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The Plantain Top


When I first started sewing a year ago I was really wary about spending money on the wrong things. I had a sewing machine but nothing else, and honestly starting from scratch with fabric, notions patterns etc isn’t cheap. Once you have a stash sewing becomes affordable but until then you’ve to buy everything for every new project.


In retaliation, I tried to find free patterns where possible. This is a double-edged sword, as this often means compromising on instructions which are so essential to beginners*. Deer and Doe’s free Plantain top is not at all like this. This, as many of you probably know, is a free fully graded pattern with excellent instructions.

One issue I have is that because the fabric is so thin it shows EVERYTHING

I made a toile of this last August out of fabric that I didn’t really like but I learned a lot from. This year when shopping in Paris’s fabric district I came across some lovely soft fox patterned material in a mauve colour. Normally I would have reached for my usual knit top pattern, but because of the drape this fabric had, I went back to Deer and Doe’s  Plantain. I made this way back in March I think, but didn’t blog about it because, well, I didn’t have a blog then!


I’d no issues with the pattern and cut a 36 with no alterations, although the top does strain across my chest slightly. Helpfully Deer and Doe also included a pattern piece for the neck binding, something I find a little difficult to determine depending on the stretch in my fabric.


The top came together very quickly, the only issue being that the fabric was not the easiest to work with as it is so light. That said that by the end the day I had a completed top, so clearly I overcame this issue!

It was only looking at the photos that I saw the gathers under my arm. I don’t know if this is an issue and I should look into a FBA, or if it’s simply the way I was wearing it at the time.

I really like this top, it’s very flattering, the sleeves are my prefered length and I like how the fabric flows from my chest down. Will this pattern replace Gertie’s in my life? No, but for any softer, drapier fabric it is now my pattern of choice. Honestly I’m quite keen to try more of Deer and Doe’s patterns, this was well drafted and with excellent instruction, which, by the way are bilingual. So overall this is a fantastic pattern!

*To clarify, I don’t think all free patterns are badly drafted with bad instructions, rather, they don’t contain the detail that indie patterns do, which, when I was learning, was essential. I’m very grateful for everyone who put up free patterns online,.


10 thoughts on “The Plantain Top

  1. This fabric is SO CUTE! Great job on tackling a more challenging fabric! I’ve made a few Plantains and I had the same issue with the bust/underarm wrinkling. Sizing up helped and stretchier fabric helped more. I’ve made 2 other Deer and Doe patterns and they’re every bit as good or better than the Plantain. 🙂


  2. I definitely want to give this pattern a try! I have avoided knits for years and I am just recently growing braver. This seems a good place to start-just a question though, did you sew this on a domestic sewing machine or did you use an overlocker? I dont have an overlocker so that may be my deal breaker!


    1. Oh you should give knits a try, they’re fantastic! They’re more forgiving regarding fit and more comfortable in general. Also, they don’t fray so you don’t need to finish the seams.

      I’ve yet to get an overlocker so this is all done on my little singer sewing machine. I used a simple zig-zag for the seams which I didn’t finish. I did use a twin needle for the hems, but that’s not necessary.

      If you’re sewing knits for the first time, cotton is a great place to start as it’s a little stiffer and holds it’s shape better. It’s easier to sew with than viscose etc.

      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Super top, I love the fabric, I had the same issue with the underarm and graded between sizes as going up a size would make it baggy everywhere, 36 sleeves shoulders, curving out to a 38 at the bust and back in a 36 before the waist and found this worked a treat for me.


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