The concept of one-size-fits-all is kind of insane. In the real world, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants–style magic does not exist. Most one-size items leave us wondering: Will this look like a cute shift dress or a muumuu? Is it a crop top or an accidental underboob tank? This Buzzfeed pictorial, “This Is What One Size Fits All Actually Looks Like on All Body Types,” does a pretty good job of debunking the one-size-fits-all myth. Some garments fare much better than others, but not one piece of clothing got a universal thumbs up from the women in the testing group.
Naturally, I was a little wary when I came across my first one-size-fits-all sewing pattern. But the beauty of sewing, rather than buying, a one-size-fits-all garment is that you can alter the pattern however the hell you want! Lengthen, shorten, take in the side seams, deepen the neckline, whatever. I’m so glad I took the leap (can I call it a leap if the pattern was free?) and sewed up that Hemlock Tee. It was only a matter of time before the Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee—also *free*—found its way to my cutting
The pattern is essentially two rectangles and a couple of slim-fitting sleeves. Its boat neckline renders it even less time consuming than the Hemlock Tee because there’s no neckband binding involved. The pattern just calls for you to fold the front and back neck hems down 5/8″ and finish them with a twin needle, which is also how you finish the bottom hem and sleeves. This is such a quick, satisfying sew that I ended up making two Mandies within days of one other.
Mandy Boat Tee #1
Fabric: micro french terry knit in cream; $4.98/yard from Fabric.com (sold out)
Alterations: Cut off 1/2″ from the armhole and side seam edge of the front and back pattern pieces; lengthened the body about 1/2″; shortened the arms (after sewing it up and trying it on)
Tessuti posted a gorgeous Missoni-style boat tee on their blog, and that post recommended lengthening the arms if you lopped inches off the side seams. I did that, but I ended up cutting a couple inches off the arms anyway, since I like the look of above-the-elbow sleeves with this variation. The arms are pretty snug, but they fit me perfectly even after a day of wear. If you are jacked, you might want to widen the arms accordingly.
Mandy Boat Tee #2 (a very looooong tee)
Fabric: tissue french terry knit in teal; $4.98/yard from Fabric.com
Alterations: Cut off another 1/2″ from the armhole and side seam edge of the front and back pattern pieces (for a total of 1″ cut off); lengthened the body 4.5″
I wasn’t sure about the color of this fabric when I first opened my package from Fabric.com, but I have to admit that it’s grown on me. I’m about 10 shades paler than I am in the summer, and somehow this teal doesn’t make my sickly winter olive skin look green. As for the fit, this is probably the most comfortable T-shirt I own. I wanted to make a something that I could wear with leggings around the house, and it totally fits the bill (though the fabric wrinkles like crazy!). I’m not sure if this shirt is versatile enough to wear out yet, since it doesn’t completely cover my buns and I am of the camp that refuses to reveal my legging-clad derrière unless I’m in running tights. That said, I could see pairing this with a borderline pair of leggings—you know, those ones that are super thick and opaque and can almost pass as pants. We’ll see about that one.
Next up for me is Grainline’s Archer Button Up! I’m excited to work with a woven material again and learn some things about shirt-making along the way. The steps seem a little daunting to me right now, but I’m planning on following Jen’s sew-along for extra help. If anyone has any tips on conquering the perfect Archer, hit me!