archer in plaid

i almost didn’t blog this shirt. not for lack of loving it, but i don’t really have much to say that hasn’t already been said! however, i never tire of examining shirt construction, so who am i to deny you a few photos?

worn with my beloved denim moss skirt

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i made this archer with a very nice shirting from fabric place basement (local). they have a great selection of shirting fabric, and all in the $6-8/yd range. seriously. you can’t beat that! as i cut this fabric, i realized just how nice this fabric is in comparison to the fabric i used for my husband’s dress shirts… er… over a year ago. poor guy definitely needs a few more… anyways, i decided to go all out and properly flat fell my seams, tower placket, top stitching, you know the drill. blousier fabrics get french seams and continuous plackets, but the “boyfriend” shirts get all the proper traditional details.

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i know people go crazy for bias cut plaid, but unless i’m working with a plaid that is symmetrical horizonally and vertically, i tend to go the more conservative route and cut the yoke, collar, stand, and cuffs along the grain (perpendicular to how the main body pieces are cut). it’s subtle, but you can see how the light blue stripe is vertical on the body, and horizontal on the other parts.

tower placket

tower placket

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flat-felled side seam (inside shot)

i don’t know about you guys, but i’ve been avidly following Peter at MPB as he relays all that great shirtmaking info. a lot of the info is quite similar to what i’ve read from David Coffin’s “Shirtmaking” book, but still i find it all fascinating!

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went with a smaller single pocket just to change it up

so, that’s about it folks…

ARCHER FANS UNITE!

—lisa g.

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hemlock tee dress

i was at joann fabrics recently, checking out their knits. nowadays they have a decent selection of rayon jersey that is so very soft and has a nice drape. even though i’m turned off by the exorbitant price, they’re either on sale perpetually or i can use a coupon to soften the blow. i was looking for fabric to make a tunic-length hemlock tee (the super popular FREE hemlock tee pattern), and picked up this cute floral print. i couldn’t pass up this fabric because it has all my favorite things—floral print, navy, red, and green. after thinking about it for a bit, i decided the print would be better suited to a dress, and here it is!

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instead of just cutting and lengthening the hemlock pattern willy nilly, i went and traced out a proper hemlock tee dress pattern. go me! this loose but still cute silhouette should really be my go-to. the volume on top helps to balance my hips, or something. i don’t know, i just really like it on me. plus, in a knit i think it qualifies as secret pajamas, doncha think?

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HOW TO MAKE A HEMLOCK TEE DRESS

depending on how long you want the skirt, you will need 1 3/4 yd fabric (one and a half, if you’re particularly thrifty), and some 1/4″ elastic.

i’m a big fan of building in an elastic casing to the waist seam, so i did some fancy maths (stood in front of the mirror with a tape measure…) and made my best guess about how long to make the bodice. i wanted it to hit 1″ below my natural waist, and blouse slightly. cutting straight across for the bodice usually means that you end up with either some pulling at the bust, or excess volume at the sides. to avoid this, i curved the front waist line down by 1″. if you are especially busty, you may need more length. from the shoulder point at the neckline to the bottom of the bodice should be about 18″ in the front, 17″ in the back. this includes the extra SA for the elastic casing. (note: neither my pattern piece below nor the dress i’m wearing are this exact length. after making it once i determined that 18″ would be the perfect length for me.)

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i also wanted the bust to be more fitted, so i curved the side seam in by 1″ (removing 4″ total) and flared back out to the original side seam at the waist. while doing this, i raised the height of the underarm seam to reduce side boob flashing. i have spindly arms and frequently shorten armhole depth.

since i added in the extra bodice length for the bust, i simply cut a rectangle for the skirt portion. i didn’t want anything overly gathered, so i went with a width slightly more than 1 1/2 times my waist measure. for reference: my waist is 30″ on a bad day, so i needed at least 45″ in skirt width. i cut each skirt piece 24″ wide by 22″ long, which (minus 1″ for 1/4″ SA) gives me a finished skirt width of 47″. this ends up being a couple inches wider than the waist seam on the bodice, but i was able to stretch them to fit when i sewed top and bottom together.

construction is very simple:

  • sew one shoulder seam
  • attach neck binding
  • sew remaining shoulder seam
  • turn 3/4″ hem for the sleeves and topstitch
  • sew bodice side seams and tack SA to the back at the armhole
  • sew skirt side seams
  • attach bodice and skirt with a 3/4″ SA. finish raw edge
  • press SA up and topstitch 1/2″ from seam line, leaving an opening to insert elastic
  • insert elastic and adjust to fit. topstitch opening
  • hem skirt

i love this dress so much, that i already have fabric for another version. since it barely takes more time than a tee shirt, it’s a great one day project. if anyone gives this a shot let me know—i’d love to see it!

