Archer #2 and Some Fitting Chat

Well, Hi Everybody! I feel like I haven't blogged in forever, but really it's only been about a week and a half. If you follow me on Instagram (and I may have mentioned it here), you might know that I have been struggling with some kind of tendonitis/repetitive stress injury in my right arm.  It's been a pain (literally) and it's really cutting into my sewing/blogging/knitting. I have found that sewing itself isn't too bad, but cutting things out, ironing/pressing, and knitting really aggravate it, and typing and using the trackpad on my laptop are pretty awful too. So I've been trying to rest it as much as I can, which means more Netflix (I'm currently hooked on the X-Files and Scandal) and dreaming about sewing, with way less actual sewing. I have yet to see a professional about it, but if it continues, I will. John says, my big problem is that I don't understand the concept of moderation, and you know what? He's probably right. I would sew all day everyday if I could (and I'd eat pizza, drink lattes, and down ice cream all day too!). Anyway, enough about that. Let's talk about Archer #2. Have I told you how much I love this pattern yet. I love a good button-up shirt and this bad boy fits the bill! I realized after I made my first plaid Archer, that it's all I want to wear. A button up with jeans is the perfect fall  (and everyday) outfit as far as I'm concerned.

IMG_5459Yes, I have officially accepted that it is fall and pulled out the boots!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you lovely readers for some fitting help. Do you remember? It was about my Scout, and I received lots of very helpful advice in the comments. One lovely lady, Lisa from Notes From A Mad Housewife, suggested that I add a dart and do a Full Bust Adjustment. As someone relatively new to garment sewing, I had heard of FBAs, but never really knew how to figure out if I needed one, let alone how to do one. What really confused me, and Lisa helped clear up, was: once you figure out that you need an FBA, how do you choose the correct size pattern on which to preform said adjustment? Lisa described in the comments, that you choose your size based on your high bust (or upper bust) measurement. Well, this was definitely news to me, and then I did some reading in my go to fitting book, Fit for Real People, and it was right there - choose your pattern size based on your upper bust measurement, and adjust from there. How on earth did I miss this? So really what you try to do, is get a garment to fit you well in the shoulders and adjust the pattern to fit you everywhere else. Hello, light bulb moment!

Note: Most commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup (most, but not all), so essentially, if you are bigger than a B-cup, you need a Full Bust Adjustment. I had heard the part about most patterns being drafted for a B-cup, but what I didn't understand was how that affected pattern sizing. I mean if you choose a pattern based on your bust measurement, shouldn't it fit? Well, if the the cup size isn't the right size, there just won't be enough room for your jugs. Make sense? The same is true if you are smaller than a B-cup. Then you would need to do a Small Bust Adjustment as there would be too much space for your jugs.


Anyway, a day or so after this epiphany, I was listening to the Sewing Affair podcast (have you listened to it yet? It is awesome! Corinne is a fantastic host, and she's had a bunch of lovely guests. I love geeking out and listening to sewing talk! And I learn stuff too!), and Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch was on. Of course after hearing about her shop and her blog, I had to go and check her out. On her site, I stumbled upon her Focus on Fit series, where she too talked about choosing your pattern size based on your high bust measurement. Okay universe, I get the message!

So to make a long story even longer, I used my Fit For Real People book, after reading several posts about it on the internet, to do an FBA. I used a size 8 as my base and then did an FBA which added a dart. I did find a couple of posts online about dartless FBAs, and I may try that too, but I really don't mind the look of darts, so I went traditional on this bad boy.


Really, you can hardly see the darts. This fabric is a tencel chambray from and it was lovely to work with. I love the colour and it drapes quite nicely too. At the last minute I decided to put my contrasting yoke on the outside, and I was too lazy to unpick everything, so the pleat is the opposite way that it should be, but I still like it. The polka dot fabric is leftover from my Juba Shorts and it's from Denver Fabrics.


Now, looking at these photos, I think I  could probably use a sway back adjustment to get the back fitting better. Sometimes I get so focused on the front, that I forget about the parts that I can't see.


