Category Archives: Blouses

Almost Too Late for a Sleeveless Archer

I am either way ahead of the game for summer 2015, or struggling to get across the 2014 summertime finish line with all my tires smoking. Your guess which it is. ūüėČ

Raspberry Silk Sleeveless Archer by Sew Maris

The picture on the right is my inspiration for a new shirt, and after making my first Archer, it was the obvious pattern choice for a pretty new sleeveless blouse. And since I happened to have some lightweight raspberry silk in my stash, that also seemed like a no-brainer choice.

Jen has a few tips about pattern modifications for making a sleeveless Archer on her website¬†to help you determine how and where to trim the armhole edge and yoke.¬† I tried on my Archer-with-sleeves and measured where I wanted the armhole for my sleeveless version to end, and then¬†trimmed an¬†inch¬†pretty much according to Jen’s diagram from the front, back, and yoke ¬†shoulder edge.

Raspberry Silk Sleeveless Archer by Sew Maris

Did I mention I am using silk for this blouse? I don’t have any low-temp fusible interfacing appropriate for silk, so silk organza it is for the interfacing. Hand basting with the silk basting thread and super-sharp Japanese needles I sell in my Etsy store. I get a point for slow sewing, right? Maybe two?

What’s on your sewing table right now? Are you trying to cram in the last few summer garments, or already thinking about fall styles?

Happy sewing!






Pattern Review: Grainline Archer

I know. I was the last woman standing who had not sewn up an Archer by Grainline Studios. No more. Too late to shoot me, I finally made one!

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

Short story: I love it. Duh. Most people do.
Longer story

Pattern drafting: Basically, good. I really love it when pattern pieces fit together correctly. The collar stand and collar fit nicely, as does the front, back body, and sleeves. Love the high armhole, resulting in plenty of arm mobility.

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

But there are some things I found odd.

  1. Like the cuff size. As drafted the cuff was 9 3/4 inches between the button and buttonhole marking for a size 10 Archer. Really? When I put the shirt on the sleeves hung down to the middle of my wrist, which I hate. Sleeves dragging thru spaghetti sauce = not cool! Easy change. I just chopped 1.25 inches out of the cuff length on the pattern, recut new cuffs, ripped the original cuffs off the shirt, and replaced with a new cuff that suited my taste better. Took me 40 minutes to get the cuff fit I like and now the pattern is ready for Archer #2.
  2. Also, there is an under collar pattern piece, but it is not cut slightly smaller than the upper collar. Making the under collar slightly smaller allows the under collar to be totally ‚Äúhidden‚ÄĚ below the upper collar after construction. It is an easy enough change for me; just make the under collar slightly shorted and narrower, but it would enhance the Archer pattern.
  3. There is no collar match notch at the front of the collar stand. I am a stickler for collar points being the same length and ending at the exact same spot on either side if the collar stand. It really is all those little details that make a shirt look Brooks Brothers-worthy.
  4. No buttonhole marked on the collar stand.


Fit: Very good. Love the collar and neck fit. It is really scaled correctly to a woman’s body. Thanks, Jen!
I need a skosh more ease in the hip area to wear it over jeans. It is fine as is when tucked in. I also need to change the angle of the front yoke seam. That forward shoulder thing.
I think they are good, but I honestly did not use them too much. I have made so many shirts…you get the idea.

My next Archer is going to be sleeveless out of a raspberry silk I have in my stash. If I have enough fabric, which I think I do. I think it will be a great summer shirt.

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

Just wanted to show you that there is plenty of arm movement possible! ūüėČ

How about you? Have you made an Archer yet? What do you like about it?
Happy sewing!

Georgia, you are on my mind


Whew, what a week! Here is what it looked like for me:

  1. wrote 2 tutorials (How to Sew a Button and Coverstitch Knit Hems)
  2. finished and mailed off 2 knit dresses + 1 scarf to a very-soon-to-be-new-lawyer
  3. taught private sewing lessons to 7 students
  4. wrote my weekly blog post for
  5. wrote a blog post for The Monthly Stitch about the 2 knit dresses
  6. applied and was accepted on, featuring my Easy 1-Hour Skirt tutorial
  7. finally posted my advertising policy/updated my site menu
  8. packaged and shipped piles of cool Japanese sewing notions available in my Etsy store
  9. hung out every morning this week with my favorite DGD, and as you can see above, she likes to sew too!
  10. attended a performance of The Little Mermaid so I could clap loudly for one of my awesome sewing students!
  11. barely managed to run a few loads of laundry, cook a few meal items, and vacuum up the big chunks & dust bunnies floating about

