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Grainline Archer – At last!

One of the first things I lusted over noticed everywhere when I discovered sewing blogs was the Grainline Archer.

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Source: Grainline Studio Shop…. Click on the photo!

They really were everywhere and I really wanted one.  I’m fairly certain that most of you seasoned bloggers will have seen them about, but here’s a couple of my favourites……  Click on the photo to be taken to the owners blog post…please!

Carolyn from Allspice Abounds is to me the Queen of the Archers!  Her attention to detail is just second to none.  Overtime she made another and I read her blog post I’d want one even more!



Source: Allspice Abounds….Click on the photo for major Archer Envy!! 7 in fact!

Rachel from Sew South London made a gorgeous Chambray Archer which really showed off her stunning topstitching!  And it was her post that lead me to a different way to attach the collar – which worked really well! Thanks Rachel!

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Source: Sew South London…. Click on the photo!

I couldn’t bring myself to buy the pdf version, not with all those pieces. So when they announced they were selling a paper version I snapped one up immediately!  Not sure now what all the rush was about.  That was back in 2014.  30th September 2014 to be exact!

I traced it off in the week it arrived intending to muslin it with an old sheet.  But for no reason I can think off I just never got round to making it.

Earlier on this year I even bought this Liberty Fabric – Travelling Threads – with the sole purpose to make the Archer.

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Then something clicked in my brain just over 2 weeks ago and I thought….. “Hey! I’m gonna make that Archer!!”

I remeasured myself.  I was about an inch smaller on the bust and waist than the size I traced off.  I wasn’t going to trace it off again – it might take me another year to get round to making it!

I had a rummage in my stash and found this 100% cotton.  I really love the edge on this which runs just along one selvedge. I decided just to use it on the lower part of one side to give an asymmetrical look.

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I bought it from Lucky Fashions in Dewsbury when I was out taking photos for the Spoolettes meet up.  I bought all this, all on a whim, all were Β£4 yard so I didn’t really break the bank.

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I’ve actually used up 4 out of the 7 fabrics which is over half so I see that as almost stash busting!  the the black/gold wrinkly fabric, the green/grey check and the chunky sweater knit left.

Talk about getting side tracked……!!   You’re here for my latest make aren’t you, not me waffling on about my stash!  So without further ado, tah dah……!!

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Worth waiting over a year for??!!

Maybe it would have fit better a year ago with the extra inch in the bust!  And maybe my arms would have been longer a year ago too!  Or maybe not!

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I’m happy with the length when you see the back view, but from the front it looks like it’s a bit short.

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Maybe it’s the patterned lower left side that creates an optical illusion and makes it appear shorter.  By the way I made those pants!!!

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Is it me or do the arms look a bit baggy?  I wonder if shortening the sleeves would make them appear less full.  I’d already shortened them by an inch.

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I’d spent ages getting the position of the button holes just right and look what we’ve got here…… GAPING!!  Gutted 😦

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I much prefer the sleeves rolled up.  They seem much less baggy.


Verdict……. (………drum roll……….)

I really like it, but I’m not in love with it.  It was only a practice so I’m not disappointed which I could have been after waiting so long to make it.  It could have been the anti climax of the year!

Just a few things for me to note for next time.

  • Read the instructions properly before cutting into the sleeve where the plackets go.  I had to add interfacing so I could add the stitching lines (long story but makes sense to me, honest!).

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  • Lengthen by 1 1/2 inches.
  • Shorten arms by 1/2 inch.
  • Reduce the width slightly in the arms.
  • Look into a sway back adjustment.  Will I need a centre back seam for this?  Or is it just the style?  After all it’s not really a ‘fitted’ shirt.
  • Choose a less soft cotton.  This is quite lightweight and would have may fab PJs!

Overall I’m happy.  I worn it twice.  And did i mention that i made those pants!!?? It was at the start of my blogging life.  Before i picked up all the scary hype of fitting your own pants.  I just made them and never worried about any drag lines!

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Now looking at them I think they need some work before I make my next pair. It’s the first time I’ve worn these in ages and ages (pre archer trace off!) but now I’ve lost a few pounds they’re really comfy!

P.S. Rachel – do you recognise the fabric at the top of the pile from my shopping spree?





  1. I can’t really see why you are hesitating, this looks fantastic! I have seen little gapes in high end retail so don’t worry! You can always pop a little popper between buttons for added strength!

