Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mandy Boat Neck: A Cautionary Tale

Hello, Hello! Hope you're having a fab weekend. Due to a busy week that led to weekend napping--along with a certain someone's snoring--I find myself wide awake in the middle of the night and in a blogging mood.

I consider the Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti to be one of my TNT patterns. I love the boxy shape, and it looks so classic when sewn up in stripes. My favorite elements are the turned back neckline (no unnecessary drama with a neck band) and the slightly fitted sleeves, which serve as an anchor to help hold the oversized top in place. So when I bought this lovely 75% Polyester/17% Cotton/8%Linen Knit from Blackbird Fabrics with the perfect stripe I confidently set out to make another fab, striped Mandy tee. (It's funny how sewing changes the way you look at things. I only became obsessed with stripe proportion once I started looking carefully at textiles.) Anyhoo, I was so focused on the stripe aspect that I neglected to think about stretch percentage. This particular fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch (maybe 10%?) probably due to the linen content, and, as a result, I ended up with a top with uncomfortably tight arms and an awkward fit around the shoulders. I've definitely gained weight in the last year (Some people call it the Trump ten; it's probably more like the Trump twenty for me.), but the thing is my other Mandy tees still fit me just fine. I figured it had to be the fabric.

To ensure longevity, I had taken all the extra steps--e.g., stabilizing the shoulder seam and hem with fusible bias tape, conscientious stripe matching, and adding a side split hem. (Aren't side split hems the best? I want them on all my tees these days. If you're like me and tend to forget how to do them, here's a good tutorial from the Creative Counselor with lots of helpful close-up pics.)

After all that extra work and finding the perfect stripe and all, there was no way I was going to give up and throw it in the Goodwill pile. After unpicking the serged sleeves (bummer), I dug out my recently sewn Hey June Santa Fe tee pattern and used the sleeve bands. The nice thing about knits is you don't have to worry about exact measurements. Even with this fabric's limited stretch, I was able to ease them on just fine.

So all in all it worked out just fine. In fact, we're having a spate of warm weather here in my usually foggy neighborhood, so the short sleeves are perfect right now. A note for my future Mandys: They tend to hit a little too high at the neckline, no doubt due to my large bust pushing the neck up. I will lower the neck by 1.5 inches and also extend the length by 2.5 when sewing a side split hem.

Here's a goofy pic of me on the street car because blog posts are no fun without pictures.. (Yes, another on my way to work pic.)  Have a fantastic rest of your weekend. Cheers!


  1. Good save! I love how the tee looks with the cuffs.

  2. Great save. Been there and done that with the Mandy, it really does need a fabric with a bit of Lycra for those sleeves....

    1. Thanks! It's definitely a mistake you only make once.