REVIEW: Cashmerette's Concord t-shirt from Sprout Patterns
If you haven’t heard about Spoonflower’s offshoot, Sprout Patterns, they’re a curated clearinghouse of sewing patterns by various independent patternmakers, through which you can purchase the patterns in cut-and-sew format printed directly onto fabrics utilizing the print designs of Spoonflower users.
As a theatre costume artist, I primarily use Spoonflower prints for specific theatrical projects (such as the pre-distressed prison stripes for Playmakers Repertory Company’s production of The Parchman Hour, or the twelve different stained-glass prints for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). However, because one of my former graduate students had served as a beta-tester for the concept development before Sprout officially launched, I’d been anticipating this new realm of custom-printed fabric/sewing opportunities. As such, i’ve begun trying out some of the Sprout offerings and this post marks the first such review i’ll be sharing here.
I decided to start with the Concord t-shirt by patternmaker Cashmerette. Cashmerette is only one of many patternmakers in the Sprout collection, and they specialize in simple, flattering styles for a range of body shapes. As someone with a busty figure, one of my beefs with off-the-rack t-shirts is the fit issues that result because they’re cut for a smaller bust-to-waist ratio, so I was thrilled to see not only customizable elements for the Concord like jewel/scoop/vee necklines and short/bracelet/long sleeve lengths but ALSO busty/curvy fit choices.
I decided to make a short-sleeved scoop-neck tee in one of the print designs from my Epithets collection, DEGENERATE synonyms. I loved how i could preview all of the options right there on the Sprout site, adding several prints, seeing how different style choices would change the layout on the fabric, and so forth. The 2D and 3D preview options are great for making it easy to visualize what you’re getting:
Screencap of the 2D/3D modeling on the Sprout site when you assemble a custom pattern/print.
I guess i should note here that, should you just want the garment and you don’t want to sew it together, there’s an option to pay a “white glove fee” for Sprout employees to sew it together for you, but TBH if you don’t want to sew it together yourself, i’m not sure why you are reading this blog. Whatever though, not judging, eh?
Upon placing your order, you receive the directions to the pattern as a PDF via email so if, like me, you are the sort to read through such a thing in advance, you can do so. The directions for your purchased pattern are also accessible on the Sprout site once you sign into your account, so even if you lose the PDF in the time it takes for them to print/ship the order, you’re still set.
When my printed fabric arrived, I was so gratified to note that, in my choice of a busty-figure option, the pattern had in fact come printed with side seam and armscye markings that, as a patternmaker myself, i could see at a glance were going to be right for my figure! I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to begin this project with that in mind.
It took me about 30 minutes to cut my shirt out, doing so at home crawling around on the floor. I could have probably done it in half that if i’d been at work with the professional cutting table, but I did this while housebound by an ice storm so there you go. As such, that meant i also stitched it on a domestic machine without access to any of the fancypants machines at work for sewing stretch, like a coverstitch or a serger.
Perhaps one of the greatest things about this pattern is how the instructions demystify sewing of stretch fabrics in a simple, accessible way, and describe how to do so with only straight and zigzag stitches. If you happen to have a machine that does a serpentine/stretch stitch, you can use that instead; but if not, no big!
My sole complaint (if you can even call it that) is that there were no notches printed on the pattern for center front and center back, though you need to know those places for installing the neckband. It’s no big deal to mark them yourself, even if you’ve already started sewing the garment by the time you realize you need the marks, but it seems like a glaring omission on an otherwise excellent cut-and-sew pattern.
Here it is actually fitting me without any pattern alterations, hot off the Bernina!
Detail of print at bottom.
All in all, the Concord shirt is a quick, easy, and fun project you can complete in a lazy afternoon. It took me two hours, start to finish, though admittedly i do make clothes for a living. Still, I would think even a fairly new stitcher or hobby sewist with no prior experience sewing stretch could make this shirt with minimal fuss in a day.