Completed Sewlutions – Show Me Yours!

Archer Shirt Sewlution Success

Phewee! Five days before the end of 2013, I still hadn’t started on my Sewlution. To remind you, on 31 December last year I’d vowed that:

I shall conquer the blouse! Cuffs, plackets and collar.

12 months later, I had barely begun.ย I had at least bought my fabric – a black and ivory cotton from MacCulloch & Wallis. The fabric was of a very high quality but as construction began, I worried that I was creating a 1980s David Brent monstrosity.

Then, another public figure floated towards the front of my mind, a person who this year had a stunning novel published, is one of the most well-dressed women around and likes monochrome as much as me. (Is now the time to mention I had the good luck to meet this lady in 2013? Well, when I say ‘meet’ I mean she signed my copy of her book.)


Could I recreate Ms Tartt’s sang froid, wearing my new Archer shirt? Hmmm, difficult with a little dog in shot. Plus, Donna’s much more diminutive than me and about three stone lighter! Still…

Grainline Archer Shirt

Archer Shirt & Ella

I can hardly overstate the care I took over the sewing of my second Archer shirt, making view A. I was very, very careful and did unpick a collar stand when it wasn’t making me happy. It helped a lot that I’d already had a practice go at this shirt and my flannel version proved to be an essential reference tool. It helped me understand how to adapt the second iteration to my needs. I took a good couple of inches out of the sleeve length and added three inches to the length of the shirt. I always felt slightly uncomfortable with the way my first shirt ended right at my groin!

There’s nothing I can say about this shirt that A Stitching Odyssey hasn’t already eloquently opined about her recent make. This pattern is an exercise in serenity. It’s beautifully drafted, Jen’s sewalong is comprehensive and this pattern is a class act you desperately want to rise to. I am particularly proud of the carefully placed bias cutting of the back yoke and pockets. Such a small detail, so special.

Archer pocket

At the end of a demanding year, I’m glad I found the time and head space to complete my Sewlution. The Mistress Of The Jar would have been very disappointed otherwise.

Now, her attention is turned on you. Did you complete your Sewlution? If so, add a comment below, ideally with a link to your completed project. The Mistress shall read, judge, sneer and ponder all comments left before midnight GMT on New Year’s Eve. She’ll choose at her own whim, a winner of the Sewlution prize, worth over ยฃ70. Have you done enough to make the Mistress happy?

Tell me, readers. Did you enjoy having a harsh mistress oversee your sewing in 2013? Did she help motivate you, or paralyse you with fear? She will judge you on your answer. 2013 may be over, but the Mistress continues to watch us all. Don’t be scared. Just be terrified.

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68 Responses to Completed Sewlutions – Show Me Yours!

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Gorgeous shirt! Love the fabric. You look amazing. Happy new year!!!

  2. Dorothy says:

    Mine was to sew or alter 12 items during the year and I achieved it. My facebook album is in the web link to this comment

  3. Amanda says:

    Awesome work- this is a fabulous make! You rocked that sewlution like a boss. Super excited to say I completed my sewlution to complete the Gertie bombshell course. I made the most epic tiki dress that I am wearing out to New Years drinks tonight ( it’s on le blog). Yay! Bring on 2014.

  4. Congratulations on completing your Sewlution Karen. That shirt is amazing!
    I completed my Sewlution (found here:

    Here is a summary of my Sewlution and my SWAP for 2013:

    I really enjoyed being involved in the Sewlution and having the Mistress of the Jar cracking her whip every so often.

    Cheers everyone and hereโ€™s to 2014!

  5. diycouture says:

    LOVE the shirt Karen it’s totally pro. You did a great job. Happy sewing for the new year x x

  6. dottiedoodle says:

    Gorgeous shirt! It helped having the theat of the Mistress hanging over me. I don’t think i would have found the time to make my last make of the year, a red Christmas Chardon skirt, otherwise! My sewlution was to use 12 pieces of stash fabric.

  7. Sam says:

    Gorgeous shirt, I love the fabric. I completed my sewlution – to make a pair of trousers that fit. Sadly they don’t get worn, because I don’t like them – but they DO fit!

  8. mepellymelly says:

    Great shirt, I’m tempted by this pattern, but a little daunted by my usual alterations! Your detailing is lovely, it may have to be a sewlution for 2014 as I wasn’t reading your blog this time last year! (That’s my excuse!!) Happy 2014!

