Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Joy of Sewing TNT Patterns

I have three tenets of sewing:
  1. 1. Planning is key
  2. 2. Assemble all of the key ingredients before you start - then all you have to do is sew!
  3. 3. Must use TNT patterns

I am in awe of people who use a new pattern for each garment ~ never or rarely revisiting a pattern! To me it is amazing that they take the time to fit each pattern and then put it away.

Of course I am the exact opposite. I "love" the journey of working with a pattern and making it mine. I love exploring the possibilities of a pattern. How fabric affects the drape of the garment and its final outcome. How by adding or subtracting seams you can change the silhoutte and look of the garment. I love working with a pattern until I understand it inside and out....And then there is the laziness factor...yes, I will cop to that! It just seems that after I have gone to the trouble of altering a pattern that I should get as much use out of it as I possibly can.

To me it's like a cook...most cooks don't make a meal or a dish just once. No, they prepare it again and again, adding ingredients...subtracting ingredients essentially making the dish their own. And a great cook or chef usually becomes known for a certain style of cooking or particular type of dish. How about a woodworker? Doesn't he or she use different types of wood (i.e. fabrics) but ends up preferring to use one type over another and then making several pieces (patterns) from it again and again? Truly, there are only so many ways to interpret and build a table and chairs!

This is how I feel about a pattern. A new adventure awaits me when I pull those pieces from the envelope. And as I make it again and again an intimacy develops. I KNOW what the pattern can be and I want to experience all of the versions I can before I come to the end of the journey.

The photos are of my latest TNT pattern obsession - The Sewing Workshop Mission Tank. I have made this tank about 10-15 times. I have included pictures throughout the post where the fabric is key, where I have lined it, I have used it as part of an evening ensemble and pieced the silk duppioni, I added seams to the front and back and my latest rendition where I just embellished it. It looks different every time and that is why I like working with TNT allows me to design something and then just sew!

If you have not taken this journey, why not try it? Why not take the next pattern and dream? If you open your mind to the possibilities, the boredom factor will disappear! Maybe as you work with it a couple of times, you will experience the same joy that I have experienced. We sewists are always looking for a challenge so I am issuing one. Take a pattern that you have used once and then make it at least four more times. Change it up by using different fabric, try some trim or embellishment, add or subtract some seams...but most importantly enjoy the journey! You just might learn something new about yourself and your sewing and in the process develop your own set of TNT patterns!


  1. I don't think you're lazing for using TNT patterns. You have an amazing amount of creativity for coming up with so many looks from one pattern. Once you get the basics down, it frees up so much time and energy for creative embellishments.

    I don't often make the same thing twice for myself, as it's a BTDT. For my daughter, I use the patterns until I can't alter them to fit anymore, so I get more creatve with the 4th or 5th version of the same jumper!

  2. Coincidence?? Last night as I was wearing one of my "older" favorite tops (an empire seamed crossover), I wondered why I hadn't made any more recently. I decided that I just got distracted by another new pattern and made up my mind that my next project will be to make this pattern again, after I finish the jacket I'm working on. I'm kind of a split personality WRT patterns. I love the challenge of a new one, but I also love the familiarity and non pre-fitting quickness of a TNT.

  3. :insert cheesy grin:
    I'm the cook who only has one or two things I make consistently, otherwise, I'm always at something new.
    I'll take you up on your challenge, if only to get something done - oh, I just did! I almost forgot - I'm about to write a PR for my TNT go-to sheath dress, and I'm just completing it in it's 5th incarnation.
    Anyway, I'll take you up on your challenge anyway - with something other than the dress. I've just decided I Really don't need any more of those.
    for me, I've found that one of the parts that I must enjoy the most is the creating of the pattern, the planning and the cutting. It's how I've ended up with over 70 projects in my sewing room that are cut but not stitched. :insert jaw dropping to floor: dare I admit that?

  4. Oh, this is so true. Another thing you can do with TNT's is "morph" them onto other patterns. For example, your tank top--you've perfected the fit and then you see another pattern for a sundress. You can combine the fit of your TNT with the styling of the dress without having to start from scratch.

    Or if you have a couple of TNT skirts you wear to work. It's kind of a uniform anyway, right? With a TNT, you can easily whip up something to do with a new jacket or twin set you got on clearance. You know, the one that's gorgeous and fits perfect, but all the coordinates are sold, so it's marked way down.

  5. Carolyn,

    I have done this with the L.H. tank. I think I have already made the tank 8 times and have 4 more part way sewn up. Aren't they great for wearing under blouses (worn open) or with jackets? I can make one up in about an hour now. Thanks for the enjoyable reading about TNT's!

  6. I love all the versions and it's har to pick my fav but I think it's your latest one, probably because I've had that same embellishment on a cream colored Tee in my mind. Once I get through with all the other projects...

  7. Hello, CMarie.
    I'm writing a story about sewing, and I wonder if I could interview you for the article.
    I'm with the Times of Trenton, and my e-mail is
    Thanks so much!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.


Related Posts with Thumbnails