Grocery Store Bonny & Invisibility Cloaks

click to view listing for paper pattern.

click to view listing for paper pattern.

As much as I like a sailor collar and nautical styling, sometimes I just want a normal, comfy top to wear with my normal comfy pants while I go about the unglamorous business of being a functioning adult.  I think of these kinds of garments as “invisiblity cloaks”- though I suppose not everyone considers red an invisible color.

Grocery Store Bonny

Every Cake Pattern carries a promise of “re-make-ability.”  That’s not a funny word I made up for marketing purposes.  It’s one of my main drafting considerations.   I get a lot of ideas and I have to I decide which of my designs is worth producing and printing.  If I can’t honestly call it “re-make-able” in my own wardrobe, then it’s not Cake.

Ketchup?  Tomato Sauce? Catsup?  What do you eat?

Ketchup? Tomato Sauce? Catsup? What do you eat?

The collarless Bonny looks like a simple square neck tee at first glance, but she’s so much more.  For one, the linework provides a dotted line guide to customizing the princess seams.  It’s not comprehensive, it is a suggestion only and the lines can be followed during construction.  Use a basting stitch, and don’t be afraid to run those princess seams in if you want!  Someone asked if the princess seams demand a heavier fabric.

Mmmmm sushi mayo... I'm not a fan of british style mayo, but this tastes like America...

Mmmmm sushi mayo… I’m not a fan of british style mayo, but this tastes like America…

No, they don’t.  For this sample and for the navy blue sample, I used a relatively lightweight organic cotton with a 5% Lycra content.  I also ran in the princess seams to remove excess fabric- that’s my preference, yours may be different.   Also note that heavier knits tend to “gloss over” lumps and bumps, while thinner jerseys will accentuate this when made into a closely fitted garment.


The binding requires a little bit of nimble-fingered dressmaker skill to balance them properly.  We’ve talked about how knit fabrics behave differently, and this is one of those areas where it’s essential to understand how the binding behaves.  It’s important not to stretch the binding along the straight edges, and to gently stretch it across the back neck curve.  It’s not hard- but I would highly recommend approaching this pattern after gaining a little skill with knit binding.

The front neckline uses a particular facing finish to ensure it doesn’t gape, flip, or buckle during wear (and troubleshooting suggestions because I want your Bonny to be perfect!).

Grocery Store Bonny

Grocery Store Bonny also features a hem band, just like the Sailor Bonny.  This creates a nice firm edge for the bottom of the top, and of course you select the band width by your hip measurement.  Handy!  It’s also suited to various ribbing or striped fabrics, which allows you to put a designer touch on your Bonny.


MmmMmmm, mushrooms…

I didn’t think I’d like this plainer top, but I do.  I really do.  She goes together quickly, she’s not fussy but she looks good, and I’m already considering what she’d look like if I used a striped fabric in the center section.  I don’t know, but I really want to try it.

Talk to me…

Do you have an invisibility cloak?  What is it?  I realize red isn’t on everyone’s invisibility list… What color do you wear the most?



    • Soon, Katie! :)

      Well… I don’t eat much processed food, and not much fats or mayo, so I won’t lose sleep over it. In fact, I have a little tiny jar of msg that I use sparingly on lentil dishes sometimes. A lot of the problems of MSG are reactions to over-consumption of poor food choices/personal sensitivity, I think. :) But thanks for the tip! Good to know.

  1. Mmm, I really like it! Sailor style and plain too. I like the functioning adult invisibility cloak idea. I tend towards earthy colours for that.

  2. This just sold it for me – I’m definitely seeing loads of these in my wardrobe. Now I’m wondering if the Cabrita would work without the roll collar …?

    • oh what fun! :)

      I think Cabarita would work just fine without the roll collar, just cut a binding strip and apply it. Or a facing, that’d work too. :)

  3. I can tell you what mine isn’t – a food splashed chefs jacket in Coles after 8pm while I’m picking up a cooked chook and Asian salad mix because I’m over cooking for the day. People stare at me! On the weekend I go in jeans and a plain t-shirt (and that makes me feel much more invisible).

    • Yes, and for layering, too… It’s getting a little chilly here in the SH, so I should be able to layer a little bit for a few months. That’ll be fun. :) And thanks! I’m glad you like her.

