Tag Archives: Plantain Top

It’s Been Awhile! I’m Alive, but time is a flat circle now

Oh boy! It has been a long time since I’ve been ready/willing/able to write a sewing blog post! In some ways our current pandemic has given me a lot of time, but in other ways it has filled my days with anxiety and isolation. I was stuck in the States for three months with my parents, which is a wonderful situation to be stuck in, but stuck nonetheless. I poured my energy into sewing, sewing for my newborn niece and other little people out there, sewing masks for healthcare workers and neighbors and friends, sewing outfits for myself that felt wonderful to make and foolish when they were done, where will I wear this? Who will see it? As project after project piled up, the idea of documenting them, along with the many things I had made between my last post and March, felt impossible, overwhelming. Not, of course that anyone was demanding I do so. But I was confronting, as Chekhov describes them, the unmountable barriers of the human soul. I’m an actress, no, I’m a seagull, no that’s not right….


ANYway. I’m going to make this post an item dump, and lay on you a bunch of things I have made, so that I can prove to you (again, not something anyone is demanding of me, it’s fun in my head so much all of the time) that I have been making, and hopefully clear out some of this messy mishegas and free myself to write a post AFTER this about a recent dress I made and pushed myself to have my husband take photos of. So, if you want to skip this one and wait for that, I totally understand.


Oh, and I also made a new novel, by the way! It’s called Mother Land and it came out on July 14th and I hope you like it, if you read it!


We will start with my always and forever stay at home life uniform. Seamwork Mel Joggers (hahaha I will never run in these), and a knit tee, in this case,  a Deer and Doe Plantain Tee. I wore a version of this a LOT.

Here with this free pattern baseball tee I found on the internets.

That black ribbon is a sign of mourning, in honor of my grandfather, who passed away in the beginning of May.

Another day, another Mel/Plantain combo. This got me through a lot of chilly days in March, April, hell, even May.

For a little variety, this Closet Core Patterns Kalle over tights.

I also tried the Paper Theory Miller pants, and I’m a big fan. These are in a linen-rayon blend and magnificent for so many things. This is a Seamwork Aberdeen shirt, a pattern I finally tried and love! I made a few for my mother, as well.

Also paired with a Plantain tee.

Another plantain tee!

A plantain tee I lengthened into a dress!

A modified plantain tee with some Seamwork Heidi shorts (which I added pockets too and later tightened up at the waistband, a common alteration for me on these shorts.

Another Plantain tee with a modified pair of Seamwork Marett trousers.

I also made this Seamwork Emmie top, into a bit more of a tunic! I wish I hadn’t gone with the ties, the fabric is too thick. Maybe I will remove them at some point.

My Passover dress for our very sad and lonely Passover was a Seamwork Tacara. Man, I made a lot of Seamwork stuff in the past four months!

I made this Deer and Doe Magnolia for a Zoom Wedding (oh, kill me, but also I’m very happy for them, but also the fact that all events are now on Zoom is just hard, right?).

I have been enjoying hot days more in these Seamwork Miller shorts and Seamwork Clarke top.

And then I made myself a bunch of pajamas:

As one does. The patterns are various Miller shorts hacks, and the tops are a clarke and a plantain.

Now, for the little people things, mostly just because small things are very cute…

These are from many patterns companies and if you are interested in any of them, please do message me.

I also made some quilts! The thing about having cats is that they do not recognize that all quilts are not their quilts.

And of course, I made masks. I have a lot of thoughts on making masks. I was really happy at first to make masks and then I read an article and talked with some friends who sew and read some more things and all of it boiled down to, women/crafters (but actually really women historically) are expected to pitch in and help with domestic tasks that are traditionally across the board devalued/ranked in the space of hobby/”women’s work” which is somehow both a requirement for women as keepers of home and hearth and not worth financial compensation/social status or respect. For example, cooking. Woman have, throughout history, been expected to bear the majority of the cooking duties in the world. From China to Colombia, from Bali to Baltimore, women, sometimes enslaved, sometimes not, have been histories food providers. And yet the professional world of cooking, the paid, validated (yes of course there are lots of food industry issues that’s a whole other thing) socially respected (sort of, again, issues, but you know) role of chef, is and was primarily male. Women have to fight for space in the culinary world while simultaneously being expected to cook for everyone all the time everywhere else. And sewing, crafting, works similarly. Designers, fashion executives, the people who arbitrate fashion, have historically been men, despite the fact that women are expected to sew and make for free. Don’t get me wrong, I love this, I chose this, I keep choosing it. But the fact that women, in crisis after crisis, have been expected to pitch in and make do and give and mend and fill gaps that shouldn’t be there, isn’t great. Even if I enjoy the process, the thought process isn’t great.

