I think I’m finally getting to grips with knits, after years of being scared of them. So far this year I’ve made the Coco dress, the Agnes top and the Blackwood cardi and I haven’t lost my mind when sewing them, nor have any of them fallen apart (yet). To be fair, none of them are particularly difficult patterns but my last three fabric purchases have all been jerseys so I think I might have cracked it. To test out my theory, I snuck the Deer & Doe Plantain top into my November sewing plans.
Now, when I wrote my November plans post, this wasn’t even on my radar. However, one of my Girl Scouts said she was having problems making it – it sounds like it’s her first time making her own clothes – and while she’s put it to one side for now I couldn’t resist having a go at it myself. It is a free pattern after all, and I already had some suitable jersey in my stash, so it’s not as if I was going too far out of my way to make it up.
The Plantain is a simple t-shirt with a scoop neck, a range of sleeve lengths and optional elbow patches. I’m not a fan of elbow patches, personally. My dad was a teacher and he actually wore a tweed jacket with elbow patches to work when I was a kid. Cliché much?They’re not for me. Anyway, since it’s getting colder, I went for the long sleeve option and I blended from a 42 on top to a 46 at the hip. It’s a pretty roomy top as it is, but I don’t think I could get away with a 44 hip. I also lopped off an inch and a half from the sleeves – they were just about hitting my fingernails when I tried it on.
I bought this flowy bamboo jersey from Blackbird Fabrics (out of stock now, but they have other colours). It’s not dissimilar from the stuff I used for my Agnes top so I knew what to expect when sewing. It’s lovely and soft, but it’s also quite slippery. Since I wanted to overlock all the seams, I couldn’t pin the neckline in – I’d lose too many pins to the blade – so I pinned then basted instead. I also basted some ribbon to stabilise the shoulder seams (NOT using horrible clear elastic as the pattern suggests. Bleurgh.). I used a twin needle to topstitch the hems and neckline, too, but before I committed needle to fabric, I tested out the stitches on a scrap. I’ve had problems with tunnelling before so I went down the tension to see if it sorted it out – turns out taking the tension off completely worked a charm.
I’m pretty pleased with my efforts here. The Plantain isn’t all that different from the Agnes, but since the cut is looser I think this is more of an outer piece rather than something to layer. It’s super comfy and I’m enjoying the extra space for a big dinner! However, I’m most pleased about how I’m building my confidence with knits. Expect more on the blog soon!
Have you conquered any fabrics recently? What are your favourite patterns for knits?