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4 Spring Updates for a TNT Top

Fun and refreshing design and embellishment ideas
Threads #221, Spring 2023

Everyone loves new tops for spring. Once you slough off the fleece and sweaters, then a cute blouse, tee, or other easy-to-wear piece helps any outfit transition smoothly into a warm-weather look. Freshen up your wardrobe with woven fabric tops based on a tried-and-true (TNT) pattern, then add elements that give each new top a focal feature.

Choose a pattern

We started with a pattern that has a scoop neckline, straight sleeves with length options, and a comfortable, loose-fitting bodice: It’s becoming as is, and lends itself to design updates. We played with appliqué, neckline shapes, added edge bands, and scalloped edges—and any of these techniques can be combined or further altered to suit your style.

Our pattern, the Carpe Diem Dress & Tunic from Fit for Art Patterns, is easy to fit and includes vertical panel seams at side front and side back, so you can try color blocking or inserting trims or piping. However, any round- or scoopnecked top design with an easy fit can work; be sure the pattern is intended for woven fabrics. Make sure to check the fit, as you may not be able to make effective fit adjustments once you’ve added decorative features.

Pick a pleasing textile

The variations shown are intended for woven fabrics, which support the shaped edges and applied details nicely. Springinto-summer clothes benefit from easy, washable cottons, linens, and rayons. You can combine colors and prints for unique results, so don’t shy away from stash remnants that are too small for a full garment. They work beautifully for appliqués, contrast facings, and trims. Make sure applied materials are compatible in weight, hand, and care requirements, with the base fabric.

Finally, gather some patternmaking and sewing tools and supplies: a roll of pattern paper, a curved…

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