Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One More Time...

Today on Stitchers Guild ~ Fran G. wrote this to me in the Sharing, Inspiration & Project Photos VII Folder ~ "You make a strong case for TNT patterns..why do I forget to go to them sometimes, heading off in search of the "perfect" pattern when I may already have it??"

The comment really made me think about how much I use a TNT pattern. I have written about my love of TNT patterns before and I don't basically have anything new to say. This time I wanted to show you how a TNT pattern can affect your wardrobe and the possibilities. This is my TNT dress pattern in all its glory:

I have made this dress 11 times (although only 10 are shown) and for every season. And I thought it really apropo to show you this dress pattern with all its possibilities, since this is the "Spring/Summer of the Dress."

From left to right they are:

1. Black linen dress with short sleeves but the details are what makes this dress. I have only worn it once because I made it to wear to my father's funeral. My friend Nabil sent me the black linen special when I called and explained what I needed it for. I added black lace to the hem and used a green bemberg lining to give the dress some joy...because my father would have wanted that! Oh my! I seem to be writing a lot about my dad lately but this dress is so special to me.

2. The black/creme linen circle sleeveless dress with the black satin bias binding that I just completed on my sewing vaca.
3. The black/white plaid jumper with the black piping that I used for my "Corporate Chic" SWAP.

4. The black/white cotton print that I made during my sewing vaca.

5. Another favorite the red crepe dress with short sleeves. I changed the neckline shape on this dress and pintucked the fabric. An epic project but so worth the effort!

6. A new version in brown lace with an apple green swirl silk inspired by a dress in a Jessica London catalog.

7. The blue cotton paisley version with white crochet trim.

8. A pale pink in a silk/linen blend with short sleeves and trim on the sleeves lined in a beige bemberg rayon. It originally had trim at the hem too but I removed that this year for a cleaner look.

9. An orange/pink floral print in rayon linen with short sleeves - a cool, breezy summer dress.

10. A multi-color pastel print on a white background. The fabric is a linen and it was purchased from Rosen & Chadick when they were still a presence on 40th Street. This version has short sleeves and piping at the neck, sleeve hems and the hem of the dress. It is lined in a fine cotton batiste.
What makes each dress different is the fabric, the trim or lack of and then finally the alterations I started to perform to the pattern. For the black funeral dress the pattern was cut apart and sewn back together. In other versions, the sleeves have been removed, the bodice and skirt separated and finally the bodice redrafted. Basically, I just played! *smile*

I have made this dress in linen, silk, rayon/linen blend, wool crepe, wool blend & cotton. Fabric brings a few different qualities to the garment also. Look how slim it looks here in the silk/knit pairing. Same dress, same dimensions, different look.

The point of this post is to encourage you to come up with your own TNT patterns and to play! You will be amazed at how much fun your sewing will become when you are concentrating on being creative instead of always worrying about fit! And how much more you will get accomplished when you're only concerned about making a wonderful garment!!!

If you haven't thought about it before I hope I have persuaded you to look at it at TNT patterns a little differently!


  1. Hey Lady Jane what a great concept TNT! Seriously that is what my summer sewing is all about, creating my TNT patterns. After seeing your pictures on your dress alone I am even more motivated. How many times have you made the SW Tank? I think that's one of your favorites if I remember correctly. Thanks for the inspiration. Many hugs to you!

  2. Always a good reminder! And especially true for me this past weekend as I reworked a TNT tee into a style instead of working a style into a TNT. ;-) So, inquiring minds want to know - what did you wear back to your "first" day of work?

  3. Your's is the first REAL sewing blog that I found when I got re-interestd in the craft again. I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH FROM YOU! As a matter of fact, the first post I read was on using TNT patterns and I didn't know what TNT meant. And now the subject has come up again - and it's a good reminder for me. Since I hadn't sewn in about 13 years I don't have any TNT patterns. I must remember that just because it wasn't quite right the first time, to work on the pattern until I do get the fit right and them it will become a TNT. Thanks for this learning session!

  4. This is a great post. I'm finally getting to the point where I have a few TNTs, and it makes *such* a difference. I can make changes to the styling, fabric, seams, whatever, and not worry about whether it will be wearable fit-wise or not. It seems like once you have a few, as well, you can use them to gauge the alter-ability of new patterns that you want to try.

    Also, I note that on the hangers, your dresses look rather ordinary, no insult intended. But the pictures on you look great - just proof that fitting the person is so much more important than fitting the hanger!

  5. Great post! You're absolutely right!

  6. I don't have a TNT yet, but you make a strong case for it time and time again. You also have a story with every piece you make which is why I love to hear / read about your sewing projects.

  7. Great dresses!! Such a wonderful reminder to perfect some TNT patterns and enjoy the sewing process. Thanks to Ruthie for pointing out your blog.

  8. Very inspiring - I must go back and grab one of those favorite dress patterns and create something.

  9. Carolyn,

    I asked the same question one post down--should be here. Your dresses are all very unique with creative touches styled into each one. I am wondering what pattern this TNT is?

  10. Such beautiful dresses, you are one productive sewer :)

  11. Carolyndh - here is the description from the SWAP posts:

    Butterick 5932 OOP - TNT - this pattern has a copyright date of 1988 on it.

    I have been working with it for quite some time now! *smile*

  12. Thanks for the TNT... and with time I hope to have patterns that I've tweaked to my liking and eventually will become my TNTs.

  13. WOW! What a difference the fabric makes. It really can change the whole look of a garment. Lovely job - as always!

  14. Wow I love all those dresses!!!

  15. Great post Carolyn! You have some great dresses!

  16. you make a great argument and then you back it up with evidence. Sheesh, what's a girl to do but comply? I'm pulling out my TNT dress pattern to make again, however, I have to own this pattern in two size ranges because I can't seem to pick a body size and Stay there ;)
    love all the variations, but the red one the bestest of the best. love that pintucking you did first.

  17. Wow..! You have a nice collection of beautiful dresses.


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