Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Burberry Inspired Buttondown Shirt - Grainline Archer


I was cruising around Pinterest recently and I came across a Burberry button down shirt that I quite liked. I then cruised around the internet and found several more versions of this shirt. Not only did I like the asymmetric use of a giant plaid, but it reminded me of a piece of fabric in my stash.

Notice that the first Burberry shirt is cut with the sleeves on the straight grain, but not matching the plaid front. The sleeves on the second Burberry shirt are on the bias, with the plaid intersection on the upper arm on one side and the lower arm on the other.

I decided to use the Burberry shirt as inspiration.

The weird thing is, I don't really wear button down shirts. Don't get me wrong, I've made my share of them in the distant past, but not in recent decades. I decided to go ahead and make one and to see how much wear I get out of it. Unfortunately all of my button down shirt patterns are too large, so I decided to try out a pattern that is sweeping the internet sewing world.

Have you seen the Archer shirt by Grainline Studios? They had a sew-along for the shirt last spring and you can view the results in their Grainline Studio Archer Sew Along Flickr group.

There is also a group on Pattern Review whose members have each committed to sewing 12 Archer shirts in a year. They also have a 12 Months of "Grainline Studios Archer Shirt" Sew Along Flickr group.

I wasn't quite sure why this pattern was so well loved (the Big 4 pattern companies all have button down shirt patterns that you can buy for $1 to $3 if you catch a sale) but I decided to give it a try as I like supporting independent companies.

Also because it's a downloadable pattern, I could get started on it right away. Once you pay, you download a zip file which unzips into two PDF files. One file is a 9-page set of instructions. The other file is a 39-page multi-size pattern that you print with 100% scaling.

I wanted to print out the 39-page pattern only once, so after trimming two edges from each page, taping them together, and rough cutting around each pattern piece, I then traced off my size. I chose the size 8 based on my upper bust measurement of 36". The finished bust for a size 8 was about 40", if I recall, so I did my usual darted FBA to add both width and length, as my full bust is about 41".

This fabric is a large-scale plaid taffeta. The funny thing is that I have no recollection of how it came to be in my stash. I don't remember buying it or have any idea of what I wanted to use it for – I've racked my brain. I burn tested it and I think it's a blend that includes a synthetic component, but I don't think it's entirely synthetic.

It's a mystery, I tell you. Did it come in a free Fabric Mart bundle long ago? I have no idea.

I fussy cut the fabric, placing the plaid asymmetrically, so that one plaid intersection is above my right bust. It might look like an accident, but each piece was single cut very deliberately. I placed the collar and the sleeves on the bias, placing a plaid intersection on the upper sleeve on the right side and the lower sleeve on the left side. I knew that the sleeves would be too long for me, but as I plan to mostly wear them rolled up, I decided to leave them full length.

Now that I've made the shirt, I do think it's a nicely drafted pattern:

  • There is a separate collar stand and the under collar has a separate pattern piece, cut on the bias, and sized slightly smaller, so the collar will roll to the underside.
  • There is a back yoke and the back has a center back pleat for wearing ease.
  • There is a view which has a longer back, and a separate lower piece that gathers into the upper back.
  • I only had to remove 1/2" from the shoulder seam, so it has much narrower shoulders than the Big 4 patterns.
  • The armscye was not too large and the sleeve fit into it well.
  • The side seams are very straight, without shaping, and many people add a bit of curvature at the side seam so it has a more shapely fit.
  • Those with larger hips might need to grade out to a large size at the hips.
  • There are patch pockets at the bust, which I omitted.
  • There is a curved shirttail hem.
  • The Burberry shirt uses a hidden button placket. I couldn't be bothered with this so I used the band from the pattern. The pattern has a separate band piece for the right side only - the left side is folded under twice and topstitched in place.
  • I used Pam Erny's fusible interfacing for the cuffs, collar, and band, and some mother of pearl buttons from Fabrix for the closure.

Conclusion

I think I like this top! Time will tell if I get a lot of wear from it. Now I have a TNT pattern and can trace off another size, if need be. Do I like it well enough to join the sew-along? Probably not. To make 12 of these means making about one thousand buttonholes and sewing on one thousand buttons, or at least it feels like it. ;)

There are more pics of the shirt below.

Birthday Wrap Up

I want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments on my birthday post! It does feel good to talk about my mother, who first taught me to sew. Not to fit, as she just about fit into a pattern right out of the envelope and had no clue how to do an FBA (she was an A or B cup), but she was an amazing sewist who particularly loved to make designer suits. She was also an avid square dancer and had a huge wardrobe of elaborate square dance dresses she designed and made over the years. She also made matching shirts for her partner. After she passed, I let her square dancing friends come by and take the dresses and the petticoats - she had one in every color. More memories... :)

I spent the morning finishing up my Archer shirt and the afternoon with my daughters and a friend. It was a lot of fun. I am feeling a lot of gratitude.

