Plantain tee: fun with elbow patches

In what is apparently becoming a tradition around here, I present to you another seasonally appropriate item: in the midst of this incredible mid-May heat wave we’re having in California, here is… a long sleeve top. Yep, I’m really with it.

striped plantain front

Not only am I late blogging this top, which I made last month, but I am really late to the Plantain Party generally. I’m just one of those people who resists trends for so long they have time to become standards (see: skinny trousers). I’m the least trendy person ever. Or maybe it’s just that procrastination is my super power. So when the tsunami of Plantains hit the internets, I was like, well, it’s cute, I think, but is it really my thing? Do I need another tee pattern? Do I really like the elbow patches? Turns out the answer to all these questions was yes. It just took me a while to figure it out.

I bought this fabric at the Michael Levine Loft last year, just because I thought it was random and cool. The stripe progression intrigued me. And there was a ton of it there, at the time. (Side note: I walked into a friend’s party a while ago and spotted this very fabric as a maxi skirt on a partygoer I wasn’t acquainted with. Turns out she had gone to school at FIDM in LA and had also bought the fabric at the Loft around the same time as me. Recognizing fabric from my stash on a live person was a new one for me!) At the time I knew it would become a top, but no pattern seemed quite right for it, so it languished in the stash for a while. Then out of nowhere the Plantain popped into my mind and yelled “contrast stripe elbow patches!” and the rest is history.

striped plantain back

I’m pretty pleased with my stripe placement on this top. I actually thought it out before I cut, which is not my usual m.o….

The pattern itself, is, of course, lovely. I minored in French in college, and although most of my French has melted into the ether from disuse since then, I retain an affinity for all things Francophone and I’ve been wanting to make a Deer and Doe pattern. And this one is free! I cut a straight size 40 (but with the length of the largest size plus a little more – I like my tops long). I generally grade out a size in the waist and hips, but this pattern is designed with some swing, and I wanted a more traditional fit, so I chose the straight size. The fabric is on the medium-heavy weight side, so it doesn’t drape much – if I make it again in a flowier fabric I might grade out a size in the bottom half. I’m getting the same strange above-boob wrinkles that I get on the Renfrew; I’m thinking it might be a forward shoulder thing? Or I need more room in the bust (seems unlikely)? Anyway, I’m not bothered. The neckband was the right size to go in easily, something I very much appreciate in a pattern. And the elbow patches are just the right amount of unexpected, I think. Oh, those French!

striped plantain patch

I made this shirt to wear with my skinny jeans (consider this a preview – post coming soon!) to see The National in concert at our local outdoor amphitheater. Of course, the only day of rain we’ve had in this super dry spring was on the night I was standing outside for three hours. (Still, totally worth it. That band is amazing.) But sadly the awesome elbow patches were hidden by my jacket for most of the night. And now that it’s been 90 degrees for a week straight I can safely say this top has been shelved until the fall. But I’m not ruling out some summer Plantains, even if they won’t feature elbow patches. So I guess what I’m saying is, if for some reason you both live someplace that is having long-sleeve weather and you have somehow managed to not yet make a Plantain, give it a try!

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15 comments
  1. I love everything about your top! I think it’s all around perfect!

  2. Eileen said:

    I think this is one of my favorite versions of this top – I love the elbow patches! I sympathize with always being late to the bandwagon on sewing patterns. I always think about projects foreeeeeeeeeeeeever before starting them. Hence, I’m still just *thinking* about a plaintain top and, even worse, still just *thinking* about an Anna dress……

  3. I love the elbow patches! I’ve resisted making up this top… but I’m coming around, I do love the neckline & the easy fit… and it is long-sleeve weather here now!

  4. So lovely! That is some stripe matching (and purposeful non-matching) that I can really get behind! I’m also a resister of trends, and I do have a built by wendy long sleeve t-shirt pattern that works for me, but ever since I came with the reap-what-you-sew concept I seem to be doing the total opposite so maybe I should make this pattern up too!!

  5. Karen * WinkyBlinky said:

    Makes me want to make one!

  6. lisa g said:

    this tee is GREAT! i love the striped fabric. so perfect!

  7. cinfrastructure elbow patches are too special!

  8. Ernie K said:

    Had to laugh about the stash recognition; wore an OLD sundress I made (in the 80’s), and was accosted by a woman who had worked at the store where I bought the fabric! She emailed me a photo of her shirt of the same yardage! It had been the loss leader there, they had bought bolts and bolts of it. Your stripe is pretty nifty!

  9. Nhi said:

    The stripey elbow patch is just genius. Love the fabric and the orange neck band. For a long time I didn’t understand the bandwagon at all. Wondering why is everyone sewing the same pattern like lemmings. I have to eat those words because I now understand that it’s because the pattern is that great.

    And the funny stuff above the girls looks to be a shoulder slope problem. Your shoulders are more sloped than the pattern. You can see it in the front and the back. Pull your shoulders up like you’re shrugging, to make them more squared and if the wrinkles disappear, that’s the problem. It’s an easy fix.

  10. Elizabeth said:

    I could never get behind the elbow patches on this pattern, but seeing your version changed my mind. In stripes, they’re genius!

  11. Aaahhh, I totally almost bought this knit at the Loft! It’s too bad I didn’t. I do like the way you’ve played with the elbow patches. Thanks for making me look again at this pattern!

  12. I LOVE the contrasting patches!! I’m not even a fan of elbow patches on a normal day, but I love how those turned out–perfection! Anyway, seasonally appropriate, meh…make whatever strikes your fancy whenever it strikes your fancy, I say. 😉

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