Saturday, 19 May 2018

GREEN LINEN ARCHER / blog comeback?

Yo guys! I'm back! Here's a shirt I made! 

This is my second Archer shirt - in fact, I think it's the second button-up, collared shirt I've made myself ever. The first was ages ago when Archer shirts were a new and exciting thing and the whole blogworld was making them and I thought I'd join in even though I hadn't worn a shirt for about 20 years, and the ones worn 20 years previously had basically encapsulated everything that was awful about dressing oneself as a teenager in the 1990s. Needless to say, although I liked my first Archer very much in theory, it didn't actually get a lot of wear. I suspect the plaid flannel was a bit too close to teenage-me for comfort.

This one comes from a different place. A place where Archer shirts have been around for yonks and are actually a bit boring in blogging terms these days I suspect (but you're still reading this, right, so we're good?) I am now also slightly less influenceable by what all the cool kids on instagram are making, or at least, less immediately so (I'll have been lurking whatever the algorithm shows me for quite a while before I finally give in and buy that hot new pattern from 6 months ago).  So when I found myself needing long-sleeved, lightweight shirts to take on holiday to Jordan over Easter this year, I found myself thinking: hey, I already have a great pattern for that! And promptly went shopping for linen.  

This rather lovely forest-green stuff comes from Berger, my reliable go-to source of solid basics. It was 7.5 euros a meter, which is a pretty good price for a perfectly good linen, I think. It was a bit stiff to begin with, and softened up a little in the pre-wash - but it was on washing the finished shirt that it really started to "break in" and it's just been getting softer and lusher ever since. To the point that I have been falling steadily more in love with this shirt every time I wash it.  I really love it!  It has no 1990s overtones at all - in fact, I'm greatly enjoying the rather 70s vibes it gives off, aided dramatically by pairing it with some deliciously high-waisted and wide-legged jeans I got recently in H&M, which I probably do more than I should. (I don't care).

Other construction stuff: it's view A without the butt ruffle, I did my usual no-dart FBA, lengthened the shirt body by 6cm and shortened the sleeves by 2. I followed the pattern directions but found myself wishing I had used Marilla Walker's method for attaching and finishing the collar, as detailed in her Isca dress pattern - which by the way I must also tell you about sometime soon, I love that dress - because I found it more straightforward in getting a nice tidy finish. Right now unfortunately I can't remember the difference except that I found Marilla's version way less fiddly when closing up all the seams, but if I go away to look it up this post will never get published.

Also, while we're on technical details, I just got a remote for my phone camera, having swapped to an iphone after years on android, and these two things combined mean that taking pictures for potential blog posts is now WAY easier because a) I always have my phone to hand, b)  the iphone camera is shit hot so the pics don't really need editing, and c) I can therefore just upload them when I'm on the metro or whatever. So who knows, maybe I will actually tell you about that Isca dress sometime soon.

Nonetheless, making appropriate faces for blog pictures remains a challenge.

Anyway, as is the way with holiday sewing, I finished making this the evening before departure, except that I hadn't done the buttonholes. I tremendously dislike buttonholes, not because I am afraid of them but because, despite all the sweet talking, cajoling and downright bullying I have thrown at it over the years, my sewing machine remains a bitch that refuses to sew a functional buttonhole if it can so much as smell an adjacent seam allowance, no matter how trimmed or graded.  But then I had a brainwave: somewhere like Amman would of course have tailors, who could sew them on the spot. I texted my sister (who lives there, and who hosted and holidayed with us) to confirm my hunch - and went to sleep having happily avoided an obsessive pre-flight sewing all-nighter.

Two days later, we found the downtown tailoring district easily enough, located a man available right then, and proceeded to have the following conversation.

Me : it just needs buttonholes where I've marked with the pins.
Sister and tailor : discuss in Arabic
Sister to me : is it a man's shirt or a woman's shirt?
Me : it's for me.
More discussion
Sister : he says it's wrong.
Me : I know, that's because I sewed the placket on the wrong side by accident.
Sister : what's a placket? 
Me : ... explains...
* Sister and tailor : more discussion, rather intense
Sister : it doesn't make sense.
Me : but I don't actually care which side the buttonholes are on anyway.
Repeat from * about 4 or 5 times
Me : ok tell him it's a man's shirt.
Sister : tells him it's a man's shirt
Tailor : rolls eyes, tells us to come back in an hour
Sister and me : leave, feeling a bit sheepish

Needless to say, this shirt has the best buttonholes of any garment I have ever made, and probably of any garment I will ever make in the future too. Now I want an industrial sewing machine that can be relied upon to power through all the seams in all the things at top speed, but the husband is sadly not on board, mainly because this would involve either an extra item of furniture, or cutting a hole in one we already possess. Spoilsport.

This picture ^^ didn't really come out as intended, but is essentially the exact image of myself I have at work when adding people to my daily list of fools, as in, I don't suffer them gladly.  I am totally super-professional though so I answer all the stupid questions with enthusiastically cheery politeness, and then when I hang up I do that pose in my head.

Anyway guys. Make an Archer! In linen! They're so good! Not news to anyone anywhere, I know.  So my main tip for this post is: GO TO JORDAN.  I cannot even begin to describe what a great place it is to visit, so I won't even try, but seriously. Do it! 

Hasta pronto, my lovelies!