  9. Lovely shirt. One of my sewlutions was to make a tailored jacket, with proper pad stitching and everything. I did it! Not without much screaming and stamping my feet at sleeves that just wouldn’t ease in! I haven’t blogged it yet, but it gets worn a fair bit for work, must post about it soon.

  10. Well done Karen and thanks for the link to the novel! The shirt turned out perfect! Happy new year!

  11. Hello Karen and company! The blouse is perfect, well done! And I love Donna Tartt! I ordered that novel two days ago, and I can hardly wait to read it. My 2013 sewlution is to make a leather bag! Although my machine was not up to the task (can “buying a new machine” be a 2014 sewlution?) I managed a pretty good result. It is clearly “before” and “after” mastering some leather techniques, and I can say I am hungry for more!
    Happy 2014!

  12. Love your Archer Karen. My sewlution was completed in August ( Both my girls currently refuse to wear the coat, so I’m threatening to having it framed and hang it on a wall. I’m still very proud of this make and thank-you for being the mistress of the jar and a fabulous inspiration to all.

  13. CarmencitaB says:

    Happy New Year! I wanted to make pants this year and I did manage to make one pair!

  14. Fantastic shirt!
    About my sewlution.. I’m ashamed, but not really, that I didn’t do what I said, because I made a lot of other things I’m pleased with:
    But I must admit I had the Mistress of the jar in the back of my mind the whole year!

  15. Diane says:

    Nice shirt, Karen, and I prefer your look accompanied by wee Ella over that of Ms Tartt’s. My sewlution was to make a wearable beginner’s garment of yours or your readers’ choice. No choice was forthcoming so I chose for myself and tried a cotton A-line skirt in leopard print. I made it and I suppose it is wearable so long as there’s no one I know around me or anyone standing too close! Ach well, you live and learn. Now on to the next item which hasn’t yet been decided. Happy New Year to you and hope the Mistress continues.

  16. karine says:

    Hello Karen ! Congrats for your shirt ! As for the sewlution, (a bra) I made one back in February. Although it looks pretty, I’ve never worn it : fitting issues in spite of several muslins before…But I’ve learnt a lot during the process and I’ll try again in 2014 !

    Thanks for your blog Karen, it’s always a treat to read your posts.

    Here is the sewlution :

  17. Lynne says:

    Yey to completing your Sewlution. Your shirt looks amazing. My Sewlution was finished in February (not that I’m boasting or anything!!), here it is on my blog.

    Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Pingback: Plans and goals for 2013 – A Review | Another Little Crafty Creation

  19. alibobs says:

    Love the shirt! I am so tempted to jump on the Archer bandwagon this week (though just too late for Archer Appreciation Month).

    My sewlution was all about changing my attitude to sewing, to slow down and improve quality not quantity, and it has been successful ๐Ÿ™‚
    Now I’m going to read my Christmas present – Couture Sewing by Claire Shaeffer

    I’ve loved having the Mistress of the Jar hanging over me, knowing you are about to pull a name out for an update and keeping me on my toes!

  20. Debi says:

    Happy New Year!!! I vowed to make five dresses from 1940 McCall patterns and I made nine in total!! My resewlution morphed into a decade long challenge to find and sew all the McCall patterns from the year 1940 (so much for keeping it! This year, I’ve made garments from 13 McCall patterns (I actually made 12 and David made one for me ๐Ÿ™‚ Bringing my 1940 McCall project grand total to 20 completed patterns! Woohooo. They have their own dedicated page at:

  21. LLADYBIRD says:

    I never finished mine ๐Ÿ™ Never even started ๐Ÿ™ I could blame it on the fact that I never took my Featherweight in for servicing, but we all know that in reality I’m just lazy (but really, I didn’t take it in for servicing. Because I’m lazy.). So I will accept my beating over the head with a ruler, thank you.

    At any rate, I love your silk Archer! Perhaps a 2014 plan for me…. ?

  22. Katrina says:

    Excellent shirt, it looks fantastic!

    As for the Sewlution, it’s still a WIP. A 100-hour, year-long WIP. Thank you for hosting The Jar as you’ve always prompted (encouraged? forced? motivated?) me to work on the project throughout the year and I’ve learnt so much working on it. But alas, there are many hours of work to go before it’s done!

    (and Happy New Year, of course!)

