Archer the Second

When I made my first Grainline Archer Shirt it was just supposed to be a wearable muslin before I cut into the silk cotton I wanted to make my actual shirt out of. That was in June last year, and the silk cotton still languishes uncut in my stash while the gingham version gets worn all the time! I was worried that my shirt making skills (particularly collar making) weren’t up to a silk shirt, and I kept getting distacted by other projects…like this polka dotted chambray version! Maybe after two shirts and two Alder shirtdresses my skills will be up to the job?


This is exactly the same as my first version, but without the pockets. I’m never sure if I like breast pockets on me, so I find it easier to just leave them off! I would love to say that it was a breeze to sew, but I feel as though I set out to sabotage the entire process from the very beginning…


Spot the difference? Fairly obvious, you would think. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice, and cut out my front pieces with that corner folded under. It wasn’t until I laid out the front pieces to attatch the button bands that I started to think that the armscye looked like it was a bit of a funny shape…thank god I had enough fabric left to squeak another set of front pieces out of! Unfortunately they had to be just a smidgeon off grain, so the polka dots don’t run straight down the front any more, but I can live with that. 

Construction was pretty straightforward after that little mistake, thankfully. I used the burrito method for the yoke, and Andrea’s alternate collar contruction method for the collar. I love her way of putting the collar in, it always goes smoothly! 

It was whist I was putting the collar in that I realised that I wasn’t going to have enough thread to finish the topstitching on the cuffs, or do the hem and the buttonholes. So frustrating! So I had to wait several days until I could get into town to buy more. I hate it when I have to stop a project when I’m nearly finished!
Anyway, I got the thread, and managed to finish the shirt. I used some cotton bias tape from Nana’s sewing box for the hem, because the double turned hem on my gingham version never sits flat and it drives me mental. This one sits much better!

My last (and biggest) disaster came when I was sewing the last button hole. Somehow I managed to completely misread my markings, and sew it a buttonhole length above where it should be. And then I didn’t notice, and cut the buttonhole open, sewed on the button and skipped off happily to try on my new shirt. I’m so annoyed! Not only does it look funny, but now its in the wrong place for where I want to wear the shirt buttoned to.

I know its not massively obvious, and other peope probably won’t notice, but its like a poke in the eye every time I look at it. I’m not likely to ever wear it buttoned right up to the neck (I know thats how the cool kids are wearing their shirts, but I’m not a cool kid, so…) but it would have been nice to have that button in the right place anyway!  

I had forgotten how long and full the sleeves on this shirt are, because I never wear them down! Next time I’ll try to remember to shorten them an inch and slim them down a bit. I really need to get myself a notebook to keep pattern notes and adjustments in, because I never remember what I did last time!

Even after all of the trouble I caused myself during the construction of this shirt, I do like it. The fabric is so soft and lovely, and I can think of lots of ways it can it into my wardrobe. I’m especially looking forward to finishing my Wickerwork pullover so that I can wear it over this shirt! I think if I hadn’t borked up the buttonhole I would love it, but I just can’t get past it being wonky. Any suggestions on how to fix it would be welcome, because I am drawing a blank…

25 thoughts on “Archer the Second

  1. Ooh, it’s lovely! The polkadots make it so fun, but the denim will match everything. nice work!

  2. I would never have noticed a problem with your button placement, but if you want to “fix” the buttonhole placement, you could add another set of buttons, placing a button just below each existing button, so the buttons are spaced in sets of two.

  3. I had a similar issue with a shirt I loved. Buttonholes just gaped and I found it exasperating. I noticed my 20yo son’s shirts are getting funkier w the higher end designers putting doo dads wherever. One such doo dad was the inspiration for my fix. I bought some cotton twill tape and sewed it all the way down the button placket, covering the offending buttonholes. Oh I think I zigzagged them closed first. Then I intalled huge press studs but you could easily add something else other than twill tape (self fabric maybe?), and you wouldn’t need to take it all the way down the placket. You could then make another buttonhole where you need it. I think making it look intentional is key. What about 2 close buttons rather than all evenly spaced? Use 1 different coloured button to add intentionality? I think this is very fixable – good luck x

    1. Thats a good idea, I could see if I have a long enough strip of fabric left to sew a strip down the middle, and then just restitch the buttonholes…thanks! You always have good ideas for fixes πŸ™‚

  4. It looks great, and I didn’t notice the buttonhole issue at all. But I totally know what it’s like to have a stuff up that gives you the shits…. What about a new button stand? I don’t know if it’s a separate stand or a folded one but is that an option? Otherwise trying the double button trick might be a good save. Good luck!

    1. I considered a new button placket, but then I’d have to mess around with the collar and I’m not sure I could stand it! I’m going to wear it a few times and see how I feel before I jump into anything.

    1. I did that on my first Archer, buttonholes on the wrong side of both cuffs! I don’t notice it though, because I always roll my sleeves up πŸ™‚ yours looks lovely, I want to try the butt ruffle version!

  5. I just cut out my first Archer from some olive dotty chambray. I have to finish one more project before I can get to work on it. I am hoping I can avoid any major catastrophes. I know all too well how it is to make a mistake that you can’t get past, despite the fact that no one else would probably notice it. It looks like you’ve got some good suggestions here for your button hole fix– I hope you get it worked out!

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