TnT (n TnT n TnT n TnT)

I count four TnT’s in my arsenal. And my trusty circle skirt. Though that’s more of a formula than a pattern.

I count a TnT as a pattern that I’ve played with and probably altered to fit me better, and that I’ve made over and over with no intention of stopping.

So first a quick overview, and then I’ll do some more explaining.

The Nettie bodysuit pattern is my go to t-shirt pattern, though I do like the bodysuits too. I just wear them less. I’ve been playing with it for about 3 and a half years now.

The Onyx woven shirt pattern is much newer to me, but I made just a couple of alterations to it, and I’ve made so many since! I think I’ve been playing with it for about a year.

The Ginger jeans pattern has given me four pairs of great jeans, and I’ve now got an idea on what I like in jeans fit, and I have an idea of what options I like best for what type of denim.  I’ve had the pattern for about three years.

The Belladone dress pattern is so chic and comfortable for me, and I’ve made about 5 variations, with others planned out. I’ve been using it for about 10 months.

So starting at the beginning…

A small selection of the Nettie’s I’ve made

When I was a newbie sewist at the end of college/beginning of grad school, I spent a summer unemployed in an unfamiliar new city/town and basically learned how to live with myself. And living with myself means I made a fair amount of clothes. But because I was unemployed, I treated myself to one pattern, and otherwise drafted my own. And that one pattern was the Nettie bodysuit from Closet Case Patterns.

I made two bodysuits, then a t-shirt or two (after I saw someone else hack it into a shirt and fell in love). And then another bodysuit, and then some more shirts. Most of them didn’t even make it to the blog. Then there were the hacks. I hacked it to be colorblocked, like the Little Mermaid corset outfit (twice!). I hacked it into a cross-back, semi cut out dress. I hacked it into a sleeveless dress with a handkerchief hem circle skirt. I hacked it into a tunic for my Nausicaa outfit with a high mandarin collar neck. I then hacked that last hack into a sleeveless mandarin neck shirt for my TARDIS costume (2016 DragonCon MVPattern).  Last summer I hacked it into a Kiki’s Delivery Service dress for a friend, and recently I hacked it into basically the same dress for me, though I don’t have pictures yet. I do have another hacked dress cut out, though.

Basically the Nettie has been such a powerhouse pattern for me that my friend (with a keen eye for detail) realized that most of the things I wore to my first DragonCon were made with the Nettie pattern in some part.

After spending time making so many knit tees, I knew I wanted to try out a woven pattern, so I compared every boxy woven tee pattern that I found on the internet, and chose the Onyx one. I had made the tutorial Jade skirt from Paprika right before she made the company, and loved it. Though I loved the act of making it more than wearing it, since I had forgotten that I don’t wear tight skirts, especially out of knit. I made one out of lace last fall, but I had sized up since I was worried and it didn’t fit nicely. Lace ones will be revisited in the future.

The first real one was made out of the skirt I used for Ariel at my first DragonCon, once I realized that was not the proper material for a skirt. I altered the pattern to take in the shoulders, and then I made another. (And then there was the fail). And then I cut two identical black Onyx’s and embroidered them both (pictures of the second to come when I really finish the embroidery).  I also hacked it to have longer and slightly fuller sleeves for my update to my Ariel costume, with embroidery. For my updated TARDIS costume this year, I also used a hacked Onyx for a more boatneck front with a  deeper back, and long sleeves with ruffles. And when I made a costume for the Moment from Doctor Who, I used the Onyx pattern. So I guess this year’s DragonCon MVPattern was Onyx.

Then the Ginger Jeans pattern. I’ve always struggled with jeans, going straight from kids to misses, because I’m petite and curvy. So making mine seemed to be logical. I’ve learned which type of denim will work best for me for the super skinny (thinner) versus my favored bootcut look (thicker).

My first pair was terrible, due entirely to the lack of stretch in the denim. RIP. The second, third, and fourth pairs still serve me well, and I have plans to make jean shorts with it too!

Belladone is a pattern I received from Deer and Doe as a prize for a Monthly Stitch contest, which I was excited about because at the time it was only available printed. I had been wanting to make it, and being unable to afford the cost plus shipping, for almost four years.

It is the newest of my TnT’s to me, but I’ve made two versions with the cut out back and a skirt version out of my favorite (and only up till now) wax print. Then I hacked the solid back version into my Peggy Carter dress (though I only have a post of my muslin). I already have the fabric and plans to make the skirt version in one or two fabrics, and really, I could wear this pattern nearly every day.

