Ginger Made (Finally): Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt

Oh, wow… this is kind of embarrassing.  I started this shirt wayyyyyyy back in March during the Archer Sew Along, annnnnnnnd… I just finished it now.  Let’s back this truck up for a minute, though, before I explain why it took me so long.

This is the Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt, and if you haven’t already made this pattern, I HIGHLY recommend it.  When Jen released the pattern, I went crazy– this is exactly the style of shirt that I like to wear every day!  I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Sewing this was actually really fun.  I was nervous to deal with all the fiddly bits like the placket and collar, but everything went together really smoothly.  The photos and videos Jen posted for the sewalong were really helpful.  I had a little trouble keeping my topstitching neat, and since you could see the thread very clearly on the portions of the plaid that weren’t blue, it was extra necessary to keep things straight.  I did LOTS of seam ripping and worked really slowly.  Even so, it’s still not perfectly even.

Unfortunately, things really went sour when I decided to use pearl snaps instead of buttons.  I bought pearl snaps from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, and a pair of Dritz snap pliers to set them with.  Sadly, the pliers never lined up the two parts of the snaps correctly, so the prongs kept tearing little holes in my button placket.  After a couple of VERY frustrating evenings trying to fix this, I finally lost my cool and tossed the shirt to the side in a fit of rage… whoops!  It sat unfinished in my sewing area until a couple of nights ago– I just couldn’t stand looking at it any longer and had to finish it!  This time, I just set the snaps with a hammer.  It’s tough to hammer hard enough to get the snaps on firmly without cracking the pearl or flattening the other half.  Ugh!  So I’m not sure how long this shirt will last– there are little punctures in the button placket all over the place, and the snaps will probably rip out eventually as they just don’t feel very secure.  Oh, well. [EDIT: Lou and Liz suggested that, with the loose fit and stretch fabric, I could get it over my head without unsnapping it, saving lots of stress on the snaps!  I can!  Win!]

I used a cotton shirting that I bought for $5/yd in the Garment District (from It’s A Material World, I think) during my epic shopping expedition with Lauren and Oona.  I was so excited and over-caffeinated that I didn’t even notice the stretch content of the fabric at the time!  It’s not really noticeable in a shirt this slouchy, though.

Since the fabric was inexpensive and the fit seemed pretty forgiving, I didn’t bother making a muslin.  I thought the pattern pieces looked a little short, so I lengthened the shirt by 2″.  Other than that, I didn’t make any changes and I’m happy with the fit.  I might narrow the shoulders on the next go-round so they sit in the proper place.  I think the shoulders are supposed to be slightly dropped, but I prefer a more fitted shoulder.  I did spend a fair amount of time matching the plaid, which was a bit of a brain boggle and not 100% successful, but I’m OK with how it turned out.

Overall, I’m really happy with this shirt, and hopefully I will make the time to sew a few more versions!  I’ll be sure to use extreme caution when I snap and unsnap this to extend its shelf life as much as possible!  It’s a little bright (and possible even circus-y), but I love it anyway.  I’m so glad I finally finished this shirt!

Alright, now it’s confession time– what’s the oldest UFO in your collection?  Have you ever finished up a long-term UFO and immediately been sorry you didn’t finish it sooner?  Anything in your to-be-finished pile that’s just begging to be worn?

186 responses

  1. Eeek! I’m sorry about the snap situation. The plaid matching looks so good it makes me sad to think the shirt may not last because of the snaps.

    I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have a UFO that is over 10 years old. Disgraceful or what?! A summer halter dress that would have looked way better on me when I was a teenager. I think I should just go throw it in the can.

    PS – So lovely to meet you on Saturday!! It was so fun talking shop and hanging out with everyone. I hope we can all get together again soon.

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  2. Love your Archer, you really suit those colours! I’ve never used snaps but I can imagine your frustration. As far as my UFO’s go, eh there’s quite a few things buried that I don’t even want to think about…I’m sure I’ve got a full coat cut out and sitting somewhere!

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  3. Your shirt turned out splendidly in spite of the drama! If the snaps fail, do you think you could salvage the shirt by using buttonholes? It looks like it’s worth saving!

    My neglected UFO count right now is 2 – I have a soft blazer that I’m convinced isn’t very flattering on my shape and a duvet I made when I was 18 that I want to quilt. Neither have sounded that good to work on lately!

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  4. Super cute! Next time you’re struggling with snaps, try Snap Source snap setter tool. I’ve had super awesome luck with it. It hold the pieces together well so they stay aligned. Just don’t bang too hard with the hammer, since you can still crack the pearl part of the snap (like I did last night!)

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  5. your shirt is awesome! And the plaid looks perfectly matched across the front. I’m bummed to hear the snaps were such a pain; if I ever decide to go that route, I’ll be sure to research them some first. Archer sounds like a real winner!!

