Monday, November 3, 2014

Finished: Whiskey River Archer

Hey, my first Archer, from Grainline Patterns! And my first long sleeve button-down for myself, first western shirt and my first Willie Nelson concert. So many firsts with this shirt, just wait!

You might recall this post, where I laid out my plans for the shirt, with all of my positive thinking. After I posted it, I had a full day to cut and sew this shirt, which surprisingly was finished with enough time for me to pack *and* go to dinner with my husband. The only thing that I left until the end was attaching the pearl snaps, since it didn't require a machine, I brought them with me on the trip.

Now, let's back up and talk about the fabric. As I stated in the last post it was a Marc Jacob's plaid double faced cotton from Mood. This was the first double-faced fabric (Ha! another first!) I had ever worked with and boy, was it a challenge. The two fabrics were woven together at the selvedge, but only tacked together every couple inches for the rest of the yardage, which was not what I had imagined. On the one hand it was great for being able to have the yokes cut from the exact same fabric, just the solid side, but it also resulted in some frustrating cutting. 

For all the love I have for Marc Jacobs, I am convinced that the plaid was not on grain. This was super frustrating. After I realized it, I almost scrapped the whole shirt. Then I decided, I would finish it no matter what. This decision was oddly freeing and helped me quickly make decisions that would have caused me hours of indecision. For instance, I decided that I would leave off the pockets. This helped disguise the skewed plaid and also made the whole process that much faster. I figured I had enough interest with the front and back yokes. Also, I am so glad I had those yokes as they also helped hide some of the important seam intersections that would have been an eyesore in the plaid. And I swear that back yoke isn't nearly as puffy at the center! My pressing skills before the shoot were not amazing. Clearly.

Instead of using the vintage pattern I found for the template for the yokes, I just used the tutorial that Rochelle posted (in case you missed it). This also saved time since I didn't have to play around with matching seams with the my existing pattern. And her tutorial created cute yokes! Win win!

For the collar and stand I had to make a few decisions as well. Since I had added the yokes on top of the shirt back/front  and the fabric was double faced, I was now looking at the collar construction to have some crazy bulk due to all the layers. My solution for this was to separate the double faced fabric (this was the only perk!) and just use single layers for the under collar and the inner stand. It still was pretty bulky and I trimmed where I could, but I think I made the problem somewhat more bearable.

Another first: matching plaid. I think I did an okay job where I could, but nothing stellar. Since I couldn't match the plaid at the side seams, I went for the dominant plaid down the center back and down the center of the sleeves. I threw caution to the wind on the cuffs and cut randomly. After looking at the disaster that they might be, I decided at the last minute to use the solid side instead. 

As far as fit, my muslin revealed I needed some tweaking. I cut out a size 2 at the bust and a 4 at the hips. I took out a half inch from the shoulders, but could use a bit more. I also think I could take the waist seam in a bit and shorten the length of the sleeves. I feel like this shirt is bit big all around, so I like would like to slim it down on my next version. 

Oh, and the cuffs. Those cuffs and plackets. I. Hate. Them. I wore them rolled up most of the time, so people were spared from seeing them. I will only show you the best (and even that is a stretch! Ha!) picture:

forgive the wrinkled mess, it was rolled up the majority of the time

I wish I had been able to take photos in Texas, as the New Hampshire woods don't really say "dusty hill country" as my sister's house in Texas, but I was too excited about the concert and forgot to take ANY pictures that night. I know, I'm sorry too. 

If you are curious, Willie sounded amazing! It was a packed show in a great outdoor bar venue. And every minute was worth all of the off-grain plaid that I endured to make it to the concert.

So tell me, are you a plaid-matching genius or are you still a freshman? Have you made the Archer? I feel like I am the last one on the bandwagon. Do you have any plaid disasters in your sewing history? Or successes? I need to know it will all work out one day ;)

Ciao ciao!


  1. Your archer looks great, I love that plaid! I came across some double faced fabric that was similar to what you described while shopping in NY and wondered if it would be challenging to sew with. Finally got to post my blog hop answers yesterday! I'm a bit behind on my blog reading now that I just got more addicted to Instagram, but I'm glad to see you're on there too

    1. It was a challenge, but I have to admit that the weight of it is quite nice for a shirt. I think I just need to be more prepared next time! Oh, Instagram. I should actually put something up in that account I have...

  2. This looks great! I really like it on you! I've had issues in the past with plaids coming out of the dryer all warped out of shape- they looked totally on-grain on the bolt, but after washing and drying, they'd wiggled all over the place, yuck. I do my best to cut them out and line them up right, but it's not easy!

    1. Thanks! Plaids are not easy! I am glad to hear that someone else has problems with them too and I am not alone. Or crazy :)