  23. Katharine says:

    Hi I have to admit I didn’t quite manage mine. I wanted to make a dress and shirt with a go at good fitting ie a FBA. I managed a summer dress with darts and a winter one with princess seams but my shirt has had two muslins needed so is still just at the cut out stage waiting for pintucks to be sewn and then made up. Am away from home until the 2nd and I don’t have a blog so couldn’t email a photo to the mistress of the jar before that. It did help to remind me of the challenge when you asked how we were getting on. Thank you. Katharine PS happy new yearmm

  24. LinB says:

    Made the socks using a new-to-me technique — earlier in the year rather than later, as I quivered in my boots in fear of the wrath of the Mistress of the Jar (not really, I don’t even own any boots).
    Have since worn a hole in the toe of one sock, thrice; have darned it twice, and cut off the offending sock end and re-knitted the toe in another, sturdier yarn. Have a photo of the socks for the front of my funeral bulletin — the draft is on my bulletin board, ever before my eyes. Happy New Year!

  25. liza jane says:

    It looks fantastic! You did conquer the blouse, as I knew you would. And this is a random question, but do your jeans have a running stitch along the side seams? I can’t tell exactly from the photo, but I love that idea. How easy would that be to do that to a pair of rtw jeans…. Hmmmmm…

  26. lisa g says:

    your blouse looks great! ah the archer is one of my greatest pattern loves… ๐Ÿ™‚

    here’s my sewlution post!

  27. Pingback: 2013 sewlution | menswear | notes from a mad housewife

  28. It’s 17:05 on 31/12/13 and I can report that I’ve completed my sewlution too. Phew. Will get out of my PJs now. But too dark to model it…that will have to wait until tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love your shirt Karen, congrats, it looks a million dollars.
    Nothing like the mistress to help us push our boundaries! Happy new year ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Helen says:

    Oh, you can totAlly rock the monochrome look! This is a great shirt, and I can’t wait to make one myself (post baby)! Well done on achieving your Sewlution!

  30. amaryllislog says:

    Well done! It’s a beautiful shirt and inspires me to get on with it. Lovely photos of you and your pup too!

  31. Catherine says:

    Well I (clearly a little delusional and forgetting the reality I live in).. made TWO sewlutions

    1. make a lingerie set (bra and knickers)โ€ฆ that I am actually happy with
    which I DID complete (and I made LOTS of lingerie during the year)
    2. Make a coat using the fabric I was given for Christmas
    Which I DID NOT complete… the fabric was cut in February and languished in a bag in the attic for the rest of the year… finally being pulled out in fear of the Mistress. I have interfaced and am halfway through my bound buttonholes (using your ebook!)…so to be completed in January!

    Thank you for the insipration and helping me focus on some sensible goals for 2014…

  32. Suzy Roberts says:

    Hi Karen,
    Amazing! Two things I admire in one blog – Donna Tartt and the Archer shirt. I really enjoy your blog Karen; you give us things to think about, as well as sharing your sewing ups and downs (virtually all ups as far as I can see). Keep up the good work – Happy New Year!

  33. Thea says:

    Love the blouse – it looks great, and Ella looks great with it, too! And I really enjoyed the sewlutions overall. Thanks for hosting, and I’m not-so-secretely hoping you’ll host them again next year – all the posts were brilliantly funny and encouraging, and there were so many nice blogs and projects to find! Next year, though, I’ll pick a sewlution that lasts me a little beyond March ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy new year!

  34. What a lovely shirt, love the fabric! I entered into the jar “Finish the year with 75% of my wardrobe being made by me โ€“ this excludes underwear and shoes obviously!!” I started the year with 15% and have finished at 71% so not achieved (I am still very pleased with this though I realise the mistress is very strict). I have blogged about my progress with the sewlution here:

    Thank you for organising this it has been a great way to focus myself and make things that will be worn rather than just pretty. Hope you have a great 2014.

  35. Shar says:

    Your Archer looks great! I have the pattern, but havenโ€™t attempted it yet. Hereโ€™s my original comment from way back on Jan 1st:
    โ€œI resolve to sew one wearable item for my husband, one for my daughter โ€“ no small task as sheโ€™s 12 and very picky (I mean selective!), and a Cordova jacket for myself.โ€
    I managed to finish my three Sewlutions by October (Flickr links below). Iโ€™m not sure I would have made these without the prodding of the Mistress!
    Thanks so much Karen for coming up with this great idea!

