When a TNT is no longer your friend.....

Friday, 18 July 2014
I'm slowly coming around to the idea of tried and true (TNT) pattern. I own so many patterns that I like using a different one each time and I do have my Burda challenge which also means using a new pattern each month, but I do see the value in using a pattern that you've got the fitting issues worked out and know the finished garment will fit without having to make a muslin. And of course it doesn't mean making the same thing over and over again - you just have to see the amazing variety of dresses that Carolyn over at Diary of  a Sewing Fanatic has made from her TNT dress pattern as proof of that.

New Look 6968 is my favourite pattern for a fitted sheath dress - I can't believe it's now OOP because it really is a great pattern. The waistline seam means I can get a perfect fit on my swayback and pear shape, and it has a number of different  neckline and sleeve variations as well. I've made it five times already (from left to right, here, here, here, here and a version not shown here), and since I own some red and white fabric exactly like view D on the envelope I'll probably make it again! In fact if you google New Look 6968 my happy face features quite prominently in the results.

Burda 11/2012 #124 is my go to pattern for an a-line skirt - simple but with interesting details such as welt pockets on the front and a topstitched centre front seam. I've made it in denim, velveteen, cotton drill and cotton sateen, and I still wear all the versions quite regularly:

And I thought that Burda 10/2013 #127 going to become my TNT for my achilles heel - a perfect pants pattern. I've made it three times so far, and even though I don't particularly sewing or even wearing pants I quite like these:

The first time I made this pattern in a cotton linen, it was very baggy to begin with and stretched out terribly, meaning the waistline and crotch hung very low. The second time I made them into shorts using a stretch cotton drill that didn't stretch out so the pants fit well but a bit too high waisted for my liking. Third time lucky with some gorgeous cotton from Tessuti and the fit is pretty good, and the fabric wears well.

So when I had a recent girls night out planned in wild and windy weather (ie not dress wearing weather) and Pattern Review were having their pants competition I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and make this pattern in a dressier fabric, with slim legs, ankle length and exposed metal zips at the hem. And I figured I'd be able to get this done two nights before the night out and the competition closed.

Well the sewing gods decided to teach me a lesson because this is what happened:

Way too much excess fabric there in the back legs that looks really bad (but probably no different to RTW pants though!). I've read somewhere that the wrinkles in clothes point to the problem - clearly my problem is the way the pant legs are hanging from my saddlebag thighs, although the front doesn't look too tight:

Actually when I look closely at the photo above I can see the fabric at the back rippling at those inside leg seams. I pinned the excess fabric in a long dart at the top of my thigh on my left leg which makes the pant leg seem to straighten and sit much better:

A change like this really needs to be done pre cutting out the pattern though because the excess taken out needs to be distributed around the pant leg. But the danger in over-fitting is creating a pair of pants that you can't bend or sit in. Since I don't walk around stiffly like robots it is a problem and nor do I stand posing like a model all day, I do need some ease there but I don't want too much either - I'm not sure I know how to fix this problem to be honest. The fabric I used is a metallic jacquard, which is quite firm with no stretch so I don't think I will be able to get such a close fit in a fabric without stretch. It's a pity because it's a fabric that's been in my stash for a long time just waiting for the right use to come along, and now I've wasted it on this wadder.

I think this fabric sits differently to the cotton versions I've made previously, which draped better and hid this problem which is why I was fooled that this pattern was really good on me. But I've come to the conclusion that this pattern is not my TNT, and it's back to the drawing board for the perfect pants pattern. Luckily I have a two day course on pants fitting in October at the ASG sewing convention so (maybe) I'll get there in the end I hope. I'm just definitely not there yet!

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