Turtles for a Tortoise

Up until recently, there was a tortoise in my life. A lovely, grumpy, ageing tortoise called Oswald. She had belonged to my nana, and been passed down through the family and ultimately ended up with me. She had been a constant all my life, and was one of my favourite childhood pets. She broke gender boundaries, she laid eggs a couple of times, ate dandelions, bit toes. and most of all she slept.


Sadly Oswald passed away two months ago and I miss her dearly. She made my day – every day – and I loved looking after her.

Because I am a sentimental old fool, I now seek out tortoise-related ephemera and on a trip to Goldhawk Road for my wedding dress fabric, I chanced upon this Liberty turtle print cotton lawn. Not a tortoise per-se, but a chelonian no less. It’s the closest I can currently get. I went for an Archer button up shirt. My third now, not my last, but definitely my favourite.


Construction-wise I don’t have too much to say that is new. Alterations I made were adding two inches to the length of the body and sleeves. I found out why my Archers seem to fit a bit closer than everyone else’s – my test square is not three inches. It’s just under. Lesson learnt, but luckily it hasn’t hurt me to have a slightly closer fit, I’m actually really happy with it on all my Archers.

DSC_0456multiThis cotton is lightweight cotton lawn and so I pinked the seam allowances and topstitched them down. It makes for a really lovely finish, neater than overlocking. Topstitching the side seams was funny. I felt like a total weirdo with my face pressed against the top of my machine, trying to see down the sleeve.


The hem is finished with bias tape and the buttons are vintage stash ones. I recently saw a very narrow hem on a RTW shirt and tried to replicate it on this Archer but I really struggle when it comes to the curved edges. Does anyone have any tips?



  1. Rest in peace Oswald. A fitting tribute.

  2. […] 17th: I wore two me-mades, my turtle Archer and my trusty red denim pencil […]

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