Style Arc Georgia peplum blouse asmade by sew Maris

This weekend? I am hoping to immerse myself in some luscious sandwashed silk from District Fabric that has been longing to become a Georgia kind of girl. I am thinking about ways I might stabilize the CB seam so I can insert the invisible zipper, and I have one idea that I want to try. Fusing on silk is generally not a great idea, tho there are a few products that do not cause glue “bleed through”.

To all you who are blessed as mothers, I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Around here, that would mean loads of sewing time!

Happy sewing!


Make Norm proud when you mark those buttonholes

Good tools are a sewist’s best friend.

A well-powered sewing machine, a speciality foot to help guide edgestitching or insert an invisible zipper,¬†just the right scissors that¬†trim seam allowances effortlessly‚ÄĒNorm Abrams himself would marvel at the array of tools available to make the job of sewing easier, faster, or more precise.

I recently purchased a new tool, and am¬†just tickled pink with how well¬†the Simflex Expanding Gauge ¬†marks buttonholes. I just happened to have a new blue shirt that needed buttons and buttonholes, and I was curious if there would be any difference between my old marking system and the Simflex. I marked the buttonholes using my “old school system” first by drawing the center front line +¬† measuring the buttonhole placement lines with a 2-inch C-Thru ruler and a red Frixion marking pen. (I sort of followed the pattern markings, but definitely needed to adjust placement¬†for my shape.)

Then I lined up the Simflex Expanding Gauge on top of the buttonhole marks I had made with¬†the ruler and marking pen. Look! A discrepancy! I know, I know,¬†it is rather a small amount, but admit it‚ÄĒthere is a¬†tiny alignment difference between the manual measurements and the Simflex. Possibly only enough difference to matter to a truly nerdy sewing geek, but since I am a sewing geek¬† goddess, I plan on using this tool for marking all buttonholes henceforth. And for less than $20,you can too. ūüôā

Simflex Expanding Gauge

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen


Shirt-making: Yay or Nay?


Shirt-making is not for the faint of heart.

I am talking about tailored dress shirts for men or women that you might buy at Brooks Brothers or Nordstrom. Starched. Crisp. Plenty o’topstitching. You definitely need to put your big-girl panties on before you tackle plackets, collar stands, collars and cuffs on these babies.

Recently I decided to add a few must-be-ironed-before-wearing items to my overwhelmingly knit wardrobe. I broke out my yet-untested Classic Shirt pattern by Ce Podolak and traced off my size according to the pattern measurements. I grabbed some nice white cotton with blue stripes from my stash, cut it out and fused Light Shirt Crisp interfacing to the collar, cuffs, collar stand, and front plackets.

Problem #1. No instructions in the envelope. Not that surprising, really, as¬†I probably¬†own a couple of hundred patterns, and those instructions could have snuck their way into any one of the envelopes. I planned to¬†use the same process (mostly) as I do on my husband’s dress shirts, so no biggie.

Problem #2. After mostly completing the shirt, I tried it on for fitting. Uh oh. Looked like a sack. I added the optional back darts to try to introduce a little more shape into the garment. Better, but not great. More drastic measures required.¬†I re-shaped the side and sleeve seams to remove the excess fabric¬†bulk (i.e. I serged off a huge swath of fabric on both sides). MUCH better. Ahhhh,¬†Ce’s web site says “Cecelia began designing The Classics to help fill a void for better-fitting patterns for the mature figure.” That’s the problem – my immature¬†figure! ūüėČ

The good news is I have an actual shirt in my closet. But it is just an OK shirt IMHO. Not terrific, not terrible, just OK. My favorite part is the KILLER cute buttons from Stitches. They increase my enjoyment factor immensely.


I should probably write some tutorials for you wonderful readers about shirt-making, because I have tweaked and tuned the process enough that I can help you make a pretty great-looking shirt. Hmmm, something to ponder!

Have you ever made a tailored shirt? Did you enjoy the process? What worked and what didn’t for you? Are you inspired to try again? Do tell!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen