A few weeks ago I had a bit of a wardrobe clear out and assessed what I thought I might need, now we are heading into autumn.
One of the things I identified was I felt like I really needed some wearable tops. I am a big fan of button up shirts, and long time readers of this blog will know my preferred pattern has always been the Grainline Archer. I have made it 7 times, the last version being this checked flannel one, that I did a FBA on. 7 times making a pattern: why change?
Before reading on I want to state very clearly that the Archer is a great pattern, which lots of people have had success with. But there were a few things which niggled me about it – here’s a picture of my last Archer.
List of “niggles”:
- The fit across the shoulders – I know the Archer is designed to be a boyfriend cut with a relaxed fit, and fit is very much a personal thing, but I decided I wanted something which was smaller in the shoulders. I could have done a small shoulder adjustment – but I decided to try a different pattern.
- The 0.5 inch seam allowances – I like to flat fell seam finish all my internal seam allowances when shirt making and this seam allowance makes it really hard! I did add 0.25 inches to the seam allowances last time but…I just wasn’t happy.
- The enormous cuffs – I think this is a case of grading up into the bigger sizes just automatically making everything….bigger. My wrists are actually very small! Again, it would be a small thing to rectify this, but, again, I felt like I wanted to try and different pattern.
- The separate button band – what, you say? Don’t get me wrong, there are times when having a separate button band is nice. I especially like it on checked shirts where the button band is cut on the bias for some interest. But for the shirts I decided to make I wanted something speedier. Not having to cut, stitch and interface separate button bands really cut down on the time.
So, anyway, I have made Simplicity 8014 three times now – twice being view C. The last time I made it was this version in checked flannel, on which I did a FBA. I decided I liked the fit of that version and went ahead and modified the pattern slightly to give me a shirt version.
Here are my modifications (in addition to those I made on the shirt dress version made previously):
- I made the collar smaller – removing 3/8ths inch at the tips of the collar, tapering to nothing at the centre back. I think it gives the pattern a fresher, more modern feel.
- I cut the undercollar in two pieces, and cut it on the bias.
- I changed the gathers at the back to a pleat.
- I used traditional shirt tailoring techniques to sew the shirt up;
- I cut two yokes and used the burrito method to clean finish the shoulder seams
- I flat felled all the seams
Note that all my shirts have a bust dart: I am absolutely fine with this!
I ended up sewing this modified pattern three times, I liked it that much. And I can tell you all three versions have already been worn. I am very pleased with the improved fit through the shoulders, the fit through the cuffs and I don’t think not having the interfacing in the button band has made any difference. Also, SO much easier with the flat fell seaming. Ready for some pictures?
Version one was made in a cotton chambray purchased from Fabworks (now sold out). This version is a great smart/ casual option.
Version two was made in a silk from a silk saree that I had lying around. I was worried that the silk would be too thin, so I added patch breast pockets for modesty reasons. I dropped the position of the pockets down by 1 inch from that position on the pattern and enlarged the pockets by 5/8ths inch all around. This version has french seamed sleeves and armholes and a high-low hem with side splits and a straight hem. This version looks good tucked in a skirt or culottes.
Version three was made in a striped cotton batiste, also purchased from Fabworks (also now sold out). To this version I added a 1 cm grosgrain ribbon along the button band and the inner collar stand. I attached the ribbon before constructing the shirt/ stitching the button band down. This version can be dressed up or down.
There are several more tops coming to the blog in the next few weeks….two more have been made and I want to make a further 3 after that…stay tuned!