Plantain t-shirt and cardigan

Sewing basics… So boring, amirite! But so useful, and really necessary when you’re trying to go RTW free (I’m about 11 months in. I would have broken it recently, had a certain shop sold jeans in my size). Contrary to what you’d think if you looked in my wardrobe, I do actually really like wearing casual outfits – tshirts and pants. Unfortunately I only have ONE pair of pants (it’s reeeaally hard to find pants that fit me) and they are polka dot. So they don’t go with many outfits. I am going to change the no-pants thing soon, just waiting for the pattern to arrive 🙂

In the meantime, I decided to make a super-boring-but-versatile black t-shirt. Yawn, I know – but I have ONE black t-shirt (one of the 3 black items I have) and I wear it quite a lot – it’s becoming grossly pilled. And I’m sure you all know how much one needs at least one black t-shirt.

ImageI used the Deer & Doe pattern, plantain. Dang, this is a good pattern for a pear – this is size 44 graded to a 46 in the hips, and it’s perfect: a slumpy/loose t-shirt that doesn’t cling (or wouldn’t if the fabric was less drapey) but is still shaped/flattering. I love the deep scoop neck and that it’s a free pattern.

ImageThe fabric is an absolute dream in viscose jersey. I spent about 20 minutes in the fabric store stroking two different bolts of black jersey, trying to decide which was more lush and which would be better in a t-shirt. It’s not uncommon to see me in the fabric store, stroking bolts of fabric.


The whole thing didn’t take very long either, only a couple of hours which includes taping and tracing the pattern. I overlocked all the seams and top-stitched with a twin needle. I had to loosen the bobbin tension because there was a wee mountain forming in the middle – something else happened to the bobbin thread though (maybe I loosened too much) so it doesn’t want to stretch quite as much as it should.

Just so it wasn’t 100% boring, I top-stitched with blue thread rather than invisible black. This caused Mr. Guy to ask if the t-shirt was “sportswear”, but I quite like it.

ImageYou all know by now that I like to give my clothes a bit o’ sparkle.


The top worked so well that I thought “hey, this pattern is PERFECT to make a cardigan”. I bought some navy merino a month or so ago with the thoughts of making a cardigan, but have been waiting until I had the motivation to alter an existing t-shirt pattern.

All I did was add 2cm to the CB to give it a bit more ease, and added 6cm to the centre front (which wasn’t cut on the fold), so when I folded it back it made a 3cm button placket, which I interfaced. I also lengthened the binding by a couple of cm, and was able to enclose it all nicely at the top of the button placket.

Construction wise it worked well, but it didn’t quite end up how I had envisioned. I asked Mum if she wanted it, and even though I now look at the photos and thing “it isn’t so bad”, I think it will be better on her, and no take backs, right?ImageI think it’s just something to do with the scoop neck. The look in the above photo is actually exactly what I wanted; a drapey cardigan that just fell from the shoulders, and that’s what I had in mine when I picked the fabric. Unfortunately I kind of forgot that when I was making it, and I was looking at four square wall’s ponte renfrew cardigan, and had it in my mind that the fabric would hold the shape I was sewing crisply. Had I remembered, I would have just altered the way I sewed the front (particularly the neck/placket corner).

Instead, this is what it would look like it was done up:


Odd. And don’t try and tell me otherwise! It’s much nicer undone.


And of course it’s not a total disaster – Mum loved this fabric when she was up, and was trying to think of something I could make her out of it. I just hope it suits her!


PatternDeer & Doe Plantain, free

Fabric – Black viscose knit, $24, and French navy merino knit, 1.5m at $34/m and 30% off = ~$36

Notions: Thread and interfacing from stash

Total: $24 and $36


10 thoughts on “Plantain t-shirt and cardigan

  1. Love the contrast topstitching and I totally agree the cardigan looks weird when done up. Nice idea though to convert a t-shirt pattern to a cardigan.

  2. Ooh, the Plantain really suits you! It’s so cute! Love the skirt, too, and your lipstick! Totally killer look! I’m not a cardigan person myself, but yours looks nice and I bet you’ll get lots of wear out of it. 🙂

    • Thanks! I think this lipstick is a combination of two NYX soft matte creams (Morocco and Adis Ababa). I’m totally a cardigan person, but that’s probably because I don’t OWN many cool jersey’s, and I generally have to layer at work. This one I’ve already said mum could have (she even said it looked horrid on me, just so she could get her hands on it haha).

  3. I am considering this pattern, it is a great basic and I know what your saying about pants, I have tried to hack and change Colette clovers to fit so many times. I am trying to make the waist higher. I am trying Gerties Butterick pattern next. It is hard to go rady to wear free. I have only been doing it foe 3 months now, Congrats !

    • Try it – it’s freee! All it takes is your time printing and taping it together.

      I’ve heard so many fitting issues with the clover! I tried them once and they didn’t work so I just dumped the project, haha. I even paid for one of those “sloper to your measurement” things from Canada, but her computer programme screwed up and the pants and skirt came out waaaay too big, so I gave up again.

      Earlier this year I did a pants fitting class and now I have a sloper that FITS – we started with measurements, then did all the alterations (full upper thigh, full calf, big butt adjustment and taking in the waist), so I’m finally excited about making pants

  4. Perfect basic, you will be making more! I thought I was the only one who strokes bolts of fabric, even fabric I don’t like the looks of……I can’t help it. When I visited the Fabric Store in LA I was in a trance in the merino jersey section.. the shame!

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