Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Would you please TNT with me?

I was going to write an entirely different post this evening. But before I went to type it, I flipped into my "following" to read a few blog posts...then I stumbled across Alexandra's post...*sigh* And I realized that my response to her post was best suited to a blog post of my own. Thus the title.."Would you please TNT with me?"

I wish I could give each and every sewist a TNT pattern for a top, a blouse, a dress, a skirt and a pair of pants. This pattern would be well-fitted, wearability tested, muslined and ready to be sewn in different fabrications. Then you would know the joy of taking said pattern, laying it down on a piece of fabric and just sewing it up! You would know and understand the sense of accomplishment that comes from making two skirts or two tops in a weekend and adding them to your wardrobe rotation!

And the beauty of a Tried and True (TNT) Pattern is that once you've worked out your fitting issues, you can use this basic pattern to create any look you want! Whenever I spy a design I like in a magazine, catalog, pattern book or even on TV, my first thought is can I cut up my TNT pattern to get this design? Only if I CAN'T figure out a way to work with my original pattern, do I venture into my pattern collection or the pattern catalogs.

For example - this is my basic TNT dress pattern:


This is one variation of it:



Here is another:


One more:



And here is the prizewinner (at least to me):



Let's look at skirts. How many different types of skirts are there really? Straight, bias cut, a-line and gored. Perfect the fit on a straight and a gored skirt pattern and you can do practically anything with it! My skirts are special only because I use unique types of fabric but most importantly ~ I only have two TNT skirt patterns:

4 gore skirt cut with a different back:



The fabric makes this one special:



Definitely the fabric combination making this one noticeable.




A set of summer skirts - made from my TNT 4 gore pattern - it's all in the fabric!



But Alexandra made an interesting point...you have to be comfortable with your body and your shape. It is real evident from my pictures that I am not a skinny minny and actually I'm a little plumper these days, but I accept myself for who I am. I am well endowed on the bottom, I just work that into the equation.

Please allow me one quick story - I remember when I worked in the garment district - one of my first jobs was working in a showroom. The showroom was in NYC but the production plant was in Boston. We had to travel to Boston every season to present a fashion show...don't ask me why, I no longer remember. However, one evening when we were out to dinner, I saw this beautiful plus size woman wearing the most amazing white gauzy outfit that put the skinny women to shame in the restuarant. I mean heads turned when she walked through the place and she wasn't famous. So I learned from that instance that it doesn't matter what size you are, it matters how much confidence you have in yourself...and that confidence will shine through especially if you are wearing a well-fitted beautiful outfit!

If you don't like you, no pattern will solve your issues. However, if you realize that no matter what size you are, yet you love who you are with all your figure challenges...you can make "magic" with your own TNT patterns.

So please pull out a TNT pattern, trace the pieces and cut them up. Make something a little different, use a different fabric, a new technique...but make something...and you too can make two skirts in a weekend...or one fantastic dress or an amazing pair of pants! So would you please TNT with me?!


**Now all posts have a disclaimer! If you just like trying new patterns and going through the gyrations required to fit them...please continue to enjoy the process! Or if you can make a pattern right out of the envelope...this just does not apply to you! Or if you are into pattern drafting and want to work with different patterns to get their styling...please continue to do so!
**End of disclaimer!

50 comments:

  1. Carolyn - you certainly have the TNT pattern expertise!! Lovely items!!

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  2. This has been something I've been thinking about doing - yes, I like to try new things, but if I had a few things that I could whip out, patterns are ready and altered, I think I could get a lot more sewing done. Sometimes starting at square one stalls me out... Now, off to find some patterns.

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  3. I'm just following the leader behind you. I've been using PMB to develop my TNT patterns.

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  4. Great post... and so true!

    Just recently I decided to make myself some "basic" patterns that really fit so I can do just you suggest... have fun making my own modifications. I have an awful time trying to get patterns to fit me properly so I usually just sew for the kids but this year... I'm sewing for me :-)

    Thanks for the pep talk!

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  5. Would you pleeeeeeease come to my house and help me find my TNTs? It is warm here, has been about 75 for a week or so...

    Seriously, I totally agree with you, even the people that fit into the disclaimer categories could benefit from TNT patterns, for that day when things are off and they need that instant gratification if nothing else.

    I used to have some basics that I did over and over again, but somehow time has changed me, and I never manage enough time to sew to find that gem of a pattern that I love. I seem to want to sew sooo many different things my focus is lost and I do not know what to do first...

    Oy, I envy you your TNT patterns.

    Crystal

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  6. I've been TNTing with you for a while. I agree that it's great not to have to fit each and every pattern before you can cut and sew. It is truly a joy to be able to just pull out a pattern, add a few seam details, and have a whole new look. That fits!

