Thursday, January 30, 2014

Plantain Tee hack

One of my goals this year is to sew more indie patterns. I hope to feature at least one each month, and this month it's the Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt. This is a FREE pattern from Deer & Doe (sign up on their website and download free here).

I'll be honest, when I first saw this pattern I thought it wasn't quite for me. The flowy hemline looked like it was meant for pear-shaped woman, whereas I'm more...carrot-shaped? But I got over it when I remembered that I had two similar RTW tank tops that I wear to death in the summertime. I've been wanting to recreate those tanks for a while, so I thought, why not ditch the sleeves and make a tank top?

By the way, the temperatures in Indiana are hovering right around "can't feel my face" but I didn't let that stop me. I made a tank top to remind myself that summer still exists. And then I styled it with shorts and flats. In January. When will humans be allowed to hibernate?

I cut the size 34, but I raised the neckline about an inch, which ended up being a good decision. To figure out where to cut the pattern to create a tank top, I laid a shirt on top of the pattern and roughly sketched around it, joining at the original side seam.

Original pattern on bottom,
my version on top.

Just make sure your front and
back shoulders are the same length.

For this version, I didn't alter the height of the armhole, but next time I'll drop it an inch or so. This one is a bit tight/high. I also altered the pattern for color-blocking. That wasn't totally intentional, but when I washed the black and white chevron fabric, it shrank a LOT and I had to "make it work". To color-block, you simply cut the pattern and add seam allowances to each piece along the line you cut.

To finish the armholes, I used this method. I used self-fabric, but you could use bias tape or just a narrow hem. Whatever your preferred method for finishing armholes.

This was my first Deer & Doe pattern. They are a French company but I found no issues with their translated instructions, which were very thorough. The pattern was well-drafted, easy to tape together, and I loved that it included a 5/8" seam allowance. A lot of knits patterns use a smaller seam allowance because it's easier to sew with a serger, but in my experience you need 5/8" if you're going to use a sewing machine. And since I goofed and sewed both my shoulder seams, I had to use my sewing machine to attach the neckline band, and I did need the extra seam allowance.

The only thing I didn't like is sewing the curved hemline. I like the silhouette, but the sewing of it sucks. This project made me seriously start contemplating a coverstitch machine (this one).

Love these black
eyelet shorts.

Have you tried this pattern? There have been some pretty cute ones in the Deer & Doe Flickr pool, and they're also wrapping up a contest with it. I can't wait to make a bunch of these tanks for the summertime!


  1. You did a great job, and the neckline sits at the perfect spot. I have never downloaded a pattern before, but I may try this one. And carrot shape made me laugh, maybe that will make it into the books one day.

    1. This is the perfect one to download and print, it's not too many pages. I think technically, I'm a "rectangle" shape, but I like "carrot" better :)

  2. Very cute and nice changes! Never heard of this pattern company but will take a look.

    1. They have a lot of cute designs, hopefully they'll release some more knit patterns as those are my faves!


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