Saturday, 16 September 2017

Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top


Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

I had a good old chunk of this lovely monochrome dotty viscose left over from making my Nancy Dress and it's been eyeing me up from my stash for a while now. I couldn't bear to get rid of it as it is a great viscose challis, nice and matte with a beautiful drape and it feels cool and smooth against the skin. Plus it's been washing and wearing really well and I'm not adverse to having more than one garment made out of the same fabric in my wardrobe! I had just shy of 1.5m left from my original purchase of 3m from Maggie in Lewisham so plenty for some kind of summer top. I considered an Ogden Cami as I absolutely love the few I already own but my wardrobe is kind of inundated with them plus that's a great pattern for using up scraps of less than a metre. I fancied giving something new a try.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

I spotted the Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern when writing up one of my pattern update posts a few months back and immediately clocked it as being right up my street. I love these kind of loose fit tops for wearing with jeans all year round and this is a bit more interesting than a simple cami with the gathered hem and unusual neckline. The light gathering around the neck, shape of the shoulders and tied keyhole back opening are a really flattering combination and the style is detailed without being too fussy. It really suits a lightweight, breezy fabric like viscose.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

I cut the size 10 which is a fraction larger than my measurements but I figured better to be safe than sorry. It did come out rather large but luckily it's super easy to alter by taking some width of the side seams. I took an inch on the double out of each side so a whopping 4 inches came out! I had unfortunately done my usual sewing tactic of jumping ahead in the instructions and constructing various elements at the same time as each other so I can pin a whole load a once, then sew a whole load at once, then press; saving time moving between 'stations' and tools. This meant I'd already assembled, hemmed and stitching the gathering stitch into the ruffle so I had to go back and take some width out of that too. I took 6" out of the ruffle to allow for the amount pulled up by the gathering.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

The armholes are still quite low which I don't mind. I think it kind of suits the style and have been wearing it with strapless bras which I don't mind flashing a bit of. However, in the sample pictures they don't seem so low and I think I perhaps need to tweak the length of the straps on the next version as I know I am quite short in the shoulder and that may be the issue. The way it is constructed means it's quite tricky to check the length of the straps until you've basically completed the top so I recommend (as the pattern instructions do) to make up a trial run in a cheap fabric first.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

It's a great design. The proportions are really nice, although I'm considering shortening both the body and the ruffle just a smidgen next time to suit my petite stature. Probably only by half and inch each.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

The project does involve two of my least favourite sewing techniques (making a fair bit of bias binding and gathering...I just don't have the patience for either fiddly little job) but I still had a great time making it and am considering another using up the leftovers from my Floral Lonsdale Maxi Dress mainly for the enjoyment of making it again! It's the kind of project that requires a bit of concentration and accuracy so is nice to get lost in. One word of warning if you make this is that it's easy for things to go wring size-wise if you're not really careful when handling your bias binding. Bias strips stretch out really easily and you use notches on the bias to determine the length of your gathered neckline and the shoulder straps. You need to be really careful not to stretch it out as you press or sew. I'm actually incredibly proud of how neatly my binding turned out in the shifty viscose; I bet I couldn't do it that nicely again!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

This is my first time using a pattern from Sew This Pattern and (despite the sizing issue) I was really impressed. The photos accompanying the instructions are really clear and I found it really helpful to see the construction process in fabric rather than illustration as there are a few fiddly points.
There is a lovely level of attention to detail in the construction process and well thought out finishing with touches like sewing across the binding on the diagonal inside the tip of the keyhole opening to create a nice clean point on the outside and stitching down the top of your side seam allowances for a clean armhole.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

Temperatures might have taken a dip in London but this is a great little layering piece and I'm particularly loving it with that ruffled hem peeking out of the bottom of my merino Toaster Sweater. I finished it last week and have worn it three times already so I'm counting that as a win!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Monochrome Dotty Viscose Gypsy Swing Top from Sew This Pattern

