Most of the things I’ve been making lately have been on my list for so long, but I can honestly say that I didn’t really plan on making the Mandy Boat Tee (FREE PDF pattern!) until a few months ago when I heard on the Love To Sew Podcast that the hosts, Caroline and Helen, really like it. I looked up #mandyboattee on Instagram, and there are over 1K posts! So it has to be a good one, right? Plus, did I mention that it’s FREE?
My first tee was out of a wool blend knit that I bought from JoAnn a few years ago. So it had been sitting, and I decided that it would probably work really well for the Mandy since it’s such a loose fitting pattern.
Tessui Fabrics release the new sizing for the pattern right after I printed it through the copy shop, and since I had heard so many people say that the pattern was really wide, I decided to just buck up and print it on my own printer. It actually didn’t take very long to cut and tape together, and I was very happy about that.
I made three Mandy Tees altogether. My first two tees were made out of the wool blend, and I got it PERFECT on the second try. I’ll walk you through my process of making the first tee and then through the adjustments that I made on my second tee and why I made them, so that you can decide what alterations to make to the pattern when you make it yourself.
For reference my measurements are 37.5″ bust, 32″ waist, 42″ hips, and my height is 5’11. The pattern is in centimeters, so that means I’m about 95cm in the bust, which put me at the large end of the size 2. I decided to stick with the size 2 first, since I had enough fabric to make another one if I needed to.
#1 Mandy in wool blend knit: (Below, on the left. Not pictured anywhere else in this post.) I made a size 2 with no alterations besides bringing the neckline in by 1″ on both sides (for a total of 2″). I noticed right away that the sleeves and shoulders were too tight. With a soft, stretchy fabric, this might be okay, but because my fabric didn’t have a lot of stretch and the wool is a little itchy, it was much more noticeable. I had also made the neckline too narrow, but that was my own doing because didn’t want a wide boat neck. Because of my height, my first tee also came out short, since I hadn’t lengthened the pattern at all. SO – I retraced and went at it again!
#2 Mandy in wool blend knit (above, on the right): First, I traced the shoulder seam and brought the neckline in 3/4″ (1.5″ total). Next, I marked where the size 2 shoulder seam stopped and marked 1/2″ out and moved the pattern out to that point so that the shoulder seam and side seam were 1/2″ wider. The last thing I did with the bodice pieces was to lengthen them by 2″.
For the sleeves, I started at the top and traced the top of the shoulder to the size 2 and then graded to the size 4 in the sleeve side seam. I also lengthened the sleeve by 1″ longer than the size 1 sleeve (size 1 has the longest sleeve length).
#3 Mandy in Indiesew ribbed knit: I made the size 2 and used the crew neckline from the Union St Tee by Hey June by lining the neckline up on the fold, and extending the shoulder seam to meet the neckline. I used the largest size neckline because I didn’t want the neckline to be too high (which worked really well!). I also lengthened the bodice pieces by 2″, again. s I graded the sleeves to a size 3, but definitely should have just stuck with the size 2 because this fabric has WAY more stretch than the other fabric.
I really wanted to make another Mandy, so I used this fabric since the ribbed knit has really good drape and it’s light but still opaque. I made the mistake of sewing the neckline on backwards (Oops!), and I think the fabric is a bit too drapey for this pattern. Still, I have actually worn this a few times already because it’s SO comfortable.
What’s different about the long sleeves on this pattern is that the sleeve sizes are all a different length…? Which was really confusing. Because when I made my green one, I couldn’t remember if I lengthened 1″ from the size 2 sleeve or the size 1 sleeve (longest sleeve). So if you want ACTUAL long sleeves, make sure you trace all the way down to the size 1 length, since that’s the actual length of a long sleeve. (Maybe the sleeves are different lengths because the shoulder seam gets wider? I’m not sure.)
This pattern takes a little bit of figuring out, but it’s SO nice that it has the separate sizes now so that I don’t have to do as much guess work as I would have with the old version!
My advice is to choose your size based on the amount of stretch in your fabric. If you have a normal jersey fabric with good stretch and recovery, go with the size on the chart. If your fabric has less stretch (or isn’t very soft), size up OR make it a little wider like I did. AND you may want to grade out on the sleeves (you can always take them in later). If you have a fabric with a lot of stretch like my ribbed knit, size down OR make the bodice a little more narrow.
These shirts are so comfortable and I sewed them up SO. FAST. I love my 2nd and 3rd Mandy Boat Tee so much, and know I’m going to be wearing them a lot because I am always reaching for my loose fitting shirts over more fitted ones.
I hope walking you through my process helped, and please let me know if you have any questions! Happy Mandy Boat Tee sewing!
***UPDATE*** If you want to change the neckline of the Mandy, the Monroe Turtleneck is the exact same pattern but with a different neckline, and I have found it much easier to adjust. The Monroe Turtleneck pattern is also free!