There’s a time in every seamstress’ journey where she realizes that party dresses and twirly skirts do not a wardrobe make. She then does a complete 180 and focuses down on basic patterns, neutral fabrics and wardrobe staples. That time has finally fallen upon me.
I first got the itch to reinforce my closet with some staples last summer after making a Belcarra blouse with some printed cotton. It went with EVERYTHING and it was so invigorating to wear a make more than once every few months. I then broke the ice with knits when I tested the Senna dress. Add it all up and you got yourself a recipe for some good casual wear. I’ve since made a turquoise Coco, a Julia cardigan, not one but TWO Linden sweatshirts (granted, one of them is crossing the ocean right now to it’s new home for the #LindenSwap) and a Plantain tee. I’ll share all in time, but today i’ll start with the Plantain, since it is so suited for the season.
During the holidays I needed some good knit fabric. Our city has lost most of our great fabric stores in the last few years, so locally I am basically reduced to shopping at Fabricland. It’s fine for notions and some wovens but seriously lacking on knits. I took to the web and landed in the land of Girl Charlee. While I found exactly what I needed for gifts, a few extras may have landed in my cart (bundling up saves shipping, right?). I got this gorgeous grey stripe ponte and it’s been staring at me since then.
Last weekend I decided to put it to use in a Plantain tee. I loved the concept of a simple, long sleeved tee (I always get cold) with elbow patches but I wanted to keep it from looking just ordinary. I started looking at printed fabrics for the elbow patches, thinking maybe a floral would be quirky, or maybe lace? Then the inspiration hit me – hearts! The idea probably nestled into my subconscious as all the valentines bits and bobs started appearing, but I loved the idea and grabbed the scraps from my Linden and made the patches. I used a solid black knit as the design was already wielding a hefty cuteness factor and I didn’t want to launch it over the edge.
To make sure the patches were at a suitable size and scale for the pattern, I traced the original pattern piece on some paper and drew the heart within it, approximately the same size. Other changes I made to the pattern was to lengthen the whole thing 4cm (as I do with practically everything), heighten the neckline 2cm and reducing some of the flare at the hips. I cut a size 36 and it fit perfectly. I did hem my sleeves too closely to the edge of the fabric though, which stretched them out and gave them a bell-shaped edge. Will make sure too avoid that next time.
The fabric was a DREAM to work with. Stretchy, yet firm. I love the subtlety to the stripes. I’m glad I bought 2m and have some leftover. It would be so dreamy as a Coco for the spring!
Hopefully I won’t bore you with all the basics coming up. I think there’s a special challenge in working with something simple, you have to make it well and find subtle ways to amp it up. I’ve been finding endless inspiration online for unique additions or techniques for these types of patterns. (Exhibit A: Lace touches on Laney’s and Mokosha’s Linden Sweaters, or this colour blocked Coco!)
Sending out wishes of love to everyone this Valentine’s season- especially YOU, you blogging, sewing, creative community, you!