Friday, 8 September 2017

Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

When you can sew it's very tempting to make endless beautiful dresses in gorgeous prints and fabrics. Despite being all for sewing being about the process and the enjoyment you get out of that rather than the end product, over the last couple of years I've had to come to terms with the fact that my wardrobe and day to day life really don't need any more pretty dresses. It's just not what I wear on a regular basis. The old I need more cake but I want to play with frosting dilemma. I do, however, make the most out of ANY excuse to make myself something more extravagant (see for example the dress I made for my stepsister's wedding). Cue my 30th birthday and just the reason I'd been waiting for to make myself something more frivolous. I'm not having a big glamorous party or anything and was actually working up in Newcastle over my actual birthday so an all out show stopper of a ball gown or cocktail frock wasn't exactly the ticket. But I could certainly treat myself to a beautiful summer maxi of the sort I haven't made in a while to celebrate the big three oh. I didn't have any particular plan for the dress pretty much right up until the moment I bought the fabric and started making it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

The keen eyed among you may spot that this dress has been rather heavily influenced by this stunner made by Miss Make using the By Hand London Kim bodice. I fell in love with the dress and it's effortless, bohemian glamour the second I saw it and have had my eyes peeled for a similar yellow print ever since. I believe Devon's fabric came from Blackbird Fabrics or at least they had the same viscose print stocked for a while. I'd sort of given up on finding anything similar here in the UK when I arrived at the Sewing Weekender at the start of August and spotted Sarah from Like Sew Amazing sporting a gorgeous jumpsuit in a very similar print. In some weird twist of fate I then came across the exact same fabric in my local fabric shop (Lewisham Rolls and Rems) just a few days later! And for less than £5/m! It's a lovely matte viscose challis which has the perfect movement and weight for this style of dress. They also stock a beautiful vibrant orange which was hard to resist as usually when I find a print I like in a viscose there's no stopping me. It's my absolute favourite fabric for dressmaking.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

Now to pick a pattern. I obviously had maxi in my mind after being inspired by Devon's dress and was thinking that I would draft my own fairly straightforward skirt. I did have a moment of hesitation as I'm not sure I've ever had yellow in my wardrobe and wasn't sure I could pull off a full yellow floor length ensemble but I swathed myself in the viscose and decided this particular shade of egg yolk yellow was surprisingly forgiving on my skin tone. So I dove into my stash to find the ideal bodice pattern. I do own the BHL Kim so could have done a flat out copy of Devon's but I wasn't sure it was quite what I wanted. I wanted the snug fit around the waist but perhaps something with a bit more detail going on up top to make the most of the drape of the viscose. I finally hit upon the Sewaholic Lonsdale which I used to make my very first two dresses way back in 2012.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

There's something quite nice about the fact that I am returning to the first dress pattern I ever used to celebrate this milestone birthday too! I do still have both of my original Lonsdale dresses but must admit they haven't been worn a lot; not because of the quality of sewing or fit (boy I must have had a lot more patience back then!) but because I never felt very 'me' in that a-line shape of skirt, which was probably emphasised by my slightly stiff fabric choice. I'm much the same size as I was back then so stuck with the size 6 which I have always felt was a great match for me in Sewaholic patterns. It does fit well but now that I've learnt a bit more about fit and am slightly more particular I would probably take just half an inch off the bodice length if I were to make it again. The Lonsdale is a great pattern for a beginner seamstress as because the bodice ties at the front the fit is very forgiving around the bust.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

I was really lucky that I chose this pattern as one of my first as the instructions are very thorough plus there is an excellent sew-along on the Sewaholic blog so I remember I learnt a huge amount about how to make garments well. I still love the way the bodice is finished being full lined and the only hand sewing involved is slipstitching down the bottom of the waistband. I wouldn't usually insert the zip through both the fashion fabric and lining as one (I would instead insert it into the fashion fabric then turn under the seam allowance on the lining and hand stitch it to the zip tape for a clean finish) but it works for the style of the dress. I finished that back seam on the overlocker so it was nice and tidy.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

Following the sew-along instructions I added stay-tape along the top edge of the bodice to stop it stretching out and gaping away from the body. This is a really important step with a delicate, shifty fabric such as viscose which will easily stretch out along a curved or bias edge. Under-stitching this top edge is also particularly important as that lining will want to roll out and ruin the nice clean lines of that neckline.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

