This is my first make of the Grainline Archer Shirt. It’s in plaid flannel bought for $5 a yard in New York. I have used up every last scrap of this fabric and had a fantastic journey of learning.
First things first. If you’re like me and like to wear skinny jeans/leggings/jeggings but also want to keep your posterior covered, you need this pattern. Check out the rear of View B!
I just love the flirtatiousness of this treatment, especially when combined with the lumberjack vibe of plaid flannel. Ah yes, plaid flannel… You WILL drive yourself crazy trying to match up checks at every seam line. You WILL fail at some point in the process. Accept that. Move on. It’s a particular form of OCD that strikes during the construction and then the moment you pull your shirt on, thoughts of imperfections fly out of your mind. Because, you know, it’s cosy and is going to last you about ten years and if you were ever digging a shallow grave in a snow storm, this shirt would probably save your life. (I’m not saying a word about the British weather right now. I refuse to say a word…)
The pattern, you ask? A stonker! Some of the instructions and construction methods will test you if you’ve never made a shirt before. I really stumbled over the plackets but, interestingly, I found the collar and collar stand an absolute joy to put together. I just love the learning process. Oh, that makes that happen! Oh, wow, so this is how it comes together!
Oh yeah, I love the learning process until I foul up. My under collar – seam and all – is now on the outside of my collar…
Oh, and if you squint, my button band is the wrong way round. I think. I get so confused! You know when instructions talk about the ‘left front’ and ‘right front’? I’m always, like, Yeah, but is that the left when I’m wearing it or the left when I’m looking at it? It drives me crazy. So, my button band is probably wrong.
Will the error-riddled collar and button band cause me a lost night’s sleep? Absolutely not. I’ve learned something for the next time I make this shirt. And, to be honest, as a first attempt, I’m pretty happy with my collar. In the words of one of the best films ever, ‘That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.’
This shirt has only just entered my life, but I’m already incredibly fond of it. I am, however, very glad that I used $5 fabric for my first attempt. If I’d launched straight in with silk twill, this would have been a disaster. My Sewlution was to ‘conquer’ the shirt. This ain’t no conquer. This is a ‘Nice to meet you, my name’s Karen,’ first encounter. Which is absolutely fine. First encounters can lead to such interesting places.
A couple of other details, just for the fun of peering at construction. I overlocked all my seams in turquoise thread to match the fabric and I used alternating dark and light grey buttons. It’s the details that make sewing such fun, don’t you agree?
Oh, and with all the buttonholes you’ll be making on this shirt, don’t forget to thread your bobbin thread through the little eye on the little leg of your bobbin case. This improves the finish of your buttonholes. (Don’t ask me why or how.)
I can’t wait to see the Grainline sewalong. I’ll get to see all the places I went wrong! Because, you know, I don’t want to waste that silk twill. What do you think, Ella?