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Selfless Sewing - A Mandy Boat Tee

Since starting to sew for myself I haven’t really done very much selfless sewing. I have made a few things for my children and husband but I am aware that the rest of my family are quietly waiting for me to make them something!

When I saw this Viscose Jersey Fabric on the Minerva website I immediately saw it as something perfect for my mum. The colours and design of this fabric are exactly the sort of thing she likes and I knew would suit her well. I must admit, when the fabric arrived I liked it so much I was seriously tempted to make something for myself – it took considerable willpower to stick to my original plan!

I wanted this to be a surprise and don’t know my mums measurements so I decided not to make anything too fitted. I plumped for the Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti. It is a casual, loose-fitting, boxy t-shirt with dropped shoulders and is a free pattern! I have made a couple for myself and think it is a great pattern, it is very quick and easy to sew and I love the way it looks on. When the pattern was first released it came in one size, I made some adjustments to make it a little less boxy on me – as a petite I feel a bit swamped in tops that are too wide so I took 2” out of the width by just folding a vertical strip out. My mum is a fairly similar size to me so I felt fairly confident that if I made the top in my size it would fit her too (and if it didn’t I could keep it!). Tessuti have now re-released the pattern in four sizes but as I was happy with my adjustments I haven’t bothered to download the new version. I also kept my other adjustments of shortening the sleeves by 2.5” and the hem by 2”.

There are very few pattern pieces to cut out, just front, back and sleeves – no fiddly neckband – so is perfect for beginners. It can easily be sewn on a basic sewing machine but I have recently purchased a coverstitch machine and thought this would be a good first project for it.

I used my overlocker for the seams and the coverstitch for hemming the neckline, sleeves and bottom hem. I have previously used a twin needle but have been getting frustrated with how often the stitches have popped and I’m not great at going back and fixing projects. I’m really pleased with how they turned out, the coverstitch gives a truly stretchy finish.

The jersey was really easy to work with and I managed to cut the top out and sew it up in about half a day. My mum was really pleased with her top and the visible pleasure has inspired me to think about other selfless projects I can make – after I’ve made a few more things for myself of course!


Linda x


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