  36. EmSewCrazy says:

    Lovely Archer and lovely Ella. I’ve never heard of Donna Tartt so I’ll have to look her up. Always looking for new good reads.

    Oh Mistress of the Jar… technically I completed my sewlution. I shoved the details in this post:
    I have one TNT straight/wide leg trouser pattern and am a few muslins away from my bootcut/flares fitting well. I didn’t buy myself a single pair of trousers, tested four patterns and discovered the alteration I need to make so I don’t have a baggy front crotch. So I’m well on the way to having many pairs of trousers, as soon as I can tear myself away from all the pretty dresses.

  37. Helen says:

    Oh Karen, I LOVE that shirt!

    Mine was quite a modest sewlution – just to sew one wearable, properly finished garment. In the end, I managed to complete a Mathilde blouse, Pendrell top, two Briars, two Figgy’s Banyan tee’s (one each for niece and nephew), some pants (with a little help from So Zo) and an Avocado hoodie for the fella. I used my overlocker for all of them, even if a little accident with the hoodie meant I had to buy an iron-on patch to cover the hole (*cough* no, it’s definitely a style decision and not covering up a mistake!). Still, what’s a little overzealousness with the overlocker between me and the Mistress of the Jar? (*cowers in the corner*)

    But are they wearable? Well, the Mathilde and Pendrell tops are good for the office, and my first briar has made it out of the flat on a couple of occasions. The second one is less successful, but it is wearable. The pants don’t quite fit, but that’s nothing some more hours with some jersey and fold-over elastic won’t fix. Not sure if the banyan tees fit, as they were gifts, but I’ve not heard otherwise. And the hoodie? Well it fits and has been worn out of the flat (patch and all), which is a miracle because I made it in secret for his birthday present.

    Post is coming – just need to photograph the briars and the hoodie. Oh dear, that’s not going to please the Mistress of the Jar, is it?

  38. Ngoc says:

    So my sewlution was to sew for my man friend. If you look on my flickr page (sorry it’s only organized by the date uploadedโ€ฆ lazyโ€ฆ heh) , you’ll see that I sewed a dress shirt and a pair of shorts for him this year. I also made a waterproof jacket (not pictured) but it didn’t come out as I wanted. I have another, appropriately sized one in the works, though.

  39. Danielle says:

    Love the shirt; great fabric! It’ll be a while yet before I make a blouse, but my sewlution for next year is to make 5 wearable garments. So maybe by the end of the year I can attempt one!

    My 2013 Sewlution was to make a dress. I reached my goal earlier this year. I posted it on my blog, but can’t remember if I linked it to any of your posts throughout the year, so here it is:

    Will you be doing this again for 2014? (I like being held accountable and seeing what everyone else has accomplished!)

  40. Ruth says:

    Hello Karen! Had three: accomplished 1… not terrible. I do also now have fabric and pattern pieces for my corduroy Minoru with checked lining – which I will be cutting out in the morning, when less mulled wine has been imbibed ๐Ÿ˜‰ The curtains have made no progress – because they’re dull. Sorry. Will attempt to do better in 2014.

    In the meantime, the quilt is done, and is being enjoyed:

  41. sewsable says: is where I’ve reblogged about my completed sewlution, and my plan for this coming year.

  42. gingermakes says:

    Oh no, I completely failed! I wanted to make a pair of trousers, but this year was horribly busy for me and I just couldn’t get it done.

  43. My Sewlution was to sew a properly fitting pair of jeans. I’d already tried some waaay back in May 2012, but wasn’t really happy with them ( so I madde jeans my 2013 sewlution. I had a few false starts, partly because sewing a muslin seems such a wasted effort so I used cheap fabric and called them “Wearable muslins” (when in fact they were barely wearable) ( With the mistress of the Jar looming and an especially bossy fabric determined to become jeans I finally produced a wearable, fitting pair of jeans with three weeks before the deadline. (

  44. Catherine says:

    I love you shirt! you did a wonderful job! I dont have any sewloutions as im late to the game, but if were playing again this year, count me in!!

  45. Angela says:

    Hmm… no, didn’t quite make my goals, I was a tad overconfident. ๐Ÿ™ But – I am all in to do it again! I am also doing the RTW fast with Goodbye Valentino, so I have complete confidence that I will sew more this year. I spent all day sorting out fabric so I can find things, and working on plans for what to start on first in 2014. Congrats to all who did finish their sewlutions!

