i bought this great rayon challis (here i go again with the rayon… i just can’t quit you!) from my semi-local fabric haunt. it’s a van gogh free spirit print. i was in love with the giant red flowers, and despite the quasi-hawaiian/old lady vibe it gave off, i had to have it. i bought 1 1/4 yards because i intended to make a tiny pocket tank. but… i wavered and became concerned that the ivory background would wash me out as a tank and decided to try and get an archer out of it instead.


wearing with my super useful navy thurlows

hear me out! i reasoned that if i nixed the collar, shortened the sleeves, left off the front placket (instead, cutting both front pieces the same, turning and stitching for a faux-placket), only did one pocket, and used a different fabric for the inside back yoke i could probably pull it off. i had this all worked out in my head and was pretty set on this plan when i laid out my fabric and remembered that this fabric is 45″ wide. and it has a giant floral print that will be difficult to match with such a limited amount of fabric.


now, you may not know this, but i’ve always prided myself on my ability to save fabric so i started laying out my puzzle pattern pieces and managed to make it all work. i approach fabric cutting as if i am in some crazy WHO CAN USE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF FABRIC?! competition. that should totally be a thing, imo. i even matched the print across the front. who’s a badass seamstress? that would be me.


i thought it would all be easy breezy sailing from there and finished up in no time, but that just didn’t happen. i constructed the body, added the sleeves, did the collar, then kind of petered out. i didn’t really like how the collar stand was sitting without the collar and began to fear that it wasn’t going to drape nicely and would be all awkward and everyone would point and laugh. (i fully recognize that most of you will squint at your screen and examine my pics to try and see what the heck i’m talking about, and will subsequently wonder what is wrong with me. i’m okay with that.)


i kept going, ignoring the weird collar thing and did one cuff. now, stupid me didn’t think to make the cuffs larger since they were going to sit just below my elbow and not at my wrist. i slipped the shirt on after the first cuff and realized there was no way it would button. i had imagined i would roll them up, so i tried that and it sat in such a funny spot that i couldn’t bother to sew on the second cuff. so i let it sit another few days while i stared at the whole thing deciding what to do.


it was such a beautiful cuff, i was so sad to cut it off!

then i remembered a post gail did a while back about different cuff treatments and it inspired me to try something new. the only catch was, i had exactly no useable scraps to make up new pieces with. there was nothing left! fortunately, i hadn’t sewn on the second cuff, so i cut it into strips, bound the bottom edges of the sleeves while inserting little ties that i could knot in place of buttons (looking back at gail’s post, i even commented on how much i loved cuff ties! haha!).


in hindsight, i should have interfaced the sleeve binding strips, but i think i can deal with it. so the sleeves were taken care of, i hemmed the shirt, then contemplated the collar for another day or two. i was almost ready to slice off the collar stand and work out a facing of some variety to finish the neckline when i figured maybe i should wash the shirt first and see if the collar loses some of the crazy stand-at-attention look. after washing and pressing, it was just drapey enough to keep me happy. i made my buttonholes, sewed on my buttons, took a shower and put my new top on.


i love it. all the will it won’t it stress gave me a cute cuff i wouldn’t have done otherwise, and a freaking button up shirt out of the most minimal cut of fabric possible! pleased with myself? you betcha.

—lisa g.

NOTE: i made some size adjustments because my last one was a little too off the shoulder for my liking. i graded from a 0 in the shoulder to a 2 underarm to a 6 at the waist out to an 8 or 10 at the hip. that must be the world record for most extreme pattern adjustment ever. in reality, i was simply taking the shoulder in closer than drafted, then allowing plenty of room for le hips.

18 thoughts on “archer-ish

  1. Susan says:

    How cute is that top! That fabric could have *totally* gone matronly but the way you designed the top really “youngs it down.” You got to flex your creative muscle on the lack of fabric detailing too… love the cuff ties. I am in awe of your how-little-fabric-can-I-use-ness; I haven’t developed that handy skill At. All. Anyway, love this photoshoot – you look adorable!

    • lisa g says:

      awww thanks! 🙂 i tend to cut my fabric in a single layer, one piece at a time. takes forever, but when i’m in a fabric pinch it totally pays off!

  2. littlepostcards says:

    That is a beautiful blouse! I would have been sad to cut off the perfect cuff, too. At least you documented it. 🙂 But what a great result came out of it in the end!

  3. dandeliondrift says:

    I love this archer, and I love the lack of the collar, or mandarin collar. Beautiful finished product and you should be proud of how frugal you were with your fabric usage.

  4. Mika says:

    Gorgeous! Nothing I love more than making it work with a small cut of fabric, and you definitely did that. So satisfying, isn’t it?

  5. Kelly says:

    Nice work! It looks great in the end, it’s always nice when it works out like that 🙂 I just got some of that Van Gogh rayon (different print and color way) it is soooo soft and buttery, I can’t wait to sew with it (and it was $3.99 a yard on Etsy…whuuuut???)

  6. Sally @ thequirkypeach says:

    A standing ovation for this shirt!!! I love how it turned out! Way to make it work 🙂

    Also, it’s good to see that someone else has to grade like crazy from shoulder to hip – I usually have to go up 3-4 sizes! Pear shapes unite!!!

  7. Stevie says:

    I love it! Plus you totally made it work. I have some Chambray ready for a second Archer but I think i’ll have to have a go at your “who can use the least amount of fabric competition!” Your shirt is gorgeous! x

  8. aleah says:

    Ha, I am totally also in the least amount of fabric competition with you! I obsessively conserve fabric… only to never ever use my leftovers for anything. The skill does come in handy with a small piece of fabric, though!. Great shirt and well done with making it work!

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