Monday, 1 April 2013

Step 3 to TNT Dress - McCalls 2401 - Picture heavy

Thank you for all the kind comments on my journey to TNT (and about my legs!!). They are greatly appreciated and very motivating. There have also been some great ideas for me to mull over.

- Shortening the length - I have shown later in this post with this version in both the "normal" length and about an inch shorter.
- Having the shrug tied higher - I have shown this too
- Lowering the neckline
- Putting in the front and back darts - I will try this with a woven I think - I will have to work out where they start and stop too.

Thanks for the comments.

So here is the next version. Well - I am happy with this. Almost perfect in my eyes. The one problem is the neckline isn't sitting perfectly - I don't know what this is. I may have to wear it  to my next sewing group and see if the more experienced sewists can tell me. I am calling this TNAT (tried and almost there) As stated in last post - I will need to try it with a woven and with sleeves  before I can breathe a sigh of relief. I also think that I would like to lower the neckline about an inch.

I added a bit of ease to the bust and took off the hip points that didn't show up in the picture of the green dress but believe me they were there.

Couldn't do much with the position of the purple flower - I had a hair's breadth of fabric left over so no room to play. I will always wear it with a cardi or jacket anyway.

I think maybe the back neck needs to come up a bit too.

Don't know what the weird white spot is - there was one on the last lot of pics too.

I am loving this fabric. It is a very stable knit purchased from Vogue Fabrics. It is a different colour version to the blue I purchased to emulate the look of Carolyn's outfit. I didn't make that one first as I wanted to get the TNT done first.

Version 2 and 3 together. There is not much difference to the eye - but the changes were made.

Must get myself a new pose.
After reading the comments on my last post and looking at the green dress more and more, I think I will elevate it from house dress to work dress. Debbie - you are right - being a red haired person of pale skinage - it is a good colour - AND it is in my colour swatches from doing my colours..

Length and shrug comparisons - unfortunately I only ironed and pinned the hem and it dropped in places - but the idea is there.

Although it does show off the legs with the shorter length - I think the longer length balances me out a bit more - what do you think?

Does it ruin the nice shape of the skirt? Or could that be because it isn't hemmed but pinned?

I think tied higher accentuates the girls a little too much for me.

Not too mention the out of proportion upper back.

Good experiment though.

What I have learnt so far during this process:
  1. I do tend to make things too big a lot of the time
  2. How to turn under and coverstitch necklines and armholes - although I think I need a bit more work on this - they are not lying flat. I don't know if it is because I am using Steam a Seam and ironing - maybe that is stretching it.
  3. How to do a back split
  4. The importance of spending time on a pattern to get it right.
  5. Straight skirts are not bad on me (pencil ones don't look any good - I am too top heavy - but straight is good).
  6. What a centre back seam is for. I had always cut on the fold even when it said to cut two. Mainly because my shape - round - doesn't really need a zipper. I even pull jeans up without undoing the zip - so I omit the zip and cut on the fold. Since I was putting in a back spit I needed the seam - and low and behold - I realised the back seam isn't straight anyway (as it is when you cut on the fold) but adds shape to the waist.
  7. Rediscovering my Janome. Since I purchased an overlocker (serger) I tended to try and sew everything on it. Kind of like when you get a dishwasher - if it can't go in the dishwasher - don't use it or buy it Instead of using the Elna Overlocker I have used the Janome DC3050 for these dresses and used a proper seam allowance. I think sometimes things are bigger on me as I wasn't using the seam allowance given in the pattern but skimming it on the overlocker. This was not only giving extra room to the garment but not giving as nice seams as I have found by using my seam roll and pressing open the seam. It really does give it a lovely neat finish. 
  8. I am really happy with the shape of the skirt on this - there have also been a lot of comments supporting this so I am going to trace this off for a skirt pattern too!

What's up next? Another try at TNT?