lisa g.

liberty of something or other scout tee

it’s not all winter sewing around these parts. in fact several weeks ago i brought home a fabric haul to start my spring sewing. most of it was for my daughter (which i already sewed up and hope to get photographed some day…) but i picked up a couple things for myself. the first of which is this cute floral lawn/voile. it was marked on the roll as liberty of london fabric, however i’m pretty sure it is not. it’s a nice quality fabric, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have that swoon-worthy feel i would have expected from liberty. not that i would know, since i’ve never felt any before. soon though, soon… yesterday i splurged and ordered some of the real deal. ya know, for research. and hopefully a cute spring/easter dress.

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this fabric was $13/yd, so even though it’s on the higher end of my price-per-yard comfort zone, i only needed a small amount to make a scout tee. i’ve searched high and low for this print online, but alas i’ve come up blank. but, liberty or not (probably not), i love the print!

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i’ve already made the scout tee a couple times (as most likely you have also), and it’s such a fast and easy pattern. seriously. i heart it so much. i previously altered the fit with a SBA, widened the hip, and dropped the back hemline. i think i still need to make a couple adjustments though. the back pulls slightly and the front gapes a little. i didn’t notice it so much on my silk scout, but when i throw a cardigan over this one, the fit issue becomes more obvious. i think next time i’m going to add width to CB, and remove the same amount from CF, then re-draw the neckline as necessary. there may be a better way of handling this, but whatever. i still love this tee!

—lisa g.

scout tee in silk

not long ago jen over at grainline studio posted a tutorial on how to make the ever-popular scout tee with longer sleeves. i had just bought a nice cut of silk specifically for a scout tee, so i decided to give it a try. turns out, it’s pretty easy to do!

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so yeah, silk! this is the second blouse i’ve made in the last few weeks in silk, but i’m posting this one first because it’s a simpler design and i thought people might be curious about the longer sleeve adaptation. i don’t know if this is a particular type of silk, it’s er… silky, smooth, and appears to have a plain weave (as opposed to a crepe de chine, which is more textured—that is the limit of my knowledge of silks). since my first attempt at using silk went so well i was pretty confident to cut into this. to pretreat my fabric, i washed it on cold on the hand wash cycle, then line dried. it dries in about two seconds, so that’s pretty cool.

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i made my sleeve to have about a 12″ finished length from underarm to hem. the width of the sleeve hem is 12 1/2″ which i lightly gathered onto a 10 3/8″ long cuff/binding (i wrapped a measuring tape around my arm to determine how big i needed the cuff). the only thing i did differently than jen’s tutorial was to swoop the hemline up at the underarm seam by 1/2″ to keep it from being super slanty on my arm. the longest part of the “swoop” should be about 1/3 of the way in from the back underarm seam.

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the last time i made a scout tee i changed it up to have a yoke and a swingy back. this time around i left everything per the pattern (shocking!). i made a size 4 at bust, graded out to a 6, then slashed and spread to get the hemline out to a 10 (front and back pieces).

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and i dropped the back hem by 1″ cuz i like-a-de bum coverage.

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from my first scout i knew i needed to remove some excess at the bust so i made an SBA and removed 1″ from the front, like so:

i trued up the side seam when i cut my fabric.

i trued up the side seam when i cut my fabric.

i am thrilled with how this came out! the fit is basically perfect, and i love the sleeve length. since my fabric is more winter-y in color (the background color is dark navy), having sleeves was a no-brainer. and wow, i am totally team silk now. as much as i love rayons for their drape and fun prints, the wrinkle factor drives me mad! i picked up this silk for $12.99/yd at fabric basement (local). what a steal!

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i usually don’t bother looking at the silks. in fact i was by the rayons when i touched this bolt of fabric, looked at the content/price, then clutched it with my dear life! the cutting lady said the fabric was bolted (instead of on rolls) by mistake. had it been with the silks i never would have laid eyes on it. you can bet i’ll be perusing the silk section from now on.

