Friday, February 19, 2010


I've been reading the sewing blogs for a while, where I regularly observe the acronym TNT, one which (until recently) has meant nothing to me.

While checking out Gertie the other day, it was finally revealed that the acronym stands for Tried 'n True (as in: the pattern in question is so fab, it's tried 'n true / to be duplicated again and again, in a variety of different fabrics).

I think I've discovered my first TNT, a variation on Built By Wendy's jersey fabric dress from her book Sew You: Home Stretch. (Note: This is not her new dress book: Built By Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide To Making A Girl's Best Frock. That one, which I pre-ordered, has finally been shipped and I should receive it soon. The reviews I've read, say it's a great book, but not one for the absolute beginner. Some pattern drafting, or editing, is required. But you can make 25 dresses out of 3 basic patterns, if you learn how to adjust the main shapes. Once I've read it, I may have more to say.)

At any rate, I cut the dress pattern from Home Stretch in medium, which is perfect for me. The sloper is quite narrow, but using stretch fabric means that the finished product fits my curvy bits while nicely skimming my less curvy ones.

It's the same one I made, originally, in a pink fabric. Only this time I figured out how the hell to gather at the shoulders and I didn't cut 10 inches off the hem before trying it on.

I'm tremendously happy with this garment. I think it fits well, it's sexy, elegant and practical. I highly recommend it, this version, or one of the many others Wendy M. offers in the book.


  1. Hot Mama! The dress looks great and you look great in it!

  2. THAT would be my "uniform" dress. You know, that "go-to" item you wear when you don't have anything to wear. Love it. Especially nice with the booooots.

  3. You're right: It IS sexy, elegant, and practical. And you can't say that about many dresses.

  4. Please tell me about the detail at the hip. Is that a tie? Is it decorative or functional? (so I can ooh and ahh at your skill!).

  5. It's beautiful. Your skills and understanding and execution are really coming along!

  6. Yeah for you! The dress looks fabulous! Congratulations on creating something you love and finding a pattern you will use again and again.

    And of course, just persevering and getting here is a tremendous accomplishment! Just imagine where this all might lead.

  7. You are amazing! First your foray into Pilgrim candy making and now this. Really, you are a Maple-leaf Martha!! I am impressed.
    Hey, have you run across any blogs that teach a weasel with no thumbs how to sew on a button? If so, would you send me the link?

  8. Awesome dress! I just got the new Built By Wendy Dresses book a couple of days ago. It is a little more complex than Sew U, but I think it is still very straightforward and usable. She doesn't write about a lot of basic sewing/pattern cutting things (she suggests using the Sew U book for reference).

    I must say, if your dress is any indication, I really need to buy Home Stretch. I just figured that a regular sewing machine wouldn't work as well as a serger.

  9. I love the detailing and those shoulders are fantastic! I'm really hoping to start sewing for real this year (instead of just playing around with my sewing machine for a few hours and not creating anything or just talking about how I want to sew) so I'll have to check out Wendy's book. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. It's really beautiful. You wear it well.

  11. Heather: Thank you!!! Now I just need a bra to go with it.

    Tessa: Thanks! I love dresses with boots. Esp. ones I can walk in...

    Sal: But your new purple dress def. falls into that camp!

    Miss C: That's a tie I made. I interfaced the fabric before sewing it up because, even though it doesn't call for it, I think the stretchy fabric would have hung limply otherwise. I just knotted it and it falls nicely at the hip.

    E: Thank you. I'm really working at it!

    Mardel: Remember, just a while ago, when I sent you one of my many "emergency sewing" emails? :-) I'm sure we have a few more of those in the works but I'm feeling like I'm starting to understand some of the basic principles.

    Bel: My next blog name is going to be maple-leaf Martha! :-) I LOVE that name. I've recently learned that the easiest way to sew on a button is to put 2 pins crossways with the centre of the X where you want the button to go. Then it gives you an artificial "shank" and it's easier to sew through the holes. You can see what you're doing. I've tried it and it works.

    Shallow Coffee: I did get the book and I love it. I totally agree with your assessment. And I totally recommend the stretch book. I sew mainly with stretch fabrics and I do NOT feel a serger is necessary. You can overlock the edges with that machine stitch if you have it. But stretch doesn't ravel so it's not nec. With thin seam allowance (.25 inch) it's very tidy also.

    Orchids: I would suggest you get Sew U and Sew U: Home Stretch to start with. They are excellent primers. And thank you. The shoulders are not difficult to do - I just needed a few times to figure it out. You'll have the same experience of learning as you go, I'm sure!

  12. cute details on the dress! and you are reminding me of carey mulligan w/ your new hair. have you seen her lately? she went blond -- saw her at fashion week.

  13. you look spectacular! well done! sewing suits you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i recently hemmed some curtains, and it was all i could do not to curse at the top of my lungs! they were 7+ feet long, so i had to lay each one on the hardwood floors and try to measure and cut while curious kitties intervened. gah! it was a trial. not to mention 3 broken needles! GAH!!! but i did it. and i think sewing can POSSIBLY get easier with time. clearly you are light years ahead of me in the sewing skills department!

  14. You are brilliant, and you wear it VERY Well. I've had my eye on a Donald Brooks pattern for so long now... you are an inspiration.... although, I have yet to buy a sewing machine..

  15. It looks great! You're on your way!

  16. Kate: Thank you!

    Stacy: I LOVE her. Thanks for such a nice compliment.

    J: I have no patience for housewares sewing. The insanely long pieces of fabric - the hemming (which I hate to do). Not my scene but I'm impressed you stuck it out! And I"m sure they look great.

    April: Take the plunge - I'm telling you, you will rock!

    Wendy: I blush. :-) Thanks!

    D. Thanks so much - I'm working on it hard, that's for sure!

  17. Raven: It looks like we crossed comment paths at the same time :-) Thank you!!

  18. this is adorable.
    as are you.

    thank god it is no longer in pink.


  19. love love love! the cut is great, very flattering.

  20. French: Thank you! And I'm glad you like the black.

    Pink: Thanks so much. xo