Holm Sown: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt in Castle Check Cotton - Navy // front detail

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt – Castle Check

So the Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio has been on my to-sew list forever.  I bought the pattern back in January 2014 where it has been waiting patiently to finally make it to the top of the queue.  As part of my shirt-making kick I’ve been trying to sew patterns from different pattern companies as they all have their own specific tips and tricks.  I like the challenge of mixing up my sewing and you never know, you might just find a new technique that you wonder how you managed without!

Holm Sown: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt in Castle Check Cotton - Navy

The pattern

The Archer Shirt is a classic button up shirt with a loose, un-darted, fit.  It comes with nearly all the features I’d expect in a shirt pattern: 2-piece collar, separate button band, optional pockets and cuffs.  However, it doesn’t come with tower plackets for the sleeves.  While it would be easy enough to steal this feature from another shirt pattern, I opted to buy the PDF expansion pack that includes the tower placket and also gives the option for a pop-over shirt. I’m not going to lie, having to pay an extra $7 for the Archer Popover Variation Pack is a bit of a pain on top of the original pattern.

Holm Sown; Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Sewing Pattern

After checking the finished garment measurements and wasting a lot of time reading reviews, I made a size 10 (a size down from my measurements).

The fabric

This is a lovely cotton shirting from the shop and is one of our Castle Check range  (it is also available in burgundy and olive/brown).  I wanted to make a traditional check shirt that I could wear off-duty at home.  It is a blue and cream symmetrical check with a red line running through it.  For visual interest I cut the pockets, button band, yoke, cuffs and sleeve plackets on the bias.

Holm Sown: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt in Castle Check Cotton - Navy // back detail


Everything came together fine, and after making so many Alder Shirts I’ve got the Grainline method for finishing of the collar / collar stand committed to memory.  By the way, it is my favourite method and the one that I think gives the nicest finish.

Instead of buttons I used pearl press studs which add to the overall checked shirt look!  I’m not sure what happened to my check matching at the side seams – hey ho.

Holm Sown: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt in Castle Check Cotton - Navy // sleeve placket detail

Holm Sown: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt in Castle Check Cotton - Navy // pocket detail


I read so many reviews about the shirt being over-sized, the cuffs being too loose etc. that I spent a bit too long deliberating what size to make.  Sometimes I think you just have to accept that the first time you make a new pattern it might not be perfect (make a muslin if you want it to be).  So my personal thoughts on the general fit of the Archer are that I’ve ended up with a neater fit through the body that the pattern was drafted for.  While it is OK and comfortable to wear, I think the 12 would have given me more of the relaxed look I was after.  I agree that the sleeves and cuffs do seem to be a bit loose and over-sized and I might look to address this a bit on any future versions.  The sleeve length is just long enough for me, and I’d prefer the body to be a bit longer.

However, it is still a very wearable shirt and one that I’m sure will be in constant rotation.  I’m going to need to make it again, or at least the popover version to get my money’s worth out of the patterns.

Total cost: £45.95

Fabric: 2m of Castle Check Cotton – Navy @ £10/m = £20.00

Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt and Popover Expansion Pack = £14 + £5.40 ($7) = £19.40

Notions: Pearl Press Studs, Thread & Interfacing = £6.55



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