The two things I did differently to the pattern instructions are actually the same as I did on my third version of this dress which I made in 2013 and completely forgot I had made until I went to look back at my posts on the first two! Firstly I changed the regular dress zip to an invisible as I just prefer the look of them and secondly I omitted the loops and tie of the straps at the back and sewed them down instead. This detail is just a bit fussy for me. The straps were actually the one thing I wasn't happy with on my third dress as the width of them at the back looked a bit clunky. This time around I kept the tie width the same but folded it in half when I attached it to the back of the bodice to add a bit of detail and create a more delicate look.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

I also secured the straps differently to how I did before as last time I ended up sewing them down on top of the lining as a bit of an afterthought. Because of the design of the dress you need to tie the knot at the front before you can secure them in place so the bodice has to be pretty much finished. To achieve I clean finish when attaching the lining to the bodice around the neckline I stopped sewing and left a gap where I thought the straps should be (I used the notches for the loops which I wasn't using as a guide). I then did all the under-stitching and stay tape around these gaps. Once the bodice was assembled I then slip the ends of the straps into these slots and stitched them closed. I even put the zip in before I did this so I could wear the bodice properly and get the length spot on.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

The Lonsdale does actually come with pattern pieces to make the skirt a maxi but I still wasn't sold on that a-line shape, even in a softer fabric and thought it might end up feeling far too wide around the hem. I also was a little bit in love with the leg slit in Devon's and felt a straighter style would be the way to go. I'm not usually a fan of a gathered skirt as I don't like too much bulk around the waist but in a viscose as light as this one it works. I ended up making the most straightforward skirt possible. I used the full width of the fabric and cut a piece the length of skirt I wanted plus seam and hem allowance. If you didn't want to put a slit in the skirt you could simply gather up one end of the piece and attach it to your bodice, using the selvedges for the centre back seam. I wanted a split so I worked out how far I wanted that to come around at the body and cut the piece in two at roughly the point where this would be when the skirt was gathered up. I sewed the two pieces back together just from the waist to the top of the slit then turned and stitched those raw seam allowances like you would a hem. Then gathered and attached to the bodice, voila! Using the full width of the fabric in the skirt was a bit of a gamble but I'm really happy with the amount of fabric and fullness in there because the viscose is so light.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

I had bought 3 metres of the fabric to be on the safe side as I wasn't at all sure on the design of my dress when I bought it and probably have enough left to make a top or blouse. The Lonsdale bodice does need a surprising amount of fabric because of those ties but if you are turning them into straps like me it needs a lot less! I self lined my bodice as I had plenty of fabric to do so. The viscose was a little shifty to work with as most are but I used plenty of pins and patience. I wash my viscose on a 30 degree machine cycle and use a cool to medium iron. I tend to use a microtex or size 70 universal needle on something of this weight.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Yellow Floral Viscose Lonsdale Maxi Dress

I never would have thought I could love a yellow dress so much. I put it on to take photos this morning and just wanted to swan about in it all day! I'm willing summer to come back with all my might but might have to resort to booking a beach break somewhere just to get some wear out of it!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

August Indie Pattern Update!



I hardly dare say it but it feels like August was a slightly slower month in the indie pattern community as designers ramp up to releasing their autumn/winter patterns. Although I have an uneasy feeling that perhaps a combination of too much work and that pesky Instagram algorithm has just meant that I've missed a lot! If there are any other releases you know of feel free to add them in the comments for other readers to peruse.


