Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Near Perfect Muslin

If it's possible to look glamorous in muslin, she isn't me HOWEVER... I made a discovery. Perhaps THE discovery. The one that's going to make everything a lot easier.

I'm showing the side first so you can see the pulls from the bust and from the back hip. Those are all because I need a larger cup size which you can clearly see in...

... this front image where the garment is pulling up and darts are attempting to form. Why do I need to go up a cup size when several muslins ago I went down a cup size? More about that in a minute.

I was disappointed when I saw this image of the back because I expected it to be perfectly smooth however these wrinkles are most likely due to the cup size as well because the strain is pulling the fabric forward and up through the chest. Otherwise, this is a near perfect muslin and...

... this is my major discovery. Previously, when I made the narrow back and narrow chest adjustments, I returned the width at the armhole because I assumed since I measured the chest size of the pattern that I needed the width. And I don't understand why I don't but I started to think about how I'm always taking that area in so with this pink muslin, when I traced the armhole shape, I did NOT return the width at the underarm point and instead blended the new width with the width of the waist. If I'd thought a little bit longer before cutting out the muslin, I'd have realized that I then needed to go up a cup size to compensate. That's doable.

PLUS... when I look at those back wrinkles, I find myself wanting to pull up at the shoulders so I'll do a bit more pinning and slashing before putting the muslin to rest. No sewing. Just slashing through the bust line to allow it and the rest of the garment to fall into place and then pinning out the 1/4" that was added to the shoulder slope to see if it's still necessary. And then... on to a REAL GARMENT. When I showed my husband the muslin, those were his first words - so now you can sew something real? Yes. Yes I can ! ! ! !

As I was pinning and tucking yesterday, I wondered who invented the straight pin and later when I transferred the information to the tissue I thought about the French curve? This article has a lot of interesting information about straight pins, needles, and safety pins. The French curve is far more difficult to find information about. Its development is often attributed to Kirvenlineale von Gebrüder who is also credited with inventing drafting however I couldn't find any reliable source to confirm that. Both are extremely helpful. I know not everyone uses a French curve but can you imagine sewing without pins? Not.

This morning, I have an appointment and then I'm going to transfer the muslin changes to the tissue, make some really good notes, pack it all away, and sew something in pretty fabric, something I actually intend to wear. YEAH!

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - pins and French curves

Chloe is fascinated by the puppy park across the road. And protective. As far as she's concerned, it's her park and you other puppies need permission which she lets them know as they walk by - LOL.


  1. I would say you still need to work on the shoulders. The wrinkle above the bust implies a forward shoulder adjustment. The back also needs a slight rounded back adjustment (these are the adjustments that crop up in our fifties, btw). Also the darts are too near the centre line and too long. They are releasing the fabric in the wrong place currently, which is why you feel you need a cup-size adjustment. Both a foward shoulder adjustment (first), and a dart placement correction should put the fabric you need in the place where you need it.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ruth. The wrinkle above the bust disappeared when I cut across and allowed more room. The bust point dropped down an inch. Definitely the darts need to be fine tuned. I was leaving that until I felt the fit was good everywhere else otherwise they keep moving.

      I'm not sure about the rounded back. I'll do some research and consider that once I have a cleaner muslin to look at again. In thinking about the back, I realized that I most likely do not need back darts so I pinned them out and most of the extra fabric issues disappeared.

      When I sew another muslin, I'll make the changes for the bust and back and then debate the rounded back and I'll tip the cap of the sleeve for my shoulder BUT... right now, I really need to sew something pretty although I know it'll tickle at my brain so I'll probably sew the next muslin relatively quickly. Let me know what you think when I post it.

      THANKS again.

  2. Hi Myrna! well, i confess i cannot begin to understand your method here....but things look pretty good to me! And, in my experience, nothing beats completing and wearing *actual clothing* in order to finesse the fit. You wear clothes for extended periods of time, while standing, sitting, walking, driving, etc. Various fabric characteristics, closures and design details all make a difference, and a muslin cannot account for all those factors.

    So, to my way of going about things, unless you're going to be wearing woven sheath dresses as your main garment of choice from here on out - time to make something flattering you can wear out of the house!!! :) Have fun, can't wait to what you come up with! and i'm loving these Chloe pix, we're big critter lovers in my family so nice to have one more to love, steph

    1. Thanks. I'm really pleased with what I learned and how things are turning out. Muslin is definitely NOT flattering. I had two goals...

      The first was to determine the adjustments that need to be made in advance as opposed to fine tuned as I go along. Raising the shoulder point/armhole would be one because of the impact on the armhole. Shortening CB and CF lengths would be another. The fitting shell allows me to make a bodice and skirt block and use it to adjust patterns for these non-alterable after the fact adjustments in advance. It ups the success rate.

      The other goal was to figure out why I had so much fabric behind the back armhole. The answer has several parts - a narrow back adjustment, utilizing the new underarm point, scooping out the back lower armhole slightly using a pivot and slide method, and eliminate the back waist darts. Most of these can't be done after the fact.

      Answering these two questions is going to get me miles ahead much faster. I'm prepping a top as we type. Using what I learned, I should get to yes quickly.

      Chloe loves having her picture taken. She'll happily receive your love.

    2. "...Using what I learned, I should get to yes quickly." Exciting! i have to say you have always been extremely precise about your goals. It's just all the fiddling with the flat pattern that i often don't get. I am sure this is because i've always just draped, slashed, pinned out, and basted a (single!) muslin until i get it where i want it. Then i trace it out/transfer to the pattern piece or just use the muslin. Plus, there are so many steps involved. I strongly suspect that if i was looking over your shoulder your method would all be much more understandable to me:) I take it Lisanne of Sewingplums tends towards the same muslin procedure as I. Once she posted a pic of one of her muslins, i have to say it looked very very familiar ;)

      While one would think that this method would make it impossible to come up with any standard for dealing with various patterns, i've found that it has developed my eye as to what a 'my shoulder' will look like and so on. It's also done a lot for me to be able to spot the patterns that will harmonize with my particular figure, where the square shoulders will be accommodated, the waist can be indicated easily, and so on. But then i'm very visual and 3D oriented, so this way fits with my thinking/learning style.

      It's very interesting to watch you go thru this whole process, i learn so much from seeing the different techniques and such. Thank you for taking the time to share all this with us! And please give 'you know whoo' a snorgle from us, have fun! stpeh

    3. LOL - goal oriented? Yes, yes I am.

      I just finished writing tomorrow's posting and showed step by step how I'll use the fitting shell. Let me know what you think. I'm very visual as well but I find this process takes the guess work out of the now or never adjustments and let's me focus on the fun factor more.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.