TNT Poll: Results and Reflections

As part of our #MayWeRemindYou month we ran a poll to find out about your TNTs (Tried and True patterns). We wanted to see how the picture of TNTs in our sewing community had changed since our original TNT theme month back in November 2017.

One of the stand outs of the poll results is that 60% of you have some TNTs, but would like more. I am not the only one! With that in mind, this post is dedicated to how the results might help us find more TNTs.

What did the results tell us overall?

We asked about some features of your TNTs — such as the type of garment and the pattern companies you use.

A pie chart showing the following information: 
Where do you find your TNT patterns? 
Different pattern companies - 57%
Mostly from the same few companies - 37%
Brand loyal - 6%

We found that most people aren’t sewing most of their TNTs from one company, or even from a select few. That encourages us to experiment with other pattern companies rather than “staying in our lane”! Happily, we have the amazing list of companies who are minority or ally-owned compiled by Jacinta that we can explore for this very purpose!

A bar graph showing the following information (specific percentages not given): 
What types of garment do you have a TNT for? 
Tops - top ranking (approx 95%)
T-shirts - nearly 80%
Trousers/pants/shorts - over 70%
Dresses - over 70%
Sweaters/pullovers/cardigans - over 40%
Skirts - almost 40%
Jackets/coats - about 15%
Backs or accessories - almost 10%
Jumpsuits - about 5%

We also found that tops and t-shirts dominate for TNT status — together accounting for 40% of the TNT patterns overall. This might suggest a couple of things about TNTs, such as that they are often quicker to sew and “churn out,” and possibly that more basic yet versatile patterns might be good candidates?

What I mean by basic yet versatile is a pattern which is more “everyday,” but has quite a few variations. So a great t-shirt or top pattern which has three different necklines, various lengths and different sleeve options would be a great TNT. With this type of pattern you can essentially make twenty-plus different garments if you make every variation.

These patterns might also be popular because they are easier to adjust for all different types of figures, though that’s very much speculation given we don’t know much about which patterns make up these answers (more on that later).

A quick note on trousers/pants: I am very interested that they appear to be much more popular as TNTs than in our theme month back in November 2017. I think there are two possible reasons for that (and it’s probably a combination of both):

  1. There are more accessible (good size ranges, easy to fit, beginner-friendly) patterns for trousers and shorts out there now than there were back in 2017. They come with sew-alongs and videos and fitting resources, many of which just weren’t in place back then.
  2. Our theme month stats weren’t based on a survey, but on what people made and posted during the month. All of those people might have already had a pants TNT pattern but because they take longer to make (and more fabric), they made quicker patterns to fit into the window of the theme month, so pants might not have shown up in the stats from back then.

What companies or patterns seem most popular, then and now?

You can see the stats from the original theme month here, but it’s important to remember that this was based on makes during the month, not stated favourite TNT patterns. What follows is my reflections on the changes I can see from then to now; noting these two data sets aren’t properly comparable.

Observations on TNT characteristics

If you are looking for a TNT, hopefully a run down of what others have found successful has already given you some ideas. My tips in summary are below:

  1. It’s worth trying something new.
  2. Finding a simple, everyday pattern like a t-shirt will shorten the path to a TNT. Almost all of us have to make some pattern adjustments, so we might as well start simple and then build out!
  3. Trying patterns that come with a few variations will maximise the reward if you spend time on the fit and find your TNT.
  4. Consider the inclusivity and values of the pattern company you try out — in the modern world, it sometimes feels like we vote more with our money than we do with our vote. Make it count. And then actually vote with your vote as well…
  5. Check out what the people whose style you like or whose bodies are similar to yours are making — chances are that if they are making a pattern work for their body, you can too.
  6. Don’t take this as seriously as I do! A few of you answered the survey to say you didn’t have any TNTs and you just. don’t. care. Good for you! If you like trying different patterns every time, go for it! and see item 4 🙂

I hope this was helpful. As you might have gathered I am fascinated by TNTs and by what drives some of us to make one pattern over and over, when others never grace the same pattern twice. I am also on a quest of great fit in the clothes I make, which I think leads inevitably to some TNT patterns where you have already done the hard work and don’t have to start from scratch.

My personal TNT patterns are the Paprika Patterns Ruby Joggers, the Grainline Linden and the Pattern Union Mollie Tee, but I am after more! What are your TNT patterns? What would you recommend for others?


Chloe is a Sewcialists Editor who lives and sews in Australia, on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. She blogs at chlo-thing.com and can be found on Instagram here


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