A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Striped Plantain Tee Dresses

I've been eyeing up the uber-popular McCalls 6886 pattern lately.  If we lived in the States, I would have picked it up at a Joann's sale by now. As I've been too spoiled by the $1 sales to pay mail-order prices for Big 4 patterns, I decided to use my Plantain t-shirt pattern to make the dress.

I took a look at the finished measurements on the pattern and noted that there was no ease in the bust and 1.5" in the hips.  My Plantain pattern has 5 inches of negative ease in the bust, which I kept intact (I probably should have reduced the amount of negative ease).  I drafted the rest of the pattern with the 1.5" of positive ease in the hips, and then fit the side seams to my body.

I was a bit worried that the sleeves would be tight because the fabric wasn't as stretchy as fabric I'd previously used to make the pattern.  I ended up adding 1/4" to the front side seam of the sleeve while I was cutting. I also sewed the top of the sleeve seams together with a 1/4" seam allowance instead of 3/8" to give myself more room. I could still use a smidge more room.  I was reminded after I finished the dress, that I think the Plantain sleeve has too flat of a sleeve cap.  I think it would fit me better if I raised the cap a bit; I'm going to play with this alteration in the future.

I put a seam down the middle of the dress.  On this version, I forgot to add the seam allowances for that center seam, so the back is a bit tight. I also have some fabric pooling that I could use the center seam to address in the future.

The fabric is a poly/lycra "famous dress designer" Ottoman knit I got from FabricMart last month.  I rarely ever buy or sew with polyester, and this project reminded me why that is.  I don't love the fabric. It doesn't breathe at all and is slightly scratchy. It also looks very pill-prone; I don't think the dress is going to hold up very long.  Thankfully it's the sort of dress that I'd only wear to work (part-time) or church, and then would take off as soon as I got home. That might help its longevity.

While trying on the dress, I noted that the armscye is at the perfect height for a sleeveless version. So I made a summer version using the last of some striped rayon/lycra jersey from my stash.

It's a little shorter due to lack of fabric.  I scooped the front and back shoulders a bit - I think it may have been a whole inch off the shoulder, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the armscye in the front, and tapering a bit higher in the back.  Of course I neglected to take notes.

The fabric isn't super forgiving - it shows every lump as well as VPL - but it feels like I'm wearing nothing and I think it will be comfy for humid days at home this summer.  Which can't come soon enough. I was not at all dressed for the actual weather during this photo shoot ... Bogota has been overcast and chilly for months.

And I think that's all I have to say about that. As always, thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Super cute! I especially like the summer version (although I share your aversion to rayon knits in general). I did just buy a swingy loose rayon knit dress at Target that is just the thing for summer, though, so I'll take it (the skirt part is quite loose and doesn't show anything).

    I like the shorter length too!

  2. great idea to use a t-shirt and lengthen to a dress. I like the summer version a lot too, looks like something good to hear on really hot days!

  3. I also LOVE the summer version!! The armhole alterations are perfect...just like I like sleeveless summer dresses to fit!

  4. You are reminding me that I love the Plantain as a sleeveless top! I made one a couple years ago and I still wear it! Must go revisit that!

  5. I love the Plantain and you have convinced me to try it sleeveless


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