Thursday, April 02, 2015

Remaking My TNT Dress Pattern

The reason why I didn't get catatonic and ball up in the fetal position crying inconsolably about losing my TNT dress pattern, is that I never threw the original pattern pieces away. That meant the originals were in the pattern stash, I just had to find them. Seriously this is "The Best Save EVAH!"

So the search began for the pieces - and what a search that was! I mean I've made this dress quite a few times and I've saved most of the iterations in their own folders - thankfully with a picture of the finished dress - so it was just a matter of digging through pattern folders.



And when I was just about to give up, I found the original pattern in pieces! This is the version I was using when I first started the blog. I'm probably about 10 lbs lighter than that now but I think it's easier to make changes from the smaller pattern pieces than the pieces I've enlarged over the years.

Here are the changes I made to the pattern pieces to sew my first wearable muslin:

1. First I taped the bodice and skirt front and backs together matching the notches to from full front and full back pieces.



2. I laid the new front and back pieces over each other, comparing notches and lengthen and shorten lines, to insure that the front and back piece hemlines ended in the same place.



3. Then I traced each pattern onto some new pattern paper. On the front pattern piece I made sure to include the new bust dart (something I noticed that I changed on the original pattern).



4. Also made sure that I got more markings placed onto these new pattern pieces. I neglected to do that with my last set.

5. I found the original sleeve pattern piece in a very fragile state. So I traced a new short sleeve pattern also. Later I will work on making a long sleeve version of the sleeve. I want to have all of the new pattern pieces in the same folder.


This was my starting place for this simple short sleeve floral ponte dress. The fabric is from Fabric Mart, of course, and the dress is unlined. I added an invisible zipper to the dress' center back mainly because I hate trying to get a dress over my head.  Unzipping it and stepping in is so much easier ~ at least in my world! The sleeves are made from the leftover scraps of my white ponte top.

There are no special sewing techniques in this dress. The hems at the sleeves are pressed and stitched down. I added some stitch witchery to the dress' hemline to finish it. I must have stretched the neckline a bit when working with the fabric. So I gathered a section of it at the center front, secured it with a strip of fusible interfacing, and faced it with another white ponte scrap.

I did fit as I sewed it because believe me when I tell you that I'm not a fit expert! Then I made a few more changes to the pattern based upon the try-ons...

- I added darts to the center back to get a closer fit for this version
- For future versions, I'm going back to the 4 seam back because I can use the seam lines to fit the upper bodice back better
- I removed 1/4" from the center front of the dress pattern checking to make sure that it didn't affect my bust darts because this version is sewn with 3/4" seams.
- I shaved 1/2" off the hemline of the back pattern piece because it was longer than the front piece.

I'm okay with this version although it's not perfect. It's just okay. Though this process is reminding me of all of the work that I did to get my original TNT patterns to work. I'm thinking I probably wore some pretty terribly fitting stuff back in the day as I pinched and tucked my way to TNT patterns. At least if I lose a little more weight this summer, this one will still be wearable.

A few more pictures of the dress...




I'm trying this pattern out in a woven next to see if my changes work in that fabrication too. If you've been reading for awhile and wondered how I got my TNT patterns to TNT status...ummm this is how it happened...one garment at a time.

Now I'm sure there are some of you out there wondering why I don't just make a few muslins and get all of my fit issues worked out?  That is one way to look at it. My answer is that I still hate making muslins. This way I'm ending up with wearable garments which I really need right now. These are more wearable than RTW...plus I'm learning a few things in the process.

...as always more later!









36 comments:

  1. I completely agree about Muslins - I'd rather work with something I could possibly wear. Also muslin can have such a different drape/ feel/ hand than fashion fabric. I really enjoy the proccess you used & always pick up great tips from you. Pretty spring color dress also - thanks

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  2. Gorgeous dress and the fit looks great. Perfect for Spring.

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  3. Very pretty dress. But I'm even more impressed that you keep each pattern iteration in a separate folder and a photo of the finished garment! How organized!

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    1. I agree. I'm going to do that from now on!

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    2. Ladies - it's not every version of my TNT pattern that has a picture in the folder - about 60% of them do. Just the really intricate changes!

