Monday, June 1, 2015

FO: Floral Plantain (a.k.a. The "Sexy Nightie" Shirt)

I'm seriously so stoked about the project I'm showing you today - it's easily my favorite t-shirt I've ever made! It has rather interesting beginnings, but first of all here is the finished product:
Hard to believe it came to me like this:
Isn't that a sexy photo? Now, this Carol Hochman nightgown was given to me by my husband's grandma probably a year or two ago. I'm appreciative, really, I'm just not a nightie wearer, you know? I knew I wouldn't wear it as it was, but being the hoarder I am I held onto it for the day that I got up the courage to make a t-shirt out of it since I really loved the floral print on the fabric.
When I pulled this out last few weeks ago, I had a decision to make - do I keep the top as-is and just hem it t-shirt length? Or should I redo it completely? The deciding factor ended up being the sleeves - the sleeves had a big gap below my armpit, and I knew that would never wear it like that out in public. So, I laid out my favorite t-shirt pattern, the Deer + Doe Plantain, and happily it fit! I could fit the front and back piece as well as the neck binding if I pieced it together. I found some white interlock in my stash that I could use for the sleeves, so I set to work dutifully picking everything apart to preserve as much fabric as possible. I've made this pattern a few times before, and while I love it, I've made little tweaks each time. Last time was my Cherry, Cherry Plantain, and I wear it quite a bit, but I have a few small issues I wanted to change this time: the neckline is just barely too low for my comfort, the seams have pulled a bit at the sides of the bust so I think it's a smidge too tight there, and the arms are a bit snug. These are all just minor things, but I figured I'd change them this time around to see if I liked it better a bit looser. My answer to the tightness was to simply use a smaller seam allowance - the pattern calls for 5/8", but I'm fairly confident with knits now so I just used a 3/8" allowance everywhere to see what this slight difference would feel like.
I had a little trouble with the neckband though - I could only fit the piece if I cut the piece about 1/3 narrower than the pattern piece. I hoped it would still work since the pattern has you cut off about that much in excess anyway, but with the seams underneath I just couldn't get the neckband to look good. It was wavy and not folded evenly no matter how hard I tried. So, I went back to the drawing board. I laid the white knit I was using for the sleeves under the neckline to see if I liked the look - it was ok, but seemed a bit too casual (if that makes sense) - it reminded me of a ringer tee. I had a sudden spark though when thinking of the picot trim around the neckline of the nightgown. It was certainly a nightgown-ish touch on the original product, but would it wok on my neckline here to dress things up a bit? I'm not a big "embellish-er" generally speaking. Personally I think most home-applied trims look very "Becky Home-Ecky", so I was hesitant. I sewed the white neckband on with a twin needle, and then figured, "What the hay?" and just put the picot trim on with the twin needle as well. I was still unsure ... until I finished the top. Now I absolutely LOVE this detail!
The smaller seam allowance made the fit on this spot on - it's loose and comfy, but fitted enough to give me a shape. I do notice some wrinkles above my armpit (when my arms are down - you can't see it in these photos), so I think next time I will do the 5/8" seam allowance just around the sleeves with the 3/8" everywhere else. I also love the neckline height - I brought the center of it up by 1" and shortened the neckband piece by 1" to compensate. It's now just high enough that I don't have to worry about flashing anyone my undies. I will confess that I was also worried about the different weights of the fabric on this (the floral is a thin jersey, while the white is a standard interlock weight), but it worked out just fine.
Just a few up-close shots. Check the neckline trim! Isn't it cute?! I'm glad that I went for it on this despite my hesitation. I think it gives the shirt just enough to make it a bit different - maybe not quite like an Anthropologie piece, but something like that, you know? It keeps the shirt nice and feminine without being in-your-face about it. Also, I'm really loving my twin hems now I've done so many - I'm learning what tensions work best and they feel much more sturdy now.
Not a ton of hanger appeal on this make, but my clothes are usually that way, lol.  These shots just really show the colors. Plus you can see how neat the neckband looks at the back :)
So, there you have it - my favorite t-shirt I've made so far. I've already worn this several times and I get compliments on it each time (sometimes before they know I made it - win!). I love wearing it with jeans because it feels relaxed but now sloppy. I've definitely learned that this pattern works best with this weight of jersey, so I'm sure you will see more jersey weight plantains from me in the future. Thanks, Nanny, for the cute night gown! I love it, lol.

Fabric: Carole Hochman floral jersey nightgown - gifted, white interlock knit - stash
Pattern: Deer + Doe Plantain
Notions: pink picot trim - gifted (off of night gown), thread - stash
Hours: 4 (including unpicking)


  1. I am amazed at how you transform garments into something completely new( and something one would actually wear). Well done!

    1. Thanks so much, Marike :) I think it's just because I'm so cheap, lol. Necessity is the mother of invention - ha ha!

  2. Super cute!! What a great idea!

  3. I just saw this from the Curvy Sewn Creation for June and well done! I want to be a seamstress like you. I find myself hesitant and lost where to begin. I think I will purchase the Deer + Doe Plantain and give it a try because I'm really dissatisfied with the commercial t-shirts patterns and designs. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Rhonda :) I still find myself hesitating and second guessing myself all the time! The only thing that helps me is to just do something, and frequently it's make this shirt pattern. And the pattern is a free download from Deer + Doe! I linked the pattern above so you should definitely download it and give it a try. I also recommend trying a refashion like this - maybe make your first plantain out of a knit dress or something from the thrift store. I like refashioning because it feels like so much less pressure - meaning it only cost me $1.00 so it's no big deal if I mess up, lol. I can't wait to see your creations!


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