Much like every pattern talked about thus far.

Circle skirts, though not a real pattern, make up the other segment of what you might call my “daily uniform.” If not wearing jeans and a shirt, then I tend to be wearing a skirt and a shirt, and that skirt is either a circle skirt or a Belladone skirt. So mostly 3/4 to full circle skirts. I think I have about 4 of them, and they’re my favorite thing to add to bodices for dresses as well. Because swingy skirts are my jam.

I’m never going to say that again.

That’s a lie. I’ll probably say that again, but each time I’ll regret it immediately. Unlike making any of these TnT’s probably ever.


Revisiting High Waists

comboMy first version of Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans pattern was high waisted, but out of some bad bull denim which did not have enough stretch. So I couldn’t really sit, and I couldn’t bend my knees more than 90 degrees, which was not fun when I was trying to sit.

My second version, I accepted defeat, and used the lower waisted version, which worked, with caveats. The denim stretches out, despite being pretty pricey and good quality.  I should have used a more curved waistband, since they continually slide down my hips, and I had to sew wedges into the waistband. But I did this well after I added belt loops and started using belts (daily for the first time in my life) for a month or two, and got fed up with needing a belt to take out the trash comfortably. I also cut them rather short, which means they are perfect for summer in sandals and flats. Boots too. But shoes and sneakers, not so much. They definitely look like high waters in those. And they let cold air in. And cold air is not my friend in winter. I still love them, but at the same time, they work best in certain situations.


So when I got my package of Cone Mill denim from CCF last December, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. At that point, the high waisted option didn’t feel viable, and the low waisted would take a lot of work. Making new jeans was very high on my to do list, but it took an extra ten months to do it.


This is a long winded way of telling you that I have two pairs of high waist jeans to show you!


The first is as drafted high waisted skinny jeans (with the lines on the pocket and pictures outside), and the second is slightly less high waisted and more bootcut (with the anchor on the pocket and pictures in the corner). I don’t prefer super skinny jeans anyway, but the bootcut ones are straight from knee to hem.


As suggested, I used the heavier weight to make the bootcut, and the lighter weight for the skinny jeans, and I think it worked out lovely that way. I’m not sure that the skinny ones would be as comfortable with the thicker denim, and they are super comfortable as is.

The skinny ones I made in October, as a celebration after this huge presentation I had to give, and I finished the bootcut this past weekend. The skinnies have pockets and facing from the same fabric I used to remake my grandmother’s project bag, and the bootcut have this cool batik and metallic quilting cotton as pockets.


The bootcut pair, made out of the thicker denim, has the same issue as my Ripples pair of stretching out. Because I finished them the day before I left to visit my family for the holidays, I made this large dart up the center back and dealt with it, but I’m debating on cutting a new waistband and attaching it. I realized a few wears in that both stretching out pairs are self faced and not interfaced, which could be the problem. My new skinnys have quilting cotton as a facing, and they don’t stretch at all. Which is good and bad, but overall more of what I want. But I wanted to post these anyway!


Overall, there’s not much more I can say about these. I altered the yoke a bit on the bootcut, since it was very high on all high waisted pairs for me, but beyond that this is the version of the pattern I’ll use in the future for more pairs, when needed!

side**Post 2 of the last minute 2016 crunch… One more tonight, and another tomorrow! Then the wrap up will commence, right in time for the new year!


Having an almost all handmade wardrobe is not necessarily a dream of mine, but I’ve always thought it would be neat. And that dream is no longer across the Pacific Ocean (in terms of dream distance), or the Atlantic for that matter. More like the Indian. Big enough to count as an ocean, but small enough that it’s realistically attainable.

Because I’ve told you before that I live in jeans. And I mean that literally. There have been (far too many) days where I wear jeans all day, and then I’m too lazy to change into pajamas, so I sleep in them… And then I change into a different pair the next day, so I don’t feel guilty about wearing the same pair two days in a row.

