A Handsewn Lace Grainline Archer

A Handsewn Lace Grainline Archer

I don't remember the last time I enjoyed sewing anything quite as much as I did while I made this shirt...it was such a pleasure to slow it down to the basic skill of a needle and thread and just take it one seam at a time.

Overall, I am very happy with it, but I do think it will need its own specially made camisole and matching skirt (with high high heels!)  to really do it justice..

I made a few small changes to the original pattern, while trying to keep the overall look and feel of the shirt casual.

Because while the fabric is absolutely lovely, it is a little stiff because of the thread embellishments, and kept wanting to hang away from the body and pool rather than drape and flow, which meant there could not be a lot of ease in the shirt at all..

You can see above that while the upper back is very fitted, I left the lower portion with quite a lot of ease so that I could undo a few lower front button's and wear it hanging over jeans (all the buttons are done up here) and still have the option of it looking neat and tailored if I tuck it into a skirt or pants.

(I also quit coffee three weeks ago and have taken up eating 24/7 so thats not helping it skim either!)

The original sleeves were just to loose to work with this fabric, so I pulled out my favorite single sleeve three dart pattern I traced from an original owned by Susan Khalje.

Below you can see the Grainline original (seam allowance removed) and overlaid the final pattern piece I used..

Its a gorgeous sleeve, the darts shape the elbow curve perfectly and it's so comfortable to wear.  The armseye also fits every bodice pattern without any alteration needed!!

The darts almost disappear they are so tiny...

and it creates a curve that allows you to make the sleeve super tight without restricting movement.

The front and back changes were very minimal...

As I mentioned in my last post, I cut the seams down to a millimeter or two and then sewed a one inch bias strip to the remaining seam (carefully!) and wrapped it over the exposed fabric seam, sewing it again on the other side...

Easy but slow slow work...and it does make the smallest very secure neatest seams ever.   I made sure to sew each line of stitching one above the other so although there are three lines in total (seam/souffle/souffle)  because its hand stitches and not machined the seams are very flexible and soft.

For stability within the collar, cuffs and button band,  I used two layers of silk organza layered with second piece of lace so that the color remained consistent.

and I have to say that I really really like sewing this way..I pre-empted almost every mistake before it happened because I had so much time to think about the next stage while sewing so slowly..and the shirt itself feels as soft and flexible as a yard of un-sewn fabric and it's as lovely to look at on the inside as on the out.

I will definitely be doing more hand sewing and making less garments in future as this shirt feels like a keeper.


I've had Marfy 2837 in my pattern stash for a while now,  and now after seeing Katie's,  I am moving it way up the list!  

She made this gorgeous dress to wear to the Australian Ballet and its an absolute beauty...you can read all about it here on her blog... 

and my lovely friend Cissie did it again!

She just finished the most divinely elegant evening coat using Marfy pattern F3010 and an Etro brocade,  that is the perfect complement to her beautiful lace dress she made in  Baltimore a couple of years ago...

Cissie said the pattern was fabulous to work with, and went together easily...she omitted the button hole in favor of using her Grandmothers pin and closed the collar with covered snaps instead so the pin could just sit on the outside.



Still Alice by Lisa Genova - I can't stop thinking about this book, its so beautifully written and painfully sad..and yet so wonderful.

While Alzheimers does not run in my family,  seven years ago I lost my Mum to Pancreatic cancer when she was only 56..it was fast and unbearable,  and so when Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers, I found it so easy to relate to the children and how they reacted and coped when they essentially lose the Mum they know at 50.

Its a book so worth reading - although it has started to make me panic every time I find myself in a room and can't remember why I went there!


Brother of the more famous Jack - Barbara Trapido -  If you liked the Royal Tenenbaums then this is perfect! ...slightly off kilter, really fabulous quirky writing, and so well written....highly recommend!


Plans for this week include pants muslins for my day with Kenneth King - very exciting!

and a new muslin for the lace skirt to match this shirt :-)

Have a lovely week everybody!


Lace Skirts and Slopers...

Lace Skirts and Slopers...

Grainline Archer Lace Test...

Grainline Archer Lace Test...