  This dress goes way back.  I love the magic closet.  The bloom had faded on this dress for me even before I moved out to San Diego and yet, after a long hiatus, it seemed perfect for Easter.  Go figure.




Happy sewing everyone!

Grainline’s Archer Shirt — The sleeveless edition

2014 April 16
by elizabeth_admin

I finished it!  The sleeveless version of the Grainline Archer shirt with the View A back pattern piece.    My first Archer, view B with the back peplum.  was a very wearable muslin due to some user error.  I wear it at least once a week, so I must not mind my fitting errors too much.  This time around I made View A with the pleated back sans peplum and using Jen’s tutorial to make it sleeveless.  I retraced the pattern pieces and made the changes to make them sleeveless as I knew I wanted to keep both versions to make multiple versions of this shirt.  I thought the sleeveless Archer would be a perfect summer wardrobe staple.  Jen’s tutorials are awesome.  I used her Archer sew-along tutorials to make both shirts and the sleeveless variation tutorial.  Shirtmaking made easy!

I tried on the shirt during construction after I had basted the side seams together and two things were glaringly  wrong.  Sherril assisted me again with my fitting process.

  1. My bust dart (I had done an FBA to the pattern originally and added a bust dart) was droopily low.
  2. The back of the shirt was hung up on my butt.

It’s supposed to be a loose-fitting shirt, so there should be no need for a swayback alteration.  The solution was to add more room for my butt and I did that by adding gussets to the side seams at the hem after determining how much room I needed  to add (about 1 inch + ease for each side seam for a total of 2.5 inches added).  I will alter the back pattern for more room for the hips/butt by adding to the side seam from the hem tapering to 0 at the waist.

I’m not sure why my bust dart was too low in this version.  I compared it to the pattern to see if I had made a mistake, but it was correctly placed.  I compared it to my existing Archer shirt whose dart is well placed, and again, it was in the same place.  So I guess either new fabric or the sleeveless change made all the difference to where my bust dart fell when I sewed it up.  Regardless of the reason, I raised the bust dart (about 1 1/2 inches) and shortened it by 1/2 inch.  Hopefully the needle marks will disappear after a run through the washer/dryer.  *crossing fingers*

Too low

Too low


Much better

Much better


The one other change I made to the pattern was to follow Kira’s decision to leave off the collar and just use the stand to finish off the neckline, a Mandarin collar of sorts.  I loved the sashiko yoke on her sleeveless Archer.

Finishing details included doing faux French seams for the side seams and gussets.  I had mentioned to Sherril that I was hesitant to use my serger to finish the seams since it’s not really running well after the repair shop debacle, so she suggested the faux French seams.  To make the faux French seams, you just fold the seam allowances toward the seam, press together and edgestitch along the fold.   Easy peasy!







The sewing was pretty smooth for this Archer edition, even including the buttonholes.  I love drama-free sewing.  Love. it.  And without further ado, here’s my Sleeveless Archer!







This über cute Swiss Dot cotton fabric used to be white.  I dyed it green with Claudine on Mother’s Day 2012 before I moved out to San Diego.  I will love wearing this shirt just for the memory of that fine day alone.  Here’s a close up of its Swiss Dot awesomeness.



I love my new Archer.  I am already planning some more shirts for summer.  I’m thinking of trying a princess seamed pattern next for something a little more fitted as well as one or two more Archer shirts.  What are you making for your summer wardrobe?

Sneak Peek: Emerald Green Swiss Dot

2014 April 15
by elizabeth_admin

I can’t resist posting a sneak peek of my latest work in progress, a sleeveless Grainline Archer shirt for summer.  I am about halfway done (probably only 2/5ths done because we all know how long all the last bits take on a make, don’t we?) and loving it already.



Isn’t that collar stand so cute in all it’s Swiss Dotted awesomeness???   Can’t wait to make more of these.  I have so many fun fabrics in the stash.

Meetups Extraordinaire

2014 April 13
by elizabeth_admin

It’s been busy here at Chez SEWN.  The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of activities for Jack, school, Spring Break, camping, parties, baseball season and visits.   I feel like I have been going at warp speed for a very long time.   I’m exhausted and paid for it all with a massive migraine coming home from Los Angeles yesterday.  I am so looking forward to some down time next week when Jack is back in school.  Can’t. Wait.

One of my guests was Beth of Sunnygal Studios in northern California.  She was here for business and suggested we meet up for a day of shop talk.  Who am I to refuse an offer like that?  We had a lovely day; her writeup is here.  We spent most of the day trying to fit a coat pattern that was just not meant to be.  I was disappointed that it didn’t work out, but I already know my penchant for picking inappropriate silhouettes for my body type.  I think I’m an Asian woman trapped in a curvy body.  Sigh…  We did go through some of my recent makes and tweaked fit.  So it was a fun and productive day in all and ended with a great dinner.  Next time we meet up, I would love to work on actual sewing techniques with Beth and tackle my fear of welt pockets.



Yesterday,  Hashi of Such Wild Love met up with me and the little boy in LA at the DVF Exhibit (which has been extended to May 1st!).  It’s a small exhibit but well curated and includes a lot of the portraits made of the Princess (she’s an actual Princess!).  I found it interesting how the scale of each print changed the look of each dress.  Full skirts, slim skirts, halter wraps, wraps worn backwards…  There were a lot of variations on the wrap theme.  Very cool.  And a lot of ideas brewing in my head.











After a quick lunch, we trekked over the new kid in town, The Fabric Store on La Brea.



Man, this might be my new favorite store.  Lots of natural fiber fabrics, organized by type and color.  Gorgeous prints and solids.  Lots of silks and knits.  Even some Japanese fabrics.  The prices, especially for the silks, were great.  I couldn’t leave without a little memento, so I purchased a cotton shirting that had a burnout quality to it.  I loved the print, a murmuration of birds in navy on a white background.  It looks so summery!



We went down the street to visit Mood, but it was closed due to earthquake damage to the ceilings.  :(



I was so disappointed.  The fabrics I could see from the window looked drool worthy.  The store is huge, almost a whole city block long.  There was a large sewing area of about 15 machines.  It would be so cool to take a class there amongst the fabric.

It was a great visit with Hashi and the little boy was on his best behavior.  A great day had by all.

I love sewing friend meet ups.  They really rejuvenate me.  It’s so fun to talk about the activity I love so much and fondle fabrics with people who understand the addiction.

Happy stashing and sewing everyone.

Serger “Fixes”

2014 April 2
by elizabeth_admin

No my machine is not running at full potential yet.  I have not yet found a new place to take her to be fixed.

Here is the (copious) list of things I have done or had done to my machine thus far:

  • Rethreaded countless times with different color threads
  • Replaced the needles several times.  Sometimes with plain serger needles, sometimes with ball point serger needles.
  • Replaced the upper and lower knives
  • Replaced the faceplate which had broken needles on it.
  • Had the machine serviced and cleaned three times.
  • Tried different fabrics.

Now the serger:

  • Sounds “wrong” for lack of a better term.
  • Does not serge smoothly.
  • The tensions are not quite right anymore no matter how I reset them.
  • Still does not adequately serge the green fabric without skipping stitches.
  • The whole left side of the machine does not look like it was put back together correctly and the pull out section that you take off to sew necklines or sleeves does not fit nicely anymore.
  • The new faceplate does not sit flush with the bed of the machine.
  • Nothing seems 100% right with this machine now.

I am beyond frustrated and sad.  I am scared to use it any further for fear of making it irrevocably worse.

So. Bummed.

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Brother 2340CV
    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Brother 1034D
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along

  • Tags