In Sewing

Organic Cotton Archer – 1940s Style

This project barely took anytime to come to fruition in my brain. I quite literally live in button up shirts (even sleep in them) so it was absolutely essential that I make one for myself sooner than later. Thus, Archer Appreciation Month was born!


I’ve sewn with the luscious cotton sateen from Organic Cotton Plus twice now (here and here) so for this sponsored* post I knew I’d ask for a winter weight fabric. The natural flannel was the natural choice. This flannel comes in its “raw” state so I custom dyed it with RIT to give it some personality. You can read about my dye process in this post, here. Organic Cotton Plus has recently added a selection of Procion MX Dyes to their site, which I didn’t see before, so I might have to give those a try next time instead.


This was my first experience dying fabric and I have to say I’m very pleased with the results. The flannel dyed evenly and easily, and held up very well after I subjected it to nearly boiling water and then washed it twice in cold water after dying. The fabric pilled slightly, but that’s to be expected after washing it as ruthlessly as I did. When I pressed it under the iron the pilling mostly disappeared, but the fabric did stretch. I haven’t sewn with flannel in a very long time so I had forgotten it would do that. No trouble though, my Archer shirt still went together with ease and everything lined up well in spite of the stretching.



I ended up sewing the size 4, but now that I see the sleeve length and shoulder seam, I’m guessing I could have sewn the smallest size for a better fit. I don’t mid though, it’s a seriously comfortable shirt! The fit might not be spot on, but I’m definitely happy with how my 1940s collar modification turned out even though it was a bit of a struggle. I didn’t really have a set plan of action for the collar so I found myself reaching for the seam ripper quite a few times as I pieced it together. At one point I had to rip out part of the lapel after I had already hacked off the seam allowance. The fact that the fabric didn’t unravel on me has got to be a testament to its weave. I honestly can’t believe it held up well enough to rip out a 1/8th inch seam allowance, sew it back together, and still turn the lapel point without poking through!


The buttons on my Archer are organic coconut shell and I love the texture they add to the shirt. I suspect they’re hand cut because the thickness between each button varies slightly, but not enough to notice unless you’re holding them up next to each other.


We had beautiful sunny weather in Western NY today but it was still awfully chilly with the wind, so I’m afraid my sweater didn’t stay off for long. The flannel certainly helped keep me a bit warmer though.





While the fabric was wonderful to sew with, I think next time I’ll save my eyeballs (and my sanity) and pick a fabric that has a more obvious right and wrong side. I may or may not have sewn a sleeve on inside-out twice in a row. Whoops! I really can’t blame the fabric for that though, that “whoops!” was entirely my fault.

As far as the Archer pattern itself, I am blown away by Jen’s drafting ability. You can tell she has professional training by the fact that the original archer collar has a separate top and bottom piece. Many modern patterns don’t bother with that detail and seem to not care if your collar rolls to right side or not. This is something I never knew until I took a pattern drafting class myself. Those little things really impress me and I salute Jen for her attention to detail, and loyalty to traditional pattern making.

That’s a wrap on my contribution to Archer Appreciation Month, and 2013 sewing! If you’re participating, don’t forget to add your photos to the Flickr pool before January 1st.


* – fabric and buttons provided by Organic Cotton Plus in exchange for a review. All views are honest and my own.

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  • It looks awesome! Do you have any suggestions for moving shoulder seams on a finished product, provided the sleeves are also too long?

    • Hmm. You could try turning the garment inside out and stitching a deeper seam allowance at the shoulder, but that would make it tighter under the arm pit too.

  • Beautiful job – you look so cute and cozy! i love the cuff details on the sleeves 🙂

  • Really beautiful, agelessly classic shirt. I love that it’s a wee bit oversized. That just adds to the feeling that you borrowed it from your brother (or husband’s, etc) closet back in the 1940s, as so many gals did to get rugged button downs back in the day.

    ♥ Jessica

  • great blouse–the color looks so beautiful on you! And I like how clean and simple the style is due to your modifications.

  • Gorgeous! I like your collar modification, and that flannel looks deliciously cozy. I just finished cutting out the fabric for my Archer this morning. Probably won’t get it done in time for “Archer Appreciation Month” since I was a late-comer to the game, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

  • I love how it came out! I remember when you were a little worried over the color of the dyed shirt but I really do think it’s just perfect. I love how your collar modification looks, too, and those buttons are great. Such a great shirt overall and I love the little attention to details!

  • Absolutely stunning! So perfect for winter!

  • That looks so comfie! A very lovely job and one that will keep you toasty warm! I don’t know why but button front shirts always intimidate me but I agree with Sharren – I am inspired!

  • SO CUTE! I love this! Also, the little cabin in your photos looks adorable!

  • Love how you made this your own, adapting the pattern to reflect your own style. Very cool!

  • Beautiful! The shirt looks so cozy too, and I love your collar variation. I’m sorry about the infuriating sleeve issues, but at least Jen’s sleeves are always easy to set in!

    • Thank you! Yes well if I actually followed Jen’s instructions like I should have, I wouldn’t have had any sleeve frustrations. I know better now!

  • Danielle

    The shirt looks great, definitely adding the pattern to it to my must make list! Are your jeans Freddies? They are super cute!

    • Thanks, Danielle! Yeah the jeans are from Freddies, they’re the side button style 🙂

  • the colour your choose is great and the result looks really cosy 🙂

    xo Fräulein K.

  • The shirt came out so nice and looks good on you. I just love that color.

  • I love your whole outfit in the photos!

  • This shirt looks really comfy and cosy 🙂 I like the pictures, but they are always great here 🙂
    Have a happy new (sewing) year!

  • This looks great! I really like your collar variation – despite the headaches it gave you 🙂

  • Sharren

    Hi Rochelle,
    What a great project! So many new skills and a lovely shirt as the result. Nice job 🙂 I am inspired!