More Plantains Please

Over the past few weeks or so the sewing blogsphere and Instagram feeds have been exploding with Plantain Tee’s.  The Plantain is a free pattern from Deer and Doe which is a little independent French pattern designer who I think I’m going to start paying more attention to from now on!

Plantain Tee

first yummy plantain

I was drawn to Plantain because of the neckline. I have a few snug fit ballet neck tee’s that I use for layering when I workout or go to yoga/Pilates and I’ve always really liked how they look on me. I recently wore one of those with my Kelly skirt for a night-out (and to work and for date night the other night!) and have sort of fell in love with it and now I want more…and I want them now!

Kelly Skirt

night out with my Kelly

I printed and taped together the Plantain .pdf pattern last weekend but was hesitating cutting into anything because I didn’t have the yardage required in any of the knits in my stash to make a long or 3/4 length sleeve…and since we are still in the death grip that is winter here, making a short sleeve version just seemed…rather unsatisfying.

Plantain Tee

cut back as two pieces

I’m inherently inpatient though and decided I wanted to try the pattern out sooner than I was going to be able to solve my knit stash problem. So instead of cutting the back on the fold (which takes a lot of yardage) I cut it as two pieces giving myself a 1/4 in seam allowance and then sewed them together using a 1/4 in seam and top stitched that seam down the back. Not your typical way of doing things, but it worked and now I can cut into more of my 1-yard knit stash to make a few more! Speaking of stash…I’ve had this knit fabric for so long I don’t even remember where I bought it from or the blend, although I suspect its 100% cotton. I chose this fabric for this experiment because it coordinates well with my Kelly skirt and my oh-so-comfortable grey cords which I’ve been living in a lot this winter.

Plantain Tee

back seam detail

The shirt went together really quickly…maybe 2 hours total? When I sew with knits I like to use a ballpoint needle and use the vari-overlock stitch for almost all the seaming (stitch #3 and requires the use of foot 2A for you Bernina heads out there).  I don’t have the problems of popping stitches when I use the vari-overlock like I do when I use the super stretch stitch.  For hem finishing I use a zig-zag…mostly because I’m lazy and I hate treading my double needle and my double needle often skips stitches which is aggravating.  I was a bit nervous how the neck band was going to turn out because she has you sew a 5/8 in seam (I did use my super stretch stitch on this seam) which leaves very little fabric that peaks out as the band. But after top stitching (I used a standard 3 mm straight stitch since this is a large opening) it ironed out very nice and looks very similar to the finishing of most of the neck bands on my ready-to-wear knit tops (as a side note — anyone else stare at the construction of their knit tops when bored at work??).

Plantain Tee

neck band

The fit is perfect around my shoulders, arms and bust. The design of the shirt is to be a bit billowy in the mid section which isn’t my usual style but since this fits so nice everywhere else the extra fabric around my middle isn’t as unflattering as it was when I made my Briar. The extra fabric tucks nicely which is how I usually wear most of my shirts anyway. Overall I really recommend this pattern. I made a size 38 even though I measured into a size 40 based on my 36 in bust. I’m glad I took the tip from Katie before wasting an experiment! My only complaint about the pattern is the 5/8 in seams. I prefer sewing my knits with a 1/4 in seam so that I don’t have to trim…but the few extra times I had to get my scissors out will not be enough to deter me from making another.

We have more snow heading our way so I figure some online knit shopping and more Plantains will be in my future.


  1. Looks great! I love this pattern so much. I’ve already added a few neutral solids to my online shopping basket so I can make some basic layering tees. Not sure I can bring myself to make another long-sleeved shirt though. Guess I’ll just have to wear a sweater…

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