Get the armscye right: 2 Sleeveless Grainline Archers

Patience has never been my most dominant virtue.  And while I credit my sewing journey with vast improvements in that respect,  my impetuous nature still wins over sometimes when I just want to get sewing.  The most common occurance is of course that classic debate: to muslin, or not to muslin?  

I was first sold on the idea of a sleeveless Archer when I came across Jen’s blog post.  She presented it as pretty straightforward, which for me was enabling.  Combine that with triple digit heat creating an urgent 'need' for such a garment, you can probably guess what I decided to do.  I cut right into my beautiful fabric using the original pattern pieces and hoped making adjustments directly to the garment would somehow work out.  

In the first fitting it was clear that on me the shoulder needed to be brought in much more than the blog post indicated.  Fortunately it was super easy to visualize how much needed to go just by tucking under the excess.  I took it off, marked off 2 inches and blended that into the existing curve, careful not to change the shape just yet.  In the second fitting. I could see the curve was not working for me- there was still too much fabric.  I lowered the armscye 1/4” and scooped out a new curve in both the front and back.  Success!  On the third fitting there was a bit of gaping in the underarm, so I took in that seam by 1/2”.  Moral of the story?  If you are impatient like me, try making small adjustments one at a time and try on your project after each one.  You ***probably*** won’t mess it up.

This fist version was about 80% made up from #sewingleftovers from my wide legged Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers.  Fortunately when I went back to JoAnn I was able to snag was was left on the bolt of this Nicole Miller line-lyocell blend.  That meant I didn't have to make any sacrifices due to fabric shortage AND there's still another yard or so to play with.   

As far as construction goes, he shirt basically comes together the same as the sleeved version, only with much less work involved.  I wanted to highlight the hefty drape of this fabric and after a little testing decided I could skip interfacing altogether.  Fearing bulk, I decided against self bias and went with a basic black pre-made one.  It looks and functions fine, but I just don't like the way it feels on the skin.  Generally I go for a very classic button up look, but since this is more of a blouse, I left off the collar stand button and the first two on the placket.  This shirt is perfect for summer, but I think will be just as good for cool weather layered under a cardigan or sweater.

 The new armscye! 

The new armscye! 

 Loving that soft collar look. 

Loving that soft collar look. 

 My preference is one chest pocket.  This is the full sized pocket from the pattern. 

My preference is one chest pocket.  This is the full sized pocket from the pattern. 

 That drape though! 

That drape though! 

 Ease of movement, but no gaping.  

Ease of movement, but no gaping.  

 I can’t recommend this fabric blend enough. It looks expensive but is so comfortable even in heat & humidity.

I can’t recommend this fabric blend enough. It looks expensive but is so comfortable even in heat & humidity.

 Worn with the front tied, natch. 

Worn with the front tied, natch. 

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I was really pleased with the result here but also a little worried I wouldn't be able to replicate my  success.  I decided to get started on anther version straight away, this time attempting some proper drafting.  Starting off with the measurements I did know, I removed the same 2 inches from the shoulder, lowered the armscye 1/4" and brought in the side seam 1/2".  These changes were made to both the front and back shirt pieces. Then to re-draw the curve!  I used my dressmakers curve to eyeball what I thought it should look like.  I pulled out my Adelaide pattern and measured the armscye circumference- partly for reference, partly for reassurance I hadn’t gone too far off.  After a little adjusting I had a curve I hoped would be comfortably roomy but not gape too much.  Since the back has a yoke I lined up the pattern pieces as they'd be once sewn, then drew the curve.  On the back I went for a slightly deeper scoop.

 The adjusted front shirt pattern pieces. 

The adjusted front shirt pattern pieces. 

 I like to note the adjustments I make right on the pattern for future reference. 

I like to note the adjustments I make right on the pattern for future reference. 

 Don’t forget the yoke piece needs to be adjusted, too! 

Don’t forget the yoke piece needs to be adjusted, too! 

This second version is made up from a remnant of Japanese cotton shirting I scored from Blackbird back in December.  It is deliciously crisp and light and lovely to sew and press and wear.  Close up you can see it’s got a micro stripe with distinct white and very bright blue threads.  When I went to grab white thread for the machine I couldn’t ignore a spool that matched the blue perfectly.  See how unpredictable I can be?  The buttons are all that's left of my all time favorite GAP shirt.  I thought it an appropriate remembrance to use them here.

 Front view with tiny pocket and very blue buttonholes. What are your thoughts about this bold topstitching???

Front view with tiny pocket and very blue buttonholes. What are your thoughts about this bold topstitching???

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 Newly drafted armscye with self bias finish.  Yay to me for finally understitching my binding.  

Newly drafted armscye with self bias finish.  Yay to me for finally understitching my binding.  

 Back view with my  Chi Town chinos  

Back view with my Chi Town chinos 

 For as long as I can remember, Ive been obessed with preppy styling.

For as long as I can remember, Ive been obessed with preppy styling.

 To change things up I did not tie the front for this look.  I seem to be puzzled at this...

To change things up I did not tie the front for this look.  I seem to be puzzled at this...

 This is a great project for a short cut of fabric.  I had 1.3 meters and probably only used about 1m for a size 6.

This is a great project for a short cut of fabric.  I had 1.3 meters and probably only used about 1m for a size 6.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this inspires you to make your own sleeveless Archer.  If you do be sure and tag me on Instagram. Xo