No. I am going to let it marinate for a bit. However in version 4 I shall:
- bring the back neckline up a bit
- bring the front neckline down a bit
- I might try the square neckline
- I am going to try a *gasp* lined woven with an invisable zip - never done one of those before!!!! Must pull out my Sandra Bezina Zip DVD and see if it helps.
- KC and Louise - I may even tack out some front and / or back darts to see how it goes.

I think my biggest challenge for that one is to work out how to do a lining with a zip and a back slit. I have done a simple lining on my red dress - but I didn't have to attach it to a zip or a split - and of course that invisible zip.

So what will be my next project? I really love the above dress and want to make a brown ponte jacket to go with it. (The shrug is getting worn out). Besides which - I want to replicate the look Carolyn achieved.

I am going to TRY the StyleArc Marni Ponti Jacket. I can hear all the Jedi Masters out there saying - "Do or do not - there is no try" but alas - skill and experience does play a part! It is no use me trying to use the force - I need to use the Janome!

I purchased a whole lot of very good quality brown Japanese Ponte in honour of a beautiful gift sent to me (some time ago) from the amazing Anne from Pretty Grievances. I wanted to show it off to it's best so brought some brown ponte for a dress and jacket. Once I have the jacket done I will make a matching dress out of my TNAT pattern. Then I will show off the lovely pressie. I wanted to get the dress pattern right first.

This is a lot more complex that what I am used to - this will be a real challenge for me..

Wish me luck!


  1. I actually like the shorter length on the dress but you have to be comfortable in what you make.
    I have that marni ponte jacket pattern too, just been waiting to find the right material to make it out of, can't wait to see your version!

  2. What an inspiration you are. Well done. Your TNT dress is great. I guess a little tweaking now to get it perfect for you, ie necklines & hemlines, is all you have to work on. I agree with Suzy, I like the shorter length too (show off those legs) but it's all about what you like and feel comfortable wearing.

  3. I'm liking the shorter length on you as well. I was also thinking, this dress could also be used in a winter weight fabric, still sleeveless, and you could just pop a long sleeved skivvy or blouse underneath...this dress is going to be a real winner for you...

  4. Both lengths look great BeaJay, but I'll echo the above thoughts the my fave is the slightly shorter one! Congrats on getting so well fitting. I LOVE that jacket pattern -- so cute! Looking forward to seeing yours. :)

  5. I too vote for the slightly shorter one, but they both look good:) But I really can't believe how quick you are -- I am a turtle when I sew.

  6. I know I'm late to the party but I haven't been around much these last couple of days due to the holiday. May I make a couple of suggestions and please feel free to disregard.

    1. To fix the drooping at the neckline ~ if it's an on the fold piece, overlap just 1/4 over the foldline when laying the pattern on the fabric. Or, cut a slit 1/2 inch over from the foldline, make a 2" straight line, cut it and then lap over 1/4". This will eliminate the gaping you have in the front.

    2. I like the shorter length best but you also have some fabric swirling around your knees. I would suggest you peg the sides of the skirt from the hips down to the hemline just a slight bit to remove the fabric. It will do two things, it will give you a slimmer appearance and a better fit.

    3. Personally I like the line of the cardigan open with the points hanging down straight. Again this draws your eyes down and will give you a slimmer appearance.

    Finally, I would make this a v-neck instead of a u-neckline. I think this will be more flattering to your face and frame.

    Again, feel free to ignore me. You've done an amazing job at getting this to fit and these are just minor refinements to make the pattern look even better on you.

    1. Thanks Carolyn, especially about the drooping neckline... I have been pondering how to get the bit out when it is a cut on fold. This is great advice.

  7. Oooh, I might just sew that jacket too. I love it! I like the longer length on you, and thanks for passing on what you've learned. Some of that conveys well for me.

  8. For what it is worth, I like the shorter length on you too, and the cardi untied. I think it makes a nice long line for the eye to follow and looks very flattering on you.

