20 May 2009

...4...

Often as seamstresses, I think we worry that if we make the same pattern over and over again people will notice and think that we're kinda goofy. Well, I have worn all the Simplicity 4599 skirts that I have been posting lately over the last week and a half and no one has said a word. Believe me, if my students had noticed the repetition, they would say something - teenagers have little to no tact.

I think we forget that the general public doesn't dissect an outfit, piece by piece, seam by seam, like a seamstress would. The typically person on the street sees an outfit as a whole - the overall impression of the colours and style lines are noticed, not the technical aspects. I truly believe I could get away with having around 10 patterns total (including all skirts, pants, dresses, tops and jackets) and no one would be the wiser. Change up the fabric and embellishments, and presto, a full wardrobe with minimum futzing. But, as my stash of over 500 patterns will attest to, I like buying patterns if for no other reason than to dream of the possibilities.

So, dear reader, how do you do it? Do you have a few TNT patterns that you squeeze for all they are worth? Or do you flit from pattern to pattern, always looking for the next great thing? Or do you have a mix, combining the best of both worlds?

To finish this post up, I've included another version of Simplicity 4599, in a lightweight cotton swiss dot. I absolutely adore the print on this fabric - it has so many of my favourite colours to wear. The white rib knit tank top is Kwik Sew 2948 and the brown knit cardigan is RTW.

23 comments:

Vicki said...

I think you can get away with few patterns if you change them up a bit. You have just proved that! This skirt is lovely (as was the spotty one yesterday) and so different from your earlier versions.

Maggie said...

Shannon, you are so right about "the general public" not noticing the intricate details of clothing like we do. Case in point: I was lamenting the matching of welt pockets on a plaid blazer that I was working on to a very well dressed friend who had spent some serious cash on very tailored looks. She was puzzled as to what welt pockets were (even though many of her jackets had them!). After I explained and showed her, she didn't miss a beat saying that she never noticed things like that-rather the color and overall fit were important to her. This woke me up...from then on when I need something fast the details go out the window. That's why your skirts appear as all different to the untrained eye! But you certainly do make them look different. I probably have close to 500 patterns myself and still stick to the TNTs in a pinch. And I go through buying phases like coat patterns, Jackie O patterns, 60's Designer etc. But...who knows when a new pattern will become a TNT if we don't give it a shot.
Maggie

Lisette M said...

Another beautiful version! I tend to use new patterns because I love the thrill of something new, that said I have made a couple of tops out of the same pattern.

Kristine said...

I have a mix of TNT and new (more new, though!). The most I've used a pattern though is 3 times (DH shirt pattern), usually 2, then i start to wonder if people are going to think I'm a weirdo. Speaking of tactless teenagers, I once had a student tell me my dress reminded him of a couch. I'll never wear it again, and I'll never forget that student!

Sew Passionista said...

Shannon, you are picture perfect in your skiit outfit. Being a former High School teacher, I know just what you mean about a teen's tact,or lack thereof and they notice every little thing. After I retired, I felt liberated from always having to look my best for those little darlings ( fool that I was).

Marsha said...

I wish I had more TNT patterns. You you hit the nail on the head for me---I think people will notice I'm wearing the same item only in a different fabric. Thank you for the insightful post...I'll try to think of things differently. The skirt looks great on you!

poppy said...

oh my gosh, I have been making and wearing the same 2 -3 shirts patterns and equal number skirts for 10 years, I always wonder if people noticed but wen you find something great and it fits: stick with it (especially for my short frame) thanks for great post!

gwensews said...

You're right. The only people who would notice a repeated pattern is another seamstress. I use TNTs AND I buy a ton of new patterns. It's an illness. Can't help it.

Christina said...

As much as I would like to have some TNTs, I flit. It's just too much fun. But I absolutely agree with you that one could get by with just a handful of patterns

gaylen said...

I have an absolute favorite kwik sew skirt pattern that I have made about 10 times. I'm getting ready to attempt it without the seams and see if I can make that work.