—lisa g.

p.s. i’m working on organizing my blog a little better. if you are interested in my past makes, up above there is a “what i’ve made” page. there i have, in order, everything i have made this year, and links to the blog post. i planned to do the same for last year’s makes, but since i had switched my blog from blogger to WP, all my old pics are a jumble and nearly impossible to track down. also, i’m trying to make better use of my categories and tags. i’m working my way through all my posts (fortunately it’s super easy to do in WP) and hopefully within a few weeks i’ll have it better organized!

hemlock tee

i knew i wanted to try out grainline’s hemlock tee the minute i saw it. it looked super comfy and lounge-y and quick to make up. i picked up some lightweight striped knit and knew it would be a perfect match. i made a couple changes to the pattern, first i scooped out the neckline by 2″. i may have overdone it, in the future i’ll probably add an inch back in. i cut my neck binding on the bias because i think that looks best when you have striped fabric. if you cut the binding as usual, any wiggly sewing is really obvious (because of the stripes). you can cut the binding on the grain, but i always feel the stripes look too jarringly angular; the bias stripe feels more subtle.

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the other change i made was to cut the front piece 2″ shorter than the back, giving me a split hemline. i’ve been wanting to try this out, and i think it worked well here. to do this, i hemmed the front and back separately then serged the sides, leaving the last 2″ before the shorter hemline open. i pressed back a small hem, then took a 1/2″ wide strip of fabric and sewed it along the inside edges. if you look at any polo shirt in your closet, you’ll see what i mean.

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i didn’t even bother turning in the raw edge of the binding strip… but it’s held up just fine

this is a fun and easy top to sew and is perfect for lounging. sure, it is entirely shapeless, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. actually, i wouldn’t mind lengthening it for more of a tunic or even a dress for belting. the only thing i’m not super happy about is the sleeves. they’re awfully wide at the hem, so i may narrow them or cut them down and add a cuff instead. as they are, they don’t stay up when i push them away and it kind of annoys me how they flap around. anywho, that’s just a minor detail and easily fixed. overall, it’s a great FREE pattern and i’m absolutely loving it!

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happy lounging 🙂

—lisa g.

another moss…

my love affair with grainline patterns is pretty well documented as of late, and evidently i needed another moss skirt! i went to sewfisticated (one of my local fabric haunts) last week in search of some lightweight denim (which i found) and stumbled across this marc jacobs stretch denim. for $4/yd, i couldn’t pass it up. i didn’t buy much, and planned to save it for shorts next spring, but i decided i didn’t want to wait. so, another moss skirt was in order. hopefully i can pair it with some tights and wear it through the fall as well; three-season wear (spring, summer, fall) is way better than summer only!

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with my previous moss skirts i’ve added things like back pockets, belt loops, and extra topstitching. I decided to keep it more basic this time around, and not bother with all those extra details. plus i really wasn’t in the mood for print-matching back pockets. the only pattern change i made was to the front pockets—i kept them rounded out like my denim moss. for some reason, that shape is just my favorite.

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i did my best to keep the fabric print matched through out the seaming, and i think i did a damn fine job. can you even see the zip fly without zooming way in? or my CF or CB seams? yeah. like a BOSS. the only thing i’m annoyed with myself for is forgetting to yank the twill on-grain before cutting the front. if you squint, you’ll see that the print kinda skews up a tad. not a huge deal, and really it’s pretty minimal, but whatevs. i didn’t have enough fabric to recut, so… not gonna be bothered by it!

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i love this skirt so much. the pattern, the fabric, it just makes a dull day a little brighter. i’ve been crushing on patterned skirts/shorts/pants for a long time, so finally i got a little piece of that trendy pie.

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photo-bombed by my hipster son… how could i not include this pic?

—lisa g.

polka dot! polka dot!

i’ve had this shirt in my head (and cut out) for months now, and i finally got it made! the summer here was hot so making a long sleeved shirt kept getting pushed farther and farther down my list of things to do… but, i couldn’t stand it any longer and finally cranked out my fourth archer. have i ever mentioned how much i love this pattern? cuz i do. also, i specifically had this shirt in mind when i made my coral/pink pants. while it’s a tad (okay, more than a tad) bolder than i usually wear, i just couldn’t resist this combo!

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i decided to forgo flat fells and/or french seams because this is a very lightweight cotton and, truth be told, the quality isn’t that great. if i didn’t love the polka dot so much i probably wouldn’t bother using it at all. the contrasting black, however, is a very nice cotton lawn (excellent price, i might add) from fabric.com and really classes up the shirt, i think.

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i don’t know that there’s much left to say about the archer than i haven’t already said, so i’ll just leave you with pics. funny note: i’ve gone to deleting most of my pics off the camera before even bothering to load them on the computer. as i sorted through the remaining, i realized i hadn’t left a single pic where i’m actually looking at the camera. apparently i don’t like looking at my face. make of that what you will.

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—lisa g.