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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Plantain, not so plain

I learned about Plantain, Deer&Doe's free downloadable tshirt pattern, about a week or so ago - so just a week or two after it had been released.  And there were already eleventh billion Plantains on the internet.  That's to be expected - it's a free and easy women's pattern.  But as it turns out - it is a free, easy and totally awesome women's pattern.   I predict eleventy billion more Plantains on the internet in the coming months - several more, for sure, on this blog!

Cotton knits are not easy to find in Tbilisi, but I had luckily stocked up this summer with a Girl Charlee order, with the idea of making a few Sewaholic Renfrews.  I have the pattern but haven't drafted it yet.  I am one of those odd souls who actually prefers Internet downloads - no futzing around tracing thin pattern tissue to preserve other sizes - with downloads you can just print it out again!

I didn't want to waste one of my precious Girl Charlee cuts on an ill-fitting shirt, though, so on Friday, I found a synthetic (I think) knit in the stash with enough yardage, and cut the size 42.  My measurements put me at a 44 but everyone has been saying to size down.  And on Saturday, after about an hour of sewing (most of that time spent wrestling with my twin needle, before my machine just gave up) I ended up with this:

The fit was good through the bust but too big everywhere else.

And this knit has no recovery at all, so by the end of the day the top was slipping right off my shoulders.

So last night, I cut another one, this time in a straight 40.  I probably should have cut a 40 shoulder, 42 bust and then graded between the two for the rest ... but I couldn't be bothered.  I used a Girl Charlee navy and white striped cotton/lycra leftover after sewing an Oliver+S Field Trip Raglan for my oldest.  Isn't it pretty?

I managed to get a 3/4-length-sleeved top out of the remaining 1 1/3 yards of 60" wide fabric.  I also tried elbow patches this time, using scraps of a purple interlock leftover from a Maria Denmark Kimono tee I made over the summer.

My machine was happy to sew the elbow patches using a stretch stitch, but it simply would not do a twin needle at all.   I used a ballpoint needle and a walking foot and everything.

I don't think it's visible, but I had to topstitch the neckline with a stretch stitch.  I don't know what's up - my machine used to twin needle like a champ.  It won't zigzag knits anymore either - though it will do both on wovens.  I'll have to take it in when we go back to the States.

Anyway, back to the top.

Given my twin-needle-handicapped status, I decided to just do a rolled edge on my serger for the hem and the sleeves and call it good.  It's a little lettucey, so I may try it again, since I have length to play with.

Or, and this is much more likely, I'll just wear it whenever it's clean and never bother to do anything to it.

Yep.  Much more likely.


  1. Oh, i like those purple elbow patches! And the second shirt is a definite winner! Love it!

  2. Hi Masha,
    Do you know if you can find twin needles or a walking foot in Tbilisi? About to embark on some jersey sewing!
    Love this top btw, I think its a really nice cut on you!
    Jacki... (the Aussie from Music group)


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