Autumn Beauties

Ah, the turning of the seasons. Hard to believe it, but it’s the time of year when the mornings and nights are chilly, the leaves are beginning their cycle of transformation, and the monarchs are migrating. Fall is a season of transformation, of transition, and magic.

I’ve been wanting to make a ton of things this year but my school interferes for much of the year and my projects mostly get relegated to summer or winter break. Occasionally I can work on something for a ten minute to an hour long stretch, but those times are few and far between as the semester progresses. However, I did manage to complete a project this way during the spring and I am just now getting around to write about it. The reason for this is, as usual, me trying to get all my projects, both sewing related and house/yard related, finished in those three short months of the year that comprise summer break. Goodness knows I’d like to have more time for everything, but I’m nearing the end of my schooling, so perhaps next year.

I say that every year. It’s never true.

However, I did manage to make a lot of projects this summer due to the heatwave. I hid in my house for a few days and set up camp in the living room with the sewing machine, the cats, and two seasons of Hulu’s “Harlots.” I did nothing but sew for two days. It was awesome. One of the things I finished was this shirt.

I purchased the Archer pattern by Grainline Studio. It’s a very lovely button-down blouse with a back yoke, a shaped hem, a pleated option for the back, and cuffs. I purchased this amazingly pretty plaid cotton twill with brown eyelet embroidery from Mood Fabrics just for this pattern. I actually own very few button-down shirts, and since the one I had was developing holes along the back yoke, it was time for a replacement.

The fabric was an excellent choice. I love the teal and cranberry stripes against the coffee brown and latte background plaid. The eyelet I was intending to have on the shirt hem, but quickly realized this was impractical and it would show off much better at the back yoke, collar and cuffs. So, with some careful planning when I did my cutting, that’s exactly what I did.

I elected not to create the front pockets, although I did consider it, and wonder if I might add them on later, since they are patch pockets and it would be easy. However, I know they won’t get used. I’m hugely in favor of more pockets in women’s clothing, however, I would prefer more useful pockets. When was the last time you put anything in your front shirt pockets? Never? Right. Me too.

Posing in front of my new potting shed with a new rosebush!

I had intended to use buttons from my stash, but when I compared the buttons I had with the fabric, most either clashed badly or got lost or were just…wrong. So I went off to the local Jo Ann’s and retrieved some cool wooden buttons (which might actually be plastic, I’m not sure.) I like the recessed cut out on these very much. They’re fun to touch. I find myself playing with them occasionally when I wear this shirt to work. They do blend in a bit, but I find the texture helps them stand out while still harmonizing with the palette.

Buttons on my cuffs. I love the double buttons. I’ll tell you a secret: these don’t function. I used snaps underneath.

So in the interest of honesty, I did flub the directions a little and made a goof on the collar stand. I’m not used to doing collar stands and I was confused about the exact placement in relation to the button placket…and the result is that the placket sticks out almost an inch from there the collar stand ends and it’s meant to be flush.

I’m an unbuttoned collar kind of girl anyway. I find my mistake does not, in fact, have any effect on the wearability or attractiveness of the shirt in any way. Therefore…not a mistake? I’m going to say that. Not a mistake.

I made one other mistake, though I hesitate to call it that. Let’s go with “design decision” instead. I forgot about eyelet having holes, so when I fused the interfacing to the collar, it peeked through each hole. I decided to leave it; the interfacing served to highlight the holes and that wasn’t a bad thing, I felt. I wanted to show those off, and it isn’t too noticeable since most people I know don’t sew their own clothing anyway.

The finished collar!

I also had to work around the eyelet on the top part of the collar; I wanted to preserve the eyelet’s scalloped edges because they’re too pretty to cut off. I ended up cutting the top piece a little larger and then carefully hemmed the collar’s bottom edge before topstitching it to the top eyelet portion so it wouldn’t show through the holes in the collar or poke out underneath the scalloped edges on top. Whew! I was super careful, and I didn’t have to redo it! I like the way it turned out.

The shirt back in all it’s glory! Note also the gathered back shirt tail panel, a variation detail the the Archer pattern offers for a little more feminine spin on a classic design.
Back Yoke view. So lovely.

The back yoke is my favorite part. I love how it shows off the eyelet and makes the shirt so very feminine. I had to plan it out carefully to make sure when I cut my fabric that the plains all matched up and those scalloped edges were safe from harm. You can probably tell I’m proud of my details and all my fussy matching with the plaid. You can’t even tell it’s a separate piece from my pictures! A job well done, if I do say so myself.

The Archer also offers a shaped hemline. I learned a trick some time ago about giving a shirt tail a clean edge involving bias tape. You need only stitch a piece of single fold bias tape along the edge of the shirt tail and then fold it upward and stitch it in place. It tucks in your edges and provides a clean finish and some extra durability for your shirt. I used a coordinating teal bias tape that picks up the teal in the shirt, although I didn’t take any photos of it, I know it’s there, and I see it every time I put the shirt on and that makes me smile. It’s the little things that matter, as they say.

Please enjoy this gratuitous cat photo. Ace photobombs me every single time.

Stay tuned, my dear readers. I have a few more projects to write about, and one very, very big project I hope to show you the first steps of soon. You’re going to be excited! I know I am…oh, I can’t wait to get started. If only these pesky job and school responsibilities would just evaporate and let me get to what’s really important! It’s driving me crazy that I can’t begin work on it just yet.

I’ll give you a hint: it’s one of the most important garments I will ever wear, but only once…

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