I've been thinking a lot about TNT patterns, or Tried and True patterns. I have a tendency to reuse patterns a great deal. I know other sewists do this too, like Carolyn. I don't think I'd enjoy sewing as much as I do if I didn't have TNT patterns. They are like old friends. You may not call on them regularly, but when you need them, you know they'll be there for you. However, lately I've been depending on them a whole lot. I don't see anything wrong with it either. How many of us wear the same clothes over and over again because it just fits right? Like it was made specifically for you and sewn in the most wonderful fabrics. That's what a TNT pattern can do for you every time you visit the sewing machine, if you want.
New patterns are like meeting new people. You may hit it off right away, but then again, you may not like each other at all. Your personalities can work together if you don't spend much time together, but they won't be there for you when you really need a friend. New patterns have to be altered, for me more than once. It takes a lot of work to get a pattern to the TNT phase and many patterns, actually most patterns, just don't make it to this stage.
Lately, I've been getting a lot of mileage from Burda Plus WOF Spring 08 #418.
This pattern was one that took some hard work on my part to get it to the TNT stage. The one thing it had going for it was that it was a plus half size pattern. Patterns made for short AND fat people are far and few between. The original pattern looked nothing like the blouse I've been using it for.
Of course I made a muslin for it. As you can see, it had some problems. First of all, who thought it was a good idea to put this very high neck on a short fat women? Most of us don't have the long elegant neck of the tall model in their fashion photo. Some of us don't even have a neck. I cut the neckline down so that I could add a collar if I wanted to. As you can see in the composite picture, I made one blouse with a rounded convertible collar and one blouse with a collar and collar stand with the classic button band. Other changes I've made to this pattern was to round the bottom center front for a nice look since I don't tuck in my blouses. I've also changed up the sleeves. Only the top right and lower left blouses have the same sleeve. For the red blouse and the white blouse I used the same puffed sleeve and folded out the puff and added length.
There are still so many ways I can change up this pattern. The only down side to this pattern is that it has so many seams. The back has a center back seam and two princess seams for a total of 6 seams. The front and back princess seams work great for fitting purposes, but these seams also break up the print on any large motif fabric I may want to use. For that reason, I'm still searching for the perfect darted blouse pattern.
I highly recommend that you consider working on getting some TNT patterns. It doesn't have to look like you're sewing with the same pattern over and over again. People will think you're brilliant at fitting, which of course, you are. Making design changes aren't as hard as they look. You might want to pick up a few books on pattern drafting or take a class or two. It's really a lot of fun and look how your wardrobe can grow!