Saturday, 4 November 2017

You never thought I'd say it: plaid Archer - DONE!

If you have ever stopped by my blog there's a decent chance you know one sad fact: I am really bad at pattern matching.  Partly because I am really bad at following grainlines. Nor do I own a grid mat, or a proper cutting table, or have a sewing room.

Maybe I finally hit the point where I learnt something, or maybe it's just luck that once in awhile a pattern comes together just right.  But I have to say, I worked harder on this Archer than I worked on most projects in my six months in New Zealand.  I prepped the fabric in one intense session about 3 weeks before leaving and it was the last project requiring any actual thought that I was able to fully concentrate on before catastrophic life dissolution took over.  It took over a week of painstaking effort to make (excluding the buttons, took another few weeks to get around to).  I love it.  I don't even wear this type of shirt very much but I love it anyway.

Size: ? Possibly a 4 and possibly a 2-4.  I traced the pattern in Ukraine over a year ago, and didn't write a lot of detail on the tissue.  Whatever I did - worked.  My measurements are 33-27-37.  I know I was itching to shorten the pattern and I think I didn't do that.

The fabric is a soft brushed cotton by Helmut Lang, from emmaonesock.  I had been waiting for just the right cotton plaid.  This was it.

Let's thank Thaniswar, my coworker, who never expected blog photos to be part of his job description.  (But I'm not going to apologise for not owning a hairbrush at 4200m.) 

I am also now noticing how obvious it is that my pockets are not really in the same place.  I hadn't put pocket marks on my pattern pieces and I spent DAYS moving the pockets around...c'est la vie...

The insides are all french seamed and look amazing.
The only little quirk is that I must have gotten the buttonhole placements wrong on the sleeves because they are too far away from the edge.  It's something I can live with.  The cuff edges stick out a bit, but I envisage that I will really wear this shirt over a tshirt and with the sleeves rolled up so I won't care. 

As you can see by my photos, I've changed scenery pretty drastically.  I'm working with the Himalayan Rescue Association as a volunteer mountain doctor for the trekking season, in Pheriche, Nepal.  So if you happen to be trekking to Everest base camp, stop by!

Because this was my last major project, I decided to post it last. And of course as I sewed it I took some time to reflect on the differences between sewing fast knits, sewing projects that just crop up in your head and say "let me out!" and these slower projects - as I've been prepping to make an Archer on and off for about 2 years.  I was thinking about how I want my next year of sewing to look.

In case you are interested, or in case you live in Perth - I'll be moving to Bunbury, Western Australia in December and I'd love any advice about the area and about sewing in the area!

I'm really glad that life is making me take a breather from sewing.  And my goal for next year is to commit to slow fashion with a challenge of myself that I'm calling my one-per-month challenge.  I think there are a few public groups doing something similar.  I'm not going to plan ahead too much - I want the choice to be spontaneous and reflecting my interests as they shift through the year - but I envisage that each month I will choose 1-2 patterns in a theme and only sew those patterns - and only once or twice.  I want to prioritise preparation, imagination, and my own excitement.  I want to make my own fashion feel like couture fashion.  I have spent about 2 years avoiding buying any button up shirts - because my own Archer was swirling in my head.  It took that long to find the fabric, to do the research, and to finally take the leap.  And it was worth it.


  1. that looks great and now that you have completed it I envision more button up shirts in your future. love the fabric choice.

    1. Thanks Beth! It was really satisfying to make, I'm curious to see how much I wear it once I'm in Aussie - I really don't have anything similar in my wardrobe.

  2. Love it. I've had my eye on the Archer for a while too. I'm a little scared though. Love your one make per month idea.

    1. I felt like the Archer is one of the cornerstones of sewing -everyone has made one and everyone has an opinion. It seems like the sleeve cuff technique of the Colette Negroni is more popular and I would happily practice shirt techniques using that pattern if I had a guy to sew for, but in truth I don't really wear button-up shirts much. I have another Archer cut out in a box amongst my moving rubble, but I doubt I'll get to it soon. However, it was really satisfying to make, and I thought the more fiddly details of shirt making were explained well by the instructions.

  3. Love this! it looks great on you.