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

Nemesia dress by Glasshouse Patterns- pattern testing

Hello sewing friends!

You might have seen recently that lovely Tanja from Glasshouse Patterns realised yet another gorgeous pattern. This time it is for a knit dress with so many variations it makes my head spin.

The pattern

Nemesia dress comes with a flattering below the knee A-line skirt, with pleats at the front and the back. It features 3 sleeve lengths: full lenght, 3/4 and short. This can be further personalized by finishing either with a cute tie cuff or a cuff with a slit. This pattern also comes with an option of a crew or a V style neckline. Every option can be mixed and matched together creating different dress with each variation. Och, and let’s don’t forget the most important detail of this dress! It has big pockets!!!

For my tester version I decided to make a version 6 : dress with a crew neckline and short sleeves with a slit cuffs.

Fabric choice

A little while ago I had purchased two meters of this lovely red and white stripes viscose jersey from for £7.45 a meter and thought it would work really well with this pattern, although the pattern reccomend to use medium to heavy weight stretchy fabrics. My viscose jersey is more on a lighter side of a spectrum, which gives my dress more drape and movement. It turned out pretty good, but I would not wear it this time of year in London. It is more a spring/ summer type of dress.

As always, if you play around with a pattern layout you can manage to save on fabric. For my version the pattern suggests 2.5 meters of fabric, but I made it without any problem out of 2 meters. This is easily done if the width of a fabric is more than 140 cm as per instruction.

Pattern adjustments

Like with most patterns I had previously tested, there is no surprise that I had to make some adjustments to this pattern or tweak it in some way to achieve a better fit and/or correct some drafting errors. I cut out size 8 as per my body measurements, which is the standard size I use for Glasshouse Patterns and made the dress.

During this testing phase I had shorten a shoulder seam by 4 cm, because it came out way too long and looking at the line drawing of the pattern it was not correct. Next, I lowered an angle of the shoulder seam by 2 cm at the and dropped the armhole curve by the same amount. After comparing measurements of both, the sleeve cup and armcycle I decided to use sleeve one size smaller.

After basting the bodice pieces together I also decided to sew the side seam using size 7 lines because there was a little bit too much ease. Any excess fabric I had in the skirt I transfered into slightly bigger pleats.

Tanja had taken all feedback from the testing team and the final version was updated accordingly. The shoulder seam for bigger sizes has decreased in length and the armcycle redrafted. Sleeve were made tighter, the skirt pattern piece has been lengthened and back pleats made bigger. On top of that she added extra photos and improved the instruction booklet to make the assembly process even more easy.

Sewing the pattern

It is a easy and relatively quick pattern to sew. I made my dress within 3 hours, but as always matching stripes extended the time. I had no problems during the sewing process and as always the pattern instruction are very clear and simple to follow.

Nemesia dress pattern is designed for beginners in mind so there is nothing too complicated. The neckline has a facing instead of binding, which may surprise some people.

Final thoughts

Although I really love this pattern, and am planning to make more winter friendly version with long sleeves I need to be honest here and tell you the truth. Be careful about your fabric choice! Pockets on this dress are big, and the weight of them distort a hang of the dress significantly. That is why I wear mine with a belt, to keep the waistline at the waist. I was considering making pockets smaller to reduce the weight, but I love their size and didn’t think that it would make much of a difference at this time.

Are you loving this new pattern?

See you next time!

Monika xxx