Plantain tee

Apologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. I think Andy had his camera on the wrong setting or it was the pallid winter light to blame. Roll on spring. We’re ready for you!



In a Nutshell:

A great basic summery tee with an unexpected “embellishment”, although I’m not sold on the colour…


The Plantain t-shirt by Deer & Doe, available as a free pdf download!

This is a simple t-shirt with a deep scoop neckline, flaring at the hips, and a choice of sleeve lengths. I used the 3/4 length sleeves and cut a size 42.


Shitake Brown Heather Grey Half Inch Stripe Cotton Jersey Blend Knit Fabric from Girl Charlee. Currently priced at £6.95 m, but I got it on sale. It’s a lightweight, soft knit with excellent drape, and it’s ideal for a top like this.

New skills learnt:

None for such a simple knit garment.

Changes I made:

  • No elbow patches. Not a detail I particularly liked, and I couldn’t see them working with this lightweight fabric.
  • Added a fringe detail on one shoulder. See next section for why!

What went wrong:

Err, everything was going swimmingly until I decided to be a good little sewist and actually press the seams on this knit garment. I don’t normally bother with pressing seams in knits but I thought perhaps it might give me a better finish. Not that there’s anything wrong with the garments I’ve been making. I should have just gone with my usual method of finger pressing, because the moment I touched the iron the fabric this happened:


Arrrgh!!! I should have tested the iron on some scraps first. Or better yet, gone to the Girl Charlee website and checked to confirm the fabric composition. What’s that? 25% polyester? Oh dear. I’m guessing the brown stripes are at least half poly, and the grey stripes don’t contain any judging by the way it was only the brown that was affected.

On the plus side, I have learnt various methods for cleaning melted polyester off irons, so that’s something…

Since I had no leftover pieces big enough to cut an entire new front piece from, I decided I’d have to patch it somehow. You couldn’t get a more obvious place for a patch, though, so I figured it would need to be a statement patch of some kind. To look intentional rather than like a repair. I had the idea to add some fringe on both shoulders, and experimented with cutting the fabric various ways to get the fabric to curl in on itself. I discovered I had to cut along the lines between the stripes for the best effect, and in the end was pretty happy with the results. However, one side was enough. That looked kinda cool, but I thought I might be edging into cheesy cowboy territory if I took it over to the other shoulder too.


What went well:

It was a straightforward and quick sew, all except for that harrowing pressing incident. Incidentally, this was the very first pdf pattern I decided to trace rather than tape, and it went so well I’m going to deal with all my pdfs this way in future (that or get a large format print done). Basically you lay the pieces under your tracing paper (I use cross and dot) and trace off, piece by piece, marking in all the little bits you need to line up the next piece of the jigsaw. It was so nice not to be wrestling with sellotape and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hates taping up pdfs 🙂

Here’s some more pics of me and the tee:


Overall verdict:

I love wearing this t-shirt as the fabric is so beautifully soft and light and the relaxed fit is really flattering–loose over the hips but closer at the bust. Admittedly, it’s not my ideal colourway–a little too bland for my taste–but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it with jeans and a black cardie over the top. The fringe detail might not be something I’d have chosen to add in an ideal world, but it does add a bit of visual interest to an otherwise quite plain top.

Changes for next time:

I would like to make this up in a medium weight jersey next time to see how differently it hangs. Perhaps with short sleeves? I think it could work well as a lightweight sleeveless top too. Maybe lengthen to a dress… This strikes me as the perfect basic t-shirt pattern to experiment with!


Pattern: £0.00

Fabric: £3.45 per metre, and I managed to squeak it all out of one metre.

Notions: none required, thread and clear elastic from stash.

Total cost: £3.45!

2 thoughts on “Plantain tee”

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