Monday, September 22, 2008

The Creative Journey

If you've been following along, you will see that this year I've been trying to use more new/unused patterns. I mean I do buy them just as frequently as everyone else and I do have a pretty extensive collection...from the "vintage" ones I'm now acquiring to some that I've had since the 80s as well as the ones I've purchased through the 90s until now.

As I was finishing up Vogue 7994, I realized why I repeat patterns over and over again. I sew TNT's because I NEED to finesse the details that I miss in the original or first go round. I know that some people are perfectionists when they sew...everything has to be sewn and fitted correctly before the garment is declared finished. Well, that's not me! I like making the journey again and again...discovering new things...taking new paths...varying the methods used and generally just working the heck out of a pattern.

I understand that some people get bored with a pattern...not me! While I'm working on a garment, my mind is working overtime coming up with at least 2 and sometimes quite a few more versions that I want to construct...well, that is unless I hate the pattern! And yes, that has happened a few times...just not lately!

So even though the brown doubleknit dress works and looks good...there are some "different" things that I NEED to do to it to improve it...some are fabric related...some involve embellishment...and there is definitely a construction technique or two that needs to be improved.

All of this musing, brings me to my question of the day..."Do you sew from TNT Patterns and take the creative journey?" If you do, what makes you want to continue the journey? And if not, why not? Is it boredom? Or can you only sew one version of any pattern? What? Share, cause I need to know!

Me...I'm going to continue the creative journey with Vogue 7994. You will see at least two more versions showing up soon...changes in fabric, changes in embellishment and changes in style...I have ideas running through my mind...I just need time!

29 comments:

  1. Hmmm, all of the above?!?

    I have certain TNTs that I tweak and change every time. Others, I churn out the same thing over and over. I guess a lot depends on the pattern. How's that for a definitive non-answer?

    That being said, I love how you work with patterns over and over again. It's a good lesson to keep in mind.

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  2. I will sometimes sew something up more than once depending on what it is and how distinctive the pattern. I have a couple of skirt and t-shirt patterns that get used to death, occassionally I play with the tees.

    My biggest problem with making a dress more than once, is that I'm positive somebody is going to say "didn't you wear that dress yesterday?" g

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  3. I'm with Nancy. I do both. Some patterns I use more than once, changing details that I think will work or would just like to see done next, or try out a new or little used technique.

    Some patterns are new ones, but I've had an idea about a garment stewing on the back burner, and want to sew a new pattern to go with the 'new idea'.

    Both are instructive and really fun ways to approach a sewing 'problem'.

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  4. I use my TNT patterns so much I do not even bother to put them back in the envelope. I just use drip-dry hangers to hang them up. Sometimes I sew one version of them up and sometimes I use them as basic pattern blocks to create ther designs thatare stored in my mind. If it works for you - continue to use it. What makes me want to take the creative journey is the challenge to see if I can really create the image in my mind.

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  5. I'm always happy when I get a TNT pattern. Alterations are a PITA and I like to make design changes so that it doesn't look the same every time, yet it still fits the same. Reinventing the fit is much harder than changing a detail or two to make the pattern look completely different.

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  6. Well you know, they call this "variations on a theme" in the art world. I do the same thing both with sewing and with weaving. I make the same thing over and over "until I get it right" which for me means that I can do it sort of in autopilot and have it come out just the way I envision it. Someone said one time that if you make a dress, then a coat, then a quilt, then a tea cozy, you never get good at any one thing. Go for it!

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  7. I like to use the same pattern over and over - I like the sense of familiarity with it, knowing that the kinks are worked out... Whenever I try a new pattern, it is with the idea of creating a new TNT pattern.

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  8. Good question – and you know, I like the way you work a pattern!

    I rarely sew a pattern more than once. I will sew two different patterns that are essentially the same rather than sew either one of them twice. I usually don't make any changes to a pattern, so if I want something new and different I have to use a new and different pattern.

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  9. I like both ends of the spectrum. I have children's patterns that I repeat, morph, vary and embellish, and must have made 50 times. For myself I have to do a lot of fitting, so I repeat patterns that I like quite a lot, with fabric and some design changes, but I can get tired of them. I think I have just temporarily retired a pants pattern that I have now made 6 times in 9 months .I really admire your work in making TNT patterns fresh and different. However, I also love new patterns and have a large collection of patterns to prove it!

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  10. The most I've ever used a pattern is twice, and that's usually a basic like an a-line skirt that fits. I tend to choose patterns that have some technique or detail I've never tried before. Once I've figured it out I move on.

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  11. If I find a pattern I really like, I like to sew it at least twice, especially for basics like skirts, pants, or easy knit tops. In instance, I sewed a pattern four times with bodice variations. Besides, you get the most for your money if you can use a pattern more than once. I think it really helps with your technique to sew the same garment more than once, unless it's just a pain to sew.

