Classic white shirt – From Archer to TNT

Dear Readers,

First things first: Happy New Year! I won’t do a review of my year because I only posted 23 times, so there would not be much to say… My goal for 2015 is to double this number! Now, without any transition, let’s look at my new favorite shirt! The shirt was finished at least 3 weeks ago but I hate making buttonholes so much that it waited in a dusty corner until I made another shirt, for The Old Man this time, and then did all the buttonholes at once.

wpid1008-White-cotton-shirt-9.jpgI wanted this shirt to be as close as possible to a man classic Oxford shirt but with an appropriate fit. I believe that I achieved my goal.The initial pattern for this shirt is my modified Archer. Additional changes included using the collar and stand of my white shirtdress (from the Japanese book Blouse, Skirts, Pants), adding back darts, removing the CB box pleat and shortening sleeves AGAIN by 2″. They look embarrassingly short on the hanger but just right when worn. #Creepybabyarms, again.


I can now officially say that no pattern piece is the same as the original Archer and that I am very close to a TNT pattern. Why, not a TNT yet? Because of some pooling in the upper back. I tried to pin out a horizontal take of 1″ just under the yoke and it looked so much better. However, I have not figured out how to remove it without completely killing my armhole… I’m waiting for an Eureka moment that may or may not come!

wpid996-White-cotton-shirt-3.jpgThe fabric is cotton I bought in Panajachel, Guatemala (by the beautiful lake Atitlán). It was cheap, has some texture and looks like washed cotton. I’m not sure if it has a name but it can get almost a paper feeling. I think it works well for this shirt but I would not recommend it for any project.

wpid1000-White-cotton-shirt-5.jpgMy shirtmaking skills are work in progress but they are improving each time. Compared to my last shirt, I went back to a classic collar construction order and I used different seam allowances for the flat-felled seams. Everything came together painlessly EXCEPT when I prepared, attached and topstitched BOTH sleeves to the body, only to realize that the wrong sides were on the outside. A lot of seam ripping/self cursing. Not fun.

wpid1004-White-cotton-shirt-7.jpgThe shirt is definitely filling a gap in my wardrobe. I cannot remember for how long I’ve wanted a 100% cotton white shirt. They seem to have become a rare commodity and I hate the blends that are sold currently from H&M to Ann Taylor. In addition to yellowing and aging badly, they also tend to be see-through, which is puzzling to me since their primary use is for the office.

wpid1006-White-cotton-shirt-8.jpgFinally, the pictures were all taken with my new camera, in full manual mode! I know it seems normal to a lot of you but I’m very happy about it. Also I quit on trying to keep the dog out of the pictures. He loves being in the middle of things…

After this shirt, I decided I was comfortable enough to go up one step: a man’s shirt. I will be back in a few days with pictures of The Old Man in his fancy linen shirt! I thought I would be done with those 2 shirts for a while, but then I saw the beautiful one Sasha just posted and Sewaholic released the Granville pattern. So… Granville is already printed and taped, I guess I will be back with more shirts soon! What about you? Are you getting closer to your TNT patterns in 2015?

28 thoughts on “Classic white shirt – From Archer to TNT

  1. Sasha

    Oh … it looks so sharp! I love it and I love the fit – I always thought the archer was a bit “butch” maybe because it is loose fitting and I’ve seen it made so many times in all kinds of tartan- but with your mods now is such a feminine piece of apparel – in white cotton is perfect for the office! A true wardrobe staple. I can’t wait to see the other shirts!!!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I’m not going to lie, it does take a lot of tweaking to bring the fit closer but now I love how it’s close to the body and still comfortable. You are sooooo right about how many plaid versions are around the internet…

  2. Stephanie

    Nice work and nice camera work! This looks great and really speaks to me as a perfect Oxford-style shirt is sort of a holy grail for my wardrobe. I have made one Archer in a refined men’s shirting cotton and I don’t mind it, but it needs some tweaks to become my perfect shirt (more shaping, although I don’t mind a looser fit in a shirt and don’t think a boy fit is necessarily “butch” :) fact I think it can be sexy)) and a bigger collar). I am going to try another pattern (Burda 09/2009 105) as a starting point, but will try tweaking the Archer in similar ways to yours at some point.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thanks Stephanie! The Archer is a great start and believe me I’m not the last one finding butch sexy 😉 i agree that the collar can be improved. To give it some shape just redraw the side seams and it will be instantly more fitted!

  3. idaaidasewing

    Perfect classic shirt and it looks so flattering. I usually get carried away by prints but solid colors make a real wardrobe staple as they can be easily combined with other garments. Not to mention white is my favorite colour!

  4. juebejue

    This may be my favorite archer!!! Love the cotton too. It is weird that white shirt being sold out there tend to be transparent. I always assumed that they are skimping on the material

  5. Beth (SunnyGal Studio)

    excellent sewing on that shirt, so crisp. But the first thing I noticed is the photographs – fantastic. So nice. For me photography is the most difficult part of sewing 🙂 I am a bit jealous. Looking forward to seeing your Sewaholic shirt – I probably won’t buy it as I have enough various shirt patterns to last a while but it is very cute.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you so much Beth! Photographs are HARD and looking at the camera while they are being taken is extra hard. But for me, the hardest part is writing. I blame it on the fact that it’s not my native language but to be honest, I’m just not a strong writer. I love how fluid your writing style is, it’s like listening to a new conversation over a cup of tea!

  6. leia

    I have been searching far and wide for a pattern that’s both timeless And feminine. I feel like shirts being made currently are so flimsy and always partly see-through. But it’s been so hard finding a blouse pattern that practical and without any ruffles. Do you think you’d ever release the pattern? I’ve been eyeing the archer pattern but I think it may be too boxy for me.

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