Grainline Archer. Warning: Contains Graphic Images of Topstitching!

Happy Almost Easter, fellow citizens of the stitchosphere! I’ve got something a bit more demure to show you this week, so no need to adjust the colour setting on your digital device!

A shirt! With topstitching! The Archer by Grainline Studios has been a labour of love these past weeks. After steaming through a cluster of Bonnies and trousers, I relished taking on a project that involved numerous steps, each taken lovingly and slowly. I dialled up the Archer Sewalong, and settled in with laptop beside sewing machine and overlocker to be led through the construction. I used cotton chambray from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road, which was a bargainous £3 per metre. Archer The fabric pressed easily and behaved beautifully, so it was easy to be accurate. I used a water soluble fabric marker, which you can see around the buttonholes on the photos. Overall, it was a pleasure to sew with. I went back to the textbook and used the used the overlocker to finish seams inside. As recommended, I pressed the seams to one side and topstitched along the seams on the right side to mimic the flat-fell seams typically found on a denim or chambray shirt.

After a bit of research on collars, I decided to follow Four Square Wall’s tutorial for assembling in a different order for a more accurate finish. I’d recommend it – I was really pleased with the way it went in.

Archer So far, so good. It was all going so well until it was time to stitch the button holes. I felt the anxiety levels rising – I had a few dry runs then went for it! After five perfect buttonholes, you guessed it –  it went mad on hole number six, and got stuck. What a mess! It’s not too noticeable. But then things got worse: I cut through the top buttonhole with the stitch ripper!


And then…. I realised i’d put the buttonhole on the wrong side of the cuff, so had to stitch it back together and add a buttonhole to the other side! So after ten long days of tender loving stitching i sabotaged the shirt with my finishing touches. Isn’t it always the way?


Mathilde in Chambray

Don’t you find that your most recent make is always your favourite?


Mathilde complete with creases!

I love this top! It’s my second go at a Mathilde from the amazing Tilly and the Buttons. I was equally pleased with my first attempt last year. In fact, it was one of the first garments I made when I dusted off my sewing machine. I was very taken with the pleats on the front of the bodice, and the buttons down the back are a lovely style detail. I didn’t alter the pattern for my first attempt. It was a big enough feat to download and assemble a PDF pattern.

A year on and I felt ready to make the pattern my own. Whilst I loved the original, I didn’t think I suited the full sleeves and the straight bodice looked rather boxy. So I took the plunge and drafted cap sleeves using the original arm scythe as a guide. I also took out the fullness in the bodice and reshaped it at the waist based upon my measurements. Finally, I lowered the front neckline. I am so happy with the fit. Perhaps this will give me the courage to attempt more complicated alterations…


Mathilde button back detail

The instructions were so easy to follow. Tilly’s clear and concise writing style made this pattern accessible to sewists with basic skills. The sense of satisfaction I had after making version one was off the scale.

I had been on the lookout for some cotton chambray, so when I found this at Simply Fabrics in Brixton I snapped up 3 metres. You will be seeing it again! The guy in the shop told me that it was Paul Smith shirting. Not bad for £3 per metre! The fabric was beautiful to work with. It pressed well and really holds the pleats. I think the colour makes it look classic.


Now, what should I do with the rest of that chambray? Any thoughts?