Well hello there! I’m Joy AKA @joy.margot and you may recognise me from my now-closed sewing accessories business, Pink Coat Club. I was a regular contributor to the Sew Me Sunshine blog when Harriet launched the business in 2017 (WAIT, WHAT) but I haven’t written a post for a couple of years now! As you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram, my sewing has slowed down recently, but it was so nice to ease back into it and really take my time over this project.
I was thrilled when Harriet offered to send me one of Sew Me Sunshine’s new Liberty fabrics, and I spent ages poring over the gorgeous options available. I was torn between Ciara and Cooper Dance Tana Lawn™, but as I wear mostly autumnal tones with a little bit of blue thrown in, I knew that the Ciara would pair perfectly with my wardrobe. Sew Me Sunshine have since added even more stunning Liberty prints to their range, and I’m definitely tempted by Betsy Boo. I’ve only used it a couple of times and sadly neither of those makes are still in my wardrobe, but Tana Lawn™ is probably my all-time favourite fabric to sew with. It’s wonderfully stable to cut and sew, but still feels soft against the skin and has an unmatched fluidity compared to other cotton lawns and poplins.
I knew I wanted to make something that I’d wear again and again, and I’m definitely more of a jeans-and-shirt girl these days. I originally planned to make the Tilly and the Buttons Marnie blouse (fits UK size 6-34) but I wasn’t totally sure that shape was “me” and I didn’t want such a stunning fabric languishing in my wardrobe. (Sidebar: I can confirm that this fabric looks absolutely stunning as a Marnie, as modelled here by @constantmaker!) I opted for the Grainline Studio Archer Button-Up* (see size deets below) as I knew I’d get a tonne of wear out of a classic shirt. I’ve definitely veered towards speedier, simpler makes of late, and it felt so good to finally sew a pattern that had been in my stash for about four years! (*The paper Archer pattern at Sew Me Sunshine fits UK size 4-22 but it’s been extended to fit up to UK size 36)
Against my better judgement, I decided not to toile as I knew the boxy shape would be quite forgiving and I was eager to crack on, not having sewn anything since September 2022. I always have to make a narrow shoulder adjustment, so I compared the pattern pieces to a RTW shirt in a similar style and calculated that I’d need to narrow them by 2.5cm. My go-to narrow shoulder adjustment method is the one in the By Hand London Bodice Fitting Companion, but I didn’t want to start messing around with the neckline and collar, so I used this method from Itch to Stitch instead. As the Archer shirt has a yoke, I washi taped the yoke and back pieces together along the seam lines and treated them as one pattern piece. After I made my adjustment, I un-taped them and trued the lines. I measured the length of the armhole before and after the adjustment to check it remained the same, which thankfully it did! With my pattern pieces ready, it was time to begin sewing…
I won’t pretend this came together quickly because it absolutely didn’t, and there’s zero shame in that. Thanks to seemingly unending bouts of ill health, fatigue and a hectic work schedule, it took 14 weeks from start to finish. It became something of a standing joke with my partner that I’d answer “finishing my Archer shirt” every time he asked what my weekend plans were! It had been a long time since I’d sewn an unfamiliar pattern and I made so many mistakes! Thankfully, Tana Lawn™ can withstand a fair amount of unpicking. I referred to the Archer Sew Along many a time and highly recommend it if you’re new to shirt sewing or like me, just incredibly rusty! Thankfully, most of my mistakes could be fixed or didn’t *really* matter. I’m looking at you, inverted box pleat on the back…
Last but not least, it was time for buttons and buttonholes, and I couldn’t believe how well these Roswell buttons by Pigeon Wishes matched the fabric! I think buttons can really make or break a DIY garment and these added the perfect luxe finishing touch. This was actually the first time I’d used Pigeon Wishes buttons but it definitely won’t be the last.
Overall, I’m incredibly happy with how my Liberty Archer Button Up turned out and so proud to have finally sewn a pattern that I unnecessarily deemed “too difficult” for so many years. This is your sign to crack open that pattern you think is above your skillset, or cut into that fancy fabric you’ve been saving until you’re a “good enough” sewist. Life is short, and you deserve wonderful things!
There’s definitely a few things I’d change if I made the pattern again, such as shortening the sleeves and adding a little more width at the hips but I really lucked out there with my risky toile-skipping! This project has definitely rekindled my sew-jo and I’m now eagerly planning a summer capsule wardrobe. My Liberty Archer is going to look so cute with the sleeves rolled up, tucked into high waisted linen shorts! But for now, I’m pairing it with jeans and my plentiful brown knits and jackets!
If you’d like to see more of my sewing projects as well as my bullet journal, clumsy artwork, reading lists and my cat Juniper, you can follow me on Instagram.
*Joy was provided the fabric of her choice free of charge for her blog post & also provided with a £50 voucher*