Have you ever heard of a tried and true pattern (sometimes referred to as a TNT)? A TNT pattern is one that you’ve worked out any/all fit adjustments to so that it is trued up to your form and fits you nicely. Sometimes this means that you’ve put in a lot of work, or sometimes this just means that you’ve tested the pattern out and no changes were necessary. The more you sew, the more TNT patterns you will have in your collection, and the quicker you will be able to sew up a garment.
When I first started sewing I was surprised to learn that I would have to adjust a pattern in order to make it fit. After all, ready-to-wear garments always fit, right??
Well, not really.
Actually, very little of my store-bought clothes fit the way they should. I just didn’t know it because I didn’t know how clothes should fit.
Most of the time, unless you are the luckiest of the lucky, most patterns (and most store-bought clothes) won’t fit you perfectly right out of the package. Each pattern designer works from a set of base measurements called a block that they create their garment patterns from. Unfortunately, there is no standard block -each designer has their own. But once you know how a certain designer fits you, you can usually carry any fit adjustments you’ve made to their other patterns and apply them to a new one.
I happen to be taller than most blocks are made from, so I generally end up adjusting the length of the bodice and sleeves. I also have large thighs that, in order to fit, I have to take in pants at the rear and waist.
Pattern fitting can be fairly complex and is something I am still learning. Nevertheless, when I sew up a pattern for the first time, especially in woven fabric, I will do a fit muslin. A muslin is when you sew up the pattern on test fabric. I buy cheap cotton muslin for testing woven patterns, but if it is a knit pattern I will use a cheaper knit. This way I can make changes to the muslin, transfer those changes to the pattern, and I am all set before I cut into my pretty fashion fabric.
After doing all that work (It’s a lot of work!) it would be sad to have to start from scratch if I want to make that garment over again. For this reason, I’ve created a handy PDF form for taking notes. I fill it out as I go along, and I can refer back to those changes if I sew the same pattern again in the future. It has a place to write down fabric details, measurements, fit adjustments and even room for a design sketch. And, because I am a total numbers gal, there is a place to write down how much it cost to complete the project and the length of time it took to sew up.
If you’d like to have a copy, you can sign up to subscribe to my blog here, and the file will be sent to you via email. If you like it, please do share! Have a great weekend!