Search for the perfect boat neck

Posted by

I’ve always been a fan of the Breton striped top and always have a couple of winter and summer ones in my wardrobe. I reach for them every single week.

The iconic Breton striped top is so called as it hails from Brittany (Bretagne) in Northwest France. In the 19th Century a naval degree prescribed that the striped combed cotton jersey become part of French naval uniform.

My Breton staples come not from France but from Boden and Joules. They have all lasted for years and years but are looking a little weary. However, having reached a certain level of competency it would be an absolute crime not to be making my own.

I’ve searched high for the exact right boatneck shape that I was looking to replicate.

The Brigitte top by Tessuti Fabrics – shoulders look too narrow to me.

Coco Top and Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I have this pattern but was looking for a shallower neckline and possibly drop shoulders.

Anegada Top by Halfmoon Atelier. I like the bands to the arms and the hips and will keep that in mind for the future. But the neck, to me, feels unfinished and may not stand up to the weekly washing I would be subjecting these tops to.

Mandy Boat Tee Tessuti. Free pattern!!! I’ve tried this one. Many, many people love it but it just wasn’t at all flattering on me.

Uvita Top from Itch to Stitch. Another free pattern!!!! Looks pretty perfect to me.

Here I am in Lincoln, having lunch after checking out my daughter’s Uni accommodation prior to dropping her off for her first year this weekend – eek!

For me, the Uvita top by Itch to Stitch ticked all the boxes.

A nice wide neck that I can get on without fear of foundation marks, but not so wide to show my bra straps.

A slightly fitted shape, nicely fitting around the arms, that doesn’t engulf me. Size 4, according to my bust. No adjustments made.

Relaxed drop shoulders. I should have split the side seams at the hem….. next time.

I did change the neck fabrication. The pattern asked for a self fabric binding. This was a medium weight cosy jersey knit so the neck ending up standing up proud, no matter how much I steamed and pressed it. I can see others have had a similar problem after a good search on instagram.

So I looked at one of my rtw’s, took the binding off, undid the shoulder seam a little, ironed on some iron-on stay-stitch tape close to the edge of the neckline to stabilise the neck, folded over about 1.5cm and cover stitched the neckline before sewing the shoulder seams back up. An alternative method perhaps but now looks flat and just what I was looking for.

There is also an add on pack available (not free!) for a hood, kangaroo pocket and thumb cuffs. I’ve downloaded it with a view to making a hoodie up is this!!!

Its a ‘WANDERLUST SAFARI XXL SWEATSHIRT _BIO – PINK | HAMBURGER LIEBE’ from Myfabrics which I just can’t wait to make up and wear!

Love, Lucie xx


  1. This looks gorgeous! Thanks for the review!! I found the comparison of different styles. I’ve made the Mandy boat Tee too and was disappointed in the fit – I should have gone for something a bit fitted. As it was I did an FBA. I guess I’d need that with this one. Did you fold over the neck edge and top stitch it down? Or does it have a small facing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used iron-on stay-stitch tape to stabilize the neck line, folded over about 1.5cm and top stitched with the cover stitch machine. I’ve just edited the post to make this clearer – thank you for the prompt!!


  2. Lovely! I agree that a good breton striped shirt is a wardrobe staple. I got mine on Nantucket Island, which seemed a proper place for a good sailor shirt. I think you did well to find a dropped shoulder pattern that didn’t have a crazy amount of fabric under the arms. Excellent job with the stripes as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this survey! I was wondering about this very thing myself. Funny how, with very similar shapes, some work and some just don’t on certain people. Got my Breton top in Cornwall years ago, but it won’t last forever. I didn’t know if I could find another which fits as well – but you’ve inspired me! Yours looks so clean and crisp, but relaxed as well. Very stylish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for the detailed review. I made a version in neon green fleece for biking in fall weather and your tips about folding down the neckline and adding side vents were perfect. I lengthened the pattern (I’m 5’10”) and made it a bit longer in back so I can wear it with sport leggings without feeling self-conscious. I love the fit of this pattern and plan to make several out of french terry and jersey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad it was helpful. I’ve another planned in pink fleece where I’ll definitely use side vents. So satisfying to make really useful garments that you look forward to wearing!


  5. Thanks for your review and pointers for the neckline on the Itch to Stitch shirt. I’m looking to make more casual wear too and this post is quite helpful. I love the stripes too. Good luck to your daughter with her first year of university!

    Liked by 1 person

You can leave a comment here if you like!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s