Five Ways TNT Patterns Positively Impact Sewing Skills and Design Aesthetic

Well hiya Sewcialists. It’s me, Sue. My sewing blog, A Colourful Canvas, is my primary Internet residence, but for today I’m all kinds of happy to be hanging out with you here at Sewcialists HQ. My brick and mortar life has me living in Vancouver, Canada where I share life and love with a techie husband and a blue-eyed cat named Samson.

The TNT patterns that have found their way into my heart (and closet) are garments that fit me well, are a pleasure to sew, and are chameleon-like.  The silhouettes… classic, simple. This is intentional. When sewing garments with clean lines, I find it easier to re-invent their personality from make to make. I have several TNT patterns in my arsenal, but in this post my examples are four of my favourites: Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt, Simplicity 2444 Fit and Flare Dress and Burda 7255 Shirt.

While mentally ruminating on the opening content for this post, I found myself taking a closer, more thoughtful look at these multiple makes. And… I had a little ah-ha moment. Sewing TNT patterns is not about safety and/or convenience. Although I cannot discount the joy of a start to finish make that doesn’t involve printing, taping, fitting, re-fitting, hemline decision making, etc., for me sewing a TNT is all about the growth that happens when I no longer need to channel my energy into the above.

So, without further ado, below are five ways TNT patterns have a positive impact on my sewing skills and design aesthetic.


One. TNT patterns build sewing skills. I promise you this. Sewing the same pattern multiple times (especially one right after the other) really helps improve technique. Each time I sew that fly zipper the instructions make more sense. Top stitching goals? With repetition comes improvement. Professional hems take practice. It’s all good… Those new, mad sewing skills are completely transferable to future makes.


Two. Sewing a TNT is a total confidence booster! After sewing the same t-shirt pattern a few times, I’ve not only improved my sewing skills — I feel more confident. Colour blocking that tee doesn’t seem quite as challenging. Switching out the Simplicity 2444 skirt to a peplum is much less scary. Even detailed changes, like transforming the Burda 7255 shirt into a dress, can be in your wheelhouse.


Three. TNTs are a little like personal pattern blocks. Multiple makes = fabulous fit. Nowadays there are so many Indie pattern designers, each contributing their unique style point of view. And we want to sew all the patterns, from all the companies. When I set out to sew a new pattern, I often overlay one of my TNT patterns on top of the new printed pattern, i.e., my Ginger Jeans over a new pants pattern. This gives me a starting point when it comes to choosing the size I need to trace and often gives me a heads up on any alterations I might need to consider.


Four. TNTs are my preferred go-to patterns when it comes to precious fabrics. I think they literally make me braver. That pretty red and white hand painted cotton was gifted to me by Barbara Jane Made became a TNT Simplicity 2444. The denim-like stretch knit I found in a thrift store (inexpensive but not something I could buy more of) remained in my stash until I decided to use my Ginger Jeans pattern. And my silk blue sari, another thrift store treasure, became the second iteration of my Simplicity 2444 Betty Draper Roses Dress.


Five. Last but not least, a TNT pattern offers freedom. It’s like the previous four benefits rolled into one. The technical bits are better understood and I’ve gained a sense of how the garment hangs and moves on my body.  I feel I’ve been given the freedom to push boundaries… to play with colour, experiment with unexpected fabrics,  or pattern match like a boss. This is when I get serious about giving my TNT its unique personality.

I’m curious. Do you sew many TNTs? Have they benefited you as they have me? Has sewing a pattern multiple times helped you to see the same ol’ in a new light? And finally… If you haven’t sewn a TNT — and I get it, so many new patterns, so little time — have I inspired you to sew a pattern a second time?