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  6. You know it is bad when your UFO pile contains items that are “years old”! Your shirt looks awesome despite all the troubles. If you don’t want to buy a snap setter for next time, you can try placing the pearl side against cork while you hammer it (I believe grommet setters have cork in them typically to cushion the force).

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  7. Love it, it’s so you! 😀 I don’t think the plaid is too loud at all. 🙂 well done on finishing it. I have a few projects that haven’t gotten past muslin stage lol… hopefully I’m going to work on them someday haha!

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  8. This shirt looks so awesome! OKAY I really need to bust out this pattern for some back to school shirts 🙂 And also…. my longest UFO is over a year or two old :/ ALSO a button down shirt, but not an archer – not sure if I will ever get back to it, as I don’t really believe in spending time sewing things I won’t like – lol. More time for making Archers galore!!!! 😀

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  9. I LOVE your archer!!! Good on you for finishing. Looks great on you! I have my final wiggle dress just waiting to be hemmed and I can’t bring myself to do it. I reckon it’s been about 5 weeks… I’m not a serial offender though as I generally won’t start something until what I’m working on is finished… If I do, (in this case a Victoria blazer) it’s all over.

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    • Ooooh, DO IT! Your other wiggle dress was SO CUTE– I can’t wait to see this version!

      I’m really wanting another Victoria blazer! I don’t really have anything suitable for another version, and I’m trying not to buy more fabric right now, but… I really want another!

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  10. Has anyone told you yet to use a rubber mallet instead of a hammer? You can find one for about $6 at your local hardware shop. And then you position this little doodad on top of the snap and whack it with the mallet. I think the doodad comes with a packet of Dritz snaps. I have two of them. If you need one, I can send my extra one to you.

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  11. I love your Archer. I did two muslins for mine. Hahaa. I might be addicted to muslining or maybe it’s fear or who knows what. I do love the plaid and I should really make one in plaid.

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    • Hahahahaha! Time to dive into the final product! I’m the opposite– I’ve been very hooked on NOT muslining lately… and fortunately/unfortunately it’s worked out pretty well so I’m feeling all too empowered to skip them!

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      • omg, I made a gauze Archer and seconds after taking pics I decided it was a sound plan to clean the bathroom while still wearing it and I got spots of bleach on my new make. ugh. good thing it wasn’t super expensive fabric. I went ahead and skipped the muslin on my boxy jacket but y’know, boxy.

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  12. Hey, I love your Archer and I also appreciate — always — how cheerful and funny you are in your posts. You always make me smile!

    Now, I’m going to complain. I, too, bought 45 Cowgirl Snaps, which I loved loved loved in order to finish a Negroni for a colleague who was going bye bye. I bought the Dritz snap pliers and carefully taught myself the proper technique, etc. However, when I went to do it on the shirt, disaster all the way. I went through almost 30 of the snaps and got so sad I threw the others out. I barely saved the shirt I worked so hard on. It wasn’t the snaps but it was the pliers. I wrote to Dritz and never heard back from them which makes me crazy. Maybe I should tell Cowgirl Snaps that????

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    • Oh, man, I’m sorry that you had the same problem. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on with the pliers! I had the same exact experience– I bent SO MANY snaps that I had to use some of the bent ones and straighten out the prongs with needlenose pliers just to have enough to finish the shirt! It was so very, very frustrating. Maybe I will write to Cowgirl Snaps, too.

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      • oooh, please do! I wrote to her yesterday and asked her if she was interested in doing a tutorial using that snapsetter tool and a hammer. i’m NOT giving up on the snaps — they are too pretty especially in her colors…..

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  13. Love this a lot Sonja! It’s so you and looks super wearable, comfortable and cool! I’ve yet to make an Archer, but I actually have plans for many variations! Just need to find the time to execute them!

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    • Thanks, Marie! It’s such a nice pattern! I love the fit so much… it really feels modern and young, which isn’t the case with any other girls’ buttondown pattern I’ve seen. I’m excited to see what you do with the pattern!

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  14. Ahh, I love this so much!! It looks soo good on you and that fabric is exactly what I want to make my future Archers out of! I love it, you look cool as shit (not that you ever don’t look cool as shit… you know what I mean! 🙂 ).

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  15. I have to admit I have a few at the moment because I was working on about 4 projects at once and started losing weight and now I have to adjust them all.

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  16. Is it a UFO if you never cut into the fashion fabric? If so then I have one that is a year old. Its a RTW jacket I’m trying to knock off using three patterns. Need to do that second muslin but just haven’t felt like it. Probably waiting for the pattern gods to make one pattern that looks just like it and save me some work!
    I love your archer shirt and hopefully with TLC it will last you a good while. The blue is cheery and such a good color for you.

