Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Fabrics and Interfacings

I am so excited about the response to my Grainline Archer Sew-Along—thanks for your support and enthusiasm!!

So I have already had a few questions about where to buy fabrics, so I want to give you a few of my suggestions, and I would LOVE to hear from you if you have other sources that are new-to-me (does that fabric store even exist? 😉 )

Let’s talk about cotton shirting. First off—no lycra. Do I make myself clear? I love a little comfy stretch as much as the next person, but this is not the time and place for lycra. Your shirt will not press properly, and you must not deny yourself the luxurious, sensual pleasure of working with beautiful, high quality, high thread-count, 100% cotton shirting. I vastly prefer Italian shirting. English is great too, but harder to find and usually pricier. Japanese cotton is dreamy, too. What you want is fabric that goes thru the washer/dryer and doesn’t come out looking like 100% badass linen. Some Oxford cloth can force you to spend hours at the ironing board, but I have not had any trouble with Italian and most pima cottons. They are usually in the $14-$16/yard range and are 60 inches wide. If you decide to use something else, well, don’t tell me about it. And for sure don’t bother complaining to me about how your shirt looks/feels, cuz then I will find you out. Remember, I raised teenage boys. Not that likely you can slip something past me. 😉

So. Sources. Here are a few of my favorites. I look for and buy high quality cotton shirting every time I go fabric shopping. It can be hard to find, especially if you are looking for anything other than white and blue fabrics. My husband needs tan, sage green, and browns, so it is not always easy to find what I want in those colorways. If you only have access to a big box store whose name rhymes with fo-fans, well, I’m sorry. Try one of these online sources:

  1. Michael’s Fabrics. I have bought loads of fabrics from Michael, and he has top-quality stuff. The website is sub-par and difficult to navigate, but they are super helpful if you call. Right now he is running a 50% off sale, so what is shown on the website might go fast, but it is worth a check.
  2. Mood Fabrics. Oh, I miss the days my DD and SIL lived in NYC, and I could go to Mood frequently. Loads of selections, decent prices, good quality. What’s not to love?
  3. EmmaOneSock. When I used to work at Microsoft, I used to have Payroll just send my check directly to Linda. It was faster and easier that way. All her fabric is beautiful, but shirtings are not her specialty, so you may or may not find something that works for you. Definitely worth a look, though.
  4. Gorgeous Fabrics. Some stretch cottons mixed in, but a few nice Japanese and Italian cottons without lycra.

And how about interfacing and buttons?

Alrighty then, I hope some of this helps. I want to hear your favorite places to buy shirting fabric too, because in my world, there is never enough pet-able shirting in my stash! 🙂

Happy sewing!


21 Responses to Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Fabrics and Interfacings

  1. Several of my favs:
    Pink Chalk Fabrics is a good source for Andover Chambray, Robert Kaufman denims, and other quilting cottons worthy of making into garments. apparently stocked up on chambrays for Fall, too:

    Best for Last: Farmhouse Fabrics seems to be mainly about heirloom sewing, so lots of amazing organdies, voiles, batistes, etc., but they also have a knock-out selection of fine and super-fine cotton shirtings as well. This link is to their main fabric page which includes all fabric categories, including a ton of all-cotton ginghams, vintage Swiss and Italian cottons, pin cord, Japanese prints, etc.:

    This link is to their fabric “bundles”, pre-cut lengths, usually 2-3yds, at excellent prices, including many shirtings:

    This link is to a special bundle collection of Gitman Bros. shirtings, great stuff:

    FInally, this link is to their Egyptian cotton shirtings:

    I hear by disclaim any responsibility for budget over-runs caused by visits to these links. That includes you, Maris!

    • THANK YOU David – awesome! I have browsed Pink Chalk Fabrics, but never looked for shirtings. And…..I have got some great deals from them! But Farmhouse Fabrics!! Swoon. And budget-schmudget. 😉

  2. Maris, I am just finishing my Alder and I am ready! I bought some beautiful cotton shirting from Silhouette Patterns during Peggy’s last sale (seriously beautiful). I also just bought some interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply but I bought the light shirt Crisp. I hope that will be ok, I didn’t want to look corporate (not that I could!)

    I’m thinking of doing the swishy skirt version — will you be talking about that version at all?

    You are so talented – I know I will learn a ton! Thanks for doing this, Maris. It makes it worth taping together the Archer pattern – I had decided against it, until today. Off to buy it now, from your link.

    • Robyn! I am so glad you are in!!

      I am going to do the “swishy” version of the Archer, too. I just bought some awesome grey chambray with a fish print today at Nancy’s Sewing Basket that I am excited to use for this version – planning to pair it with black skinny pants. As for interfacing, the Shirt Crisp Light will just be lighter as you said – so if that is the look you want – it will be perfect.

