Tried and Tested Patterns

Why you would make the same pattern over and over.

Maeve Fanning

There are many reasons for using the same patterns time and time again. You might hit the perfect fit on dress, use a t shirt pattern to make a shelf full of everyday wear t shirts. We call these TNT patterns.

Ginger Flared Jeans

Ginger Jeans with the Flare expansion pack from many years ago –

you can see I am a few pounds lighter and different hairstyle.

But why would you use the same pattern again when there are so many new ones being launched every week?

It saves money – Sewing patterns in general cost money – some are more expensive than others, paper patterns can set you back up to €20 and even though pdf versions are cheaper they are still an investment if you print them out and stick them together. If you reuse a pattern that cost €10 say 5 times that works out at €2 per garment.

It saves time – making the same thing over and over is also a great way of learning and perfecting new techniques. You will get faster at making the garment every time you make it. If you only have limited sewing time you can whip up something really quick using a TNT pattern whether its a t shirt , pair of underwear or simple sweatshirt. Replace old favourites as they get worn out. TNT’s are really useful for making those wardrobe staples.

To sum up – it saves time and money – two commodities we are all short of!

Ames JeansA pair of Ames jeans in Stretchy Black Denim

worn with Style arc Kellie top in Luxury Viscose Jersey


How do you figure out what is a TNT for you?

If you are reading this you will possibly have a bit of a pattern collection already. Think back to what you’ve made recently and what garments you love wearing and automatically reach for when getting dressed.

Would you wear this if it was in a different colour? Would it work in a different fabric?

If you find a pattern that you like the style and fit – it can be so rewarding to make this garment multiple times because you know its going to work for you. You could spend a long time getting the fit right on a special pair of jeans, dress or jacket and it would be such a waste not to reuse the pattern to get value for all those muslins / toiles you made (we all hate making those things but its inevitable if you want a good fit).

How do you do this without looking like you have a uniform?

Figure out what fabric types work with your potential TNT pattern. Try it out in different fabrics to make each one look unique.

Use different colours and prints on each version. Use colour blocking in a plain raglan t shirt – mix prints and plains if you like. Its a great way to tone down a novelty print for children or adults who might be a bit scared to go full on print.

Basics like leggings, t shirts, jeans tracksuit bottoms and sweat shirts to name a few can all be made from the same pattern once you got the fit right.

You can hack your TNT

What are my favourite TNTs?

I have a selection of patterns I go back to all the time. I’ll list my top five here but I have lots of others depending on what I feel like sewing or the season.

My best fitting t shirt is the Deer & Doe Plaintain T shirt. I make long sleeved and short-sleeved versions. I wear these as t shirts on their own or for layering under sweatshirts and tunics in colder weather. I have them in lots of colours and prints.

For leggings after trying lots of patterns over the years I have the settled on the 5oo4 patterns Ninja leggings. I make them in cotton jersey for every day wear with tunics and long sweatshirts and in sports lycra for walking, yoga and all forms of exercise.

Ninja Leggings in Sports lycra

I’ve made numerous Ginger Jeans – Closet Case Patterns, since the pattern was launched and have perfected the fit (although I have had to size up in recent pairs :() and I’ve tried  the Ames Jeans by Cashmerette Patterns and really like these – they fit me well without any major alterations. I think they are my new TNT jeans pattern. My most recent pair I used this new stretchy denim and hacked them into jeggings (left off the fly and added a ribbed waistband).

This summer I made lots of Agnes dresses – Halla Patterns. They were brilliant in our hot summer. I’ve a few planned with long sleeves to wear with tights and leggings for the Autumn.  I use cotton jersey for this pattern as I find its the right weight and drape and I hope to make a pair in this spotty jersey soon.

Halla Agnes Dress in spotty jersey and Ninja Leggings in denim look jersey

This dress can be made up in a really short time but is a bit of a fabric hogger as the skirt part is quite wide. This however leads to lots of scraps left over for undies – my tnt pattern is the free knickers pattern by Zoe. I’ve a drawer full of them made with leftover scraps of jersey. I haven’t bought a pair of knickers in years! I should buy her another coffee..

Have you a favourite sewing pattern that you could cal a TNT? Tell me about them in the comments below. We all like to find new patterns to add to our arsenal 😉

Thanks for reading,

Have a good day,


Join our sewing community

We have a great active Facebook group where the members post photos of finished projects they have made from our fabrics to inspire your creativity, you can ask questions and someone else out there will have the answer if I don’t. Its a lovely safe environment to chat about sewing, patterns and fabric recommendations even what sewing machine to buy or where to get it serviced.

Other resources:

Choosing the the right fabric for the job – a description of different knitted fabric types here>>>>

I discuss Fabric pretreatment and taking care of your finished garments here.

Information on making trousers and links to helpful tutorials here.


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