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    • Oh, no, I really hope those don’t count as UFOs or I’m in big, big trouble! I don’t want to talk about how many projects I’ve never even STARTED! I’m just cutting out a dress tonight in fabric I’ve been hoarding for a year! 😀

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  17. Yes!!!!! You finished it! I remember we started the sew-along together (I think?) and I always wondered what happened to your plaid shirt!
    Girl, it was worth the wait! It is faboo!
    I can’t really see the side seams, but it looks like the pattern matching was amazing (you can especially see it in the back view where the plaid on the sleeves is perfectly aligned with the plaid on the back bodice)! It’s the perfect UFO to become and FO with Autumn appraoching.
    Don’t even get me started on the snaps. I also used snaps for my archer, but there was a lot of cursing and crying. I used the dritz pearl snaps and though they look pretty (and I don’t really have any issues snapping or unsnapping them, even after multiple washings), I promised myself that it would be a long time before I use those snaps ever again!

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  18. Way to go with that shirt!! I could not pull that off- looks great on you!

    I have been over ambitious. Several dresses and skirts in my closet were bought with the sheer madness that I’d tailor them so those all count as UFOs. I have 3 or 4 Vogue dresses from the Craftsy Couture Dress class cut out and ready to go in various stages. In my defense, I did make 3 prior to that and thought if I did assembly line sewing I’d be done. Nope. I’ve got three Sorbettos almost done and left for lack of interest. A Hawthorn to do buttons and hem. Three skirts to either install a zip or just hem. A pair of boxers someone asked me to make. Three toddler dresses I cut out last night and one kimono dress I started today!

    GULP! This is embarrassing. Call it sewing hyper-ADD!

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    • Teeheehee! I can relate! Sounds like you need a plan to attack this pile of projects– maybe finish them in the order that you most want to wear them? But there are always more projects than time, aren’t there?

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  19. I just started pinning to hem one of my skirts (a Ginger). Guilt made me do it, via your post. 🙂

    I am finishing in order of wear, as this skirt is strictly for summer. Next up is doing bias binding so I can finish armholes on a summer Sorbetto that will coordinate with the Ginger. Lesson learned- should have done the bias binding first to not stall the project! The Hawthorn will probably be up afterwards, since I also have to make bias binding for it since it is sleeveless. I sure hope that the end of summer comes *after* I finish that, given I have to try my new Simflex for the button hole spacing!

    The Craftsy Couture/Vogue dresses are definitely the oldest UFO, from last summer. I just realized that I didn’t address the vintage on that part of the question!

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  20. LLLllllooooovvvve your plaid Archer! I really must make one like this. The pearl snaps were such a great detail idea, I’m so sorry they were such a bear to put in. But the overall look is great! And yay for pulling it on over your head!!

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    • I feel the same way about everything you make– I just love your style! Wardrobe twins, maybe? Anyway, the plaid wasn’t really that bad to match. I felt kinda paralyzed when I was thinking it through, but Jen suggested choosing a point 2″ below the armhole on the front, back, and sleeves and matching it there on each piece. That really simplified the process. I know some people worry about making it match in more places than that, but that was about all I could handle! 😀

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  21. Good grief, it is so adorable I can’t stand it. You can’t really tell that there was any snap drama, from your photographs. So, win? Maybe?

    I have so many UFOs. Okay, like four. Mostly because my shoulder area has lost a ton of volume and now I can fit small children into the chest and back gapes. Attractive. I’m trying to figure out if I have enough fabric to just completely redo the bodices or figure out some strange non-dart alteration that’ll work, for darts that deep look horrendous. Sigh.

    That Archer is fabulous, though.

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  22. Love it. Love the colour, love the shape, love the whole darn thing. Unfortunately I can’t seem to make shirts work due to being an upside down triangle body shape-such is life… but this shirt is fabbo on you. Win!

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  23. Love the Archer…it’s not Circusy at all! I’m nervous about starting a classic shirt like that but you make it sound not so scary at all.

    I have a UFO…it is a Simplicity Pattern, summer dress with an elastic waist…I haven’t finished it because I don’t care for the elastic waist anymore and I’ve uh hum grown in the mid section a bit since I started it oh about 4 years ago. Maybe I should just rip the waist band out or let it remain a UFO

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  24. Such an adorable shirt! Sounds like you had a challenge with those snaps though! My oldest UFO… had to be my wedding dress, it took me so long to complete it, months.. but I finally did!

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  25. I want us to go get coffees, you wear this shirt cos then we’ll look so effortlessly cool. I’ll wear my swimsuit. JOKE. But seriously, I love this. The fabric is awesome and the fit looks slouchy-cool. Really cool job – I am thinking I need to include a shirt in my to-do list now. xx

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