This article, also linked above, was what got me thinking, and you might enjoy it too.

I’m still making masks. I’m still giving them away for free. I’m happy to be able to help others. But I don’t think I, more than anyone else, should be expected to give my labor away for free, despite in this case being happy to do so.

Anyway. That’s me. What are you up to?


Filed under Uncategorized

The Lots To Celebrate Dress

Ah, the 4th of July. What a holiday. Who would have known that when a bunch of slave-owning white man got together and said, you know what is the worst, paying taxes to other white men who speak our language on a tiny island far away, let’s deal with that in a long and elaborately worded “Dear John (or George, as the case may be) letter”, we would, some three centuries later, be celebrating that half-assed international mailing with fireworks, beer and awful displays of jean-short madness? Also, quick side-note, given that overseas mail took signficantly longer then, that must have been the most anti-climactic break-up ever. That’s like sending an “it’s over” text via carrier pigeon.

Look, I’m just kidding, I’m a huge fan of the founding Fathers of the United States, specifically Benjamin Franklin who gave us firehouses, public libraries, bifocals, and the best children’s book ever.  My father is probably Franklin’s biggest fan, and you can’t help but be a bit of a groupie if you grow up in Philadelphia, Franklin’s adopted city. He was actually from Boston, and was apprenticed to a candlemaker until he escaped and…you know what? You should read his autobiography. I did. At the age of 13. Because my father made me. And then you can come to Philadelphia and see his home and his grave and the University he founded and the museum named after him and you can cry to your dad that you don’t WANT to read more about Franklin and you like John Adams because Principle Feeney played him in this movie and besides he seemed like a cool guy who respected women and oh my god I need a moment a lot of my childhood just flashed back excuse me. Sob.

ANYWAY.  I even love celebrating July 4th.  Who doesn’t love freedom? Specifically a freedom only granted to landowning White males of a certain income and education level? It’s a great excuse to grill a bunch of things, drink a bunch of wine (I don’t CARE if it comes from Europe, it’s freedom juice to me!) and enjoy some time with my family. That’s worth celebrating, right? It’s certainly worth a new outfit….

And with no further ado, may I present to you the latest in a long line of Plantain and Plantain hacks, my Lots To Celebrate Dress? Don’t mind if I do!


Ah, I love this dress! And could it BE more patriotic? My cynical ramblings are totally negated by this dress, aren’t they?

So, yes, Plantain. To this. How,you say? Well, I took the top part of the top, that is, above the waist, and used that to cut the bodice. I then slimmed it on the front and back pieces by about two inches, and used the sleeves as they were, and the neck binding. Then I just cut and gathered the skirt. Gathering a knit is the damn worst. I don’t recommend it. It’s dumb. Still! I like this.



The fabric I got at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet for literally 1.98 a yard. Because, Philadelphia. I got two yards and I still have enough to make a tank top. Luckily it stretches in both directions because the vertical stripe and I are good friends.

LTC 5Although I do think that it is deeply hilarious that the stripes look bigger on the bodice because of my, um, front area. Sigh. Whatever. Franklin would have appreciated this. He loved himself some ladies.

LTC 3A little rear view for you. This dress was insanely easy to sew. I have made this pattern 10 times now and it only gets easier. And it wasn’t hard to begin with. Make this pattern. It’s awesome. That’s all I can say about it. It’s easy and fast and free. What else do you want on July 4th?

LTC 6Obviously these photos were not taken in Brooklyn, but rather at my parent’s house in Philadelphia where we had a lovely BBQ to celebrate the holiday. Not that we are so into it, but, honestly, any excuse to grill…

LTC 8Obviously I left Cadfael in Brooklyn but that’s okay, I wasn’t lonely:

LTC 7Cats gotta be a part of everything, am I right?

LTC 9We made some excellent slaw from this excellent blog. Try that today, too.

So, obviously, celebrating the United States and it’s weird and wonderfully awkward revolution is important. But it’s also important to celebrate personal things too, like this dress, or the slaw I made with my mom, or, you know, getting engaged. Which I also did. So there’s that.

