A Sewing Class: Grainline Studio’s Archer Shirt

Some people can say with confidence that they are self-taught sewists. They picked up patterns and sewing books and experimented; eventually, they learned to sew beautiful, well fitting garments.

Not so for me. Certainly, I sewed on my own for a long time. A few things turned out ok but I was usually disappointed. I wondered if sewing was just something I wouldn’t be able to do well.

Then, I took sewing lessons. Next, I discovered the internet. It had been around for quite some time but I didn’t realize the wealth of online sewing help. Sew-alongs, video tutorials, and instructions with pictures have helped through a number of new techniques

Now, I appreciate a sewing lesson or class every now and again to work on a specific skill. When I discovered a group class that would be making the Archer Buttonup Shirt, I decided it was time to tackle sleeves (not nearly as scary as I thought), collars (a little tricky but not impossible), and button holes (more to come on that).


The timing wasn’t ideal: I started taking the class when I was 4 months pregnant. How do you size yourself when your body is changing shape? I opted to make a muslin for the sake of learning the technique. The Archer shirt is not meant to be fitted so I would have some wiggle room with the size.

In another sense, the timing was perfect: this pattern was just enough of a challenge that I was learning a lot but not so much of a challenge that I couldn’t repeat it on my own.

In class, I sewed on a high-tech Bernina. The stitches are clean and the sewing lines are straight. Sewing on my machine at home does not produce results that are quite as nice.



My main goal for the class was to learn the techniques. I don’t wear this muslin. The hem and buttons remain to be sewn. At some point I may do the finishing touches and dye it. White is just not a practical color for me. Too many spills.


My next goal after the class: make another shirt on my own to reinforce what I’ve learned.

4 thoughts on “A Sewing Class: Grainline Studio’s Archer Shirt

  1. Kady Boden

    The detailing on the pockets looks really nice! I am always in too much of a rush to be done with a project to always stitch the tiny details. If you make this again do you think you will sew it in a cotton or try a more dress-shirt like fabric?

    1. Michelle Post author

      Definitely a cotton. I think I’d prefer a more fitted style if I were going to do a dress shirt. That’s a personal preference.

  2. Barbara Harrigan

    Michelle…I so enjoy reading your blog! And I am so impressed with your sewing abilities. I use to make clothes for myself and Jennifer. Also, made the kids “wrap pants”! Remember those? You inspire me to start sewing again. And with a new granddaughter coming, what better time! I need a new machine, though! Any recommendations?
    I look forward to seeing more of your creations!

    1. Michelle Post author

      Hi Barbara, I’m glad you enjoy reading and are inspired to sew again! As far as recommendations for sewing machines, it depends on how much you want to spend and what all you want to do with it. I’ve sewn on Berninas that are really nice: digital settings that make buttonholes easy and beautiful etc. Those can be expensive. Sometimes a place that sells sewing machines will let you come in and try them out. I have a Necchi 3537 that is about 15 years old, not digital and so far its been fine. However, I do notice that the stitching turns out better when I use the Bernina at my sewing class. What machine do you have currently?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *