Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee

OK, so I’m clearly a bit behind on posting my creations – these photos were taken when I still had hair! After the success of my Tessuti Fave Top, I promptly cut out a Mandy Boat Tee. The fabric was one I bought to create a contrast neck binding on my Aeolian Tee, but I liked the colour so much I figured I may as well buy a couple of metres and make a top too.

A woman wears a red swing tee with black pants
Pants are a Country Road $3 op shop score. Shoes from country op shop, necklace from local environmental boutique.

The Mandy Boat Tee is another one size, free pattern. I’m always wary of one size patterns, and a lot of reviews commented on the slimness of the sleeves, so I checked them against one of my favourite top patterns (Ottobre 5/2015 #17). They definitely needed widening – and I’m an Aus size 12, so goodness knows who this “one size” is that Tessuti drafts for. I also lengthened the sleeve to full length, added some length to the body, and performed a 1/2″ forward head adjustment to balance the armholes.

A woman wears a red swing tee with black pants

My other concern was with the neckline: it is very wide as drafted and many of the finished garment photos show the top slipping off people’s shoulders. I hate that feeling, so I brought the neck in 1cm on either side and lowered 12mm at the front to stop it choking me. I suspect the sleeves play a role in dragging the neckline out and down, so I stabilised the neckline with lightweight stretch interfacing and put clear elastic in the shoulder seam to counteract the weight of the sleeves.

A woman wears a red swing tee with black pants

I was equally surprised with the success of this tee as I was with Our Fave Top. It is so similar to Grainline’s Hemlock Tee, which I’ve already made three times, I figured Mandy wouldn’t be anything new. However, the wide neck with no band, more voluminous body and slimmer sleeves create a reasonably different look. It’s certainly flattering, and a pattern I’d like to make again come winter.

A woman wears a red swing tee with black pants
Check out that volume!

My only issue with this garment is the fabric. I mentioned in my Aeolian Tee review that I felt this fabric had poor recovery, and this project proved it. The hem stretched out when sewing, despite being stabilised with Steam a Seam, and didn’t want to press back into submission. Pretty poor for a cotton/lycra blend. It also developed a lot of “fluff” after one wash, which means it will pill very quickly. I’d already purchased one fabric from Joelle’s Fabric Clearance Warehouse on eBay that turned very thin after one wash and had holes in it, so this will be my last order from them.

I can happily say this won’t be my last pattern order from Tessuti, however! After dismissing their patterns as shapeless, I’ve found that I love how they look on me. Isn’t it nice to be proven wrong? Are there any patterns out there that you changed your mind on once sewn?

A woman wears a red swing tee with black pants


The deets:
Pattern: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee
Pattern details: Free PDF download from Tessuti. Comes as A4 or copy shop print out. Hand-drafted. One size only. For stretch knits.
Fabric: 1.5m x 150cm blood red cotton lycra, from Joelle’s Fabric Clearance Warehouse on eBay
Other materials: Tessuti lightweight interfacing to stabilise neck, Steam a Seam Lite 2 for hems, clear elastic for shoulder
– 1/2” forward head adjustment for shoulder, same to sleeve cap
– Lengthened sleeve 15cm and widened using Ottobre 5/2015 #17 as guide
– Lengthened body maybe 5-8cm at hem
– Brought in neckline 1cm on sides and lowered 12mm at front

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

9 thoughts on “Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee”

  1. I have this one Vogue pattern that I’ve had for ages that I want to try but I am terrified too as it could go either way. Well done for taking the plunge! Looks awesome.


  2. I’m very new to pattern hacking and really want to make a Mandy. You mentioned that you’d widened the sleeves. The Mandy now has sizes and I think 🤔 d be a size 2 perfectly, EXCEPT that I have chunky arms. I think I need maybe 1.5” of extra ease. How do I widen the sleeve, and do I need to do something to the bodice as well??? I would also like my sleeve to hit at the elbow. How would I shorten this?? Sorry to ask so much.


    1. Hi Suzanne! I haven’t tried the new sizes yet so can’t comment on that. I widened the sleeves by adding width to the sleeve hem and going to nothing at the bicep, so I didn’t have to alter the bodice. But if you wanted larger sleeves at the bicep, you would add width to either side of the sleeve – say 0.75″ either side if you wanted 1.5″ more ease. Then change the sleeve marks on the bodice by drawing them 0.75″ lower either side, this would allow for your wider sleeve. If this doesn’t make sense just lay your new sleeve on the bodice as it would be attached, matching the shoulder mark to the shoulder seam, and draw a mark where the ends of the new sleeve finish on the bodice.

      Regarding the length I would just make as drafted then lop off once you’ve tried it on. Different fabrics perform differently so this is always my method for knits! Similarly, if you’re unsure of your modifications, just baste it all together then try on. That way you can always unpick the sleeves and take off a bit of width if you find you’ve added too much.

      Good luck!


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