Thursday, October 31, 2019

Boxy Tee Face-off: Mandy vs Hemlock

A bit of a boxy tee face-off!
Left: Mandy Boat Tee; Right: Grainline Hemlock

I was making a Mandy Boat Tee a couple weeks ago, and then, surreptitiously Grainline Studios released their Hemlock tee redux, so I decided I would do a little face-off!

Mandy Boat Tee

The (free!) Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and the Grainline Hemlock patterns have been been around for several years now, but I never really paid them any attention until this past year when their size ranges expanded... one-size-fits-all clothes rarely work for me.

Grainline Hemlock Tee

The Mandy Boat Tee was expanded from one size to four sizes, up to a 45" bust. Still not the biggest size range, but better than the previous size range. Grainline rereleased the formerly one-sized Hemlock in sizes 0-30, based on two different cups sizes, which is pretty fabulous.

Mandy Boat Tee

I cut the largest Mandy Boat Tee size, the delightfully labeled "XXL-XXXL" (insert eyeroll). For my Hemlock Tee, I cut a size 18, from the larger size range, the one designed for a D-cup. I opted for 3/4 length sleeves for both, and the medium length for the Hemlock. Mandy only has one length. 

Grainline Hemlock Tee

Both tees are cut from stash fabric left over from previous projects... a sheerish tan sweater knit for my Mandy, originally a Plaintain Tee in the early days of my blog, and a slubby, lightweight white jersey, which I previously used for a Nina Cardigan and v-neck for my sister

Left: Mandy Boat Tee; Right: Grainline Hemlock Tee

The only change I made to the t-shirts was to use the Hemlock neckband on the Mandy. Mandy has a fold-and-topstitch neckline, which I hate. They never look nice for me -- I can't get them to turn nicely around the curves -- and I find they stretch out. I used the neckband like a facing, sewing it to the outside, understitching, and then folding it entirely to the inside topstitching (not dissimilar from the neckline finish on the Seamwork Tacara, which is basically a dress version of the Mandy!). The Mandy neckline is more boat-shaped, while the Hemlock has more of a scoop.

Mandy Boat Tee
Fit-wise, they're both boxy, that's for sure. The sleeves on the Mandy are much slimmer than the those on the Hemlock... borderline too slim! I think the narrower sleeve balances out the boxy bodice well, but next time I would use a fabric with a bit more stretch for my Mandy.I wonder if my fabric isn't stretchy enough, though.

In contrast, the Hemlock sleeves are too wide for my taste and a little bit long, I'd say. Nothing that can't be fixed, but a bit slouchier than the Mandy.
Grainline Hemlock Tee

To sum up: I like both t-shirts; I don't find that there's a clear winner, as they both have their pros and cons. The Grainline Hemlock obviously has a much better size range, and I like the neckband and instructions better, but it's a looser, less flattering fit, I think. I don't like the Mandy's neckline finish and the size range is still pretty lame, but I think I slightly favor the Mandy's fit.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you sew much for posting this, and interesting to read your feedback.

    Was wondering what the new Mandy tee would be like - made my first one as a newbie and it's been sat in my UFO pile 'cos I wasn't happy with the neckline.

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  2. The slim sleeves on the Mandy surprised me (I also don’t think I paid attention to stretch percentage) but I see you’re in Vermont, and find the mandy’s slim sleeves work really well when you’re layering pieces on top for cold New England weather! Thanks for doing this comparison, I enjoyed it! - ellen (Boston, ma)

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  3. I've made both in the old "one-size" fits all range. After seeing your comparison I still lean toward the Mandy for a good, slouchy, easy tee. Thanks for sharing the comparison!

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  4. Personally I would go with Hemlock but narrow the sleeves to be more like the Mandy. I think the body of the Hemlock fits much better especially in the back.
    Just my 2 cents.

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  5. I use a thin strip of fusible knit interfacing around the neckline. I sew one shoulder seam and then fold under the neck edge and top stitch. Upon finishing top stitching, the other shoulder seam is then sewn, followed up with a few hand stitches to secure and conceal the machine sewing on the edge of the last should seam. I've always had great results; curves easy to top stitch and able to do a neat job, the neckline retains shape and does not stretch out.

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  6. I prefer the Mandy slimmer sleeves and front with the Hemlock back on you. Also dislike the turn under and stitch hems; mine never turn out nicely either.

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  7. I prefer the Mandy on you. Great review.

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  8. Appreciate the comparison of the two patterns. I now rarely construct a pattern with techniques that don't yield clean results...like the Mandy boat tee...and just substitute what works for me. I do refer the Mandy boat tee fit....the slimmer sleeves do balance out the boxy bodice...and love the boatneck style!

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