Trying a free Monroe Turtleneck pattern by Tessuti

Hello my readers!!! With so many new patterns out there it is getting more difficult to stay up to date especially if you also consider a growing number of those free patterns available for an instant download! I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard about Mandy boat tee or Monroe Turtleneck patterns by Tessuti but yet had not tried it out!

I had downloaded both patterns few months ago with a plan to sew it up for the winter season and managed to do so with just one of them. After comparing both pattern I had realized that they are nearly identical in shape apart from necklines, so I thought I’ll try the turtleneck version first and see how I feel. The style lines reminds me a bit of a Molly top by Sew Over It with a looser fit, which is what I like to wear on a day to day basis.

Monroe Turtleneck pattern

The pattern

Monroe Turtleneck pattern comes in 4 different sizes. It is a boxy top with plenty of easy, cropped shoulders and closely fitted sleeves. There is an option of two sleeve lenghts: long and 3/4.

The pattern comes with a simple sewing instructions that are easy to follow.

Pattern adjustments

Prior to making any pattern, particularly from new to me pattern company, I do some research and read as many reviews online as I need to understand the pattern. That is when I had learnt that most people go down one size because the main body of the pattern is too big for majority of sewists. It could be a personal preference of those people, but looking at photos I went with a flow and made mine also one size smaller. The other issues many included in many of reviews was a tightness of sleeves, which I knew right away it would be an issue for me….big biceps.

So far I had made 3 versions of this pattern and version 1 was kinda straight out of the box. I used a size 2 as my base, by looking at the final pattern measurements and the overall desired ease, otherwise my sizing would put me in size 3, but used a size 1 hem length and size 3 sleeves.

Although the size and shape of this top was spot on it was quiet difficult to put it over my head plus sleeves were slightly digging in under my arms, even though I used a bigger size.

Version 2 ( red ) included small adjustments to the pattern pieces as you can see below. I had added 2 cm to the width of the turtleneck, so it would be easier to put it over my head. On front and back pattern pieces I had to increase/lower the armhole curve and adjusted sleeves by slashing it in the middle and expanding by 2.5 cm.

The fabric was more stretchy so it was more comfortable to wear, but still did not like the sleeve tightness on my.

The final 3rd version (white) includes additional changes to the pattern. I had straighten the sleeve seam line, which gave me all the ease needed for comfort during wear. Also, I decided that I would like a longer turtleneck, which I drafted by extending the original pattern by 5 cm in length and 2 cm in width. Lastly I opted to include a dropped hem at the back with a small slit at the side seams. To do this I added 3.5 cm to the back hem, marked the start of the slit and added 1 cm of extra seam allowance.

Fabric choice

Each of my versions is made out of a different fabric, which was a conscious decision on my part. I wanted to see how it will look, plus I wanted to sew other type of knitted fabric that I had not worked with before.

Version 1 is a blend of polyester, viscose and elastin fibers. I bought it from Fabric Galore in Kingston for £9.00 a meter. It has only 5% elastin so it is more dense fabric and so so much stretchy, but it keeps me warm.

Version 2 is a wool blend that I purchased in Shepherd’s Bush Market for £10.00 a meter. It is more loosely knitted fabric, which gives more drape to the sweater and it is less clingy.

The last version is made out of cable knit I got it from for £11.75 a meter and it is my favourite so far. Maybe it is because of I finally got the correct fitting adjustments, maybe because the color reminds me of snow…who knows?

Sewing the pattern

Monroe Turtleneck pattern is super easy to sew. It has small seam allowance which makes it simple to make using just the overlocker. I made each top with just over one hour, so it is the quickest make ever for me I think. Sticking and altering the pattern took longer hihihi I did not even bother to look at the instruction booklet, because it is that simple!

Final thoughts

Monroe Turtleneck is a well drafted free pattern that is suitable for anyone wanting to sew with a knitted fabric, but is still afraid. The pattern does consists of mostly straight lines and has minimal amount of seams, which makes it very simple to sew.

Based on this I am sure I will be making the Mandy boat tee sometime soon, with lightweight jersey to give it more casual top style.

Are you going to try it too???

Monika xxx

Summary of 2019 and plans for 2020

Happy New Year my friends!

I cannot believe 2019 is already over!!! It seams like each year goes faster with me getting older!!! Anyway, let’s not put ourselves down hihihi I like this time of the year because everything slows down after Holiday and New years madness and I get a chance to sit down and reflect on past year. So what did I do???

Make Nine Plans

My Make nine plan for 2019 was a complete disaster! Well, maybe not a complete disaster, but a big disappointment!


As you can see on the photo above I only managed to make 3 out of 9 projects from my list:

I failed to sew:

  • Classic trench coat
  • Silk and lace blouse
  • Channel style jacket
  • Jumpsuit
  • Classic male shirt
  • Lace dress

If you are wondering why have I failed so miserably the answer is very simple! I get easily distracted when it comes to my hobby!!! My 2019 make nine plan main goal was to improve my sewing skills and use up my existing fabric stash. In hindsight it was a great plan, but everything changed when I jumped more into being a pattern tester! With so many new indie designers coming out and all those beautiful patterns in need to be tested I could simply not resist!

