Month: December 2013

2 Archers + Black Shirts

December is the perfect time to appreciate a long sleeve button up shirt such as the Archer pattern by Grainline Studios.  The weather suddenly turned cold (like, seriously, overnight freezing) in Texas, and I was in a hurry to make something long sleeved to wear to work.  The Archer button up shirt fit the bill perfectly.  I made it up in black cotton sateen.  This was my first time working with cotton sateen, and I am in love!  What a beautiful fabric.  The slight sheen makes it a touch fancier than plain cotton.
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Please overlook the wrinkles–this shirt has been working hard.

This is my fourth black work shirt.  I’ve been using different patterns and buttons to add variety to an otherwise drab work attire.

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Here we have red ladybug buttons.

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I was quite pleased with my top stitching on this particular shirt; while not perfect, it’s one of my best looking shirts so far.

I didn’t want to write separate posts on my other black shirts, so I will just show them briefly here to record their existence in 2013.

I made Gertie’s blouse pattern from her book:
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Complete with novelty buttons down the back:
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I never thought I’d find a use for cute novelty buttons, but black work shirts are a great back drop for fun buttons (It helps that I work at a fabric store where these buttons are totally appreciated!)
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I made my second slouchy blouse from Burdaystyle in a light suiting fabric:
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This one has kitty cat buttons (which didn’t photograph so well–my fault).

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And the first of my black shirts will go undocumented–the buttons are unremarkable as is the design.

So without further ado, here is my second Archer:
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This one is made of a soft and cuddly flannel, finished just in time for the second cold spell this winter.

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The plaid matching went fairly well.  For both my shirts, I left the buttonhole band attached (cut as one piece) to the right front, and I folded the band to the outside of the shirt (the right and wrong sides of both fabrics are indistinguishable from one another).  This method made matching the plaid across the button bands a breeze since I had one less piece to worry about.

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I attempted to match the back yoke as well, but of course the pleat throws the pattern off, so maybe I should have cut the yoke on the bias instead?  I’m undecided.  Any thoughts??  The collar matched up nicely at least, so there is a continuous line down the center back.
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I was disappointed that the topstitching did not go as smoothly on my second shirt.  The biggest problem was that I couldn’t get the tension on my stitches balanced correctly, so the bobbin side looked very sloppy.  I adjusted the tension to no avail, so I think I might need to take my machine in for a servicing.  It’s probably over due…

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On both my Archer shirts I added sleeve plackets for a dressier look (I like sewing plackets!)

The placket adds a little width to the sleeve, so I made my pleats deeper to gather in the extra width to fit the cuff.  The cuff is quite large on my wrists though, so I think I will resize the bottom of the sleeve and the cuff on future shirts for a better fit.

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Other than grading out to a larger size on the bottom half of the shirt, I did not make any fit adjustments to the pattern.  The shoulders are very slightly dropped on me but I decided not to change them at all.  The sleeves went in so smoothly (I didn’t even need to gather the sleeve head), and the overall look of the shirt is loose and casual anyway, so why mess with a good thing.

Sewing up two Archers was a pleasure, and I’m definitely appreciating the addition of two long sleeve shirts to my wardrobe.

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Quilt Inspired by a Saddle Blanket

A couple of years ago, Erin (Miss Crayola Creepy) pinned a fabric on Pinterest that stole my heart.

It was “Charras” by Alexander Henry, and I finally decided to buy a few yards for a quilt.  With an ever changing plan, I went to my local fabric store to get some coordinating fabrics, and I left the store with a completely different color scheme than when I’d gone in.  Here is the result:
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The pattern is inspired by Navajo blanket designs, specifically from a saddle blanket I have lying around the house. I used this tutorial to make flying geese blocks, and then I just played around with the pieces to make the bottom two designs.  The diamond shaped blocks are made using bias cut strips.

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I quilted the blanket in straight (sort of) lines.

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The quilting part was definitely awkward with so much blanket to feed through the machine, but it got easier as I went.  I didn’t have a walking foot, and there are lots of wrinkling spots where the fabric is pulled a little.  After washing the quilt though, the whole thing seemed to fluff up a bit, and I love the way it looks.  The wrinkles seemed more fluffy and less obvious.  It may not be perfect, but I love it anyway.  Mostly I just love the fabrics and enjoy looking at them.
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The back is pieced together with a leftover strip of flying geese blocks.  I had at one point planned to use four strips of that particular block pattern, so I had made a lot of extra flying geese.  It worked out… I like the back almost as much as the front.
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I liked attaching the binding and making mitered corners.

Sewing the blocks and strips can be a bit tedious, so I’m glad I went with a simple pattern that came together quickly (before I lost interest!)  I’m already planning another simple quilt.  The planning and math that go into a quilt design is quite fun and very different from garment sewing.  It’s a good change of pace.

Right now I’m finishing up a few Christmas gifts, and hopefully I’ll be sewing an Archer this month too!  And just as soon as possible, I’m planning to make a winter coat.  It’s gotten quite cold here in Texas this week (below 30), and I wish my coat was already done!!

What are you working on this month?