Thursday, June 26, 2014

archer shirt variation: v-neck placket

Wutsup Internet pals. After my last post, I received some requests for a demonstration on how I modified the plackets of the Grainline Archer shirt to a V-neck. And I oblige! I like this look because the shirt lays flat against your chest while still framing your neck and face in that nice button-up shirt kinda way. It's slightly more feminine, too, so there's that.

This doesn't involve anything too difficult, despite the long post that follows here. The modification involves three steps: 1) modify the shape of your shirt pattern piece, 2) draft separate plackets to match, and 3) shorten your collar stand. I'll also show you how to actually sew on the new plackets. You can, of course, do all this with any button-up shirt pattern, but I'm showing it on the Archer because it seems likely that more of you guys already have this pattern (or are thinking about getting it) than some rando Butterick pattern or something, right? We're all indie fangirls and we know it.

So if you want to get this look, follow along!

1. Assemble the front pattern piece of the Archer shirt. If you need to print a new one for this modification, you only need to print pages 2-4, 8-10, and 14-16 from the PDF. Cut or trace your size.

2. Cut along the vertical line that says "Trim Along Dotted Line for Right Front." The original Archer pattern has you fold under and stitch the placket on the wearer's left side, and attach a separate placket piece for the right side. On this modification, both sides will have two separate plackets so throw away that chunk and pretend it never existed.

3. Cut off the desired amount to create your V-shape in the front. Make sure it doesn't cut way below your bust apex (unless u naughty), but remember that there will be added plackets that will provide more coverage. For reference, I made a point 1" inward at the neck and another point 7-1/2" down, and connected those points with a straight line which I then cut off. Feel free to make the neckline more or less open, higher or lower.

Because I was making a sleeveless version, I went ahead and modified the shoulder and armhole, too. As Jen writes in her sleeveless Archer mod post, you don't want a sleeveless shirt that hangs off your shoulders, so shorten that shoulder seam and blend to nothing at the original underarm. I shortened my shoulder seam by 1-1/2". You'll need to similarly alter your yoke and back pieces, too.

4. Before drafting the plackets, go ahead and draw the seam line on the front edge of the shirt pattern piece. The seam allowance on Grainline patterns is 1/2". This steps just helps with the drafting process for accurate measuring of the new plackets.

5. To draft the plackets, place a sheet of tracing paper over the top of your pattern piece (I use Swedish Tracing Paper). Weigh it down then trace that seam line you just drew. Now draw a parallel line 3/4" to the left of that seam line. 3/4" is the final desired placket width I chose, so if you want a wider or narrower placket, adjust as you please. Connect the top of the two lines by tracing the curved outline of the shirt neckline. Connect the bottoms with a straight perpendicular line that matches the hem of your shirt piece.

So, the blue outline on the tracing paper is now the placket piece without seam allowances on the sides:

6. Add seam allowances to the sides of the placket only, since SAs are already included in the top and hem (traced from the original pattern). My SAs are in green in the photo. Stick with 1/2" if you're using the Archer so it remains consistent with the rest of the shirt construction. When drawing your SAs at the top of the placket, the top bit should continue to follow the curve of the shirt neckline. It will look crazy pointy, but that is all trimmed down later after you sew it on. Cut out your new final pattern piece.

While you have all your pattern pieces and fabric out, let's do this mod now before sewing anything. Remember that you removed fabric from the front of your shirt pieces, which makes the garment neckline shorter around. If you're adding a collar, collar stand, or both, you will need to adjust the pattern piece(s) accordingly. I decided I wanted a "mandarin collar," or just a collar stand with no collar piece, so I'm only showing that modification here. The same theory applies if you're adjusting a collar, too: remove length at the center so the shape and pitch of the ends remain unaltered.

First, calculate how much of the neckline you removed from the shirt on each side. Instead of measuring all the pattern pieces and adding stuff together, just think about the original pattern pieces versus your new ones and do some subtraction. On the original Archer, there is the full neckline plus a 1" placket. For my version, I removed 1 inch from that neckline, then added plackets that are only 3/4". So my shirt neckline now has 1-1/4" less on EACH SIDE, or 2-1/2" less total. I hope that makes sense. I tried to create some diagrams but it just made it seem more confusing.

The Archer collar stand is cut on the fold, so changes made to this pattern piece reflect only one side, though the changes will be doubled once the fabric is cut. Since I removed 1-1/4" from each side of the shirt neckline, I similarly removed 1-1/4" from each half of the collar stand at the center back. I marked a line at 1-1/4" and cut there. This is your new "Cut on Fold" line when you cut your fabric.

1. Cut FOUR placket pieces from your fabric. Two of them will be your outer plackets and the remaining two will be the placket facings. Cut two interfacing pieces as well. 

2. Fuse the interfacing to two placket pieces.

3. Right sides together, pin and sew the the facings to their placket counterparts. You will be sewing the outer edge, or the outer curve of the plackets. Trim this seam allowance.

Open the pieces and press the seam to the placket facing (uninterfaced side). Understitch this seam in place.

4. Fold together and press, wrong sides together. The understitching will help the placket facing stay put in the back. Double check the width of your plackets now and trim the raw edges to make everything even if you need to. 

5. You'll now be attaching the plackets as one piece to the front shirt edges. That means you'll sew both layers of the placket and placket facing to the shirt, and the seam will be visible on the inside. I decided not to do a "clean finish" (where the placket facing edge is folded over and stitched to cover the separately-sewn placket seam) in the interest of time and in the interest of me not being interested in a clean finish. Do whatchu do.

Pin the right side of the placket side to the shirt edge. The pointy seam allowance at the top of the placket sticks out awkwardly as it's supposed to, but remember it will be trimmed and pressed back in place later. 

Stitch these seams at 1/2" then trim and finish this seam by serging or zig zagging. Press the seam away from the placket. Topstitch down if ya want.

Your plackets are done! I know you can hardly see them in this fabric, but check out how the neckline now looks when the plackets are overlapped. It will open up more once you put it on a 3D body.

Continue constructing the shirt per the pattern instructions, using your modified collar stand. Some other things to note:
  • If you need help sewing on the collar/stand, I have a tutorial on that here
  • If you made your shirt sleeveless and need help finishing those edges, the Colette blog has a nice post on finishing armholes with bias binding, which is how I sewed mine here (except, duh, I sewed mine in the flat, not the round).
  • The buttonhole/button situation will be a little different than your standard Archer (there's fewer of them, yay!), but just make sure you place a button at the fullest point of your bust to avoid placket gaping/bra peekaboo.

Any questions? Holler!