Sunday, July 15, 2012

Another New TNT Pattern

Vogue 7823
Why did I wait so long to try this pattern, Vogue 7823?  Well, mostly because I don't like the cover picture with its high neckline and long mid calf length.  And because I was nervous about a bias cut dress on my less than svelte middle aged figure.  I definitely should not have waited to give this one a try.

Last summer I joined the dress making bandwagon and churned out a half dozen stretch woven sheath dresses McCalls 6201 sheath and a few empire waist knit dresses  Simplicity 3678.  I liked how easy they were to wear in the summer and decided to try a few more dresses this summer.  
One of my friends in Florida was raving about the benefits of linen during a heat spell last year.  I have collected a lot of linen over the years when I thought I was going to be making Louise Cutting or Sewing Workshop patterns.  Turns out they are not garments to get me through sultry mid atlantic summers so that linen has been sitting in my collection since then.  But sewing that bias linen top (Vogue 7717 post)  this spring gave me the idea to try a linen bias dress....only what pattern to try?  I was going to place a simple sheath on the bias but turns out that I had this pattern in my drawer, hooray.  Now I'm loving it in linen and lightweight wovens. 

I made size D, cut the neckline about 1 1/2" deeper, raised the armhole depth about 3/8", otherwise I used the given two armscye darts and two back shaping darts.  Bias trim the neckline and armholes, stitch a baby hem and it's a cool, lightweight way to get through summer.
Here are the four versions that I've sewn in the last four weeks....with a few more in mind.
The first picture is actually my third one.  It's a denim/navy colored linen and I am wearing it with a handwoven silk shawl from Mekong River Textiles  Mekong River Textiles I added a band of trim around the neckline, some blue toned braided mini soutache from the PA Fabric Outlet that I hand stitched in place after I had bias bound the neckline.  
Since our temps were in the 100s in late June and early July I planned on wearing this outfit to an outdoor wedding in the country two weeks ago.  But then that little thing like the derecho storm hit that Friday night and all bets were off.  We missed the wedding, about three hours away, and lost power for four days.  Thanks, however, to our more than generous next door neighbors we were able to hook up our refrig to their generator and keep food safe, a fan or two running and by Monday I was even hooking up my sewing machine and doing some sewing.  But that's another post for another day.  In the meantime, here are the other three versions.
First version in camel linen with some strange light reflections from that mirror

Plain black grey linen

mini check cotton rayon shirting fabric

  I also think I can slash off about 18 more inches and have a nice bias top pattern.  I am one of those people who loves a new TNT pattern and doesn't mind making a few versions once I get the fit refined.  I know others find that a little too factory-like or just dull.  I love those people because they keep sewing new things that make me ooooh and ahhhh all over the internet.  I'm not one of them but I sure appreciate the work that goes into sewing, reviewing and posting pics of the process.  Here's hoping your sewing is fun which ever way you do it.

Last post I promised to share what other activities were diverting my attention from sewing.  I love summer for reading....oh, heck, I just love reading and here are my most recent recommendations:

I believe Anna Quindlan and I are about a year apart in age and this book deeply echoes my feelings about aging.  I have been very fortunate (hence my blog name) that major tragedies have not stricken my life so I've enjoyed getting older without huge diminishment in my quality of life  Do I have regrets? Yikes, of course or I would hardly be human.  Do I sometimes envy today's thirty and forty year olds because they will see more of the future than I?  Again, yes, yes. I am so curious to know how the story continues.  Do I spend my time worrying about my wrinkles, bumps and sags?  Sure, sometimes, but most of the time I'm thrilled to be where I am in life.  This book was a celebration of all that is good right now...all the while knowing that it will not last forever and may not last for long.  That's what makes me grateful for each and every day of so many blessings.

I love a well-written "happy" book and this next one is just that.  

