achievement unlocked: plantain tee & colorblocked renfrew tee

i’m going to pair these projects, since they were sewn from the same length of cloth.

deer & doe plantain tee:


sewaholic renfrew tee:


so, one complaint people have about me-made may is that they feel pressure to put together interesting new outfits everyday. i wear stuff i made all the time, but i do tend to circle back to the same handful of favorites over & over. i have plenty of handmade things that haven’t been worn in months–partly because of weather, but partly because the bloom is off the rose & i’ve moved on to wearing other things that are newer or more practical.

but i am trying to go deep into the archives this month. in doing so, i recognized that i have a major handmade black t-shirt hole in my wardrobe. i have a million skirts, but i always pair them with RTW tees. i’d eventually like to wear all handmade, & black tees are a pretty key element of that.

so i stopped by the local fabric store last week one day after hitting the playground with ramona. they mostly sell quilting cottons, but they have a fairly decent selection of apparel fabrics, & most of what they have is very nice quality. they have several racks of jersey so i didn’t think i’d have any trouble finding some nice black jersey to make t-shirts. i wanted something cotton–no polyester. & it had to be opaque, because obviously most t-shirt fits rely on negative ease & i didn’t want to host a peep show. but it also had to be pretty lightweight, because it gets up to 105 degrees & just stays there most of the summer in kansas.

& they didn’t have anything that fit the bill! they had all kinds of black jersey knits, but all of them were way too heavy (more suitable for cold weather layers), completely sheer, polyester, or literally $35 a yard (for silk jersey). i finally settled on a rayon blend that was a little heavier than what i wanted, but close enough. unfortunately, there was only a yard & a half left on the bolt, & according to the directions, the deer & doe plantain tee requires a yard & three-quarters. i decided to just go for it & hope i could eke it out with careful cutting.

well, not only was a yard & a half enough fabric for a plantain, but i had enough left over for the front bodice, sleeves, waistband, neckband, & armbands of a renfrew as well! i cut the back from leftover pink baby rib knit i used for my recent three-quarter sleeve brontë top. i did have to cut the armbands on the crossgrain to get them to fit, so i just made them a little longer to make up for the reduced stretch.



i love the renfrew! i made this with the altered front bodice, to which i added a 4″ FBA. it’s probably just a little too big now that i’ve lost a little weight, but i really like the fit. the rayon, unfortunately, does not play well with humidity, & besides being hot, lawrence gets really humid in the summer. (don’t you want to move here?) but this shirt will be great for transition days, since summer tends to linger & fall doesn’t really happen until like november here.


the big selling point on the plantain is that it’s free. i did not care for the technical drawing at all. i was worried it would just drop from my bust like a tent & make me look twenty pounds heavier than i am. but i’ve seen some people sew up some cute versions online, so i decided to chance it. i cut a 40 in the shoulders & graded out to a 46 at the waist & hem. ultimately, it’s wearable, but really too tight in the shoulders. however, i really liked the fit through the waist. the drape through the waist & hips skims the body just enough to show some shape, but without clinging. it was a little short, but i suspect that’s because it was a little too tight across the bust for me. when i make it again (& why not? it takes literally like an hour to sew), i’m going to try a straight size 46 & see how that goes.

worth noting: i staystitched the back necklines of both tees & sewed clear elastic into the front necklines. i accidentally pulled on the elastic as i was sewing a little along part of the plantain tee (you can kind of see it in the hanger photo), but it’s so tight, you can’t really tell when i’m wearing it. i also accidentally sewed the seam on the neckline to the center front. ugh. whatever.

the UPS guy just dropped off a few yards of 100% opaque black cotton jersey, so it’s going to be a t-shirt-making party around here this week. i placed my order before i sewed these two shirts, & hoped to buy enough yardage to make three shirts. but since i got two out of just a yard & a half of the black rayon…who knows how many t-shirts i will have when it’s all said & done?

i only wish i had not woken up at 4am this morning. i like to get up early, like maybe 6:30am, so i can have some quiet time before ramona gets up for the day. i do not like to get up at 4am. & yet it seems to be happening more & more these days.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: plantain tee & colorblocked renfrew tee

    1. thanks! when they warn you that rayon shrinks in the wash though, they are not kidding. the shirt is still wearable, but it was kind of comical how much the rayon (black parts) shrank while the pink (cotton) stayed the same size.

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