I think Deer and Doe are my favourite indie pattern company. I love others but I have had the most success with Deer and Doe. The fit and the aesthetic suits me so when they launched their free Plantain pattern I downloaded it tout de suite.
Along with the pattern came a challenge so I thought I would set a challenge to myself and see if I could make some thick polar style fleece work in this style and prettify some of its less attractive manmade qualities. I am usually a natural fibres obsessive so this sort of fabric is an anathema, but it was a weird ebay buy and I was curious to see how it sewed, plus I could not deny it was warm and I am perpetually cold.
I had a scrap of Liberty needle cord from Leila, large enough to make the elbow pads, cut a couple of shoulder plackets and trim the edges of a front pocket. I traced the pocket shape off an old hoody top. A little scrap went a long way. I like plackets and they are easier to sew than they look, especially on a shoulder where the top section finishes the neck and the bottom edges are sewn into the armhole. The wooden buttons are decorative (no buttonhole required) and sewn through the layers.
It is a cuddly soft top to wear, great for working from home days and pilates classes or wearing with PJ pants in the evening and an easy, quick make. I made a size 36 but the limited stretch in the fleece made for a close fit so ¼" seams throughout. I used the highest neckline and reduced the neck trim rectangle by 1" in total. The length and neckline are flattering and work for my height; 5' 5". I might go shorter for a jersey version.
Fleece is a beast to sew. Thick and bulky. It wears out on pins, needles, scissors and the machine. I cut it using a rotary cutter and old scissors. I got through several 80 ballpoint needles until I realised that I needed a 90 and the overlocker/serger was not a success. Instead I lowered the foot pressure on my machine to 1 (out of 7) and used a small shallow zig zag stitch. On the plus side, no edges need neatening and the stitches bury in the fluff.
I always find photographing myself in clothes tricky, our house is small with no open blank wall space so I squeezed into our bedroom and tried the timer feature on my new camera. I noticed I was photo bombed in this pic by the softie my daughter made for her dad. In another pic you might possibly spot our cat Mindy and a big piece of Liberty lawn waiting to go in a box under the bed. C'est la vie. The Deer and Doe 'Plantain' challenge is on until the end of January.