I also like to try lots of new patterns. But Carolyn has talked me out of any new skirts. g

Nancy W. said...

I'm kind of in the middle. I want to get a few really good TNT's, but instead of working a pattern a death to get the perfect fit, for some reason I keep thinking that I'll get it on the next one! I want a great button up shirt, cute pamts, and versatile dress that I can go crazy with. I've got a good TNT skirt and knit top patterns. Now to get busy and do more sewing! Love your skirt versions bTW

Marianne said...

I have to say that I am working very hard for at the moment to get to a point where I've got a TNT pattern for a dress, a top both sleeveless and with sleeves, a skirt and a pair of trousers. I am so tired of trying to alter patterns to fit me. I went a bit crazy 18 months ago when I decided to return to dressmaking after many years break that I bought around 20 patterns (a huge investment where I live) and now I regret very much that huge outlay. I want to sew not fiddle around for days trying to get a pattern to fit and I've found that not even staying with the same pattern company means that you can get away with the same alterations to 2 patterns. It's like they use different slopers for every pattern they issue. Once I get TNTs up and running I will sew, sew, sew and I don't plan to buy anymore patterns unless I again change shape and have to make new TNTs. Much rather spend my money on fabrics and notions. Off to try to finish off a test skirt for a TNT pattern potential.
So glad to have found your great blog and to see that my theory makes sense.

Elaray said...

I'm a "flitter". I seldom make the same pattern twice. And you are absolutely right. No one would know if I did! I will make the same fly front pants 50 times with 50 different patterns and they are still the same fly front pants! I don't have any TNTs, but I am seriously thinking about finding a few.

Summerset said...

It is rare for me to make a pattern twice for myself - I like the trying new patterns. I do have quite a few TNT's for my daughter. I do have some favorite patterns for myself that have made twice, so maybe I could consider those STNT's (sorta TNT).

I have to agree, high school students can be the toughest fashion critics. If they didn't notice, then not too many people. Besides, that really is a great skirt for teaching - comfortable, yet figure flattering and obviously, stylish in many fabrications. would

Heather said...

I have just figured out my body shape, or come to terms with it would likely be more accurate. I had accumulated quite a few patterns which were very boxy and straight lines whereas I need fitted. Those patterns went into the last donation bag of clothing when I weeded out my closet. So my plan is much like what Marianne stated above - have only pattern shapes which suit me, alter them to fit me and then enjoy sewing up a great wardrobe with my TNT's.

ClaireOKC said...

I've used a number of patterns over and over and I have yet to have anyone who notices. If they do, it's something like: "That looks so good on you," or something like that. The only difference is there is a comfort wear that takes place in a my clothes after I've worn them for a while, and when I use the exact pattern/size/style, etc., and it feels just a little different - only because I haven't worn it for a while.

This is the only difference, and something worth noting, as if you're not prepared for it, it can be a little disconcerting.

Great style for you, and go for it...these TNT patterns are fab!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I like the thrill of novelty as well. So there are a few patterns I make more than once (I think four is my record), but mostly I try out new things. Gotta justify that BWOF subscription!

Pam~Off The Cuff ~ said...

Ooooooh I totally love this latest version.

I think it's fun to use the same pattern and add or subtract design details. Once you have a good "base" pattern....just changing the sleeves, neckline, etc, etc...makes it a whole new style...such fun !

Lindsay T said...

I am definitely a combo sewist: like the new, like the old. However, I couldn't survive without my TNTs since I work full-time.

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

That is a great outfit. I love the fabric.

SewingLibrarian said...

I've been using the same straight skirt pattern for years. I don't think anyone notices - they are looking at the fabric and color more than the actual lines. I've got a favorite jacket pattern as well, and I'm developing a dress TNT. I do have a lot of patterns, but I"m trying to be more selective. Hard to do when they're $1.99, however! Lovely skirt on you!
Linda

Tany said...

I like to try new patterns myself, but you sure make me think twice!

Faye Lewis said...

Beautiful skirt - looks great on you!