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  7. yes, yes, yes
    straight skirt tnt....check
    4 piece/gore skirt tnt....check
    several knit tops tnts.....check
    pants tnt....check
    suit jackets (3 so far)tnts..check

    I usually wear separate/suits to work and I am not an easy fit either. It makes all the sewing mojo difference for me to use my tnts and spend my energy creating with fabric and texture and leave the new patterns for when I want to cut and paste paper. If I were easier to fit, or had more sewing time I might feel differently.

    Now maybe if I had a tnt dress pattern......

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  8. I'm in the middle of sewing my 4th skirt this month from the same skirt pattern, so I definitely understand the rush that comes of laying it out, cutting it out and sewing.

    That being said though, I'm fairly easy to fit, I have an easy set of standard alterations, and I just like the adventure that comes out of sewing multiple patterns...

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  9. I think maybe that's where I get bogged down. It's not that I'm a slow sewer but I take to long to figure out what pattern I want to spend time fooling with to get right for my figure. So, to get a good basic wardrobe started I think I will work on getting a couple patterns from each category, skirt, pants, dress, jacket & top/blouse fitted and use them as my TNT's. There's nothing wrong with trying new things or trendy sewing every now and then, but I think now I see the light and will work on my personal TNT's. So yes, Carolyn, I will TNT with you. This is the very reason it pays to check out blogs...getting direction from those who've been there & done that!
    Thanks!

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  10. I haven't TNTed yet, as I'm a reborn sewer and as I like trying new things. In fact, I've not found a love pattern yet.
    But I like the part of your post about selfconfidence being the essential part of a TNT. Thanks for remembering us of that. And a well fit pattern enhances that selfconfidence. The second piece I made since I started sewing again is a dress that fits well and I feel wonderful in it. I remember the happy feeling when I saw me in it the first time, compared with the commercial dresses that do not fit...

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  11. I have a TNT long sleeved t-shirt, does that count? LOL One of my goals this year is to find/fit a nice pants pattern - and then I'll join your TNT club! I have a few patterns that I've made (a big whopping) two times. I just get sooo distracted by all the new patterns out there!

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  12. I have some of it:

    gored - a-line skirt - yep!
    4-gored skirt - yep!
    t-shirt - yep!

    Now I just need to get the idea of altering them into what i see in my head. I'm sure I can do it. I'll work on it. I've heard the lecture enough. g

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  13. Your message was just what I needed to hear today, I was letting myself feel down about the waist measurement I adjusted on my skirt pattern. I'll just sew it and wear it well!

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  14. You always write such good posts, loved to see the variations on your tnt patterns. For me, I'm happy I have a tnt pattern for pants now, that I can do variations with. A few t-shirts patterns are also good tnt patterns. But for the blouses/jackets section, I just can't commit to one pattern. I want to try so many.

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  15. Well said! Your pictures make a great case for TNTs.

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  16. Your pictures prove a very valid point for TNT patterns. I just finished my second blouse from a pattern and I have found my TNT blouse pattern.

    Your dresses are beautiful and hard to believe they are from the same pattern, great job on sewing and designing.

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  17. This is actually my New's Year's resolution, to develop 5 TNT patterns. I'm having fun figuring out which patterns are going to flatter my shape the most and picking out which ones to start with. As a begginning sewer, I think this is especially useful advice because it can be very frustrating to try a bunch of new patterns that don't work.

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  18. I hear you... I love the planning process and picking out new patterns, but I'd get a lot more done if I had a couple of TNTs. You're spot on with the confidence issue as well; I find it so sad how many women waste their precious time obsessing about their body. If you can smile and sew yourself a pretty dress... You're beautiful!

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  19. I love your post today. I love women who are happy in thier own skin. I have a neice that looks like a life size barbie but only sees her imperfections. Like you, I'm fluffy to put it mildly. But I feel like I'm built like barbie. If we could all have your attitude we would have much happier women in this world. Bravo for you. Enjoy your blog and your beautiful clothes.

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  20. Look at the lessons you just taught. I'm smiling. To be happy with who we are. To use one pattern to make whatever you want and fabric does matter. very cool! lovin' it!

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  21. You are so right, Caroline! I have a dear friend, who unfortunately now lives on the other side of the country. She is short and almost as wide. She ALWAYS looks totally put together and like a million bucks. Our whole group of friends all wished we could dress like her. She was comfortable with her size and did not let it impede her in any way, fashion wise or otherwise. She dressed like she walked out of a couture showroom. Thanks for your inspiration.

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  22. I would love to TNT with you! In fact, as soon as I have my sewing room put back together (it is torn apart right now, as I am culling and tossing) I would love to work on finding and fitting some basics that I can morph into whatever I want. I used to do that all the time, and got away from it. Of course, with it went most of the joy from my sewing, so maybe it's just time to get to basics and TNT's!

