phew! What a rollercoaster the last few weeks have been! SInce my last blog post (the review of the laundry day tee) I started feeling a lot better, went back into work for an hour or so a day as I built up my strength, managed nearly 2 weeks and then got sent home because of lockdown! I have now been working from home for nearly 3 months and I have to admit it feels like the new normal. Having been confined to my house due to illness for nearly 6 months prior to lockdown I am jsut grateful to have my health back and at least now that everyone is in the same boat I feel far less isolated than before. For the first few weeks, whilst all of this was new I decided to get stuk into a meaty project and sewed up a pair of Dawn jeans but after that I quickly realised that what I needed int he lockdown was comfy clothes. So here we are, back on the t-shirts. The next free t-shirt pattern I have been longing to make up is the Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti. This one is a bit of a cult classic in the sewing community – rarely a week goes by when one doesnt pop up on my instagram feed and I can see why. Teh shape of the tee is timeless and works looks great ina range of different prints as well as plains. So Id ecided now was the time to get to making my own!
To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.
The Mandy Boat Tee is a is boxy top with drop shoulders, which has a boat neckline. I’ve long been an admirer of Tessuti patterns but have never made anything of theirs so this free pattern provides the perfect chance to try out a new designer with none of the risks of splurging on a pattern only to be disappointed.
Options available 2/10
The size range on the Mandy boat tee is one of its biggest downfalls. It comes in just 4 sizes covering a bust size range of just 31 – 45 inches. THe boxy style does make up for the coarse sizes a little as there si no need for a fitted look anywhere and so a wide range of sizes are captured in each bracket. I terms of options, you get a choice of sleeve length: 3/4 or full.
Getting hold of the pattern 10/10
This is one of the easiest free patterns to get your hands on. The pdf version of this pattern is free on the website. Just add it to your shopping bag and go to checkout. You need to fill in some details but no payment information is required as the pattern is free. Confusingly, you do need to click “pay now” to place the order but as soon as you do a link will appear that you can click to get the downloads.
Printing and assembling the pdf 9/10
For the print test square on this one, it is a nice big 10cmx10cm box so plenty to room to check if your printer is even slightly out! My test box measured fine but it was on the very outside of the lines (which are quite thick), putting the pattern together was nice and straightforward – the edges of each page are marked with letters (rows) and numbers (columns) so it is really quick to see which page fits where. The pages did need trimming but the lines were very clear and everything lined up nicely when it came to sticking it all together.
Instructions and construction 5/10
Unfortunately for me all the measurements are only in cm and so it took me a while to work out which size I wanted as I know my measurements in inches off the top of my head but not in cm. Although, it did make me measure myself again rather than convert from imperial to metric so maybe there is something positive in that! I found the instructions reasonably clear but having made a lot of t-shirts I am fairly happy with the order of constructions and most of the techniques. I think for a new sewer or someone new to this type of garment these instructions would be a bit sparse. Also, the instructions in this pattern do assume you have an overlocker – of course there are ways to work around this if you don’t, but they are not explained in the pattern.
The only deviation I made from the pattern was to use my coverstitch instead of a twin needle for the neckline and hems. This did mean that there was a bit of switching over to do between coverstitch and overlocker as the pattern has you sew the neckline first before constructing the garment and then hem at the end. This was a bit faffy but in my opinion worth it – the finish is really neat.
Final Impressions 8/10
I am pretty pleased with this one. I really like the neckline – sometimes boat necks can sit a bit too wide on me and you get a flash of my bra straps now and again but this one seems to be just perfect! I think perhaps it has something to do with the little dart at the shoulder seam that you add right at the end, giving it a tiny bit more shaping.
Based on my measurements I needed to cut a size 2 but I was right at the bottom end of that size range. Seeing as there are only four sizes they are pretty big size ranges and I definitely think I could have got away with the smaller size, but it doesn’t look ridiculously oversized or anything – so I guess if you are unsure just go with your measurements but if you are not after a super oversized fell I wouldn’t be afraid to size down.
I chose the 3/4 sleeve option and in truth, it is more like bracelet length on me so I probably could have shortened the sleeves a bit, although I’m not mad at it. I think it would have been a different story had I gone with the full-length sleeves as I’m certain they would have been way too long. However, as the pattern does not contain any finished measurements its all guesswork unless you want to get the ruler out and start measuring the pattern pieces – but for a free pattern I really didn’t think it was worth it!
Total score 34/50
Thanks for reading this review of the Mandy Boat tee. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!
Have you sewn up the Mandy Boat tee? What did you think of it?
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