  4. You know, I really thought I wasn’t crazy about Bonny until I saw this post, but without the fancy collar and buttons she is soooo me! I will save her though, until I have finished playing with Cabarita – I’m definitely going to try it with two fronts!
    My colour of choice is green. I like most shades, but the shades that suit me best are the paler, yellow toned greens; lettuce, chartreuse, pea. I like them, and they like me. I think it’s a colour many people can’t wear easily, but it just seems to go really well with my skin tone and somehow I look really ‘well’ in it – in fact that’s what people often say to me when we meet – ‘You look well’. Maybe what they mean is ‘That colour suits you’.

    • Heheh… She’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready. :)

      Your greens sound lovely…! And I think you’re probably right, the colors I stick to are the ones that inspire people to tell me I look “well,” too…

  5. Hahaha! My personal cloak of invisibility is called “turning 40.” Fifteen years later, it’s still in full force. I could strip myself nekkid, paint myself purple, and walk backward down the main street of town and no one would notice me.

    • Turning 40, eh? I’ve heard that happens… I’ll be interested to see what 40 is like, my little girl will be grown up by then… And if I suddenly turn invisible, then that means I can get away with wearing full-on Edwardian fashion without raising eyebrows, right? Right? :)

      I am sure if you did that people would notice you and you’d be on youtube and going viral within the hour… hehe.

      • Well, what a lovely compliment! Thank you. I live in a town that boasts two universities and three private colleges, so I doubt that the hypothesized behavior from one plump, middle-aged woman would raise even one eyebrow. When I was still young and beautiful, I once rated an 8.5 on Olympics-judge-style napkin scrawlings from the wags in the bar window on the square in Monroe, Wisconsin. Now, I can stare into a bar window from the sidewalk and gawk all I want: no one inside even notices. V. useful for espionage work, should I decide to take that up, but I think I’d rather have the superpower of flight than of invisibility.

  6. I think a lot of my wardrobe would fit as my personal cloak of invisibility. I don’t like to draw much attention to myself.

    I am totally loving the collarless bonny top. So much my style.

    • I understand that… Everyone is different. I stand out anyway, personality and accent and posture, so it’s pretty hard for me to pull off invisibility at the best of times no matter what I wear.

      I’m so pleased you like her! She goes together quite quickly, too.

  7. I’m just shy of 6 feet tall, so I’m never quite invisible, no matter what I wear. :) My favorite colors right now are red and turquoise.

    • You’re so tall! I mean, you know that of course, but from your flickr photos I thought you would be rather petite. :)

      Oooh I love red and turquoise, too.

      • Yes, my height and my slender frame have made finding clothes that fit a real challenge! That’s why I started sewing this year (2013), and Cake has become a huge part of my new wardrobe. :) My wardrobe is growing slowly, but I’m encouraged to continue with it — it’s so amazing to have clothes that fit well, look good, and feel comfortable. Thanks, Steph!

  8. Hm… I wonder, do I have an invisibility cloak? I thought beige or brown, which are my go-to colours for everyday clothing, but then I have a beige cloche that’s definitely not invisible. I thought jeans, but then I have a tendency to approach my jeans with a different mindset… they kind of remind me of spaghetti westerns, or something. Not exactly invisibility either, although it may seem so for people around me. So I guess it must be the brown corduroy pants, but then, those may not be exactly invisible in a sea of jeans (as my friend put it, corduroy pant and a sweater is a very classic combination)… Mind reels.

    Re-makeability is a great factor in a style. I love how the Cake patterns combine interesting styles with more practicality – it’s more in the seamlines than anything else, and that’s precisely what I love in clothing construction…

  9. Ah the invisibility cloak! I think that wearing similar clothes (or dying your hair to match those of the local population) defines invisibility. :)

  10. Red is my invisibility cloak when eating the aforementioned condiments (catsup, tomato sauce, hotsauce, salsa) ‘cuz you KNOW, I be spilling some on me!!

  11. I love this ‘Grocery Store’ Bonny – it’s just a whole lot smarter than your regular ol tee. The square neck is way stylish. Definitely one to put on my list … I think it would also make a great long sleeve for winter.

  12. This looks so cute on you (like all the Cake patterns do– how fun to be able to draft exactly what you want to wear!)! My favorite colors to wear are chartreuse, salmon, and sky blue, but my “invisibility cloak” is grey. If I’m tired, sad, or just feeling kinda low-key, I gravitate towards greys. I think I subconsciously just don’t want to stand out if I’m not feeling as perky as usual. Color is so interesting! I know that for me it both shapes and broadcasts my mood.

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