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  23. If I don't TNT anything else, I need to TNT a pair of pants. So, yes, I will TNT with you! Thanks for planting the seed in my brain.

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  24. You are my inspiration for making some tnt patterns. I have a couple that I have changed and added details to and it is a pleasure to just lay them out and cut.
    But, what really struck me about your post is that you are comfortable in your body. I am watching the Today Show as I am typing this, and Emme was on (the plus sized model) talking about all the negative talk that Jessica Simpson's weight gain has generated. Well, in my mind she just looks normal now, not that over dieted body that the media demands. They showed pictures of her performing, and she looked great and comfortable in her body. One of the things that I love about your blog is that you show how stylish a woman can be at any size. Brava!

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  25. I used to tnt for my 3 daughters each season to save time for some basic playwear and it was wonderful. I could crank out little shorts or pants and appliqued tops,etc. Several years ago I had a tnt short pattern for me to wear in summer around the house but now I no longer wear shorts and they were not that great looking back. I experimented lots with capris last summer trying for a tnt but still not totally happy with a pattern ditto for a button up shirt although I had two patterns that I made several times since I was desperate. The only tnt that I sort of have is an oop burda tank that I did a haphazard fba on- need to redo it as I know now how to do a better fba. Even with some refining I have made it repeatedly and depend on it in my summer and winter wardrobe. I had stopped sewing for myself long ago due to fit issues,wadders and tears not sewing skill. If I go through the misery of slashing , muslin,wasted fabric to get something to tnt, I will definitely keep reinventing it. I have always preferred basic pieces that are embellished or well accessorized. You are inspiring to work those tnts. We all need to sometimes enjoy the creative process and not be always bogged down in the fit thing. It can be such a turn off. Besides we need something to actually wear as things wear out while we are fiddling or thinking up something new. mssewcrazy

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  26. This is so funny. I read Alexandra's post and hoped you would respond to it!!! I hope I find some TNT's for myself soon!

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  27. That is one of my goals, to develop a few TNT tops, 1 skirt and 1 pant. Believe it or not, my favorite shorts were my maternity shorts with the panel in front, but the back always fit well. Now that they are falling apart, I am taking them apart to use as a guide for the back curves. I love anthropologie's tops, not the prices, but found 2 Simplicity and 1 NL patterns for basic TNT's that I need to perfect the fit and use. Yes, I will take you up on it.

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  28. This is a splendid approach to beefy up the wardrobe and sewing with ease. This is definitely something that I can add to my to do list. Too many times, I've perfected a pattern but never use it again. That's a waste. Because I spend a lot of time altering patterns to fit me.

    Thanks, Carolyn. You are one of my favorite on-line teachers/sewists/stylists.

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  29. Great post Carolyn...those TNT are a great jumping off point because they do fit well. I also appreciate your thoughts on loving your body and wearing your clothes with confidence. As I approach 50 some of my body parts have started heading south. I guess a good body foundation is in order and a nice fresh TNT outfit to adorn it! Thanks! Mary

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  30. For the last two months I have been trying to get there (TNT) with a jacket pattern. I have slightly forward shoulders, a wide back, full bust and extremely erect posture. I think the problem is that I am trying to get my fit too perfect. After reading your post I'm going to throw caution to the wind and just do it. Thanks for the inspiring post.

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  31. I know today's blog is about a TNT pattern, but in truth your blogging is about spreading a kind word of cheer, support and enthusiasm all under the guise of sewing.

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  32. Your posts are always right on time. I am currently working on a jacket and pants that I hope to become a TnT. There is something about having TnTs when you just want to pump out a garment in a weekend.

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  33. that was a beautiful post....really makes you think. I too am fluffy, especially since turning 55..yikes. My goal is to find my TNT in a nice blouse or dress....thank you again for some inspiration....

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  34. I so agree. It was Nancy Erickson who taught me this years ago with her jacket pattern. Right now I want to develop a TNT blouse pattern because I find it hard to buy blouses that fit me properly. So I'll TNT with you!
    Linda

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  35. Hi Carolyn:

    This is a great post. You have the TNT concept down. :):):)

    I'll TNT with you, there's a pattern that I've had my eye on that I think would be perfect for this. Simplicity 2724. It's a dress, but the top and bottom can be made to look like a skirt/shirt combo too. I can just imagine the possibilities. I've never made a muslin of a pattern for myself, but this one I will. I really want to use it over and over.

    I'm happy that you embrace who you are and share that with us. I think more people should...myself included. I need to learn to do that a bit more, I have to admit I haven't been too happy with my figure lately. I can work out and get back into my old shape, but in the meantime, why should I hate my body? I should learn to love it at every stage, it's the only one I have. :):):)

    I'm curious, why are you putting a disclaimer?