So what is my 2020 make nine looks like??? To be honest I do not have a plan for this year! I decided to be more spontaneous….like I need any excuse 😉 I still want to make all of the projects I set out to do in 2019, but I am not going to put any pressure on myself because I do not want to feel like a failure again next year!

Sewing resolutions

Although Make nine plan was a failure, I am happy with the outcome of my 2019 sewing resolutions, which mainly were focused on expanding my sewing skills and using my existing fabric and pattern stash. I grouped it into 6 categories:

1. use that fabric stash

I am proud to say that my fabric stash has decreased in number comparing to previous year.

2. different fabrics

I set out to work with new to me fabric types and I managed to do just that. I had sewn various projects using fabrics such as wool, cable knit, PVC, technical sports softshell fabric, sweatshirting, knitted wool, chambray, woven satin and suede knit.

3. draft a dress

This one is a little fail. I call it little because I did not draft a dress pattern, but I had managed to draft a culottes pants pattern and pussybow blouse. I also hacked the Ogden Cami pattern into a summer dress, which become a complete new pattern, plus designed and drafted a free PDF patterns for peg bag, belt bag and notebook cover.

4. male fitting

I did not make a shirt for my partner, but i made him a backpack with a custom design fabric…that counts right?

5. use that pattern stash

Instead of buying new patterns (which was very hard, because they are so pretty) I vowed to use my existing stash as much as possible. I only bought two pattern last year – a Robson coat by Sewaholic and a Bonnie blouse/dress by Sew Over It, hovewer I downloaded bunch of free PDF patterns such as Hello sailor top, Heidi dress, Stivie Knickers, tie and pouf pattern, Peplum top, Lotus bodysuit, Harper knit cardigan, Monroe turtleneck and Mandy Boat tee to fill the void.




From my stash patterns I used for the first time were: Erin Skirt (Sew Over It), Mimi blouse, Freya sweater, Frankie top (Tilly & the Buttons), Simplicity 1467, Burda 115 11/2004 ,also I hacked and re-used old patterns such as Heather dress,Molly top, Eve dress (Sew Over It) Ogden Cami, Lander Pants (True Bias), Agnes top, Marigold trousers , Cleo Pinafore(Tilly & the Buttons), Honeycomb dress (Cocowawa Crafts), Canary Cami (Wearable Studio).




I cannot be certain, but it is possible that I became a regular pattern tester partially because I was not allowed to buy new patterns, and this was the best opportunity to acquire new patterns, and enjoy the process of being a part of a testing team.

Last year I had the opportunity to test for 3 different indie pattern companies. Tanja runs a Glasshouse Patterns, which is one of the newest indie designers and I pattern tested her Dahlia dress, Hibiscus top, Lavender dress and Nemesia dress.

Finding about a SBCC Patterns was a blessing, as having a petite frame makes it difficult not only buying RTW clothes but also sew and fit well most of the commercial patterns.  When I tested the Pisco Dress  I had found a perfect match!

Sinclair Patterns also includes a petite sizing , hence I applied to test their Florence Skirt. 

I consider applying for testing new patterns in 2020, but will be more thoughtful about it and only pick designs I really like and will definitely be happy to wear, because it is a shame when a beautiful garment is unworn just because it does not suit me or I feel uncomfortable wearing it.

6. new techniques

My main goal was to learn some couture sewing techniques and I had a opportunity to do it by attending a class “Classic Couture Finishes” during Knitting and Stitching Show in London and classes run at Ray Stitch workshop “Couture Hand Sewing Techniques”. I plan to use my new knowledge when I finally get a chance to work on a Trench coat and Channel Jacket. Hopefully 2020 will be a year for big projects.



Yet again when it comes to any plans for this upcoming year my only plan is to make no plans! Year 2019 showed me that I like to do different crafts and sewing clothes is not my only love. My growing fascination with hand embroidery makes me want to combine it and include it into my handmade garments, so this is something I might dive into this year.

On the other hand is my latest obsession with designing PDF patterns and sharing them with my readers. I have so many projects in my head, but it takes a lot of time to transfer them into a digital pattern. I would like to make more bag and home decor patterns for now and with time I might also share patterns of my self drafted garments.



Not long ago, after taking a leather workshop class I also fell in love with working and making bags out of real leather. I took an all day class and made an entire bag myself from start to finish under a watchful eye of my teacher. I will be sharing my experience with you very soon! What I noticed this year that I enjoy working with my hands more and more and hand stitching in any form is so much fun!!!



Some people say that I bight more than I can chew, but hey, this is a hobby!!! Who said you can only have one??? I love learning new skills and sharing it with you gives my joy, so watch this place as you never know what the next 12 months will bring 🙂

Have a wonderful and fulfilling 2020!!!!

See you next time !

Monika xxx