I think I have mentioned before that I don’t sew based on patterns. What I mean by that is that I don’t browse the offerings of pattern companies, pick one that appeals to me and sew it up. I find that way of building a wardrobe ends up being deeply unsatisfying.
Why? Because what I want is a stylish new outfit, not a pattern. And because I am not a genius it is much easier to find a look online that I really love and try to recreate it, than to invent something from scratch based on a pattern. Especially since most pattern companies are rather pedestrian as designers and fixated on making patterns ‘interesting’, so as many people as possible will buy them, not on creating exciting fashion.
So when I browse Pinterest and other online sources and come across an outfit I love, I have a close look at how I can recreate it. Sometimes I will conclude that it is too difficult, but often I can figure out how to find a pattern or adapt one I already have to do the job. I keep a board of these inspiration pieces and the vast majority of them never get made, but it helps me calibrate my personal style, and browsing my board usually motivates me when my sewing mojo is a bit blah.
Ironically, my latest attempt is of an outfit created by a pattern company, on the front page of Tina Given’s new pattern magazine. But then Tina Givens is a fashion designer turned pattern company, not the other way around. Her patterns are pedestrian but her outfits always look great.
This time I would have been very happy to go buy the pattern, a rare luxury to be able to do that when I see an outfit I want, but after scouring Tina Given’s website I found the mag is no longer available, or at least I could not figure out how to get my hands on it. So after a good look I decided that this dress is just a long sleeve t-shirt with a seam at CF and CB, and extended to maxi length with slits from about the hip down. My trusty TNT t-shirt pattern would easily be up for it. So below, allowing for the much less glamorous model and the lack of stylist and fashion photographer to create the perfect photo, is a good look at my first version.
There is some room for improvement with the V-neck not being quite as low as it should be. I am not used to making them, preferring round necks as a whole, and I was too conservative when cutting out. 5cm lower would have been better. Other than that I am pretty happy. Fabric restrictions meant that the dress is shorter in length than the original, so I left the four sections at different length according to what the available fabric would allow. I rather like the result.
The cupro viscose I used is not as beefy as the knit of the Tina Givens original, but it has been in my stash for yonks, and I am glad I found a good use for it. This style of dress would look good too in a heavier knit, or a Ponte or even a merino, so watch this space for more. It makes for a very comfy outfit, like going to work in your nighty, and is easily varied with different scarves and jackets or cardis. I think this will be my new TNT pattern for winter, with and without the CF and CB seams, and with and without a cowl. Seems I am transitioning to a slimmer version of Lagenlook to go with my slimmer body. For more detailed sewing instructions have a look at my write-up on PatternReview.
The under-dress is a Tessuti Lily dress, with long sleeves and lengthened to a maxi, which has been an orphan in my wardrobe for at least 5 years. It is too plain to be worn on its own, but I always knew it would come in handy one day. 🙂