Before I forget, and if you've read this far, let me tell you about a new blog I am enjoying very much. Gayle Ortiz has attended at least two Design Outside the Line retreats and is wonderfully talented. This is a blog to watch!


More Pics

Sleeves worn down
Sleeves rolled up
Grainline Archer pattern

58 comments:

  1. Love the shirt...your version is better than the Burberry! And I'm so glad you had a good birthday!

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    1. I completely agree...much better than the Burberry.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your beautiful but bittersweet birthday story about your mom. makes me even more grateful to still have my mom alive and well!

    I have been looking at the Archer shirt pattern, too, and love your version. I was concenred about the lack of bust darts and shaping as I usually need something like that to conform to my full bust. Did you do your usual FBA with vertical extra room? Does that allow sufficient room in the bust area? Your shirt looks fabulous so I am assuming it must.

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    1. Thanks, Allison! Yes, I did my usual FBA and added both vertical length and width. There is a side seam dart. It feels quite comfortable.

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    2. Thanks. Good to know. Your shirt really is lovely!

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  3. That loks great but not as great as you do with those beautiful girls . It wierd I had never heard of the Archer Shirt but some time ago decided to draf a button up shirt pattern for myself which turned out very well . I also decided to do some variations and ended up with one that is very like the Archer with the gathered back variation . Talk about Zeitgiste!!I will post about these shirts soon. I am very bad at posting . which isnt good since I love reading everyone elses efforts.

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  4. Agree with Margy, better than Burberry! Fabulous photos for a fabulous birthday girl. Glad you had a special day and you are positively brimming with health and happiness.

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  5. I love your shirt Shams! and it looks fabulous on you. REALLY love the Burberry oversized check too. However, technically that is not a button down shirt. Button down shirt is a tailoring descriptor for one in which the collar buttons down to the body of the shirt. The lovely one you have just made is a button front shirt.

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    1. I did not know that! I wonder if that's why Grainline calls it a "button up" shirt. I was always confused as I grew up with a dad always wearing button down shirts and hadn't heard button up shirts very much. Anyway, wonderful shirt, Shams! I always enjoy seeing how you add so much fun and creativity into each pattern!

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    2. I did not know that either! Thanks for that clarification, Carolyn!

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  6. You should wear this often, it's gorgeous and agree with others that it's better than the Original inspiration one.
    Lovely photo's of you with your daughters too and a belated "congratulations on your birthday". Thank you for sharing a wonderful memory.

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  7. Love your skirt! Brilliant use of the plaid! I, too, am a big fan of this pattern and find endless possibilities for it. Hope you'll make it again.

    Glad you had such a special day with your daughter and her friend, who are both lovely.

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  8. Happy birthday for the 9th! I'm really drawn to how you've used the print on this shirt - really catching. I didn't think I was much of a shirt maker, but after recently sewing one up, I think I may be converted! Gorgeous photos, too :)

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  9. I am not much of a shirt wearer too. It will be interesting to see how often you wear it. Knits have spoilt us I think. Your Archer looks very comfortable and the plaid placement is great. Funny you mentioned Gayle, I happen to have a tab opened on my computer at the moment (via Rhonda's post) but I can't seem to follow it with Bloglovin.

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  10. If this shirt doesn't get you into wearing shirts, nothing will. I especially like how the bias diamonds of the plaids are asymmetrical on the sleeves, yet so balanced and resolved.

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  11. Love your shirt. I love coming home and 'catching up' on what you've made! Great inspiration. AND your shirt is definitely better then the Burberry! Belated happy birthday wishes.
    Marciae

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  12. I agree with Margy, yours is better than the inspiration piece:)

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  13. I LOVE that shirt. Isn't it amazing that you had the perfect fabric in your stash! I'm glad that you like the Archer. I bought it (but haven't made it up yet).

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  14. I love this on you! I'd seen your burberry pin and was wondering how it was going to inspire you. Now I know! I want to try this shirt but printing out 39 pages...I just don't know!

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  15. Love that shirt! You really nailed it. And, you're making wonderful memories for you and your daughter now.

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  16. Great shirt, shams! So different for you, yet still very you. I too am a big fan of Gayle's blog.

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  17. I.want.that.shirt.

    OK, enough with sewist envy and on with the well-deserved compliment on your stash for coughing up that fabulous fabric and on your ever-amazing creative vision to put it to such a perfect use.

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  18. I love the unexpected use of the plaids. Nice!

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  19. Love your shirt and it looks so nice on you.

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  20. You are so creative! I love this, and I don't even like plaid.

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  21. You are such an inspiration. I love your shirt and it suits you so well. Fancy just picking the fabric out of your stash - just like that! My stash is decidedly boring after seeing what you have unearthed. Congratulations on your birthday and many happy returns - and many happy creations too. Can't wait to see what you come up with next :)

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  22. I've noticed lately that you look radiantly happy in your photos. Whatever the reason, I'm glad for it. Great looking shirt.

