Grainline Archer Lace Test...

Grainline Archer Lace Test...

I've never made a muslin and then gone on to make a second garment out of a similar final fabric, but I have to say I think I might be doing it again.

It highlighted all kinds of small issues that I could plan for now rather than later...

Making any garment from lace is always a little more complicated I think, as you have weight, the amount of transparency, fabric pattern and drape to consider, things that can't be replicated in muslin.

Originally,  I had planned to use a cheap cotton lace for my test, but after digging around in my stash I unearthed some very synthetic lace that must have been bought years ago... and was very similar at least in weight to the lace I was planning on using.

And because I had lots of ideas about how I wanted to sew the Archer, I thought it would be more productive to split the shirt in half and try different methods, as this was not a fabric I plan on wearing in the future.... its got a kind of crispy feel to it!


In a lightweight fabric like this, French are always a good choice, but I wanted a thinner look than that, I wanted the smallest most delicate hand sewn seam possible...  

So instead I underlined the back, front and a sleeve with Souffle, an almost invisible nylon tulle used for lace, beading and support..

I was introduced to this a few years ago at a Susan Khalje class where it was referred to as Swiss Illusion, and while Souffle is slightly different with a tiny bit more stretch,  its an almost negligable amount...

It was not easy to find, because it turned out to be a very specialized item, and it took a few months of searching but I eventually found mine at B & J Fabrics, and promptly bought it in white, nude (which disappears on my skin tone) and the black, and while they don't have it on their website, friends have made a quick call to them and had it sent!

Just to give you an idea of how thin this is...the souffle is at the top, the lace as is in the middle and silk organza is at the bottom, the souffle really does not change the lace at all, and gives the delicate nature of it some additional invisible support.. 

I used the souffle as I would any underlining and cut both together and basted them so they became one, because  I liked the idea of cutting down both lace seams to almost nothing as well as one of the souffle seams and then overlapping the last souffle seam to encase everything neatly and invisibly...

Three seams graded to almost the stitch line

 The souffle rolled over the open seams

 Pinned into place

 and sewn with a single beeswaxed thread.

 and I think it works really well, the seaming is absolutely tiny and neat..

Method 2

On the sleeve that I had intentionally left without underlining,  I cut some bias strips of souffle instead, and hand sewed them on to the gave me the same effect but was double the work and a bit thicker as I had to first sew the strips on, and then fold them over the raw seam and then sew again...its surprising just how much another row of stitching can bulk a seam up..

But overall I think both are a great alternative to a French seam and make for a super tiny neat finish, so depending on how much time I have and the lace that I am using,  both should be a viable option in the future.



After the seams were finished,  I started to play around with the aesthetics, as I was not sure how many final adjustments I would need for the shirt to look as I had envisaged......

But by dividing the shirt and experimenting with different sizes, it really helped me see what I wanted....

I made a thicker button band on the left hand side as well as adding an extra 1/2" to the collar and collar stand, and cutting a much longer hem...while the right side has the same width of collar but a shorter stand and a considerable pinned up hem...

(As well as using the souffle throughout this shirt, I also added silk organza as an interfacing for the collar, stand, cuffs and button bands to give them the firmer hand they needed)

I've decided that I like the smaller band, collar and stand, less seems to be definitely more because those details are so much more opaque than the fabric and catch your eye first.  Its a much more delicate and feminine look which is strange considering how minimal the proportion changes really are!

and the shorter hem is a must, that long look is awful and the scallops are far to girlie for me to wear comfortably.

and after all that trial and error.....

It finally all came down to the black, I hate it , just hate it....I feel like I should be in a 70's disco, not my scene at all!

So, I did what any normal person would do who happens to work in a fabric store and has been looking for an excuse.....

I bought Prada - the deep cream version!

It has been talking to me for months, and insisting it not only be a shirt but also a pencil skirt, that could be worn both together and apart.. and I quite agreed...and really how could I not?

and now I can't wait to get started on this. Its nice to have all the kinks worked out, it almost feels decadent to be heading in to such a long project prepared!



Nobody is ever surprised anymore when I declare my love for Marfy  but I am always amazed that they let me write about their patterns like I do ...and that they read what I write,  are unbelievably supportive in letting me host sew alongs and generally listen to what we all say (44 is back this year - wop wop!!) 

and while I always pay for my patterns from them, so that I feel no obligation to them, they show their thanks in otherways which is really so unnecessary (but thank you again!)

I recieved a parcel on Friday with a truly lovely thank you letter, their 2015 catalog and a 1982 Marfy Catalog which in their words is a "true rariety" and is absolutely epic!  It really is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever been given, and I will treasure it....

and needless to say my sewing was done for the day, because how can you not spend the evening looking at these beauties and then not want to share some of them?!


Norma send me this incredible link last week, and I can't stop watching it.  I've worked with these fabric's but never really understood quite how they were made...

Anyone want to split the cost of a loom with me?!!!

and as promised (and thank you all for the great emails and feedback)

End cuts and specials are now up on the Website.   It's never been done at the store before so there will be lots coming each week, but I did get twenty or so up today as a start... It was fun picking them, and Alice really got into drastically reducing them - so happy shopping! (and yes I wanted most of them and she kept saying no!)

And I also added a sample button to each full price fabric, so they are now available to purchase and of course are fully refundable as you all suggested.  



We are hours away from what they are calling the worst storm in history......and I truly hope that's an exaggeration but it sounds awful out there I have no idea how much sewing will be done this week  - by candlelight?! 

and as I've had a taste of just how long a fully hand sewn shirt could take, which is some time I suspect, I might not be back for two weeks anyway.  I'm not sure anybody needs another in progress post!!

Have a wonderful week everybody, and be safe East Coasters  :-)


A Handsewn Lace Grainline Archer

A Handsewn Lace Grainline Archer

The beginnings of a Grainline Archer

The beginnings of a Grainline Archer