Ummm, fabric. Buying it. Petting it. Stashing it. Making it up into something pretty. Like an awesome Archer shirt, which of course is what we are all about here at Sew Maris right now.
Good quality shirting meets all my requirements for fabric; wonderful, tactile experience while sewing, natural fiber, launders beautifully, feels good on the body, etc. etc. Really, there is just nothing to dislike about a great piece of shirting cotton.
If you are lucky like those of us who live in Seattle, we have 4 great, local, fabric stores that all carry a great selection of garment fabrics. Including shirting. If you aren’t so blessed, then maybe the Internet is your friend for great fabrics.
Earlier in September I wrote a post about online stores to buy shirting fabrics, but since then the Archer Facebook group has broadened my horizons. Don’t you just love the online sewing community? Thanks to my readers, here are a few more options you might want to consider:
- Smuggler’s Daughter – it looks like they have some lovely cotton fabrics. Yum!
- Pink Chalk Fabrics – if you are thinking of using voile or lawn, PCF has some very pretty ones, as well as organic cotton and even flannel
- Fabric.com – LOVE all the yummy color options available in the Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Blend, or you could go luxe using silk & cotton Radiance
- Farmhouse Fabrics – I almost wish I didn’t know about this place – it definitely will get more of my dollars. Shirt bundles from Gitman Bros, Egyptian cotton shirting, or plenty of chambray options! (yep, I bought the Gitman chambray and some Japanese cotton.)
I am really partial to 100% cotton shirting, but there are plenty of beautiful Archers made from silk, flannel, corduroy, and even lightweight wool. It’s your shirt, so you get to decide the fabrication that will give you the most pleasure. I would definitely advice against any fabrics with Lycra or polyester tho; it just will not press properly and the fit will definitely be different with a stretch fabric.
Don’t forget that you can mix fabrics too. Maybe you want to make the collar and stand from a different fabric than the main shirt body, like I did on the first Archer shirt I ever made. It’s kind of fun to mix and match to come up with a unique design, so fee free to be a little bold!
Depending on your pattern size and the width of your fabric, you will need between 2 1/8 and 2 7/8 yards of fabric to make an Archer shirt. I always like to buy a little extra, just in case I cut something wrong, or there is a flaw in the fabric, or I spill a cup of coffee on my fabric. And don’t forget to pre-launder. Duh.
I buy pretty much all my interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I can count on their quality, and in my book it is worth every penny. As long as you match your interfacing to the drape of your fashion fabric, you are good to go. I love a crisp collar, front placket, and cuffs, so I use Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp Fusible interfacing for my cotton shirts; and this same type of interfacing is available in a lighter weight and super-crisp version. This past summer I made a sleeveless silk Archer, and for that fabric I used silk organza for the interfacing. If you are not very experienced using interfacing, take a look thru the descriptions of the various types of interfacing at Fashion Sewing Supply’s web site. I always buy a few yards of several types to have on hand. You will use it!
Oh, and buy a yard of interfacing for the Archer. Or more to have on hand for other things.
Oh, there are just too many good options for buttons. You can cut them off an old shirt, buy them in sets from Fashion Sewing Supply, or an online button specialty store like Lots of Buttons. Maybe you have a nice fabric or yarn store with a great button collection near where you live. At any rate, you will need 9 buttons either 3/8 or 1/2 inch.
I am a fan of Aurofil thread, and use the 50 wt pretty much exclusively for my cotton shirts. I just love the way it sinks into cotton fabric after pressing, and this thread makes the buttonholes so.much.nicer. I guess that is all I have to say about thread. 😉
I am kinda nutty about tools. Can’t really have too many, IMHO. So what you see above is a pretty good selection of things that will be useful when you are making a shirt. Maybe not all of them are essential, but all of them are useful. Pressing ham. You know. For pressing things you want to stay kind of round-ish. Measuring gauges to check measurements accurately. Marking pens to draw on your fabric. Buttonhole cutters make opening up your buttonholes faster and easier. Glue sticks to help hold fabric in place. Scissors and/or a rotary cutter for cutting your shirt fabric and interfacing. Point presser for getting into the corners of things like collars and cuffs. I simply cannot live without LOADS of sewing machine feet. I use a 1/4 foot, edgestitch or blind hem foot, buttonhole foot, felling foot, and sometimes a rolled hem foot when I am stitching up a shirt. I never complain about switching feet. It takes all of about 2 seconds and is well worth the effort. Anything to make a job a little easier. Might not be so obvious how you could use manila folders, but here’s a hint: it’s not for storing any paperwork. Pins, needles, an iron, and of course, a sewing machine are all pretty much basic requirements, too.
Are you getting excited yet to actually start sewing your Archer? I am!