LTC 11Yes. Sharp eyed readers will have noticed this new piece of jewelry making it’s first appearance on the blog. And in my life. As it turns out, what’s-his-face was not just hanging out with me for the sewing tips, and he proposed to me recently. So in honor of that event, and because my mom is unhappy with the moniker “what’s-his-face”, my gentleman caller is being upgraded to Mr. Struggle. I don’t know that you will ever see him on this blog, as he is shy, but I do know that I will be documenting all of my wedding-related makes here, so it seems only fair to tell you why all the white all of a sudden. And why I have a lot to celebrate. He took these photos of me. Maybe that’s why I look so happy? Hard to tell. It’s probably just dreaming about Ben Franklin….

LTC 1Yeah. That’s gotta be it.

I hope you had the best 4th of July possible if you live in the United States, and if not, I hope you had a lovely Friday that had no other meaning to you. I know I did. Thanks, dead white guys!



Filed under Deer and Doe, Life, Sewing

The A-tisket A-brisket Dress, and giveaway winners!

First of all, I’m sorry for the gap in posting! It was actually easy for me to write posts on vacation in Ireland then it is here in Brooklyn. Go figure. It must be all this pesky graduate school writing I have to do. They keep giving me deadlines and I’m like, um, but, 30 pages by next week? Don’t you know I have blogging to do? Strangely enough they don’t seem to care, the cretins. Don’t they know what’s most important in my life? Selfish, is what they are, very very selfish.

As always the problem lies not in clothing production but in documentation. I swear, I should just carry my camera around with me all the time and smack strangers around and make them photograph me. I wear my own makes all the time, ALL. THE. TIME, and yet I have the hardest time getting them photographed. I am the worst. Sigh.

Okay, so first of all, giveaway winners!

For the yarn, that goes to Crafty Little Bugger!

The simplicity patter goes to tamalyn1,!

And the McCall’s pattern goes to Maryall!

So, ladies, do let me know where to send your patterns by emailing Leah.Franqui@gmail.com, and thanks for entering! There will be more giveaways and round-ups soon, I promise, and I’m even going to do the flickr thing, for reals.

To the outfit!  I did get my roommate, Jordan, to take these shots of my new Deer and Doe Plantain Dress after the Brisket King Festival last night, after which I was pretty thrilled about the loose nature of this garment…worth it. Worth every minute of self-hatred and stomach-ache. BRISKET. I must have tried ten kinds, including at Korean brisket hand roll, but what’s his face and I agreed that the best brisket came from Duck’s Eatery, not only because of the meat, which was astounding, but because of the SAUCE. I could take a bath in that peppery smoky wonder. My Jewish grandmother would be very offended by this, but it might be the best brisket I’ve ever had, though a close second is Morgan’s, an amazing place in my hood and also well represented, and they gave me a plate of just the crispy ends, so, you know, I kind of just want to hug everyone there. But a comfortable loose knit dress was clearly the right choice for such an event, can you blame me?

TB1So, when Deer and Doe released this free pattern, the Plantain top, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve already made it four times, and almost finished a fifth for my mom. I am basically making a plantain plantation. That’s happen. Get into it.

TB 4

I love the fit and the neckline, and I am so happy Deer and Doe, a company whose designs I love, released a free pattern. The generosity of pattern companies never ceases to amaze me, it really made sewing possible for me when I first started and I always appreciate it, especially one this nice.

I got the fabric from Girl Charlee (like I do), and simply lengthened the original hemline. It turned out a little looser then I thought, and I would make it a little closer fitting next time, but it’s nice to have something that is supremely comfortable and still looks good while being squished by brisket aficionados and trying to get another cocktail in Chinatown.

TB5It’s a bit lightweight for a winter that has been so cold but I’m hoping that an incentive for spring to come, because obviously my clothing dictates to the weather. It’s a very comfortable fabric, though. Cadfael likes it:

TB 2

There is nothing complicated at all about this pattern and if you haven’t yet made it, deal with yourself and just do it. It’s free. It’s great. It survives brisket. So far, it’s survived Cadfael, what more can you ask for?

TB3Nothing! So make it. It’s nice.

I promise I have more stuff to show you, and I will harass all those around me until I have decent shots. As god is my witness, I’ll ruin all my relationships to show you what I’ve made!


Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Sewing