  9. Wow, you are fast! Great job, I like the shorter length and cardi untied. Very nice !

  10. I agree with Carolyn.
    Keep the shorter length and shape the hem closer to your legs.
    That'll give you as good a shape 1" shorter as you have at the moment.
    And the untied cardi is the look I like.
    Carolyn's TNTs work really well as a basis for any designer look.

    Give it a rest and work on the jacket until you're ready to tackle this again.

  11. I vote for shorter length- not just to show off the legs, but i do think that length is actually more balanced. you could always do the math: (I haven't tried it yet so I can't vouch for it). Also, I too vote for the cardi untied (if thats an option), I think it gives a sleeker look!

  12. I think that all the above comments are relevant, so I will not repeat them. However, about your pose - I have the same problems too, and feeling really self conscious - but try a slightly side on pose one day - just like the actors do. Maybe not when you are trying to get help, but certainly for your finished dresses - it will give you a whole new look.

    1. Unfortunately for me SarahLiz, a side on view is not the best on me - even slightly LOL

  13. You got some mighty gorgeous legs, Beajay, so go for the shorter length! You are certainly a looking lady and photogenic.

  14. The word "fine" is supposed to be in front of "looking": quick typing is not recommended...

  15. I like the shorter length. To my eye it not only shows the great curve of your leg but for some reason it also gives you a bit more waist. No changes at the waist between the two? Definitely shorten it. I (personally) don't like the cardi tied at all. I prefer it hanging. g

  16. LIke the other readers I like the shorter length and the cardi undone. I agree that you need a bit more height on the back neck and that a v neck or a square neck could work.
    Re the hem I notice that it hangs unevenly due to your hip (I have one high hip too). Have you tried compensating for this with your hem line, that is bringing it down half an inch on your high side. It will look skewed when you pin it but miraculously straight when you put it on. I just keep pinning till I get it right. I hem tunics this way too. Once it it even in the mirror you can decide on the finished length as well.
    Anyway you are doing good girl!

  17. Well done! I'm voting for the shorter length. I think that actually balances things out better - your legs look longer and are shown off and less fabric reads as less you ... if you know what I mean. Glad you're coming around to the green fabric, since it really is one of YOUR (our) colors. -)

  18. I think this looks really good on you. :D I like the shorter length too since it does nice things for your legs, but you need to be comfortable. I think that this dress pattern could be very adaptable! A v-neckline would look really good on you too. I think it's coming along really well, and I can't wait to see the next version!

  19. I think everyone has said it already, but I will (still) give you my opinion.. :)
    - the green looks great on you (like it would on Debbie cook or me...)
    - cardi untied is my preference
    - shorten the hem on your dress - always display your great assets - your lovely pins!
    - love this fabric choice and the purple flower is not too badly positioned.
    - I love sleeveless dresses and cardigans (that is why I am learning to knit)
    - looking forward to seeing the Stylearc jacket - cu-ute!

  20. Oh BeaJay... there's not a single thing I can add to this and agree totally that the shorter length on you is more flattering and if you taper the sides in a little it will remove some of the excess fabric and give you an even more flattering look. I'm loving the cardi undone the best. You are so so close to having your TNT, well done!!! Loving the look of the jacket pattern and think it will be perfect to wear with your dress. Looking forward to the next update on your TNT.

  21. It looks great, I think I would also like to see the v neck I always liked you blue green wrapover top. The jacket is a lovely shape, cant wait to see it.

  22. Looks great. I don't ever like turned under necklines. I like binding.

  23. Beajay, double yes for shorter one!!! I love that length on you.

    I'd peg it slightly as well... not too much.. but slightly... half inch or slightly more on all seams.

  24. Everyone has already written the best comments!

    So I'll just join in to say that I love seeing other people 'win' the fitting process, and you've very nearly got a perfect pattern for you :-)

  25. You've gotten super feedback on this version of your dress. You're almost there with your TNT dress. I'm in the minority on the longer length too, but I think that's my own prejudice to cover my legs :).
    Thanks for the tip on downloading Craftsy lessons, too.


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your feedback and your interest.