Community · Finished Project · Sewing

Sunny Golden Plaid Boyfriend Shirt, or I made an Archer!


It’s hard to start writing about my new favorite shirt while I’m still reeling about the unnecessary violence at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.  The attack hits so close to home for me.  Running is a huge part of my life.  I ran the Boston Marathon last year (and in 2005), I had friends running this year, and I spent most of my Monday morning watching the live streaming of the race.  My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted.

[Huge, deep breath.]

Okay, so about my awesome new shirt.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that since stitching on the final button (by hand!) on Saturday, I’ve been wearing it non-stop.  I figured it was okay since it was unlikely I was going to see the same people on Sunday as on Monday, so no one would know!  Well, no one except my husband, but he’s really understanding.  Plus, it’s become one of his favorite shirts on me, too!


I think it’s secret to becoming my favorite so quickly is the fabric. When I stumbled upon this
sheer gold plaid cotton shirting from Marc Jacobs (also in lemongrass and the always popular maroon) on the Mood Fabrics site, I knew it would make the perfect boyfriend shirt.  It’s sheer, gauzy texture gives just the right amount of femininity to the masculine lines of the button down.  As I was working with it, it confirmed over and over that it was a great choice.  It handled really well, particularly as I was topstitching and grading, trimming, and clipping seams – keys to a nicely sewn button down.


The sun just glows through the sheer fabric!  But, the fabric is not so sheer it’s indecent.  In fact, even though I’ve been wearing this shirt over a camisole, I don’t think it would even be remotely scandalous to wear it all by itself, especially with the added pockets.


The pattern I used was Grainline Studio’s Archer Button Up Shirt.  One of the first steps when making the pattern is to add the pockets to the two fronts, and I was so thankful to get that done earlier rather than later as these bias-cut pockets really wanted to stretch!  I had to use a lot of care – and a lot of steam! – to keep these pockets the right size before they were fixed to the shirt.  It was worth it though, as I really like the look of the diagonal plaid mixed in with the horizontal.


I also cut the yoke on the bias and had to be careful about stretching there as well. I kept the two cut yokes pinned to the pattern piece until I needed them. Next time I might cut the inner of the two yokes on the straight grain so that I can have even more stability without compromising the look of the yoke from the outside.


I cut the placket on the bias as well, but its interfacing kept it nicely behaved.  I’ve now made several button down shirts, so details like the collar and cuffs came together quickly.  I did wonder if the collar was a tad bit narrow, but I figure it’s delicate stature also adds to the femininity of the shirt.


One of my favorite details about the pattern are the angled cuffs.  I like how they really set the shirt apart from something you might find in a store.  They show the care and attention to design that come with being able to make your own clothes.  I did make one small change to the pattern:  I gathered the sleeve into the cuff instead of pleating it.  Just a personal preference.


I took my time when cutting and sewing to try to maximize my chances for pattern matching along seams. For the side seams I focused on aligning the horizontal repeats.  I’m very pleased at the result of my efforts, particularly as I was using French seams, which meant I had to think about aligning the major stripes twice!  The French seams keep the insides nice and neat, a must for a sheer fabric like this one!


It’s always nice to make a new favorite garment.  I hope all of you are having luck sewing new favorites as well!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.

31 thoughts on “Sunny Golden Plaid Boyfriend Shirt, or I made an Archer!

  1. This shirt is absolutely fantastic! I love the mix of bias in there. I’m so close to being finished with my Archer shirt, but I’ve been pondering over what to do about closures since my machine struggles with buttonholes. Seeing inspiration like this makes me want to just make a decision already, though!

  2. I’m not surprised that you wore this through the weekend. I would too! It’s a great staple piece.

    I have one question about your process. You wrote that you pinned the bias-cut fabric pieces to the paper patterns until you needed to use them – does this help with preventing them from stretching? I’ve never heard of that tip before!

    1. I leave bias-cut pieces on top of the corresponding pattern pieces and handle them only by lifting the paper until I’m ready to sew. That really helps to reduce stretching, and if they do stretch out, you’ll know immediately by how much.

      1. My pockets really stretched when I was stitching down the double fold along the top. I hadn’t thought to repin them to the pattern piece when I was pressing the top stitching. Eventually that’s just what I did to get them back into shape.

  3. Very nice!
    I’m happy to “read your voice” since I didn’t know if you were running in Boston this year and I was a bit worried. We also had friends running and were shocked to hear the news.

    The Archer came out great. Do you use “real” French seams or stitch the regular way and then fold the allowance inwards? How did you match the plaids with the French seams, and how do you French seam a curve?


    1. I hadn’t thought that people like you who know how much I run might worry about me!

      I used real French seams. For the curves I sewed the first seam wrong sides together, and then trimmed the seam allowances down as typical, being a little more aggressive with my trimming at the sharpest points of the curve. It pressed just fine right sides together, and then I stitched the final seam per usual. Both times I pinned as many horizontal stripes together as I could, figuring that if I lined them up the first time, I’d be able to have a good shot at lining them up the second, and most important time. I got close, but they definitely aren’t matched perfectly.

      1. Typically, I sew 1/4″, trim, press, then sew 3/8″ for patterns with a 5/8″ seam allowance. This pattern has 1/2″ seam allowances, so I sewed 1/4″, trimmed, pressed, then sewed 1/4″ again. What do you typically do?

      2. I do the mock version: first I sew a regular (right to right) seam with 5/8″ allowance and then I press the allowance inwards and sew another stitch. I should try the real version next time…

  4. Absolutely beautiful shirt and stunning photographs. I lived in Boston for a summer as a student and feel deeply for the city, too. I can’t imagine how runners are now feeling in the lead up to the London marathon.

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