New Patterns


  • Grainline Studio released the Hadley Top which is a sophisticated swing style which would be a great addition to any wardrobe. I prefer the sleeveless version with v-neck but there's also the option for long sleeves and a jewel neckline.
  • The two new releases with this month's Seamwork Magazine were the Julia Tank Top and Laura Wrap Skirt. The simplicity of the wrap skirt definitely has a place in my wardrobe and the article on how to hack this pattern has some great ideas.
  • New from Style Arc this month were the Thea and Tully Pants, Gem Knit Tee, Agatha Woven Skirt and Kirsty Woven Top. The two trouser patterns in particular are bang on trend and really interesting.
  • Hey June Handmade released the Durango Tank which is FREE to download. This figure skimming tank features a high neck and high cut shoulders.
  • The Tailoress had a handful of new releases this month including the Gabriella Jumpsuit, Joey Tee which comes with an optional hood and Rosanna Top; an off the shoulder top style for both women and children.
  • Itch to Stitch released the Chai Shirt & Dress. So classy, flattering and wearable. I love the addition of the wide waistband to this traditional shirt dress.
  • Some of the most recent designs Kommatia Patterns have added to their growing collection of contemporary, youthful designs are a Denim Mini Skirt and Bodysuit; a turtleneck style great for layering.
  • I've been working away from home for a large part of this month but one releases which had me desperate to run home to my sewing machine is the Kew Dress from Nina Lee London. The version with the cold shoulders in particular has an effortlessly feminine yet contemporary appeal.
  • Congratulations are in order for Tilly & the Buttons who is pregnant and consequently has released maternity patterns of two of her most popular patterns! The Maternity Bettine and Maternity Agnes are now available in her online shop.
  • Jennifer Lauren Handmade released the Mayberry Dress which is a twist on the classic shirtwaist dress; featuring an off centre curved button placket and drawstring waist.
  • New from DG Patterns is the Alamo Dress, the wide tie belt with large belt loops nicely balances the length of the dress and ruffled hem.
  • The PDF release from Sew Over It in August was the Coco Jacket. This classic, collarless style inspired by the iconic Chanel boucle jacket is exactly what my wardrobe needs for wearing over all those occasion dresses I can't resist sewing!
  • Greenstyle Creations released the Tie Back Tank. I kind of wish that this had been released earlier in the summer as it's just what I've been after for running in the heat! I love that it comes with various neckline, back and finishing options.
  • I was hunting high and low for the perfect maxi dress pattern for a piece of floral viscose in my stash when the new Summer Dawn Wrap Dress from Striped Swallow Designs popped up in my feed! It has just the cut and small sleeves I was after except it's designed for knits...back to the drawing board or maybe an excuse to shop for some jersey?!
  • New from The Maker's Atelier is the V-Necked Shift Dress. This is a great addition to their collection of clean lines and contemporary cuts. Perfect to showcase a special fabric.
  • Sew Sin City released two new lingerie patterns just this week in the form of the Brittnee Thong and Dana Tanga Pant. One of these days I'm going to stop talking about sewing my own lingerie and actually just do it!
  • As is traditional with any girls pattern release from Made for Mermaids the Nina Swing Top, Tunic and Dress is also available as a Mama version.
  • Last but by no means least, Chalk and Notch released the Fringe Blouse and Dress. Now we're heading into cooler weather here in the UK these kind of swingy dresses are high on my list to sew and wear with dark tights and boots.


Pattern Updates and Expansion Packs


  • The Tailoress released an updated version of her body contour dress pattern which has been renamed as the Jennifer Dress.
  • Along with their two new pattern releases Seamwork launches an updated version of their Hayden woven tee pattern. It now includes bust darts and has been widened across the back plus the neckline and armsyce have been reshaped for a better fit across the shoulders.
  • Waffle Patterns released an add on for their Dropje Vest which provides you with the pattern piece to add sleeves. This addition turns it into a lovely sporty hoodie.
  • The regular Daphne Day Dress features a cut out design in the back but Sew This Pattern have just launched the Full Back Extension should you wish to make yours with a closed back.


Sew-alongs


  • There is a skirt-along for the Cleo Skirt running over on the Made by Rae blog. This is the IDEAL beginner project.
  • Pauline Alice released a video tutorial for the Lliria Dress which she launched last month. I've tried out a few online courses and videos now and am finding them increasingly useful alongside regular pattern instructions to perfect tricky techniques.
  • The sew-along for the new Grainline Studio Hadley Top is all set to commence on September 4th.
  • There is currently a sew-along running over on the By Hand London blog for their Orsola Dress. I adore this back wrap style and the hack for creating a version with a full circle skirt has got me me desperate to make another!
  • The sew-along for the recently released Elsie Dress is just about to conclude over on the Sew Over It blog. If it's your first time making a fit and flare style dress this series has some great clear photos and tips to help you along.


