Monday, October 20, 2014

Basic Black Plantain Tee

After the success of my Dotted Boulevard Myrtle Dress, I was excited to sew more with knits. With cooler weather on the horizon, I decided to try my hand at the free Plantain tee pattern from Deer & Doe. After a few small setbacks, I ended up with a basic black shirt that will be worn frequently in the coming colder months.

For the fabric, I chose Robert Kaufman’s Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit Solid in Onyx. Since it’s a solid, the price was under $10/yard, and I thought sewing with a solid knit would be simpler than sewing with a print. I still don’t like how the selvages of knit fabric rolls. How I am supposed to know if I’m cutting exactly on the grain if the edges keep rolling up? Selvage rolling aside, I found this fabric workable and cozy to wear.

This shirt also gave me an opportunity to practice grading between sizes. I wish it came in larger sizes, as I would have graded the hips out more and lengthened it a bit. It’s wearable, but I might fiddle with the pattern pieces next time to make it a bit more flattering.

My machine ate my first neck binding piece, so I had to cut another one, but had plenty of yardage to do so. I really like how the neckline comes together, and finishing it with a twin needle made it look rather professional. After sewing the neckline, though, I had a bit of a downer moment. I was so pleased with my progress, that I tried the shirt on before the front was attached to the back and it looked like it was going to be too small! At that point, I almost gave up. However, I really wanted more practice sewing knits, so I resolved to finish it and give the shirt away if it didn’t fit. Luckily, the knit fabric worked its magic and it ended up fitting after all.

My next obstacle was hemming the shirt. I completely forgot about stabilizing it with Wonder Tape, and so it ended up wavy. Since it is intended as a layering piece, it's not that big of a deal, but I was still disappointed. I referred back to The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits, and remembered the Wonder Tape trick. I used it when I hemmed the sleeves and they came out much better. Of the three sleeve lengths, I chose the longest for maximum warmth.  Come Spring, I look forward to trying out the other sleeve lengths.

After I finished this shirt, my husband commented several times on how much he liked it and that it looked like I had bought it and not made it. That’s compliment enough for me to put the Plantain Tee in the “Make Again” pile. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it!


  1. I think it turned out fabulous! Keep going, it just gets easier and easier!

  2. And once again, you've learned tips to add to your successful garment-sewing arsenal. What a great basic!

  3. I need to try this pattern this fall! I'm going to start my quest for the perfect tshirt soon. As for the knit edges, I've read to just cut them off as straight as you can so the curling doesn't mess up your cutting. It seems to help.

  4. Love the shirt and the photos - where were they taken?

    1. Thanks! The photos were taken by my dad at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima, WA.