sleeveless archer in silk

it was only a matter of time before i made the ubiquitous grainline studio archer in a fabulous silk print. i prefer not to waste my precious fabrics on untested patterns, and since i’ve made the archer so. many. times. i felt no hesitation slicing into this beautiful yardage of silk crepe de chine. i love a good polka dot, but i ADORE an irregular polka dot. throw in the squiggly lines around those dots and i was a gonner. oh, and i got it for $10/yd at my local sewfisticated. their selection can be hit or miss, but it’s rare that i walk out of that place without at least one unique gem of a fabric at a stellar price.


paired with my always in rotation moss skirt

i knew immediately that i wanted a sleeveless archer, having recently made one with good results (sadly, pilling beyond all rationality so it mostly stays home—sob!). since i was dealing with a floaty semi-sheer silk, i made sure to pick up some fine sewing thread (they carry it at joanns, chances are you just haven’t noticed). i recall from David Coffin’s Shirtmaking book that he suggests using a finer thread than your regular all purpose coats & clark.


i have to say that it made a world of difference. in previous silk makes it was very difficult to sew without the seams puckering up, even if only slightly. the fine thread i used here did well gliding through the fabric without snagging or puckering. see, it’s not only necessary to use the proper needle, but the proper thread as well! it also made my topstitching look excellent, if i do say so myself. and ya’ll know how much i love my topstitching. 😉


speaking of topstitching, typically you want to increase the stitch length. however, in shirtmaking, especially with dressier shirts, you actually decrease the stitch length (2-2.5 setting on my machine). go pull out one of your hubby/significant other’s business shirts and you’ll see what i mean. a shorter stitch length and a finer sewing thread will give you a most professional finish.



i messed around with the button position in order to add one extra button down the front. from the original pattern, i’ve lengthened the shirt by about 1″ and that always left a weird space at the bottom. my second button ends up a little higher than i’d really prefer, but eh, no biggie.


i had to be extra careful about my seam trimming since you can see the seam allowances through the semi-sheer fabric. i took my time and kept them at about 1/4″. the yoke is fully encased, and the side seams are frenched. no exposed seam allowances means it looks nice and tidy on the inside. honestly, this is one of my best finished shirts and i’m quite proud of it.


despite taking my time i was still able to sew it completely in about 3 sittings. without those pesky sleeves to deal with, it sews up pretty fast. also, silk crepe de chine is a good silk to work with. it has a nice grip which makes sewing pretty painless, really. the bias binding is a different story, but you could always sub a cotton voile for those bits. plus, silk blouses are just heaven to wear! i plan to get loads of use out of this top.

—lisa g.

47 thoughts on “sleeveless archer in silk

  1. Sewing Tidbits says:

    Beautifully made!! I do believe that significant other’s wardrobe is an important resource when making shirts, I use it all the time. Me: “What do you mean where is your fancy white shirt ? I don’t know…” (running to the sewing room and discretly reintroducing the shirt back in closet).

  2. gingermakes says:

    Wow! This is so beautifully done! Absolutely gorgeous work! And thanks so much for the tips- I never would’ve thought to use fine thread, but it makes complete sense on a fabric like this.

  3. Jennifer Alice says:

    Looks really pretty and classy! I’ve got a similar irregular polka-dotted crepe de chine waiting for me to summon up the courage to cut it – you give me hope that it won’t be as devilish to sew as I fear!

    • lisa g says:

      cutting is probably the hardest part, it’s extra important to keep everything on grain. i usually tear my edges straight across and square it up on my table as insurance (sometimes i even tape the fabric down so it doesn’t shift). the actual sewing isn’t that difficult, hope you give it a try soon!

      • Jennifer Alice says:

        Thanks, I don’t usually consider tearing and wouldn’t think to tape the fabric to the table either, so I’ll definately give both a go!

  4. Karen says:

    Love the shirt & fabric. I used to work for Sewfisticated back in the day when they had a store in Weymouth. They never had silk then. I think I may still have some fabric from my days there. LOL!

    • lisa g says:

      oh yeah? how fun! i’ve only been to the framingham location, but they always have a good selection of printed and solid silks. at that price i don’t feel so nervous cutting into it!

  5. Katie says:

    This is so beautiful and I bet it feels amazing to wear! I’m not typically attracted to sleeveless button ups but this one is making me seriously rethink that!

    • lisa g says:

      thank you! i used to think sleeveless button ups were a little strange, but at some point i changed my mind… they’re so much easier to layer than sleeved shirts, so at least i can get several seasons of wear out of it!

  6. Sandra (Sewist-Stitch) says:

    Wow, I’m in love with your shirt. I’m not usually a polka dot kinda person but this silk, yep I’d have it in a heart beat. A totally beautiful shirt, and now I’m swaying towards the Archer pattern, cause I’m gonna be making some more moss minis this summer.

    • lisa g says:

      thanks! i definitely have a soft spot for polka dots, especially a more unusual one. the archer and the moss skirt are a match made in heaven, i look forward to seeing yours!

  7. kathi giumentaro says:

    So beautiful. This makes me want to run to sewfisticated right now.
    Have you tried the Alder pattern yet? I’ve made 2 so far.(with added back darts) I have a silk Alder planned next. Thanks for the tip on thread.

    • lisa g says:

      i have the alder cut and on my table next! i muslined it over the weekend and have to add back darts too, but i know i’m gonna love it! i totally want to make a silk one this fall, that sounds dreamy. by the way, do you blog/flicker/instagram? i’d love to follow more locals!

  8. Kelly says:

    Okay, I need to make a sleeveless Archer out of this silk crepe I have sitting in the stash, with short stitches and fine thread, right now. This is beautiful!!

  9. Kelly says:

    Well this is lovely and perfect in every way! I love it. Thanks for the tip about the thread- I had that puckering recently sewing a thin silky poly and couldn’t figure out anything to fix it!

    • lisa g says:

      thanks Kelly! hope the fine thread does the trick for your fabric. if not, maybe that really slippery rayon thread? poly is such a devil to sew sometimes!

  10. liza jane says:

    Beautiful! I bet it feels fantastic to wear. I didn’t know about the the fine thread, but it makes sense. I could see it coming in handy on any number of finer fabrics. Love the print!

    • lisa g says:

      hahaha maybe it’s not a coincidence that i made this *after* you left… frankly i’m surprised it didn’t mysteriously disappear from my stash…

  11. crab&bee says:

    Fine thread – who knew?? I’m going to have to try that myself! I was always baffled because I thought I was using the right needle and I was still getting some puckering on silks.

    Beautiful work as always, Lisa! The irregular polka dots are so cool. I always wish that Nani Iro fabrics came in color ways that I liked, because they do irregular polka dots like none other!

  12. jessica says:

    This is such a beautiful shirt! The fabric and construction are perfect! Thanks for the tip about choosing the right thread–I’m going to have to pay more attention in the store!

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