Late to the party: Grainline Archer Shirt

Being typically late to catch up on trends, it’s no surprise that I sewed a Grainline Archer Shirt several years after the rest of the sewing world fell in love with it. I actually did purchase this pattern and make a muslin a year or two back, but was so stumped by fit issues that I let it sit in my wardrobe. With the confidence and experience I’ve gained since then, I was ready to revisit my muslin and make a finished garment.

A woman wears a cream hand-knitted beret, geometric print button up shirt, skinny blue jeans and brown ankle boots.
Wearing my old faithful Brambles Beret, knitted in now discontinued Ton of Wool Cormo 10ply, undyed.

Luckily, a lot of the fitting work had already been done by past me (perhaps it was just a matter of confidence in my decisions?). I added a side bust dart to minimise the massive drag lines pointing to my bust, and give a bit of shape to the shirt. After draping a dart to determine placement and how much needed to be darted out, I slashed and spread the front pattern piece at this point to add length throughout, thus preventing the centre front from lifting up due to the excess body length created by my bust.  I also performed my usual forward head and broad back adjustments, and shortened the sleeves 5cm*.

Shirt pattern pieces with fitting adjustments highlighted.
Fitting adjustments: the red lines on the front indicate the length I added to incorporate a bust dart (in yellow). Red lines at back are the broad back adjustment. Black line indicates original side seam in both back and yoke pieces – you can widen pleat to accomodate added width but I really need that width at yoke level, so I curved out the yoke armscye to match. Green lines are forward head adjustment.
A woman wears a cream hand-knitted beret, geometric print button up shirt, skinny blue jeans and brown ankle boots.
Silly photo but you can see the bust dart clearly here. That fold of fabric above it is just the shirt scrunching up from wearing.

To make sewing the shirt a bit easier, I converted the buttonband to a faux separate placket, and used a tower placket rather than the included bias bound placket for a more traditional look. If I sewed it again in a finer fabric I’d incline towards the bound placket.

Close up of the collar and buttonband of a shirt worn by a woman.

A woman wears a button up shirt. She bends her arms to show sleeve cuffs and plackets.

The fabric I chose was from the Spotlight $2/m table – a linen/cotton blend in a neutral geometric print with gold highlights (you’ve seen this fabric in another print in my pineapple dress). It is a really nice fabric to wear, though perhaps a bit heavy for a button up shirt – but hey, I’m the queen of choosing inappropriate weight fabrics. I don’t know if it’s the weight of the fabric or the flimsy interfacing (SheerWeft) which is causing the collar to collapse, but any advice would be appreciated.

A woman wears a cream hand-knitted beret, geometric print button up shirt, skinny blue jeans and brown ankle boots.

I can see why the Archer is so popular – it is just so cozy to wear, and when made in a suitable fabric (like my muslin was), looks effortlessly elegant. Plus I have full reach in it! I’d like to say I’ll sew it again, but I love experimenting with shirt patterns so much it’s entirely likely it will be relegated to the back of the pattern folder in favour of the approx. 1 million Burda shirt patterns I’ve bought but not sewn. But this is by far the best fitting and most RTW-like shirt I’ve made yet!

A woman wears a cream hand-knitted beret, geometric print button up shirt, skinny blue jeans and brown ankle boots.


The deets:
Pattern: Grainline Archer Shirt
Pattern details: “The Archer Button Up is a loosely fitted button up shirt with long sleeves. View A has angled cuffs and a back pleat at yoke. View B has straight cuffs and a gathered lower back detail.” Available as a printed pattern or PDF in US/A0 copy shop and print at home in sizes 0-18.
Fabric: 2.5m x 112cm linen/cotton geo, white, from Spotlight on sale
Other materials: Sheerweft interfacing. 12mm shell-look buttons, from stash.
Mods: Size 10 bust and waist, 12 hips.
– 1/2″ forward head adjustment, added to shoulder point on yoke and taken from front-yoke seam, same adjustment to sleeve cap
– added 4.5cm bust dart, 5cm down from underarm seam, by slashing and spreading, thus adding 4.5cm length to whole front
– approx. 1.2-1.5cm broad back adjustment, cut and moved back armscye out and widened back yoke at armscye to match
– shortened sleeves 5cm so they ended at wrist
– used tower placket rather than continuous bound placket, drafted new cuff to match (based on straight cuff B)
– changed right shirt buttonband to faux separate buttonband
– omitted pocket
– centred cuff button vertically


*It’s not that the pattern has a wrong sleeve length, but it is designed to hang below your wrist and over your hand. It’s a nice look, but completely impractical to me, hence the shortening. Similarly, I can see why the shirt was drafted without a bust dart – it’s a style decision to give the look of a casually-fitted men’s-style shirt. It just didn’t work for me.

Author: Siobhan S

30 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

12 thoughts on “Late to the party: Grainline Archer Shirt”

  1. I’m another who bought the Archer pattern when it first came out. Then Sewaholic brought out the Granville, with more shaping in it’s design, and the Archer didn’t stand a chance.
    Your Archer looks so good though – maybe I need to get around to printing it. Love the fabric design, perfect for this shirt.


    1. It’s certainly a different shape to the Granville, which you wear very well. I’d recommend a muslin of the Archer before you cut into the good stuff, but I’m thinking it could look very elegant in a fine silk or cotton lawn. My fabric was another one of those almost-good-enough prints from Spotlight – lovely fibre blend, nice feel, on-trend print….but the print was terribly off grain. What a shame.


  2. All hail queen of shirts! Hacking my vintage Simplicity pattern to add a yoke and back pleat, and to perfect fit is totally on the to-do list for this year. Or maybe I just by this pattern?!


    1. I just love my button up shirts! I’ve got another Archer planned in a fun watermelon print and have a thick stretch white cotton shirting that I think will be a more slim-fitted shirt. I don’t want to sound like a Grainline shill, but I reckon this shirt is drafted from a looser-fitting block than a fitted shirt would be (due to its lack of shaping, dropped shoulders etc) so it might be easier to start over than adapt another pattern.

      I was just looking up the shirt on your blog and realised we “met” in a Facebook sewing group last year, pre-blog, when I sent you a tie blouse pattern! I’d forgotten all about that!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t have that one, but TBH I think Named can do no wrong! It’s cute but my only concern would be that little vent under the buttonband might be a pain to sew. Otherwise, Burda is a good source for reasonably-priced shirt patterns. But the Quinn is so lovely – I want to see you make it up now!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems all the fabric I buy from Spotlight is off grain! I just match to the print now, rather than the selvedge. As the zig-zags were basically a horizontal stripe I treated them as such, much easier than matching a plaid or large scale print!

      Yes, my machine does very nice buttonholes. I’m lucky! Just needs a bit of stabiliser underneath to keep things tight.

      Liked by 1 person

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