    The fabric is wonderful and suits your colouring beautifully!

    • Thanks so much! That’s a good idea,I might see if I’ve got a little popper in my sewing box. It’s a good just I lost that inch! πŸ™‚

  2. Well done with the Archer – even with the bits you’re not so keen on, you did a good job. However, I’m most impressed with the pants/trousers. Do you think that the lovely Liberty fabric you bought is going to be too lightweight for it? They’ve always scared me (in general I mean, not yours ;)) so maybe I should have just done what you did and got on with it.

    • haha! I’m glad it wasn’t me that scared you! This cotton is really lightweight and not as tightly woven as the Liberty fabric so I think it will be ok. But I’ll need strategically placed pockets so not to cause any embarrassment! πŸ™‚

  3. I like your shirt! But a just tad large, like you said (thank goodness our arms really don’t shrink or stretch of their own accord, wouldn’t that be annoying). The traveling threads fabric is so cute, hope it is appropriate for your next version. Your comment about the pants-fitting hype is interesting…..maybe we just need to jump in like you did and not worry so much. (easy for me to say since I’m not sewing anything right now!)

    • Thanks! I think the Liberty should be ok, it’s got slightly more body than this fabric. Think I’ll use a slightly thicker interfacing tho. With the pant fitting/making hype goes the sewing with jersey hype too. In the past i just got on with it, and it’s definitely the best way. I keep scaring myself daft reading about other peoples sewing hangups! πŸ™‚

      • Yes ma’am…..fretting about one’s own worries is plenty enough without buying into someone else’s fears. No more second-hand sewing hangups for me! (I’ll have to remember this post next time the jitters crop up.) πŸ™‚

  4. I quite like the idea of extendable arms-Mr Tickle-style! I digress…
    Well done on this, looks pretty darn good to me, just a tad too big! Less width in the sleeves would really help you’re right. Ditto the optical illusion of that pattern on the length, does it look good tucked in? Might be the perfect beach cover-up if the fabric’s pretty light-weight so you get some wear out of it…

    • I think it’ll look okay tucked in when I’ve lost a few more pounds, but not at the moment. But I’m off cake now so might not take too long 😦

      • You’ve sure picked a hard time to be off cake, are you sure you don’t want to wait until post-Christmas? I’ve already given in to the mince pies and as for gingerbread lattes at Costas…. Tis the season and all that πŸ˜‰

        • Turns out I’ve got high cholesterol 😳 Bit of a shock, so gonna be good for 3 months. If it makes no difference I’ll be back on the cake!! πŸ˜„

          • Oh dear! Are you allowed ‘healthy’ cake? Deliciously Ella does some fab ‘raw’ brownies from dates and nuts. There’s also a fab-tasting sweet potato brownie… Might be worth a look? I have such a sweet tooth I have to have something instead. Good luck!

            • Me too, it’s not gonna be easy. I think I’ll have to get my baking stuff out and make fat free sponges, i ❀️ them!

  5. Nice! I think the fit looks good (but I do like clothes roomy). Once you’re a little happier with the fit of the pattern, it could be a really useful wardrobe builder; everybody’s gotta have a good shirt pattern.

    • I’ve been watching the Craftsy shirt making lesson and that’s given me a few ideas for altering it for next time, but I am looking forward to having a wardrobe builder! I think the Archer as it is would be spot on for a PJ top πŸ™‚

  6. Carolyn says

    Yeah, you did it!!! Congrats Ali!! πŸ™‚ And thanks for the shout-out and very kind words about my various Archers. I’m so glad you finally sewed this up after a year of waiting!

    Regarding your questions/suggestions for next time:
    – I think the sleeves and cuffs on the Archer too wide as drafted. This seems to be an issue for everyone who makes one. On mine, I graded down about 4 sizes (!!) in sleeve and cuff width.
    – I think the extra fabric in the back is supposed to be there, since it’s a boxy style. You could add some fisheye darts (as I typically do) in the back or take out a horizontal wedge.