I've enjoyed Adriana Trigiani since I read her Big Stone Gap trilogy years ago (start there to get a good flavor for her) and then loved, loved, loved, Lucia, Lucia a few years ago. Lucia, Lucia Amazon blurb and reviews Sewists, grab that one and enjoy the pages of custom sewing descriptions for gowns in 1950's and 60's New York City.
The Shoemaker's Wife is another wonderful story, almost prequel to the characters of the of Lucia, Lucia.  It combines true historical characters, the opera singer Caruso, for example, with a fictional account of two immigrants from the same northern Italian region who come to America at the turn of the century.  Sweet, romantic, entertaining.  
For real life love stories here's a terrific collection from the NPR series, StoryCorps.  StoryCorps stories are audio stories taped in special booths set up around the USA and then broadcast on the radio. This is a collection of some of those stories which have been transcribed into a written format.  Sometimes funny, sad, touching, tender, but all of them heartfelt.  Three categories of stories are included:  Found, Lost, Found at Last.  Here are some samples from the Dave Isay interview on NPR  Love is All There Is
This last selection came from my monthly book group.  One of the guys in the group had read the new Stephen King novel, 11 22 63 which sets up various alternative endings to the day that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas.  The book group member had heard an interview with Stephen King who described the book below as the best time travel book ever written and he suggested we read it.  Well, in my case, that would be re-read it.  I loved this book when I first read it in the early 1970s and this is the copy still on my bookshelf.  I was curious to see if my opinion would hold up over time and it has.  It's a very detailed account of Simon Morley who volunteers for a government experiment to test a self-hypnosis version of time travel.  Not particularly fast paced but it combines a mystery, a historical novel, again blending real events and places with fictional ones, a romance, perhaps a little improbable but charming nonetheless and it has illustrations.  The book group participants generally enjoyed it and I was thrilled to have a reason to read it and love it all over again.  Most of the the books' action takes place in the Manhattan of 1882 which the author is constantly comparing to the Manhattan of 1970.  Since I was working in NYC in the summers of 1970 and 1970, these were places that were familiar to me daily and I greatly enjoyed such a lively account of what it had been like almost a hundred years earlier.  

If you've stayed with me this long I'll close with another project that has been stealing my time this summer.  I've always been interested in mosaics, sort of why I like fabric because of certain textures.  I took a three week beginner's class at a local mosaic store and wow, do I have respect for people who do this regularly.  This 9 by 12 picture frame was slow going and mosaic work is clearly not going to be my new passion.  I will, however, now work on the three projects I have had planned but that's it.  Nice outcome but too time consuming.  I'd rather be sewing.
Thanks for sticking with me so long this time.  Now let's get back to what we really love to do....dream up that next sewing project.


  1. Love, love the linen (and rayon) dresses. I've made more dresses this summer and am enjoying them also. Great TNT!

  2. These dresses look so comfortable, and they're also stylish. Nice pattern choice, and great fit.
    Your mosaic frame turned out really nice. I once had an interest in learning mosaic, but never got to it. Now I'm glad I didn't. Life is too short to learn new crafts that I might like. I'll stick with what I love!

  3. Your dresses look absolutely wonderful! So cool and comfy for summer. I wish I could simplify my life by turning out multiples of the same style, but no - I invent difficulties for myself.
    Your frame is amazing. ...and thank-you for some more recommendations for reading. Sometimes it's a little overwhelming to browse the library catalogue, and it always helps to have something particular to look for.

  4. I love your dresses, ant the beautiful trim on the blue dress. I have the same reservations about bias and bumps. Maybe I will start with a bias nightgown and graduate to a dress if I love it.

    Thank you for all your book recommendations. I enjoy them.

  5. you always sew such lovely garments. Bias is amazing. I made this bias skirt which looks quite figure hugging but then if I happen to feel like trying to do the splits I can and it always fit even when I am feeling bloated .The trim around your first version looks great too.

  6. Wonderful dresses. I don't remember that Sandra Betzina pattern - it must be more than 3 years old. The bias linen is wonderful - you've really mastered the technique.

  7. Your dresses look SO good on you! Love the trim on the blue!

    I've been wanting to try my hand at mosaics for EVER - even have a stash of broken ceramics that I refuse to get rid of because I know I'll do it someday..... Beautiful job on your frame :)

  8. Love your dresses, and I might have to locate this Vogue pattern to try. I have wanted a good bias dress pattern for ages. I have a Laura Ashley pull over bias dress from the 1990s that is still a favorite. Thank you for your review, and for the book recs!

  9. Your dresses are wonderful--all of them. You have found a perfect silhouette. I love TNTs. Love. Also, I'm very envious of your beautiful arms, which don't seem to flap in the breeze! Like mine. Good book reviews. I need to get reading. As for your mosaic--it is beautiful. I've tried so many different crafts during my lifetime, and most have gone by the wayside. Still, it's good to try new things. Keep the mind active.

  10. Thanks for the book reviews, I've been doing more reading than sewing this summer and need new books!

  11. I love that you've made so many versions of the same pattern - yet they do look very different. The drape is lovely. I especially like the denim/navy linen with the beautiful trim.

  12. I just saw your comment on PR about visiting FM. How did I miss that post!!??

    By the way, the banner on your blog seems to be MIA.

  13. I have that pattern in my stash, unmade. Good to know it makes such a lovely dress. I especially like the blue one with the trim. it looks so pretty on you.

  14. These are my kind of dresses! Each one looks beautiful. I especially love the denim colored version. I am so with you about making tnt patterns over and over again. That has been what my current sewing year is all about, with a few new patterns sprinkled in.


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