And I’ve now thrown a pebble into that Indian Ocean sized barrier… creating ripples.

few wears past wash

(Get it? Okay I’m done now…)

So these are Ginger Jeans, made with some good quality denim that I got from my LFS. (New interjection… Do us fabric people call local fabric stores LFS? Because I caught onto LocalYarnStore pretty quickly when I started buying real yarn, but I feel like LFS doesn’t have the same ring).

right after wash
right after wash

Because of this, I’ve now got a comfortable, (mostly) well made, and fairly well fitting pair of secret pajamas. That cost me about 50 dollars, which makes them the most expensive jeans I’ve ever paid for. Thrift stores and yard sales have been my sources for jeans forever, including the month before I made these when I was supposed to be making these and not doing it. I think that I’m currently wearing my only pair of good quality denim RTW jeans, which were thrift store finds, but that’s 15ish years of poor quality stretching out terrible denim. (Oh yes, I bet I never told you that when I was little I refused to wear jeans. I was a different person then.) Do you want to know how I know these RTW’s are good quality? Well I bought these after trying them on, and they were snug at that point. So I assumed that they would stretch out, like every other pair I own, so I was counting on it. And look where that got me.

right after wash
right after wash

In the hierarchy of my closet, I now only have taper/skinny jeans. My one bootcut-y flare pair kicked the bucket after 10 long years, and they were also my “fat” jeans, as in the ones that stretched out the most to accommodate any fluctuations in weight. Also, the one pair of low rise jeans I have constantly plague me in awkward belly hanging out feelings, so I knew that low rise was not for me. But at the same time, I had already made a pair of the high rise and it was too high, so I tried view A this time, and just increased the rise using Heather’s tutorial here. I also made a size bigger than I had for my terra cotta pair, and I’m kinda regretting it now. I suspect some of my problems with my first pair was more related to the lack of stretch in the fabric rather than the size.

back butt
few wears past wash

I raised the waist of view A by an inch. I like the height, but I can’t help but wonder if I’d prefer lowering view b. My topstitching is done in a nice ocean blue, and I had some fun with the back pocket. I’m thinking I may need a swayback adjustment. And don’t get me started on the knees.

few wears past wash

Perhaps there isn’t as much stretch out as I thought… Looking at the photos, I’m wondering if the rise is a bit too long. Otherwise, though, this is a lovely pair of jeans that I’ll love until the seams break!

Iron Man Jeans

Look look look! I made jeans!

front full

Real ones this time, with a useable front fly zipper and everything, unlike the last time… I don’t wear those anymore.

These are the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files.

And they’re terra cotta colored.

What else is nearly that color?

side full

Iron Man is.

Okay, I know I’m stretching. Like mad. But Joann’s didn’t have denim in a bright red or bright yellow. So…

Terra cotta it was!

And if I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t wear bright red pants anyway…

I was using these as a muslin, since I had bought very good quality denim that I was afraid to cut into. And I did learn a few things from the muslin. Including how bad VPL can look…but here’s the more sewing related ones.

back bit

Firstly, the high waisted-ness of these is great, except that I’m going to need to reduce the height a bit. Because its over my bellybutton (otherwise known as pivot point level on my body) I can’t bend enough to sit on the floor. What do you think I did a lot of during the first week of wearing? Lots of floor sitting…

This summer, I also gained a lot of bellyfat, so on one hand the tummy-stay front pocket was a lovely help, but that combined with the high waisted bit means that I was not terribly comfortable bending all the way over to pick things off the floor when I was sitting in a chair… And looking at the pictures of the back, I’m not convinced that its fitting right there… I’ll need to look at that further when I fix up the pattern, but  it could just be a back pockets problem.

back full

There were tons and tons of wrinkles at the back of the knees, so I utilized a design feature from my favorite trousers: a curved “dart” of sorts in the back leg that took a few wrinkles away. Not all, and perhaps not many, but enough. I like this, but if my next pair are tighter it might not be required.

I also need to shorten the legs. One thing about being short, I do get to save inches of fabric, which is great. I cut these off the bottom, and I did it in a rush, so I don’t quite remember how much but it was at minimum 4 inches… I may have cut a bit too much, but it’s a muslin, right?

Then I’m debating whether or not to take these in more. All of my non-skinny jeans recently broke (one with a hole and one with a zipper), so I’ve been craving not-super-skinny jean options, but all the wrinkles around the legs make me a bit sad. So do I give in to the style, or do I deal with the wrinkles?

But my favorite thing ever about these jeans is really the back pocket. back butt

(Iron Man theme/song intensifies!) But really, I’m truly proud of these jeans, and I can’t wait to make the adjustments and cut my expensive denim!