Organic Cotton Archer – 1940s Style

December 29, 2013

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.