I make all my clothes, with the exception of the odd piece of knitwear and some leftovers I still wear from the time when I bought RTW. Working full-time and taking my grandma duties seriously, this is only possible because I use almost exclusively TNT patterns and I have a liking for simple fashion unencumbered by too many details. I don’t even like pockets, as I think they tend to add bulk where it is not wanted and often harbour forgotten tissues which turn into disasters in the wash.
What is a TNT pattern? TNT is not a brand, but an acronym for tried-and-true. I use a small number of patterns that work for me over and over, only very occasionally adding a new one and dropping one that has been overused. All these patterns are simple, suit my body shape and fit into my current preferred style of dressing, which is Lagenlook of the Japanese persuasion. There are other styles of LL, the Edwardian, which is too frilly for me, the Magnolia Pearl which is ditto, and the Scandinavian, which relies on pretty, multicoloured fabrics I sadly don’t have access to. So Japanese it is, which is VERY simple and mostly neutrals, although I break out occasionally under the influence of seasonally induced madness (springtime!), to use some bright and cheerful colours for a change.
One of my staple patterns has been the Tessuti Fave Top and its variations.
So far I have made 2 in silk, 7 in linen including linen knit, one in cotton gauze, one in cotton/silk voile, and 8 in cotton or rayon knits or a mixture thereof. Phew! Why so many?
First of all, I love the pyramid shape and the simple but current style. Simple enough that sewing it up in different fabrics and prints makes it sufficiently different for most non-sewists I come into contact with not to notice that it is the same pattern. (Yes, strange but true!). If the dropped pointy hem wasn’t so much in fashion right now it would be quite another matter, but every second woman out in public seems to be wearing this, so my slew of Fave Tops blend right in.
Then it is an incredibly quick sew, especially when you have made it before. Two pieces, four seams, hems at bottom and sleeves and a bias strip around the neck. I can turn one out from go to woe in 90 minutes. Whenever I feel like sewing but don’t have much time, which is all too often, I go for this pattern.
This is the sort of conversation I tend to have with myself before making yet another one of these tops:
Me: It’s the weekend, time to sew up some of that stash. It’s getting warm enough to wear all that linen I bought on my last trip
Me: Oh goodie, what will you make? There is lots of interesting stuff on your pinterest board you could try.
Me: Weeeell, I don’t have a lot of time and I don’t really want to muck around with developing a new pattern from a pinterest picture. Let’s just do something nice and simple and quick.
Me: Ok, so make that shirt you have been meaning to for a while. You really like the last one you made and if you wait much longer it will be too warm to wear anything with long sleeves.
Me: Mmmm, I want to do a proper cuff and sleeve tab next time and I don’t feel like mucking around with that either right now.
Me: Fair enough. Something without a sleeve tab then.
Me: I think I’ll go for something I can be sure will work. That nice geometric linen was quite expensive, and I can’t get more of it if I mess it up. Something loose and comfy…
Me: Looks like another fave top then. That must be number 6 or 7. Don’t you think people might notice that you wear the same thing over and over?
Me: Nah… different fabric. Nobody will suspect a thing.
And so the Fave Top it is made yet again. Here are pics of some of my versions:
Rayon knit, true to pattern
Silk woven, lengthened, cuffed sleeve
Cotton/Silk voile, lengthened body, shortened cuffed sleeves
Rayon knit, long sleeves
China silk, lengthened body, shortened cuffed sleeves
Crinkle linen, cuffed 3/4 sleeves, lengthened body
You will notice that some of these are really tunics. The leopard print top was the first one I made and I followed the pattern exactly. But like a cook who can’t follow a recipe, I can’t make a pattern more than once before I start to meddle. I don’t like wasting fabric, and I like hiding my rather generous rear, so if I have a bit more than the 1.5m required I will use up what I have and make a tunic.
Below is the idea I followed to lengthen my Fave Tops to tunics. I would LOVE to attribute this, because I think it is such a good idea, but all I can find is the image. It doesn’t seem to be attached to any web page or author. So my apologies for not giving credit where it is due.
My own changes to the pattern are to make the sleeves wider, lengthen them to full length, shorten them to short sleeves usually with cuffs and making the tunic wider at the bottom hem.
I do this by tilting the pattern pieces like in the pic above. The CF still touches the fold of the fabric, otherwise the neck would be too wide, but the bottom of the CF is a good few cms away from the fold, adding width as CF. Of course if you don’t like all this volume you shouldn’t be doing that. With a drapey fabric you probably won’t notice the difference, but with a more substantial linen you will get an exaggerated pyramid shape like this.
Love that shape!