Mandy Boat Tee

I’m in the middle of another Refashion at the moment which has not been going according to plan!  There are shreds of linen fabric everywhere and poor Doris feels like she is going through a course of acupuncture, she’s had that many pins stuck in her!  This is what I started with – what I end up with is another matter!  The shirt is 100% linen and was a bargain at £4 so I really don’t want to waste it.

On a more positive sewing note,  I bought some double-sided striped jersey (spots on the reverse) from The Eternal Maker in Chichester during a recent fabric splurge.  It is a really soft fabric made up of two thin layers stitched together.  In fact it is impossible to describe just how lovely this fabric feels when you are wearing it.


I don’t tend to make clothes for lounging around in so to rectify this I wanted to make something oversized and comfortable and remembered that I’d downloaded the free Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti Fabrics a while ago.  I’d taped all the pieces together, cut out the pattern and filed it away.  I decided to give it a try.


The pattern is one size and as I was looking for something slouchy I just went ahead and cut it out.  The instructions say that the top should be made with a serger/overlocker but I don’t have one so just used my sewing machine with a zig zag/stretch stitch and trimmed the seams.

I made an effort to match the stripes.  I usually pin striped fabric together along the edge with the stripes lined up before laying out the pattern pieces and then use LOTS of pins on each seam before attempting to sew – with varying degrees of success.

It came together really quickly but I did make a mistake early on.  The instruction to join front and back at the shoulder seam didn’t mention a seam allowance so I used ⅝ but all the following instructions stated ⅜.  I should have read everything through first as the instructions advise!  I’m not sure if this was what resulted in me not being able to quite get the “beautiful finish” on the neckline which should be achieved by sewing a small seam (like a dart) from the edge of the neckline across to the shoulder seam.  The picture on the left is from the pattern instructions, mine is on the right (obviously).  In my defence it has been stretched out a bit by Doris’ wide shoulders.  It looks fine on but just not as neat as the original.

I gave the stretch twin needle another go on the neckline, sleeves and hem and it worked pretty well, as did most of the stripe matching.

The finished top is certainly oversized on me but it is perfect for lazing around in.  Doris fills it rather more than I do!  It has dropped shoulders and I really like the effect of the stripes running both ways on the sleeve.  I left my top quite long but  I would probably make a shorter, more boxy version next time.  I’ve rolled one of the sleeves up to just to show the spots but if you wanted to do this as a permanent feature you’d need to sew that section of the sleeve wrong sides together so that the stitching didn’t show when the sleeve was rolled up.  I think that would work?

Hmm – given all my efforts of stripe matching how did I end up with a wonky bit on the hem??  I started to pin it up and by the time I got to to the other end I realised I was going in a spiral!  The more I tried to level it off the worse it got.  A bit like trying to cut your own fringe and ending up with nothing left!


I didn’t really know what to do to rectify this so there is a seriously annoying area on the hem at one side.  Thankfully the floppiness (that word doesn’t look right) of the bottom of the tee does help to disguise this and most people (not the readers of this blog mind you!) probably wouldn’t even notice.

It’s The Fabric Godmother’s Open Day in Hove tomorrow.  Very exciting (and probably expensive!).

A Delphine Skirt

I’ve had Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, for some time but I have to admit that I am a bit lazy and tend to stick to the same well-used patterns. The thought of having to trace off the pattern had held me back from my desire to make the Delphine skirt.

My efforts to buy a suitable material with which to achieve effective pattern tracing have not been particularly successful to date.  The large sheets of white pattern paper I bought from C & H Fabrics were too thick to see the lines through, although I did manage to use them for my initial attempts at a self-drafted vest top.

After all the excitement of finding the Lucienne Day fabric vastly reduced in Peter Jones last weekend I thought I had spotted a product called Pattern Tracing Sheets.  I was sans spectacles at the time and obviously didn’t look closely enough.  When I came to open the packet I discovered it said Plastic Tracing Sheets which is not really what you want to be working with on a warm evening!  Not to be deterred I taped a sheet over the paper pattern and started to trace.  The pen supplied does NOT work!  At least it didn’t for me.  I resorted to a Sharpie but they do not respond well to a ruler – smudged ink everywhere – so I had to do it freehand.  I got there in the end but they were not the neatest reproductions.  I didn’t worry too much as I knew I would have to produce something more acceptable in the future if the pattern turned out OK.  I now have a big roll of proper tracing paper which I ordered from Amazon and which arrived in less than 24 hours.


I decided to cut out the size 5 despite kyrie_in_kalamityland telling me that would be too big!  I made up a toile in the leftover denim from a previous skirt which I then took apart and cut it out as a size 4!  She was right! I really wasn’t sure the Delphine would be a good shape on me and I’m not 100% convinced but I am wearing it today so I’ll see how it goes.  I think I need to take the waist in very slightly as it has a tendency to stick out at the sides.  The back seems to sit a bit high so I feel like I have to keep pulling it down but generally I’m quite pleased with it.

Quite a lot has already been written about this pattern online so I probably don’t have anything useful to add.  It is a great, simple pattern which goes together really well.  What I am VERY impressed with is Tilly’s tutorial on lining this skirt.  I can’t believe I’ve never lined a skirt this way before!  I have always hand sewn linings into skirts and not been completely satisfied with the results.  I thought I’d try Tilly’s method with this practice version of the skirt and it worked like a dream.  It is so neat and tidy.  I’ve not yet stitched in the ditch to secure the waistband to the facing as I was sewing the hem first thing this morning so I could wear it today!   I also needed something to take my mind off W cycling 25 miles to work, having cycled home last night leaving his his car at the office.  He took one of his famous short cuts this morning so it took longer than expected!  I’ll finish off the skirt properly over the weekend.  I might also be adjusting the hem slightly – I’m not sure whether it is the dodgy mirror in our ladies’ loo or my rushed sewing that is making the hem look wonky!  Further inspection in a different mirror has confirmed that the hem is level but that the stiff nature of this fabric has developed an annoying sticking out area on the hem where I’ve been sitting on it.  Hopefully this will not be the case with a different fabric.  I might have to wear it at standing up occasions only.

The pictures of the lining are awful because the colour has completely bleached out but they do show the lovely neat finish which can be achieved with minimal effort.  No more hand sewing for me!  I did find stitching the lining to the zip tape a bit tricky but I think this will improve with practice.  I expect everyone else has been doing this for ever but, if not, definitely give it a try.  If I make another Delphine it will be in this fabric which I originally purchased for this purpose.

Another thing I’ve never done before is download a pattern which then has to be assembled.  In her last post trishstitched pointed me in the direction of the Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti Fabrics which is a free pattern.  It is now printed out, stuck together and awaiting some fabric.  It wasn’t as much of a faff as I thought it would be.


The espadrille soles arrived.  I had ordered the size 3 and they were TOO BIG!   My feet are TOO SMALL!  I’m going to keep them (I mean the soles, obviously I’m keeping my feet despite their ridiculously small size) but the smaller (child like) size arrived in the post this morning and I think they will be OK.  The picture is actually of the larger size.  The flowers were for my birthday and I thought they went together rather well.

My final purchase in London at the weekend was from Muji and was made to resolve the problem of storing all the accessories for my sewing machine.  After having to borrow a spare post thingy from Kay at Clothkits for the extra reel of thread when using a twin needle I embarked on a clear out and not only did I find the post that had been supplied with my machine originally but I also retrieved the triangular tool for unscrewing the foot plate (I had recently resorted to a knife for this purpose), the button hole foot and the darning foot for machine embroidery.

I now have this on my sewing table.  Three little plastic drawers with everything visible and accessible.

Have a good weekend.