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  23. Thank you for the kind words. I'm humbled by your support. You are such an accomplished sewist. This shirt is gorgeous...I think I need sewing lessons, seriously. And your blog posts are lessons in themselves. I love all the details.
    And I want to say that your post about your mom got me square in the heart. So touching. And my birthday is one day before your special day! Happy Belated Birthday!
    Gayle

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  24. I'm another one who doesn't wear button-down shirts but just like you I would have been attracted to those two Burberry ones. Even when I was a kid and first beginning to sew, I love asymmetry and used to make my right sleeve different from my left sleeve, etc. Must have looked hideous (!), but it was the beginning of a lifelong penchant. Your shirt looks fantastic and your write-up is wonderful to read, as always. Thank you for the link to Gayle's blog. I just took a look and I think between the two of you you're going to inspire me out of my long sewing hiatus! Oh, and I'm wondering if you have photos of your mother wearing her creations. I love what you've written about her; she sounds so special. And the birthday photos are great! I'll stop now!

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  25. I'm also not big on basic button-down shirts, but this turned out really nice and looks great on you. Love the bias-cut sleeves!

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  26. Yes, your shirt is better than the Burberry! I think it's amazing!!

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  27. I am always a fan of plaid and this is fantastic! love the asymmetrical placement what a great element. Mentally filing away to copy. It looks perfect on you.

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  28. Happy Birthday! You look radiant with your daughters. ( I have 2 daughters as well) As a full busted sewer I appreciate your blog. Your shirt looks terrific. I had success with the Liverpool pattern by Amy Butler. I discovered the longer collar, neckline and the closer fit flattering. Thanks again. Many happy returns.

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  29. You look fabulous! That shirt really looks great.

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  30. You're starting your new year with gusto! You look so healthy and happy. And that new shirt--asymmetric and balanced, soft and crisp and clear-- seems to suit you perfectly. Elle

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  31. I love that you cut the sleeves on the bias! It is a great buttondown.

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  32. Looks great! And so do you. I think you might enjoy wearing it more than you now suspect. It's hard to find good casual clothes. You could accessorize it with differing kerchiefs for dressing up or down, same with jewelry, bangles. Enjoy! ~mb

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  33. Wow, what a FUN post - I really enjoy seeing glimpses of your glamorous life, ha ha, seriously San Francisco is a really great place. Look at those daughters and loved the square dancing story. Of course, the shirt is amazing, especially the sleeves on the bias. Excellentness.

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  34. I love, love what you did with that shirt and that plaid! Thanks for the link to Gayle Ortez'sblog. I love her work!

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  35. The results are fantastic! I agree your version is far superior to the inspiration piece. You should wear it often. Its very becoming on you.

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  36. This is a new look for you and I absolutely love it. It looks wonderful and I have a feeling you will get more use out of this button down than you think.

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  37. Happy Birthday, Shams! I realize it wasn't the easiest for sentimental reasons, but it looks like you had a great day! ( Your catching up with me)

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  38. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a lovely day.
    Just love your version of this shirt. Very clever use of the fabric.

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  39. Happy belated birthday to you! What a wonderful day, spending it with your daughters and friends! One of your daughters looks very much like your mother (photo in previous post). I love this top, especially the bias sleeves. Really great on you.

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  40. What a GREAT shirt! You look so happy wearing it too!!! Belated birthday joys to you.

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  41. This is an example of your extraordinary ability to select fabric and pattern and then combine them perfectly. I probably would have passed on both, but oh, how I love the finished product!

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  42. What a wonderful shirt! The way you handled the plaid placement really makes it special.
    Glad that you had a lovely birthday celebration.

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  43. Bias on the sleeves is a great thing! Love your interpretation.

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  44. i have been reading your blog for a couple of months,
    and just have to say....

    You look great in this...we notice you before the shirt.
    The stripes and silhouette are slimming, and the colors make your skin and hair glow. The length of the shirt tail is perfect, sleeves up or down, the look is tailored and refined.

    This is a fresh look on you, the geometry of stripes , the asymmetry work so well...you probably don't need a closet full of these shirts, but the look is really flattering (more lean if you will) for your body type. Err on making a couple more and getting feedback.

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  45. The shirt looks great on you. Who knows, perhaps you have a new look. The bias sleeves are wonderful

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  46. Your extra big plaid looks amazing in this shirt, what a great use of the fabric.

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  47. This is a really nice looking shirt on you, Shams. I especially like the bias sleeves. When I get on the other side of my present projects, I'm going to check out this pattern!!

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  48. Funny how such a big plaid can make a FB look small. I love the way you manipulated the stripes on this shirt.Great shirt and a very interesting post. Lovely daughters and sad but lovely story about your mom.

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  49. Wow. Your shirt almost makes me want to make an Archer! (and I don't do button-downs, ever!) Such a perfect placement of the plaid pattern, and it looks great on you!

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  50. I love this shirt! Fantastic use of fabric and the bias placements... WOW.

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  51. I love this shirt, you did a great job!

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