February shirt in April

IMG_6669Making that motorcycle jacket kind of threw off my monthly Burda project. I might catch up, or not. I haven’t been thrilled with this year’s March and April issues, but last year’s both have a number of designs I would love to make. At any rate, here’s a February design! I’ve been hankering to make a button down shirt, and decided on Burda 2/2016 #108, minus the pockets and sleeve tabs.


I used a navy silk cotton voile that’s been in my stash for years. It’s absolutely dreamy to wear, like a cloud. I love this shirt and have worn it just about every week since making it. I hope the shirt is stylishly oversize, and not just frumpy. I feel great in it, but it’s hard to tell how it really looks when I’m so biased.


Eeek, need to iron that collar! 

I did as instructed and made a covered button band, only I’m sure I did not do it right because it’s nearly impossible to button. Luckily, I can slip the shirt on and off without unbuttoning! I’m going to need to find real instructions before attempting this feature again. I hand rolled the hem, which is one of my very favorite techniques. I love the soft roll and wave, not to mention the perfectly narrow hem, especially on such a soft, floaty shirt.


Archer #2: the rumply version


This shirt came after the success of my first floral Archer and prior to the ultimate success of my flowercat Archer. While not quite as exciting as either of those, this casual shirt is beloved too!


I made this shirt in my original size 2 (I sized up to 4 for my flowercat shirt), but since this fabric is very stretchy the fit is comfortable. The fabric was a super cheap chambray from Fabric Mart that I bought ages ago to make a shirt. It was only a couple dollars a yard and my expectations weren’t high, but I loved the fabric when it arrived. It has a crinkly, gauzy texture that resulted in a significant amount of stretch even when rigorously pressed prior to cutting, and also caused uneven stripy dyeing that I really like.


I feel like this fabric was meant to be an Archer, and that this Archer is meant to be worn outside on warm days. It makes me want to garden, hike, camp, visit my parents in their high desert home in summer, or just sit outside with a book, all of which I hope to do in 2015.

I leave you with the family photo we grudgingly took for my in-laws christmas card. Cat was NOT happy to be rudely interrupted from his fantasy hunting.


Flowercat shirt


I tend to totally fail at social sewing projects, but when Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon – a special cat is part of my identity after all! There’s a ton of great cat fabric out there, but not so much that I would wear, being the quiet, subtle, deeply inhibited person I am. Searching for Japanese fabric on Etsy saved me, though, and when I saw these little cats peeking out from fields of flowers I just had to have it. I wanted an Archer, but thought the print would be too loud by itself. Luckily, Rochelle’s western yoke modification came at just the right time and the whole project came together just like that. It’s got an extra special cat lady connection too, since Jen and Rochelle both have their own beloved cats!



The cat fabric was made by Cocoland in Japan, and is heftier than quilting cotton but a bit lighter than canvas. It would have made a stiff shirt by itself, but it was perfect for the yokes. The rest of the shirt is a Robert Kaufman chambray that was dreamy to work with. Maybe it’s the experience or maybe it’s the well-behaved fabric, but this is the best shirt execution I’ve done yet.

Most of the cats are smooth, but the one closest to the collar is all fuzzy with closed eyes! Eric thinks he’s probably getting stung by a bee, as Dandelion did a couple weeks ago…

I’ve been loving following everyone’s cat-themed projects on Instagram and am really looking forward to Erin’s round up. Thanks for hosting, it’s been really fun!


Watercolor floral Archer

I finally made an Archer! I’ve attempted a button-down shirt several times in the past but have always gotten stuck somewhere. I love wearing them, though, and a few weeks ago sat down determined to do it, once and for all.


This fabric is one of those J. Crew silk-cotton voiles that Fabric Mart had on sale a few months ago. I actually didn’t mean to get this one – I was on the fence and put it in my cart, then decided against it, but when I gleefully opened up the box a week later, there it was. I figured that since I wasn’t supposed to have this fabric anyway I might as well make a muslin-like thing out of it!


Unfortunately, I totally fell in love with it in the process of making this shirt. That blue! The soft painted flowers! The way the fabric seemed to get softer and more lovely with handling! At first it was so fun to make this discovery, but it sure got stressful when I got to the collar stand, and then the buttonholes. Luckily everything went okay!


While I absolutely love wearing this shirt, I do have some modifications for next time. I think I need to size up, for one. I’ve been getting more and more serious about yoga and I’ve noticed many of my woven tops being a little snug in the shoulders lately. I hope it’s from the yoga, anyway… this is a little scary to me, as I’ve been the same size my entire sewing life and I have been complacent with fitting, just doing my couple minor standard adjustments. I also want to lengthen them hem by an inch or two, an adjustment I wasn’t expecting since I’m on the short side. Finally, and this should have been totally obvious, if the fabric is sheer one must interface both collar stands!!


In the end I think it looks slightly homemade, but totally acceptable. Next time I will slip-stitch the inner collarstand down, as I really have trouble with perfect topstitching very close to the edge of something rather thick. I didn’t even try to put a buttonhole on there. It won’t be used anyway, and there was no way I could risk ruining this fabric!

Finally an in-progress shot of my helper. I leave the garment for just a moment, and he’s on it!



Archer Progress : Crisp Fabric

The Archer Sew Along may be officially finished, but of course I’m still enjoying working putting my shirt together. I’m really having fun with this pattern and the shirt is going together very well. It’s fun to break out the precision sewing now and then!

My fabric is lovely, but the hand turned out to be a bit too crisp for this loose-fitting pattern. That first fitting was so disappointing as the rest of the shirt fit great, but then I had the idea to simply stitch that pleat at the yoke down a bit farther. It turned out especially well for me since I stitched the pleat backwards to begin with – was it a mistake, or did my subconscious know something about future fitting problems that I didn’t??

Look how well the back fits now!

These photos are from last weekend and as now it’s all done save the buttonholes, which my machine, a cheap Brother that is otherwise really fantastic, just can’t handle. Since I like the shirt so much and the fabric shows needle marks, I really don’t want to risk ruining it with lousy buttonholes. My mom has a lovely Bernina that makes buttonholes like a champ, and since I’m planning to visit in the next month I’ll probably wait to do the buttonholes then. Argh, waiting will be tough… but good buttonholes are so worth it!