This shirt almost didn’t get made. Not because it’s tricky to sew; in fact, it’s a pretty easy make if you’re familiar with knits. The reason it almost landed in my scrap bin is that I carelessly snipped a hole in the sleeve when clipping down the excess seam allowance. Gah! After about 15 minutes of hysterics, I realized that I had more than enough leftover fabric to cut a brand new sleeve. Crisis averted—well, almost. Unpicking an entire row of zigzag stitches in a slinky knit proved to be very tedious, and the shoulder seam isn’t as smooth as the other because I had to sew it with a teensy seam allowance. Aside from those misfires, the shirt turned out just fine.
The pattern is the Plantain T-Shirt from French company Deer and Doe, who released it in January of 2014. You’ve probably already seen versions of this shirt floating around the Internet, and for good reason: it’s amazing! Here’s why:
- It’s ~*FREE.*~ And in the words of Deer and Doe: “Even though this is a simpler design that needs less pieces, it received as much care as all our others products: detailed instructions and testing in all sizes.” Eléonore, I like you already.
- The neckband is drafted perfectly. Neckbands on knits have always been a pain point for me, so I was a little nervous to finally attach this sucker, especially since the scoopneck dips pretty low for a T-shirt. Lo and behold, the neckband sewed on without a hitch, and it lies perfectly flat.
- The shape is flattering. I figured this cut (fitted at the shoulders and flared at the hips) would be comfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the top skims and flows in the right places.
- You’ve got options: short-, 3/4-, or full-length sleeves. You better believe I’ll be making this up as a short-sleeve tee for the summer.
- Elbow patches, y’alls. I didn’t buy a contrast fabric, so I just cut the patches so their stripes would run perpendicular to the stripes on the sleeve. I love the way they add a little quirk to a simple tee.
(Note: To take the picture on the right, I taped my phone to the window, set it on the Best Face mode, and jumped back with just enough time for it to capture this grainy photo. (I need a real camera and tripod.) Marc took the other photos, but as the sun was setting and we were inside, the colors are totally wonky. Stupid winter daylight!)
Minus the sleeve-cutting fiasco, construction was a breeze. I cut out a 40 (European sizing) and added about 1″ of length to the body and 1/2″ to the sleeves. Those adjustments worked out great for my 6’0″, size 6/8 frame. My material is a cotton/spandex jersey from The Needle Shop. For the seams, I used a ballpoint needle, stretch stitch, and my walking foot, which turned out to be an absolute necessity with this lightweight knit. I used a little bit of basting spray to attach the elbow patch the the sleeve before stitching to make sure it didn’t slip all over the place. I’m not sure if that’s kosher to use with a knit… but it didn’t burn a hole through my material, so that’s good.
I finished the neckline, cuffs, and bottom hem with my twin needle and walking foot, but the bottom hem still managed to turn out a little wavy. Maybe next time I’ll use some tissue paper underneath the fabric to stabilize it. Overall, I highly recommend this pattern, especially since all you need is fabric and thread. It’s the perfect stash buster, and it’s great if you’re a beginner wanting to test the waters with knits. Let me know if you make it, or if you have some surefire tips for wave-free hems!