So, are you in? We hope so! We wanted to let you know that our Sew-Along blog posts will be working you through the process nice and slow, but feel free to sew at your own pace! We are here to help you along the way if you need it, or cheer you on as you make Plantain after Plantain! Now let's talk fabric! HOW TO PICK YOUR FABRIC It can be tricky navigating all the types of knits on the shelves. Each type will handle differently. This pattern calls for a knit that has 40-50% stretch. You can check if the fabric you are considering will work by holding the selvage edgle on a ruler and pinch it at the 4" mark. Then stretch it as far as it will go. If it recahes to the 5-6" line it will work great! Stretch 40-50% Medium to light weight - These types of knits will work well Jersey French Terry Ponte de Roma (double knit) But if you fall in love with a fabric with less than 40% stretch, such as an interlock or sweatshirt fleece, you can make it work by cutting your shirt a size larger. HOW MUCH FABRIC DO I NEED? The pattern calls for 1 3/4 yard of 60" wide fabric OR 2 1/2 yards of 44" wide fabric. But waht if you want to make a sleeveless top like Roxanne's? Or maybe you want to use more than one fabric in your shirt. How much fabric will you need then? The body of the shirt will take about 1 yard of 60" wide fabric or 2 yards of 45" wide for all sizes. The short sleeves will take about 1/4 yard. The long sleeves will take about 3/4 yard. PREWASH! Your knit fabric can shrink up to 2 1/2 inches in the wash! So please prewash your fabric before you start. That way your fabric will do all of it's shrinking before you make your shirt to size instead of after. Follow the manufacturers care instructions for your fabric which can be found on the bolt and sometimes online. And as a rule of thumb, prewash your fabric in the same manner as the garment will be washed after it's complete. WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED? 1. The Plantain Pattern. If you haven't already, download the free pattern from Deer and Doe's shop. 2. Your pre-washed knit fabric. 3. A good pair of fabric scissors. Also called dressmaker shears. Even if you use a rotary cutter to cut your fabric, it's still good to have a pair handy. 4. Pattern weights. These can help you hold your pattern down while you cut out the pieces. 5. A rotary cutter. This is not essential but we will show you a quick and accurate way to use a rotary cutter to cut out your pattern pieces. 6. A seam guage. This is one of our favorite tools. It is inexpensive and useful for so many things, most of all getting an accurate hem. If you don't own one, now is a great time to pick one up the next time you are in the shop. 7. A seam ripper. No matter how experienced you are, mistakes happen. We love this one because the end of the seam ripper is grippy. So after you've ripped out your seam you can use the grippy end to wipe away the bits of thread left. Much easier then picking them out. 8. Marking tools. There are lots of types of marking tools on the market. Each type has a different purpose. As long as the marks will come off of your fabric it will work. Some are more of a marker and disappear with time. We like chalk pencils for dark colored fabrics and Frixion pens for light colored fabrics. The Frixion pen marks will disappear with the touch of a hot iron. 9. Colored pencils. These are useful if you have to grade your pattern because you are measuring more than one size. You can use the colored pencils to create a new line. If you haven't graded a pattern before or need help making a size bigger than the pattern, we would encourage you to sign up for Jean's class or take her Sew In. She is an expert! 10. Swedish Tracing Paper. Another house favorite! This product is a corss between fabric and paper. So it doesn't rip like that thin pattern paper and it's easier to manage then the office paper you've printed your pattern on. It's easy to see through for tracing so it's a great tool when you want to preserve the original pattern. 11. Ball point needle. Also called a Jersey Needle. This needle has a dull, rounded end. You will have a much better result sewing knits with this type of needle. 12. Stretch Twin Needle. You will use this needle when you top stitch around your neck and hem. The twin needle gives a nice professional finish and has a little stretch to the stitch. We will talk about this more in blog post #5 - Finishing Touches. You will also need basic supplies such as a sewing machine or serger, thread, a fabric tape measure and pins. If you don't have all of these supplies, stop by the shop. You can use our classroom when it's not in use for just $5 an hour! METHODS FOR CUTTING OUT A PATTERN Everyone has their own method for cutting out garment patterns. The most common is to use pattern weights and/or pin your pattern pieces to the fabric and then use your scissors to cut it out. We like to use a rotary cutter and a small ruler. We use the ruler to keep the rotary cutter from going rogue and follow it along the line as you make your way around the pattern pieces. If you haven't tried it before, practice on some scrap fabric first. SEW ALONG WITH US We would like you to join in the fun and make a closet full of Plantains too! Share your own tips and tricks that you have with us and ask questions so we can learn from each other. And of course, we want to see your finished Plantains! WIN! Everyone that finishes a Plantain in the month of April and shares it with us, is entered to win a $50 gift certificate to our shop! HOW TO SHARE * Post to our Facebook Plantain Event page. * Use #MTSewAlong on Instagram * Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org * Stop by the shop HERE'S THE BREAKDOWN March 30th #1 The Intro April 6th #2 Before You Start April 11th The Plantain Class April 13th #3 Tips for Sewing with Knits April 20th #4 Putting in a Sleeve April 27th #5 The Finishing Touches April 28th Garment Sew In with Jean April 30th Last day to enter has been EXTENDED!! May 11th NEW! Last day to enter. May 12th #6 The Winner!