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    3. I agree also. That is amazing. Your dress is looks great too.

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  4. I think it looks beautiful on you.

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  5. Such a pretty spring dress. You are looking good, Carolyn.

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  6. Beautiful dress - it just screams Spring!!

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    1. Karen that's what I liked about the fabric - how emphatically it said spring! Thanks for the compliment!

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  7. It is so nice to see how you do a TNT from the beginning. I hope to TNTs of the basics one day! I love the print on this dress and can't wait to see the many versions I am sure you will be making now. Congratulations on the weight loss! I know that is a real achievement!!

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    1. Patricia - I hope my ramblings are clear and easy to follow. Ask if you have a question, okay?

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  8. Following your progress with great interest. Where you lead, I will follow.

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    1. Julie - I hope I don't lead you over the cliff! 😀 It's definitely going to be a journey!

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  9. Love the colors and article. I too prefer wearable Muslins. Thanks for sharing your tips ... FIESTA on your weight loss!!! :)

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  10. The fit of your dress look pretty darn good, though as you mention, it needs some tweaks in the upper back. Pretty spring print too.Your organizational skills make me feel oh so lazy. When I go back to patterns I obviously altered, the pattern pieces are slashed in odd places with no notes. arghh!

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    1. Audrey, thanks so much for confirming that. I really want to get all of my fit challenges worked out, so that I have the best fit I'm capable of in my dresses going forward.

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  11. Your new dress looks great Carolyn! I often do the same thing when sewing knits - I just do the best I can, knowing I'll learn from it and improve the next version. I just can't sew muslins for every new pattern when I really need something new to wear!

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    1. Thanks Robin for those wise worlds! I need clothes and a muslin won't get me clothed everyday!

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  12. I sew muslins for all wovens but knits, not so much. I add in case sas on the side seams and pin baste them together for the first try on. This looks pretty good for not 'perfect'. It's very wearable and it's flattering.

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    1. Thanks Nancy! We all take our own individual paths to a completed garment. No matter how you get there, I think it's most important that you get there!

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  13. There nothing like a good TNT pattern to fall back on. I love this dress on you and the fabric is so pretty.

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  14. Very wearable indeed! I hate the whole fitting thing. Such a pain. I have enrolled in the Suzie Furrer pattern making classes on Craftsy in the hope I can have a sloper that I can make TNT work dresses from. You know, just a tweak here and there to make them all look a bit different but all being easy sews (with no f*&^ fitting). Yesterday I started on the skirt sloper and well, it will be back to the drawing board today :)

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    1. Vicki, I really hope that you get that TNT pattern worked out soon! I've missed seeing your garments!

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    2. REporting back that today (Monday) I drafted and completed the sewing of a skirt. I'll be testing it out tomorrow at work. I made it longer than I normally wear as that seems to be the fashion at the moment.

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  15. You look FABULOUS in your new dress. How wonderful to find the original pieces and have your TNT ready to be sorted again. I hate muslins to and try to make wearable ones. Yours is way more than that. Love it.

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  16. So thrilled you found the original pattern. I seem to do a lot of this these days - make a version, tweak it. And while I might use actual muslin - I really like making something I can wear out of the house! Even if the fit isn't perfect. This dress is stunning and you look fantastic - you look happy and sassy, lovely & relaxed. g

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  17. You're so organized! I try to do the same, but then get all confused amongst my nth version of tweaked patterns.

    I have the same approach as you when it comes to muslin and TNTs. Unless the pattern is for a fancy one-off using very expensive materials, I'd rather improve the fit one wearable muslin at a time and aim to have a set of basic TNTs so I can design variations like you do. Making throw-away muslins for every project just seem like such a waste both financially and environmentally.

    Your TNT dress looks like it's in a good place. And what a refreshing print for spring. Hope the weather is getting more spring like too over there!

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing your TNT process. That dress is looking wonderful, love the sleeves in white. Sure, there is a little bit of excess in the upper back, but much much better that RTW as you say.
    I'm a fan of wearable muslins too, but I'm not so good as using them as a path to a TNT. Too distracted by the next shiny pattern!

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