Upcoming!


  • Half Moon Atelier will soon be re-releasing their Roma Midi Skirt pattern. I love this easy wearable style but am ashamed to say I have had the PDF ready and waiting to be sewn up for months now!
  • The Tailoress has certainly been busy of late. As well as this month's new releases and updates she has a new wrap dress pattern coming soon.
  • Friday Pattern Company have a number of patterns coming our way for fall which I'm really looking forward to seeing more of after a couple of sneak peaks on Instagram. Included in the release will be the Cambria Duster and Lucida Dress.
  • Itch to Stitch are currently testing the North Point Pants which are a beautifully tailored classic style and a departure from the summer dresses and tops Kennis has been releasing of late.
  • Laura from Sew Different has been working on a number of FREE add on hacks for her existing patterns giving you even more mileage from your pattern stash.
  • Coming on Monday is the new pattern from Designer Stitch. Named Kristen the dress features delicate ruffled details.


Other Exciting News


  • Maven Patterns have up until now only released their patterns in PDF format but will be launching their first paper patterns at the Great British Sewing Bee Live on 21st September! 
  • Sarah from Ohhh Lulu launched her first paper patterns earlier this month. Jasmine and Ava are the first two of her collection of lingerie designs to be released in this format.


I can't wait to get home and sew up a storm. I'm always sad to say goodbye to Summer but the thought of a whole new season to sew for gets me through! Here's some inspiration to get your September sewing started.



  • I thought I'd run out of useful neutral fabric options for Flint Trousers which would be useful in my wardrobe until I saw Heather Lou's camel ones. Teamed with an Ogden Cami like she has is basically what I've been living in all summer!
  • I had the pleasure of checking out Elena's Joni Jumpsuit in person at the Sewing Weekender earlier this month and it is a total knockout. I must admit I wasn't drawn to this pattern when it was released but now I need one immediately.
  • Helen's Acton Dress is possibly the prettiest I have seen. What a gorgeous fabric choice. I love it in something drapey and will definitely be looking for something with a similar light weight when I finally make my own.
  • The Named Sointu Tee is another pattern I hadn't looked twice at but Helen's amazing windowpane check version has completely changed my mind. It looks great styles with jeans but I also love the idea of it with wide legged cropped trousers or culottes.
  • Lara's tester version of the new Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress is a stunner. The fabric is delicious and I love that dusky pink for this style.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Military Inspired Archer Shirt

Today I've got a garment to share with you which hasn't turned out as successfully as I hoped but was still an enjoyable project which I learnt a lot from. I spend less time on Pinterest nowadays but still enjoy a browse from time to time and the board I probably pin to most is my Sewing Inspiration board. It's an accumulation of all kinds of things that inspire my sewing, from complete outfits, to fabric, to little details I'd like to incorporate. For the last year or so I've been making more of a conscious effort to look back through these pins and actually make something of them! At the moment I can't stop pinning maxi wrap dresses and solid tops with interesting sleeves. Over a year ago I had a spate of pinning military green shirts in a slightly heavier weight, to be worn open over vests and t-shirts almost as a kind of lightweight jacket.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

Around the same time I came across the perfect shade and weight of khaki green oxford cotton in Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road and decided to go for it and make my own. I combined it with the Archer Button Up Shirt from Grainline Studio as it is a pattern I already own plus has all the lovely classic details I was after including two patch breast pockets. I have already used this pattern once, pairing it with some white swiss dot cotton a couple of years ago. That version I felt was a little snug across the bust and at the time I mentioned using the size 4 at the waist and shoulders as I did but grading out to a 6 at the bust. Now my knowledge of fitting has improved I realised that a full bust adjustment would probably do the job better so I spent some time doing this using the size 4 as my starting point. I used this a no dart tutorial (I can't remember which now but here are a few clear ones from Paprika Patterns, Helen and Maria Denmark) and spread my pattern 1cm width ways and 2.5cm downwards. I also added 2cm to the length. I needed almost the full two metres I had to cut this size.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