      Thanks for joining the fun!!

  3. thanks for the fabric recommendations! i’ve made plenty of shirts, and few with very sub-par shirtings. it does hurt to shell out the money for quality, but at this point i feel pretty good about my shirt-making abilities so it’s less of a gamble to use the good stuff! actually it’s hubby that needs shirts and not me… i keep getting the side-eye every time i start a new archer–he’s learned to identify those pattern pieces!

    • Thanks for joining Lisa!! Don’t let it hurt to pay for quality fabric – it is always worth it in the end, Lisa. Unless of course you are taking food out of your babies mouths! 😉

      Make your husband a new shirt! I make all my husband’s dress shirts and will be giving a couple of Burda webinars on men’s shirt details. Not that much different than an Archer – flat-felled seams + different sleeve plackets are the main things. A few tiny cuff differences too.

  4. Oh, boy—I just bought some gorgeous fabric bundles at Farmhouse! I am looking forward to this sew along since I’ve had the Archer pattern out on my sewing table for a couple of weeks looking for inspiration. Thank you for doing this, Maris!

  5. Hello Everyone,
    I am new to your neighborhood, but I thought I would pop in and say hello. A few months ago, I purchased the Archer pattern, with hopes of making the shirt. The pattern is printed, but that is as far as it has come and it lays right next to my new sewing machine (b-day present).

    Tonight, checking your blog, I discovered you were doing the Archer Sew-A-Long. Would you all be up for a somewhat “novice” garment sewer to join in? I’ve quilted for 25+ years, made costumes and clothes for my daughter when she was a toddler (when fit really didn’t matter much). But have never really sewn any clothing for myself.

    To think of making my own shirt – well it might be a challenge, but what the heck. My only child (daughter) is leaving for college in 12 days and I need something to keep me occupied. I can’t promise there won’t be tear stains on the pattern and fabric, but at least I can blame it on the sewing. *smile* So would it be OK if I join in? If so, just a quick question as I search for fabric, would Liberty London Tana Lawn be too soft & drapey? (Is “drapey” a word?) I do have some Kaufman Chambrays & Union Denims, so maybe it would be best to save the expensive Liberty for the next time? Or perhaps I should treat myself? I was thinking a print fabric would be more uplifting… I will go look at the other sites suggested by Maris and David.

    I look forward to getting to know you all.


    • Heck YEAH sister! We would LOVE to have you join us! You can probably stitch straighter than I can since you are a quilting goddess, and joining a fun group like ours will be just the right way to dive into garments.

      Now. Fabric. If it were me, I wouldn’t start with Liberty of London fabric. I would make a quick muslin to resolve any fit issues, and then make up the “real” Archer with chambray or shirting. THEN I would make a second one (right away!) using Liberty of London fabric. But that is me, and you have to decide your own fabric path. I would happily use $15/yard fabric for my first Archer, but not $30+/yard fabric.

      And your daughter leaving? Awwww, it is a big transition isn’t it? For both of you. Hopefully hanging out with all us crazy sewing types will ease it a bit for you.

      Sooo happy to have you in our little crowd!


      • Thank you Maris , I’m hitting the online shopping tonight/tomorrow and will order my fabrics. And Maris and David, my husband would like to say a special “thank you” to your shopping suggestions *smile*.

        One more question, please help me understand the proper type of Muslin that I should purchase for garment testing. There are so many different qualities and some of the really inexpensive ones might not have the proper drape or weight? Is there a specific on-line site or local chain store that you recommend that has good muslin at a reasonable price? I’m pretty good to just be told exactly which one and then I’ll order it.
        thank you!

  6. A while back I called Pink Chalk to ask them which of their way-too-many solid, not-printed, fabric lines would be best for garment making, not quilting. Here’s the lines they suggested (I bought some samples and must agree these are not at all what we all know of as quilting cottons, very smooth and fine for “utility” fabrics—and wonderful color ranges! The Andover chambrays are quite beefy):
    Michael Miller Fabrics Cotton Couture
    Andover Chambray
    Andover Textured Solids
    In The Beginning Modern Solids
    Robert Kaufman Essex Linen

    • I love Essex Linen!! What do you think about Pepper Cory’s, Peppered Cottons by Studio E. Would those be appropriate for shirting? They are like a shot cotton, but have a higher thread count. I have several large pieces of those and thought maybe they might work too?

      • I am not familiar with that specific brand and line, but it sounds very appropriate. If you like the “feel” of it, and the weight is similar to other shirts you like to wear, then it should be great!

  7. David Coffin, thank you so much. The information you have shared is a treasure for me. What great options for online shopping. BTW, your book and DVD are a treasure also.

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