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Denim on Denim

Debbie Christensen grainline merchant and mills shirt shorts

I made more Grainline Archer shirts. Despite the look on my face, I'm not disgusted by this, I was just getting over whatever sickness is going around and this was the best face I could muster.

grainline archer shirt

I don't think this look much like an Archer. But it is! It's actually a muslin for a linen one I wanted to make. I changed some things and wanted to check the fit. I left the button band out and stitched the front closed. I raised the armholes by 3/8" and sewed everything with a 5/8" seam allowance instead of 1/2" like the directions say. I felt that the shirt was too boxy so I curved it out at the hips. Increasing the seam allowance ever-so-slightly gave a better fit, especially in the shoulders

It looks a little tight, because I didn't pre-wash the fabric. I didn't think I would like this shirt as much as I do. Also, I lost about 2" of width across the front by omitting the button band. The fabric is this Merchant & Mills chambray Khadi cotton. It's beautiful, and the color changes in different light.

grainline archer shirt

I also did a small swayback adjustment, but I'm honestly not sure that that did anything.

So after my roaring success with my muslin, I cut into my pre-washed fabric. I used this Merchant & Mills linen twill, which feels like a light- to mid-weight denim. Well, I didn't cut into it just yet. First I had to worry about it. Would this fabric be too heavy for a shirt? Do I actually like this faded color on me? I was only lukewarm about my last Archer shirt, would this one be a dud too? In spite of all my misgivings, I made it, and I really like it.

linen grainline archer shirt

I made the changes I mentioned for my muslin, except for sewing the shoulders. I meant to use a 5/8" seam allowance, but forgot and sewed them with 1/2". I was so mad when I realized it, but not mad enough to unpick and re-sew flat-felled shoulder seams. Those are haaaaard. I also lengthened the shirt because I didn't like the proportions of my flannel shirt.

Raising the armholes lets me do this without the shirt lifting up over my belly button.

linen grainline archer shirt

I unfurled this shirt from the crumpled floor-ball it had been in for a week, so this is freshly pressed for these photos. And it was so warm when I put it on! Otherwise, like all linen, it wrinkles. Especially in these hands.

linen grainline archer shirt

I think this fabric was an excellent pairing with this shirt. The shirt hangs really well with the weight of the material.

linen grainline archer shirt

After squeezing this shirt out of a yard and a half of this (expensive) fabric (I originally got two yards), I didn't want the leftovers to languish in my garbage bag of scraps. So, in the spirit of the two-piece sets that were so popular last year, here is my two-piece Grainline set:

linen grainline archer shirt and linen grainline maritime shorts

This picture is too good. These are the Grainline Maritime shorts. I was just able to make a size 4 out of a half yard.

linen denim grainline maritime shorts

I made a muslin, but I didn't include the waistband because I was antsy to get on with the shorts. So they don't fit as well as they could. The waist is pretty loose, and the back is just a bit too long below the waistband, so the fabric bunches up a little.

linen denim grainline maritime shorts

All of the seams in these shorts are finished with bias tape, then stitched down to look flat-felled from the outside. And here comes my beef with Grainline. I don't like that Grainline uses 1/2" seam allowances; I don't think it's enough to do a proper seam finish, especially with heavier fabric. The directions are written with the assumption that the average home sewer has a serger. I also find Grainline's directions confusing. I do love the designs though, so I guess I'll just follow my heart and not the instructions. Anyway, this is what the inside looks like:

linen denim grainline maritime shorts Lucky me, these shorts were made entirely from scraps! I love to use Liberty of London lawn for pockets because it's so strong and lightweight. These pockets are Lagos Laurel D and the waistband lining and bias tape are Theo C.

And here's my favorite part.

linen denim grainline maritime shorts

Deciding on a robot button was difficult because they're all so funny. But I finally settled on this one, because it reminds me of my cat. Sometimes when she blinks she looks like a muppet.

from http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Mahna_Mahna_Through_the_Years

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  • Jacquelyn Vogel on

    I agree with you that a 5/8" seam is important. You could add the extra 1/8" to the pattern so that you have it every time you want to sew the shirt and shorts. You could also add it when you cut out the shorts but I would not remember to do that on every seam so adding to the pattern makes sense to me. I have been sewing for a lo-oo-o oo-ng time and know a lot of shortcuts.

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