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  12. Gee you asked the wrong one here. I am new to sewing for a fat busty me. My everyday clothing is a virtual uniform but I live in an isolated rural area in the hot south and work outside off and on during the day. It is nothing for me to change clothing several times a day as I cannot stand being icky when I come back inside. I have a pj pattern that is I guess tnt made in flannel for winter (worn open over a sleep tee) that I can walk the dogs in without being embarrassed if I get busted once in a blue moon. The summer version is a button v neck short sleeve oop top with burda capris for pjs. The same capris are worn with a couple of basic shirt and knit tops all from the same several patterns. I have so many fit issues and these clothes are not treated nicely that I don't spend much time on them as they get washed lots so just cut the same patterns that are permanently on thin paper like fabric. This may not be for everyone but it is fast and I need work clothing for a farm. The same shirt/capri patterns are used over a burda tank also now my tnt for dressier casual wear in nicer fabric with pretty jewelry and fashionable sunglass and nice pricey shoe/bag choices. I plan to embellish some of these tnts with machine embroidery next summer (not Mickey Mouses,etc but more sophisticated designs with beads and stones in nice fabrics to make some dressier sets. I feel comfortable now buying nice fabric to make them as I know they will be wearable. I need to work on a basic winter jacket pattern and fitted pants pattern and a sheath dress for church to wear under a jacket or shirt. I need to remake for fall a princess 3/4 sleeve McCall's shirt that I made adjustments to the muslin in spring and need to retry in a fall fabric. I feel as if I need to work any pattern a lot if I have wasted lots of time getting it to fit well enough that I enjoy wearing it. I do look forward to trying lots of new things as time permits but as a now busty petite plus the labor is fit intensive and the going is slow.I have purchased some of the petite plus patterns and a dvd that I hope to try soon. I suspect that many who only use a pattern once have only minor fit issues or none and I can see that they would get bored fast. I once sewed for a lady years back that used a size 8 straight from the envelope - not kidding (even the length was perfect for her height) so I guess the person is out there that these things actually fit just it surely is not me. Keep up the good work- I enjoy seeing your fashion take on things and some of your tnts that I could find are in my pattern stash waiting. mssewcrazy

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  13. I love TNTs for the same reasons you do. We've already got the fit part down so now we can be creative with fabric and other details. I've made Textile Studios' mandarin jacket pattern four times now and each jacket looks completely different from the others.

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  14. I've never been a TNT girl, but I recently sewed up a butterick to pattern that I just loved the fit and style so much that I immediately started on another one, but made some changes, adding contrast bands at the neck(which are part of the pattern) and bands on a 3/4 length sleeve (which is not part of the original pattern). This is an entirely new experience for me, but I like it. Of course, I absolutely envy what you do with your TNT's. You should have been a designer. Your attention to detail and quality is remarkable, and I strive to be just like you when I grow up!

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  15. I rarely sew the same thing twice, with the exception being my daughter's clothes. I guess it is just the boredom factor. I get bored easily and once I've sewn a pattern it is a BTDT. I usually am doing my own thing already to the pattern in terms of style and technique tweaks, so I usually don't want to go down that path again. The TNT's for my daughter's clothes are good in that I can easily make up the garments and do whatever style changes she wants without a fitting hassle.

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  16. It really seems to depend on the pattern for me. There are some patterns I've made that one time around is plenty (and it's not because I don't like the pattern or the resulting garment) and there are some patterns that I'm cutting out a second version of before I finish the first. I think the ones that become TNT patterns are generally shapes that I know are going to be flattering, even before I've finished and worn the first one - but don't carve that in stone because I've also made multiple versions of things that I probably had no business making one of.

    Right now I'm working on a princess-seamed square-necked dress for a local theater production and I didn't think I liked it much - until I tried it on last night for pocket placement because the actress wasn't around. Not only did I like it on me a whole lot, but I already have two versions of it working in my head before I've even traced it off in my size.

    So no, you're definitely not alone. And I think journey is the right word, because it applies to travel for me as well. Sometimes I like to take the journey to one place, and one trip is enough, and other times, there's nothing wrong with a second or third trip back to a place that makes you happy. I figure enjoying the trip, wherever it takes you, is enough.

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  17. I sew the same pattern two or three times making changes here and there. Sometimes I try a fabric not called for and sometimes it works out and sometimes not. Changing the sleeve or neckline or adding an embellishment. When I see a pattern I see a multitude of possibilities and so I think I need to have it in all of those visions. I had reached a point where I thought I didn't need anymore patterns as I could come up with whatever my inspiration was from what I had available. I've just recently culled my pattern collection down to 100+, and am purchasing vintage patterns for details and designs that don't seem to be available in today's pattern selections.

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  18. I am not really a TNT person. I have used Vogue Basic Design patterns more than once, different views, even changing the collar/lapel to something not "in the envelope". Exception is Jalie tops patterns - I have made several versions of 965 and 2005,a nd will continue to use those patterns (and a few others).

