Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt: DIY Plaid Shirt with Pearl Snaps – now with FBA!

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Hi Friends,

I think this is my 7th time of making this pattern. Quite a record for me. This is my third plaid version. I have also made versions in denim, linen and cotton shirting and voile. BUT this version is an new and (mainly) improved version.

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Why start messing around with a pattern on the 7th time of making you ask? Well, it started when I was featured in one of the “Same Pattern, Different Bodies” posts, about the Archer Shirt, on the Curvy Sewing Collective. (If you read through the comments section on that post, you will see that I did get rather irritated. Oh dear!) Anyway, moving on, one of the commentators said that she felt that all the shirts that were featured basically needed an FBA. I have never felt like I needed to do an FBA on the Archer shirt, but here’s the thing, when you sew a shirt in plaid then the checks can be very telling when it comes to the fit. Here are the first two versions of this shirt, sewn in plaid, without the FBA:

Jalie Eleonore Pull on Jeans: DIY Mustard Jeggings worn with Grainline Archer Shirt
Plaid Flannel Archer Button Up Shirt

I don’t think the checks look too bad over the bust, but I decided that maybe I could do with just a small 0.5 inch FBA. So that is what I did, using the method described by Paprika Patterns (how to do a FBA on a dartless shirt). I eliminated the dart, and redrafted the side seam as I decided I did not want a bust dart interfering with any futher plaid versions of this pattern I might make.

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Yes, I think the checks now lie just that tiny bit more horizontal. So FBA successfully completed.

Other changes I also made:

  • I finally got round to adding 0.25 inches to the armholes, sleeves and side seams to facilitate flat fell finishing all those seams.
  • I don’t mind using the continous lapped placket method for some shirts – in fact for light weight fabrics I probably prefer that method – but for more weightier fabrics I think a tower placket is more appropriate. So that’s what I did on this shirt, using this tutorial from Off The Cuff – excellent tutorial and surprisingly easy to do.


Grainline Studio Archer Shirt – tower placket detail

Now let’s talk about what is not so good: the comically large cuffs. Readers, I am completely baffled as to why the cuffs are as large as they are. I didn’t add anything to the cuff seam allowances, I did the pleats as usual, and the only thing I can think of is that either the plackets have somehow made them bigger, or that this fabric has just somehow grown?! I am stumped. Another version will probably have to be made to investigate. Sigh.

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

This is my first time using pearl snaps, and I basically followed exactly what VeryKerryBerry says to do in this tutorial, including buying the pliers and a set of Prym jersey snaps so that I would have the plastic attachments. Conclusion: using the Prym snaps gave the best results (rather than the generic snaps), and using the pliers with the plastic attachments gave pretty much fool proof results.

I love how cosy this version of this shirt is, and let’s face it, spring, at least in this corner of the world, is still a way off. If I can resolve the cuff issue this will continue to be a firm favourite.

Happy sewing!

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

17 thoughts on “Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt: DIY Plaid Shirt with Pearl Snaps – now with FBA!

  1. Hm, while I don’t find the cuffs comically large, they are large. Maybe a problem in grading. They seem large in the other versions too!
    Can I ask where you got the Pearl Snaps from? I have been looking for some with European shipping costs for a while now.
    (BTW, I wouldn’t let myself get irritated by entitled commenters. I think I can eyeball if someone has the same bodytype as me, no specific measurements needed. I wouldn’t give them either. I mean, my mean-girl coworkers of the future might stumble across that…)

    1. Hi Dalia, after making the first version (the blue/ green version) I thought I sized the cuffs down – so why these are so large I don’t know. The pack of 100 pearl snaps were purchased from this ebay seller: (hope that works). Like I mentioned, maybe my fabric was too thick for these particular snaps?, but the branded Prym ones were much better quality. Hope that helps.

  2. I’ve just read the CSC post. Mmm. I’ve been happy with your reviews and contributions. I don’t need to know particular sizes but like to know if a pattern is vaguely true to size, though that’s a matter of personal preference but clearly there is an issue in this one with sleeve width. The images of Mary’s shirts show clear need for an FBA or a bigger one (and I don’t need her size for that) I didn’t think yours obviously called out for that.
    I’m making an FBA on the Grainline Morris blazer anf have ended up with a dart which wasn’t there to start with, following their instructions. I looked at the tutorial you linked but don’t think I can get rid of the side dart. Pity.

    1. For me Anne, doing an FBA is pretty standard on most things I make, so I would rather have the dart there than not. In fact, the next jacket I am making I have had to do an FBA which has added in a side dart – yeah I know it doesn’t maybe look as neat and clean, but I feel it is worth it to get the fit correct.

      1. Yes, the FBA I’ve done has added a dart. I wanted a striped version which is why I was concerned about the dart but, like you, feel the fit is more important. Anne

  3. Great shirt! When I saw your shirt on instagram I was surprised you’d done an fba – your other shirts looked fine to my obviously not very refined eye! So kudos for adding it. I really like these shirts on you!

  4. This looks fabulous!! The FBA definitely straightens out the plaid, but frankly, the other shirts look great, too! Most people would never notice!

  5. Manju, that shirt looks fabulous!!!

    Mind if I give you a suggestion? I personally feel you can go down a size and then do a bigger FBA. The shoulder seam should be just 1/4 away from your natural shoulder and to me, yours seem more than that. This might also take care of the slant drag lines than mrs.mole mentioned in her post.

    I have seen Angela Wolf, Kenneth King and many other great teachers raise the shoulders and see what a day/night difference it is. Shoulders are the best starting point for good fit. You might want to fit there first and then add fba and grade in/out at waist, hips etc based on your measurements.

    I enjoy all of your makes and your joyful enthusiasm. That suggestion had been in my mind for years now and I figure sharing that here might be taken in the same positive spirit it is shared.

    1. Thanks Kay, and thanks for your suggestion. I agree that the shoulders on this particular shirt are perhaps not where a more fitted style should be, but I think this style is supposed to be oversized and slouchy so for now I think I will leave them be. Not offended at all by your suggestion. Thanks for your comment.

  6. This shirt looks great on you – I love this version of the Archer! I have made this shirt twice and have added an FBA each time despite the shirt being made of a check plaid type of fabric. I make sure the plaids match at the side from the bottom of the hem to above the waistline close to where the dart will be. My arm being down most of the time hides the mismatch caused by the dart.

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