The FBA has helped but I think maybe I should have just gone up a size or even two to achieve the relaxed look I desired. I should have looked more carefully at the relaxed, loose fit of my inspiration pictures and gone more oversized but I think I was tentative as it isn't my usual style. I wish I'd read my previous blog post more thoroughly and remembered that when I made my white version I was keen to have a closer fit than the pattern samples so opted to stick with the smaller of the two sizes I fell between. I think a softer draper fabric would also make a huge difference as both of mine have been quite crisp so stick out below the bust, although this fabric has softened up nicely with a wash.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

As well as the general fit of the pattern I don't think the length (or lack of it) is helping. I haven't seen anyone else mention that they felt this pattern came up short but I'm quite petite and do feel like I could do with an extra inch or so. Perhaps I was expecting more of a relaxed fit than it is. The arms also seem strangely short which doesn't bother me as I've been wearing the cuffs rolled up anyway but I would need another inch again to make them the length I prefer.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

As you can probably guess from when I found the inspiration and fabric for this project it's been a long time coming! I actually made the majority of this shirt shortly after buying the fabric but things ground to a halt when I came to attach the cuffs. I didn't like the finishing of the slits in the sleeve where the cuff attaches last time as it's just bound and is tricky to get looking neat. This time I wanted to switch in the sleeve placket pieces from the Colette Negroni Shirt pattern as I love the professional look of these and have had great results every time I've made with it. Silly me didn't think through the fact that this style of packet would add a little width to the end of the sleeve so when I came to attach the cuffs I found they were too short to fit.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

At the time I lost the patience to cut a new pair of cuffs to fit, despite being so close to finishing and the shirt then sat around for a year before I went back to it again. I don't usually have UFO's on the go (discounting projects I've cut out and not started yet) so this is definitely a record length of project for me; I think I even moved house with it in pieces! This seems silly now as it was of course so quick and easy to recut and interface slightly larger cuffs and I had the whole thing finished within a matter of hours of returning to it. Lesson learned to never leave a project with a step you're dreading as the next one as it will put you off picking it up again!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

Anyway enough about what I found tricky about this project, I actually love shirt making and am really pleased with my finishing and what I learnt on this one. The fabric is exactly as I had imagined it and with the closer fit I'm wondering if I might get more wear out of it layered under dungarees which are my new favourite thing! The way this pattern is constructed means it is easy to get a lovely inside finish; I did a good old burrito on the yoke and only needed to overlock the side seams.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

I used a lightweight black woven fusible interfacing and would recommend always using a lightweight for shirt plackets even if you use something a bit heavier for your collar as you want to keep that centre front fairly soft so it doesn't do strange things when you sit down. I did all the topstitching in a slightly darker green standard thread rather than thicker topstitching thread as I wanted to keep it subtle. All the topstitching involved in this design is perfect for the utilitarian feel I was going for. I love topstitching so really enjoyed that part of the process. My trick is to make a note of exactly where seam you are topstitching along hits your presser foot or throat plate so you can keep the width even throughout. I try and make it easy for myself by choosing something obvious to line it up with like the edge of the foot. Keep your eyes on that mark when you sew rather than the needle.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

Another top tip for shirt making is to invest in a point turner. They're pretty inexpensive but will make such a difference to getting nice crisp corners on your collars, plackets and cuffs. If you haven't got one a chopstick or similar works pretty well too. As always I followed the Four Square Walls tutorial for assembling your collar in a slightly different order and think this is the neatest I have managed yet. The buttons I hit upon I believe in MacCulloch & Wallis and knew they were just what I needed. I wanted to keep them standard shirt size or only very slightly bigger but wanted them to have a practical, heavier duty feel to fit with the military style. These little brass shank buttons make the shirt feel a little more like outerwear.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Military Inspired Grainline Archer Shirt

I've had this finished for a while now and in all honesty it hasn't seen a lot of wear. Now my sewing has improved I feel like if something doesn't feel quite right on and I feel like I could have done a better job of some aspect of it it's not going to win out over some of my other favourite handmade garments when it comes to deciding what to wear in the morning. I do feel like having this kind of shirt in my wardrobe would be handy though so I might revisit this style in the future.