    Hugs,
    Lory

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  36. Carolyn, great post! I'd love to have TNTs - I'm back to sewing after a 10+-year hiatus. But, I'm a different size and shape after a tummy tuck and breast reduction - and still not a Barbie - so I really need to learn to fit these patterns well. It has held me back, yeah. I'm hoping to do some major fitting to get those TNTs! Thanks for all the inspiration.

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  37. Ah yes you truly are the Queen of TNT's and an inspiration to the rest of us how great they are. I do love being able to whip out a skirt or pants from my TNT patterns, but I must admit I also love trying something completely different too. I'm a bit mixed up, me!!

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  38. I know you've been nominated for the Kreative Blogger award by a bunch of others but I just had to nominate you too. You have elevated working with TNT patterns to an art.

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  39. Carolyn,
    Your posts are so inspiring, both your words and your sewing creativity. Your clothes are beautifully made and one of a kind.
    I'll TNT with you, I need some pants!
    Thanks for the great post.........

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  40. Carolyn do you have a crystal ball? Your post is right on target. Your are sewingchologist. Yes I will TNT with you. I have a basic skirt pattern that I drafted on poster board. I am going to work the heck out of that pattern.

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  41. TNT girl or no TNT girl, I am in total agreement with the example of the lady with the white gauzy outfit ... That's really what matters!

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  42. I have a huge collection of patterns, at least in comparison to the number of garments I have ever actually sewn up (in that I started sewing just before getting very ill and just haven't had the energy/stamina to do things that involve continued effort/organisation/not losing things/having some space in the flat which wasn't covered in THINGS) but I am definitely trying to get some TNTs together.

    I did get one dress pattern all nicely adapted and copied out onto kraft paper last summer, and judging from the dress I half finished, it was a good fit, but I've put on 20 or 30lb since then, and lost some of it again (crazy med related goings on) so I doubt it will fit now!

    I'm not sure it's worth perfecting any TNTs until I'm properly off these medications and my weight stabilises - I've put on 50lb or so, and have no idea whether I'll stay around the weight I am now (10lb off from highest point) or lose more or even regain some. I don't mind too much, and am in total agreement with you on the stuff you say re size etc. Have you read Barbara Deckert's Sewing for Plus Sizes? I love that book, it's easily one of my top five sewing books just because she's so enthusiastic about making plus size women look and feel AWESOME :D

    Anyway, yes, my weight may well do more strange things this year, so I'm not sure if I'll work on getting TNTs as such, but I definitely like the idea of making more than one thing from a pattern I've ironed all the problems out of, esp as I have an asymmetrical figure and thus really need to make a full-width skirt pattern or seperate left and right pieces (depending on whether there's a centre seam, obv).

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  43. Excellent post, I couldn't agree more. I'm working on getting myself some TNT patterns, it sure makes life grand, huh?

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  44. I LOVE this post! Being a well-endowed woman who is now a little on the plump side myself, I couldn't agree more. Women say things to me all the time about my ability to "pull-off" certain "fun" clothing items. I decided a while back that my size was no longer going to hold me back from wearing the funky, fun things I wanted to wear. Now I wear them proudly, with confidence. Because I choose to. I know the only way any of us thick or thin can "pull it off" is walking and acting in confidence. I couldn't be happier! I now wear anything I want, including my favorite, a pair of strange golden/yellow/green colored tights.

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  45. how amazing. u give me some ideas to adding my DIY wardrobe collection too. u have beautiful collection of urs. awesome job. thnx for sharing

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  46. I really need to work out some TNTs for myself. You set such a wonderful example! I don't often use the same pattern more than once. I really need to work out a decent TNT pants pattern - something I rarely sew for myself because of fitting issues. You've inspired me again.

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  47. Great post! I agree wholeheartedly - even with the disclaimer. What I don't understand is those who keep tackling new pants patterns when they have put so much effort in one that already works. (I say this as one sewer who has not made pants in years and therefore does not have a TNT for them..lol). Skirts are a bit different as they are easier to fit - but even then, why make up a new pattern such as a pencil skirt(just cos the pattern envelope has it make up in a cute fabric) when you must have made one up before?

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  48. Carolyn thanks so much for writing this post. This is exactly what I love about your view to your craft and it does encourage me to tweek my favorite 3 patterns and add a few others to create a fabulous wardrobe for '09. Thanks again.

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  49. Wonderful post! You have a great sense of style and have found the perfect patterns that work for you! A few classics will carry you a very long ways!
    Cheers! Evelyn

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  50. Little El sent me here ... and I am so glad - I agree entirely with what you're saying and I thankyou for the reminder to get stuck into those TNT garments.

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