No, not plantain the banana-like tropical fruit; I mean of course the new FREE pattern from Deer and Doe, the Plantain Top! This is my first time taking part in making a brand new, hot-off-the-press pattern, and it really was fun! The pattern has a wonderful fit: fitted through the top but relaxed through the bottom – perfect for gals like me with a little bit of a tummy who get tired of trying not to let it show in public. And it’s super easy to make, too! A major “win” all around.
I started out making a “wearable muslin” from some black rayon/poly/something else fabric I had order way too much of in order to test the fit. I had cut out a size 38, grading to a 40 from the waist to the hips to give myself a little more room. Out of curiosity, I compared it to other knit tops I had made, and noticed that the shoulders were squarer (good for me) and the neckline was lower (potentially scary for me). I tried on the top before putting in the sleeves and sewing up the side seams, and the neckline was suuuper low. I freaked out to my husband about it, and he encouraged me to finish the top instead of trying to take it apart and raise the neckline. I’m glad he did, because adding the sleeves made all the difference! Now I’m much happier with the fit – and I finally have a basic black t! (Hard to believe I didn’t have one of those….oops)
Success! So, after checking the fit with my muslin, I really wanted to come up with something awesome for the Plantain Challenge – my first sewing “competition”! I had originally planned to make a top out of a beautiful ivory sweater knit I recently bought, but the fabric was mysteriously marred during prewashing (has anyone ever discovered stains on their fabric as a result of prewashing??! This is truly a mystery….I’m wondering if some of the dye pooled up as the fabric was drying??), so I had to figure out something with the fabric I have on hand. So I decided to try colorblocking some remnants from my stash, and it worked surprisingly well!
I started by sewing together my knit pieces to create a “new” piece of fabric, instead of cutting out all the pieces separately and trying to figure it out from there. Here’s a pic of that step:
I then layed my pattern pieces on that and cut:
It was a surprisingly quick and easy process! And I even managed to do this without a rotary cutter and mat – a feat I am particularly proud of! I was especially pleased with how the fiber contents of the various fabrics I chose worked out. The blue and green fabrics are bamboo with some Lycra, which gave some stability to the neck and shoulders and worked well for the fitted top section, while the lower brown fabric is rayon, with less stretch but more drape for the bottom. It was also the only way I could piece it all together and have enough fabric :P. Hooray for serendipity! And here is the finished top:
You can probably tell from my billions of photos that I am super proud of this top! And also that the self-timer is making my poses more…varied? 😛 Anyhow, the true validation of this project came when my husband got home from work this evening, and when I asked him how he liked the new top I made, he responded, “oh, I didn’t even realize you made that! It looks so good I thought you bought it.” (Not that making ready-to-wear look-alikes is our goal in sewing, but y’know)
So if you haven’t downloaded this top already, go do it!! It’s easy, flattering, and super quick to make!