    Can’t wait to see your Liberty version – that is going to be stunning! Welcome to Archer addiction… [insert evil laugh] πŸ™‚

    • Yay for Archers!! I can’t believe I waited so long to make it, even with all the inspiration around (mostly from you!) i was soooo behind. but now I think I’ll be getting quite a collection too! Next up though is a shirt for my hubby!! It’s his birthday tomorrow and I’ve bought the Colette Negroni and some fabric for him for his birthday. Might be a bit of an anti climax when he opens his pressies in the morning.
      The fish eye darts is a great idea. I think I’ll be able to put some on this one to see how they will work for my next one πŸ™‚

  7. Love the shirt and that you decided to just get on with it. (Will you send me a recording of you saying so I can play it repeatedly when I procrastinate over something?) That’s a great thought about NOT picking up the fit issues with pants. (You could stick that one on the recording, too – need all the help I can get!) That Liberty print does look gawjus! Can’t wait to see if you decide to go with another Archer with it, or if something else crops up. xx

  8. OMG you reminded me about my Liberty Travelling Threads cotton…! I’m going to end up like you and sew it over a year later! Great job (finally) with your Archer though πŸ˜€ I think the arms are baggy yeah, they look like those balloon type sleeves, I think you should say you intended them to be like that!

  9. Looks great – I don’t think you need a swayback adjustment though, you can probably get adjustment way with it because it’s a looser fit πŸ™‚ I love that selvedge print too!

    • I hoping to do something with the sleeves, they’re driving me nut having to roll them up, I maybe should have taken more notice of what I read about other Archers.f Next one should be better πŸ™‚

    • Thought you might, That post with the frock and me looking at my worst has been the most popular one on my blog this year. So wish I’d have put a bit of makeup on and done my hair!! :-0

    • This looks really good. Well done it looks perfect to me’ I really must go to Dewsbury one of these days and what/who are the spoolettes?

      • Hi Margeret, the spoolettes are everywhere, and I arranged a meet up for the Yorkshire spoolettes back in April. There’s a link at the top of the page with some more about it. Seen as your only across the pennines you could be an honorary yorkshire spoolette and I’ll let you know when I arrange another get together. πŸ™‚

    • Thankyou! Definitely changes in store for the next one, but I least the putting together of it wen well. So glad i checked out the link from you about the collar πŸ™‚

  10. That’s a great Archer, the fabric is fantastic. Shirts are really hard to get a good fit on first time, I think, I have tried some other patterns and it does take a couple of muslins before it gets to a wearable state. Your fabric is fantastic. I would shorten and take in the sleeves a bit but apart from that I like the look of it and it doesn’t seem short to me on the front. Very often I buy patterns, get excited about them and then I don’t end up making them until the season has changed at least a couple of times haha. Looking forward to your next Archer.

    • Thanks, the fabric was nearly PJs but glad I made the Archer. I’m hoping to fix the sleeves, but in the meantime I’ll just have to put up with wearing them rolled up. I’m the same buying patterns and not getting round to them for ever or not at all! Hopefully I’ll be making jeans in the next year, having bought 2 patterns and made neither! πŸ™‚

  11. The fit looks great, it’s just the sleeves that are swamping you. I’d be tempted to unpick them and recut in a much slimmer silhouette. Love the asymmetric pattern, such a cool idea!

    • I don’t think I’ve the patient for unpicking at the moment, especially as all the seams are top stitched. It;s hidden in the pattern, but I thought I would be good to practice on this as it doesn’t show. I think I could still slim them down and make a new cuff. Fingers crossed! πŸ™‚

  12. Wow, it looks quite good for a first try! I always like slimmer sleeves, I think it makes any top look smarter, so I would shave a little width off of them. What a fun fabric, I can’t wait to see the Liberty one!

    • Thanks Helena, it definitely turned out way better than I thought it would, I even surprised myself sewing it up with all those pieces, and keeping them all organised. I did panic though when I thought I’d thrown away the cuffs, but luckily it was a false alarm and hubby had moved them. Hopefully I’ll be able to start the liberty one in the new year πŸ™‚

  13. Fiona M says

    Oh yeah, the Liberty bicycle fabric! I was there when you bought it. It will make a beautiful Archer. This one is great for a first attempt, I suppose you could shorten and narrow the sleeves a bit, if you can be bothered, but it looks just as good with them rolled up!

    • I’m going to have another go before I dare cut into the Liberty. I may even look st another shirt pattern to compare the sleeve width. I’ll have a rummage in my stash of old Primas, there’s sure to be something in there πŸ˜ƒ

  14. Lovely make, but yes shrinking between cutting out and making has made it a wee bit baggy – but better that than the other way. Love that liberty fabric!

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