Monday, January 07, 2008

It's just so darn comfortable...

I am sitting here in my new dress...had to put it on so that the DD could take some pics and it hit me...that this dress is just so darn comfortable...ohmygosh, "Corporate Chic" and comfortable in the same sentence. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to stand myself! *LOL*

So here's some stats:

TNT dress pattern (I know y'all are so tired of hearing that one!)

100% wool flannel from
100% polyester charmeuse from Fabric Mart

22" zipper, rayon hem tape

Pretreating the fabric:
I prewashed the wool fabric using Shannon's technique...well not all of it because I did not have any Euculan available. So I skipped that step but I did everything else she said to do and I hung the fabric to dry overnight on the shower rod in the bathroom. A good pressing and a lot of steam and this piece was ready to go.

Now I don't usually wash wools because I am concerned about fulling and felting issues but in this instance because the wool was a tightly woven piece I decided to give it a try. I was very happy with the end results and will try this technique again with the Euculan next time!

Construction Details:
The front of the dress has a pleat ~ a newly added design feature that was not included in the original pattern. I have no magazine or catalogue inspiration for this dress. I was doodling and put the pleat on the front of the dress and thought why not. So I made it work.

To get the pleat I placed the dress front 3" from the center front of the fabric. I carefully measured to make sure that it was 3" from the top to the bottom of the piece. After I cut the pattern out, I cut small notches into the top of the pattern where the pattern piece ended. I did the same at the bottom.

After the darts were constructed, I made a box pleat on the backside of the garment, carefully folding each notched edge to the center of the pleat. I pressed one side of the pleat and then the other. Finally I sewed the pleat down across the neckline. I used a triple stitch and sewed the pleat flat...approximately 1/4 inch from the outer edge of the pleat. I stopped stitching

I definitely used directional sewing on this because I didn't want to get that ruffled edge you get when you sew the in two different directions.

The other change I made was to the sleeves. I split the pattern in half added a seam allowance and belled it out slightly at the end. Then I stitched the center seam leaving an opening of 3". I made a lining using the new sleeve shape and attached the lining to the hem ala the Nancy Ziemen method mentioned in an earlier post. To accommodate the opening, I sewed the hem and up the side of each opening up to about 1/2" from the point. Then I sewed the side seams. After turning the lining into the sleeve, I added a few catch stitches to the inside of the opening where I wasn't able to sew it all the way with the machine.

Add the lining to the dress, insert the sleeves, hand hem the dress fabric, machine stitch the lining and walah, new dress.

This one will have a jacket constructed from the same fabric since the original piece was a little over 4 yards and even after prewashing there was enough to get a jacket and dress from the fabric. But the great thing is that the dress can be worn alone or with another jacket while it is waiting for its counterpart to show up.

(okay why am I holding the fabric on the dress up this way!)

Since this is quite a long and involved post, do you mind if I answer questions tomorrow night? I've kept track (for once) and have answers for all of them, so until tomorrow!

I just may wear this dress to work tomorrow because it is just so darn comfortable!


  1. Great looking dress, I love the sleeve detail.

  2. Totally fantastic and it looks comfy even in the pictures. I need to work up some TNT patterns!

  3. What a great dress! The front pleat is a very clever idea.

  4. I live the center pleat. You look lovely in it and its great that it's so comfortable. Great job!

  5. Fabulous as usual Carolyn! I love that lining.

  6. I, as always am amazed at the versatility of your TNT dress pattern-the front pleat is fantastic-ummmmm......I think dress fever may be catching

  7. Nothing wrong with being comfortable at work! It just occurred to me that your TNT dress pattern has become a sloper of sorts - something you know fits your body and is a jumping off point for all sorts of variations.

  8. Another fabulous dress & comfy to boot - woo hoo! I like all the extra details. I think that sleeve length is perfect on you.

  9. Gorgeous. I love that front pleat. And tht fabric looks so comfortable I want to curl up on it like a cat!

  10. well, I absolutely love your new dress, I think the pleat gives it that tailored look that gives it a corporate look, but you are so good with this type of thing, thanks for sharing your adjustments, I always enjoy reading about your mods on TNT patterns. I love that lining, like Carson said, "purple pinstripes on a man's grey suit is like kinky lingerie under a well tailored woman suit,, SURPRISE", LOL
    I LOVE CARSON KRESSLEY and your dress, keep smiling!

  11. Okay, I need to get a TNT dress pattern too!

    I like the slit in the sleeves, great detail.

  12. so darn comfortable and so darn lovely! I've said it before and I'll say it again - you can really WORK a TNT pattern!
    I agree with Summerset - your TNT functions like a sloper.

  13. It looks marvelous! Beautiful dress!

  14. Carolyn, you are so creative. Love the dress and all of the "extra" details. Great job as usual.

  15. Very beautiful dress. All the detail changes made, make the dresses all have their unique look.

  16. I love the front pleat addition, you're an inspiration to create a few TNT patterns. And I love the lining!

  17. Gorgeous! The dress is nice too, lol. That is a great work outfit...i want one for my self now :-)

  18. You've inspired me with the pretty linings you always choose! No more solid color - plain old linings for me!

  19. Looks great, wonderful bonus that it's so comfortable1

  20. Great dress! Simple and elegant. AND COMFY! Wow, what more can one expect??!!

  21. Stunning! I love the interesting lining, the way you lined the sleeve too and the front pleat! Five stars out of five!!

  22. Great dress. Love the pleat and sleeves too. The little extra's you get from making it yourself!

  23. Beautiful love the lining!!Looks great on you.

  24. Lovely dresses. Love the versatile style of the jumper.

  25. Hello there Sewing Fanatic.

    I am writing this from UK and have just started out sewing and googled how to darn woollen fabric and got your site up.

    I have saved you to favourites as no doubt it will be nice to pop back and compare notes with you at some point.

    Are you part of a global online community of dressmakers and home coutouriers. (That has to be spelt wrong. Sorry.)

    Well done on completing a dress and taking the time to write the method for others. Thank you.


  26. Wool is my favorite fabric. I machine wash and machine dry all my wools, and I've only regretted it once (a wool knit--I should have known better). Now I'm more careful with the heat setting on washing wool knits, but I still do it. It does sometimes change the look and feel of the fabric to something a little more rustic (not as smooth and perfect), but often it makes no difference at all. I have a bolt of beautiful charcoal wool/lycra that looks exactly the same after it's been through the washer and dryer, with full heat. Now that's my kind of fabric! I refuse to dry clean, and I know eventually the garment will be put through the washer and dryer at full heat by accident, so I do it once before constructing the garment. After it's made, I'm more careful, but at least I know it won't be ruined when someone does me a well-meant 'favor' and washes my custom clothing.


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