The only other alteration I did to this version was to shorten the sleeves by 2.5''. I think that they are pretty much perfect now. I often roll my sleeves up anyway, but I like this length. I used Andrea's collar assembly tutorial again, and I really think it's the best way to do a collar. And I also used Rochelle's tutorial (speaking of which, why did it take me so long to find her blog? - it's so awesome and she has Archer fever too!) on bias binding the hem and I really like the finish of that too, unfortunately I didn't take a picture so you'll just have to trust me.

So, I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm excited and I really wanted to share what I have discovered. Maybe you're a fitting newb like me (and you don't read well, or are notorious for skimming books) and you are out there wondering where to start to make your garments fit better.

All in all, I am really happy with the fit of this Archer, it fits similar to my plaid one, but on purpose this time (I didn't shrink it in the dryer).  I think for a more fitted shirt, I could even go down to a size 6, something I would have never have imagined (or thought to try) in a million years. I am really enjoying the learning process of fitting, and now that I have this knowledge I look forward to making better fitting tops (and learning more of course), which was the whole reason I started this crazy hobby! Well that, and I love to sew.

One more thing, Maris, over at Sew Maris is just starting an Archer Sewalong on Monday, and I have learned a ton already from her prep for the sewalong posts, so if you are interested in sewing a button up shirt (or any garment really), her blog is definitely worth checking out.

Hope you are having a nice weekend! Happy Sewing! (Or whatever it is you are up to).

I Get By With A Little (Fitting) Help from My Friends

Yes, yes...the amazing blog post titles continue! So it's seems to be all about Grainline Studio patterns up in here lately, and prepare yourself because I am sure there will be more to come (ahem..Archer..ahem...cough). Here is my latest finished object, Scout (complete with goofy grin):


I've made a few of these before. In fact, a Scout was pretty much the first real garment I ever made. I screwed up the first one while inserting the sleeves (I cut into the bodice with my serger), then I made another one which came out perfectly sewing wise, but it was 2 or 3 sizes to big for me. Finally I made one that fits okay. I still have it, and I wear it occasionally, but it's definitely not my finest work, and the fabric is an iffy polyester from Fabricland (but it has little horses on it, so you win some, you lose some). And now I have this one, and I really like it.


I wanted to use a more flowy fabric, and this floral rayon challis from worked perfectly. I also would have really liked to do leather sleeves, but I'm way too intimidated by sewing leather, so I settled on a plain black cotton. I had some scraps in my stash from something I made (but I can't remember what) so I think that this little baby qualifies for Sewcialist's Scraptember. (Yay!! I finally made something for a Sewcialist theme!) I also added a pocket to this version to tie everything together. I used the pocket piece from Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank.

IMG_5287So just in case you are a wondering, this is a straight size 10. If I chose the correct size based on my measurements, I would be a 14 maybe graded down to a 12 at the hips. That was the combo size I made my first couple times out and it was way too big. I get that this is supposed to be kind of swingy, but I don't think it's supposed to be huge all over. Is it? This is where the help from my friends comes in (ahhh, yes. now you get the title). Based on where the shoulder hits me on this one, I think I could even go down to an 8. What do you think? I feel like the ones I have seen around the blogosphere are more fitted - at least at the shoulder. Maybe Jen just designs everything oversized (I have a feeling my Archer is going to be on the big size too).

IMG_5284I am still a beginner at fitting (and sewing really), and sometimes I can figure it out, but sometimes I can't. The pugs try to help, but I have a hard time understanding their barks when it comes to fitting - when it comes to food that's a totally different story. Unfortunately, I don't have any sewing buddies near by, so I have to rely on my blog and instagram for your guys' helpful hints and tips. I also consult my myriad of fitting books, but they can't see/listen to me and see what I'm talking about. That's the frustrating part. If only I could find some sort of bewitched Harry Potter sewing book.

IMG_5283I still really  like this one, despite any size issues, and I see myself wearing it quite a bit. You can never have enough tees right? I have plans to make another one in chambray, because I cannot get enough of chambray, and I want to use it as an excuse to practice topstitching and maybe do some cool contrast stitching, but I'd like to get the fit a bit better. Cause isn't that the point of making your own clothes - having them fit well?

Anyway, enough babbling. Hope you all are having lots of fun September adventures,, and that the weather hasn't turned too chilly yet.

Oh almost forgot, here's you gratuitous pug pic. Doesn't she look super impressed? She hadn't had her morning coffee yet.