Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Too Shy" Plantain

So, clearly my Labor Day labors started a trend with me - in truth, I made this on Saturday of the same week. I had such great success with my other t-shirt making endeavors that I kept the momentum going by finally downloading the Plantain by Deer + Doe Patterns.
The Plantain is a free pattern from Deer + Doe patterns, a really cute French pattern company. This top has swept across the sewing blogosphere ever since it was released, and there are a zillion cute versions out there by now. What I love about this design is that it deliberately hugs up top but skims below the bust which makes for a very flattering silhouette. Add to that the option of cute elbow patches and I'm all there. I had a sneaking suspicion this would be a great shape for me, but I didn't know if I would have to make any grading changes to the pattern to get it fitting me well. I hover right at the cut off of Deer + Doe sizing, which is why I've never splurged on any of their patterns (they are about the same as most indie pattern prices, but you have to add international shipping. Oy). I figured this freebie would be a great opportunity to test the fit and see if I should take a gamble on any of their other cute designs.
This first version was meant as a muslin, so I grabbed a knit with 50% stretch from my stash and went for it. Who cares if the fabric is sheer when it's a tester, right? Well, it turns out that the shirt fit great so now I'm left with a ridiculously sheer shirt that I would love to wear but can't due to common decency laws. I'm serious, you could see absolutely everything through this fabric, lol. In the end I put a plain white t-shirt from Target underneath it for these photos and I actually do like it this way. I think the white band around the neck looks nice with the rest of the color combo - too bad it's so freakin' hot outside. This shirt has been put in the "will wear when it's colder" section of my closet. I do love how this material feels - it's some kind of jersey (I think?), but it's not like the other jerseys in my stash. When I look closely at the weave of the fabric it is clear that one side has the knit stitches and the other side has purl stitches - just super tiny. Of course I didn't notice this until I fused my stay tape to the knit side of the back piece (doh!), so technically the back is backwards. I bought this same fabric in mint green, bubblegum pink and light gray from a thrift store for a few dollars each cut and each one was at least 2 yards long and over 60" wide so I have quite a bit of this stuff. Too bad they're so thin! The fabric is very soft and drapes nicely, but I have no idea the fabric content. Next time I use it, I will self-line and basically cut 2 of each piece. It will make them very warm, but at least I can wear them in public.
The surprise show stopper of this pattern is the elbow patch addition. I originally thought I would leave them off, but decided it would be fun to try since it was just a trial run anyway. I had a remnant of a navy blue jersey from a thrift store that was already cut by its previous owner, so I was able to use one of the narrow sections between the cuts for both patches. I love the color combo of mint with navy.
The neckline is really fantastic on this pattern - not too low but not too high and not too wide. The way the directions have you attach the neckband make for a very neat finish - it definitely took a while to get everything in place, but as long as you take your time with pinning everything down the neckline looks great.I do get some slight wrinkles around my underarms with this shirt, but I have no idea what that means in a knit - any idea? The only change I'll make on future versions is to change the seam allowance on the sleeves - the pattern includes 5/8" seam allowances which was great everywhere except the sleeves came out a bit snug. Maybe that's what caused the wrinkles? Because the sleeves don't move freely on my arms? Anyway, I think I'll go down to 3/8" seam allowances next time.
Just look at that fine neck band! This picture also shows how sheer the fabric is on the back since you can see my coral table to pretty easily through it. I think this photo was meant to show the inside of the neckband, but trust me it looks nice :) The fabric's transluscence is what inspire the shirt's name. Everytime I put it on without an undershirt, I just think of how I'm way too shy to wear it, which naturally made me think of "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo - seriously the most ridiculous named band in history, but a great song nonetheless. I've attached the original music video at the bottom of this post - you're welcome :)
This project also inspired me to try out the twin needle. Seriously, how easy is the twin needle?! It's like magic, folks. It took about 5 minutes to look in my manual about how to set up using the twin needle - turns out its exactly like using a regular needle, you just have to add the extra spool peg and push the twin needle button. Duh! I now want to use the twin needle on everything just to show off my prowess :) Also this photo shows the defined knits and purls of the fabric.
And just look at that finish! Oh, twin needle ... how I love you! Let me count the ways. I took it nice and slow this first time, but I think it looks just like a store bought shirt. Love. It.
And my beloved navy blue elbow patches. I will say, these were kind of a pain to sew on - I had to lift my presser foot every 1/2" or so, probably more around the curves, to make sure I didn't bunch up the fabric. I just went really slow to try to retain the oval shape as best as I could. I had to carefully trim a bit to set as close to the stitches as possible, but it worked out great. In spite of the extra time the patches took, I absolutely love them now that they're on. I want elbow patches on everything now, lol. Also, another great twin needle hem  on the sleeve there :)

I adore this pattern! I think out of all my test shirts, this design is my favorite. I love the fit, I love the details, I love that it uses 50% stretch knits (because it turns out I have several in my stash). I know I will have quite a collection of these shirts as time goes by :)
Let's Sew Deer & Doe
Incidentally this shirt means I've participated in the Let's Sew Deer + Doe Sewalong hosted by Ashley of Craft Sanctuary and Sally of The Quirky Peach. The two of them have decided to sew all of Deer + Doe's patterns between themselves by the end of the year and have invited others to join in. All Deer + Doe designs sewn from September 1st through the end of the year. You just have to sew one thing to participate, but you can submit as many items as you make. This shirt made me the first project in the Flickr group :) I can't wait to see the lovely things everyone makes and who wins the prize at the end of the year!

So, have I tempted anyone out there to sew a cute t-shirt yet?!

Fabric: 1.5 yards mystery thrift store knit, $2.00
Pattern: Plantain T-Shirt by Deer + Doe, Free!
Hours: About 4

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