  46. I love your Archer. Classical elegance is always a winner. As to whether I achieved my Sewlution? I haven’t decided that! I’m in the middle of writing my “Did I or didn’t I?” blog post but won’t be able to finish it tonight. By tomorrow, I might have made up my mind on an answer to this momentous question.

    PS: Happy New Year. May it be filled with more of your wonderful blog posts.

  47. redsilvia says:

    It looks great! Shirts are hard, so kudos for climbing that mountain. I made one this year too by following along the Craftsy class (Classic Tailored Shirt – excellent btw). I’ve not worn mine, but that’s another story. Yours is gorgeous and I’m sure will get worn to bits. Hi Ella!

  48. You completed your Sewlution with style lady! I’m very happy to report that I completed mine, I aimed to make 12 projects in 2013 and to use a vintage pattern once. Turns out I couldn’t stop sewing and completed 22 projects (not including various crafty Christmas gifts) and I used a 1950s blouse pattern to make my Spoolettes bowling shirt!

  49. Marie says:

    Oh Karen, I LOVE this! The care you took over your Archer really shines through and you’ve totally nailed the fit. I can’t emphasise enough how cool you look in it…a Sewlution well executed ;o) Now, ahem, I failed mine. I hate the thought of having disappointed the Mistress Of The Jar, but it’s true I’m afraid. Hopefully she can find it in her heart to forgive me sometime?!?

  50. I’ve just posted a photo of my Miette skirt made in April: within a review of 2013. It fulfills part of my Sewlution which was to start sewing garments for myself, but it is really only the beginning! I’ve been blog stalking lovely sewists like you on 2013, now it’s time for me to jump into the action! Thanks for all the inspiration. Alice

  51. Spikeabell says:

    Great shirt Karen, congratulations. Ok, I didn’t complete my Sewlution but as I explain in my blog it was the starting of it that was the most important. I have always been a bit wary of knitting patterns and thanks to the impetus of the Mistress of the jar, I got started into one and learned lots of new techniques…I just need a bit of peace and quiet AND concentration to start the sleeves. The glass studio is closed for a few days so maybe I will get into it.

  52. tillybuttons says:

    Erm… didn’t quite get around to doing mine… Ooh but what’s that over there! Karen’s made an Archer shirt! It’s gorgeous! Happy new year, Karen xx

  53. I kind of finished mine…I pledged to make 6 items for me and by ‘make’ I really meant ‘sew’ since that was what I was trying to practice. Well, I made 6 items of clothing for me, but half of them were knitted. I failed Mistress! Don’t beat me!
    I’ve written a little summary post over here about why I failed. Hopefully I’ll do better this year!

  54. Pingback: did I make it or not? | tingledfangers

  55. Eirian says:

    I had two attempts at making toddler trousers for cloth bummed babies. They both SUCKED. So I potty trained the toddlers instead.

  56. Kat H says:

    I failed. I failed badly, even. My aim was not to add to my stash. Yeah, bit over-ambitious, that one. *sigh* I blame the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network – they decided early on in the year that we were all going to create something using the same fabric, so of course I had to buy some of said fabric. And as we all know – once you’ve justified breaking a resolution once, it’s remarkably easy to justify breaking it again! Oops…..

    I’ll be attempting it again this year. New resolution for 2014 – no new fabric. I’m only allowed to buy second-hand fabric and acquire things in swaps. (Unless it’s something I need that I don’t actually have in my stash, such as ribbing for the Rigel bomber jacket.)

  57. After considering the question further, I can say a qualified yes, I think

  58. I half completed mine,I pledged to make 6 items of clothing for me,really meaning SEW 6 items. Well,I did make 6 but half were knitted rather than sewn. Since I made the pledge to encourage me to sew,it was only half a success. I learnt some stuff about sewing so I guess it wasn’t a complete failure!
    Anyway,you can read my thoughts over here –
    Better try harder in 2014 eh?!

  59. Darl,

    What can I say it’s just beautiful and so stylish doll. You look absolutely fabulous. Happy blinking New Year to you and Ella. Can’t wait to catch up in 2014.


  60. Carolyn says:

    What a great shirt, Karen! Congrats on conquering your sewlution. : ) I just made an Archer myself and really enjoyed the pattern… and I love seeing all the awesome shirts popping up everywhere!

  61. Karen, your shirt is gorgeous.

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