    I do get bored with the same pattern - once the learning curve is passed, I can't be bothered. If I missed something, feel I could improve on a technique, I am more likely to try it again.

    I wish I could be more of a TNT person because I could finish sewing projects faster! It would also mean I was more creative - my creativity mostly ends at fabric selection and doesn't extend into construction too often.

    BetsyV

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  19. I have tried for the ultimate mulit-usable pattern...just haven't made one yet. I keep trying, but find that after I work on the pattern unsuccessfully for fitting issues, I throw up my hands and toss it to the side for something else to sew.

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  20. One thing that I think is helpful for reuse on tnts is the pieces are basic and classic and lack memorable details that are repetitive. Some patterns are so distinctive that once is enough and sometimes maybe even that is too much. On the other hand a plain button front shirt or sheath dress,basic jacket one could find thousands of versions of the same in rtw and they all look different because of the fabric choice, sleeve treatment, added details used,etc. After I make the shoulders narrow, make an fba and lower the bust,narrow the hip I am using that slashed and spread a lot of times. I only have one lifetime to sew up some stuff. Maybe after a couple of years I will have so many clothes I can experiment with new things but right now just sewing something basic to wear each season is a chore. And now I am dissatisfied with rtw so tnts it is for now. mssewcrazy

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  21. I think that only sewist will recognize the same style. Ask a non sewing friend if they think the picture on the pattern envelope looks like what you made. Chances are they will say no it looks nothing like it. Remember if the drawing shows a green print with long sleeves adn you made a sleeveless, solid purple version, your friend won't believe it. Only our trained eyes will notice. After all the fit issues are done and the kinks worked out of a pattern, it fits , looks and feels great, why not do it again? It's great to have a few TNT basics for those emergency times. I bought several of Carolyn's patterns and worked them up. Gives a sense of security to me to know they are there when I need them!

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  22. I don't worry about someone recognizing the pattern; I agree with others here that only we will. I have a few TNT's, but haven't had much time to sew alot for myself. Those TNT's are the ones that fit well, are easy to amend and others have complimented me on. My favorite is my 1952 vintage wrap dress and for my daughter a Lizzie McGuire top pattern and a vintage wardrobe from the early 60's (classic little-girl sleeveless dress, top, etc.) I also have 2 simplicity tops and a butterick top that I have made 2x and remade into a dress that I am currently hemming and finishing. I also consider them TNT's even though the simplicities are somewhat trendy (empire waists). Haven't found a skirt or pant one, though... Carolyn, I am waiting for a replica of one of your vintage pattern purchases, specifically that Simplicity with the blue dress prominent on the cover with the bodice tie.

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  23. I think both is right for me. There are patterns I could sew over and over again with minor variations: a different corlar, different fabric etc.
    But I am always finding new exciting patterns I like to try, which only means in the end I have a hard time deciding what to do :)
    Do you know the patterns (actually magazinges with patterns inside) of ottobre design? It's from Finnland and they have mostly kids cloths but some really lovely womens patterns too. Check it out here: Ottobre Design Page

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  24. I left this awhile before commenting as I wanted to hear what others had to say. I have some TNT's. I think TNT's need to be very simple/plain styles - which you do a lot of. Yet you make them special by your embellishments and fabric choices. I think your way to go is the best way to get more sewing done. Often we get seduced by new patterns that are often not that different from old patterns - just minor tweaks that can be done on a TNT or the envelope of the pattern is just made up in a different fabric and we think "isn't that pretty". Some people love the challenge of complicated patterns but I think I like to just get more clothes into the wardrobe..lol!

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  25. I like TNT's for basic patterns and when I really want to have something completed without being slowed down by picking a pattern, tracing and fitting it. So for basic skirt, pants yes I use TNT's. I also have a few top patterns I've made more than once. But I do enjoy trying out new patterns (which also helps justify the even more enjoyable exercise of buying them!

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  26. I completely agree with the TNT pattern. I have one from 20 years ago that I used when my daughters needed a fancy dress for church or wedding or some function. I still have it, and now I am sewing for granddaughters. I also have a basic jacket pattern my mom sewed for me in the 1970's that I have reused for my girls now.

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  27. I just found your fabulous blog from Pattern Review... thank you for all you put into this. You are sewing beautiful garments that look fabulous on you!

    I want TNT patterns more than anything ... not just because they fit but because I know they flatter me. I can build from there. Maybe this works for me because I seem to look best in simple styles with lean lines - fussy details seem to make me look heavier.

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  28. I love my TNT's for all the reasons that you stated in this post. But there are some patterns in my collection that I have only sewn once. Because of the unique style or it just didn't suit me.

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  29. Well, I don't consider myself a TNT lady... But I'd like to re-sew some of the patterns that I've used in the past, mainly the ones from Burda International magazines (90's). Today I have access to better fabrics and I know a lot more about sewing techniques... I feel I can make a much better job on some of the garments that really made me feel like a diva!

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