Friday 17 December 2010

Crepe muslin trials and tribulations

I've been working on my first ever muslin for the Crepe Sewalong, and, as mentioned in my last post, it's become something of a trauma.  My first stumbling block was the sizing of the pattern. It was WAY off, which was disappointing, as the last Collette pattern I used was a perfect fit - I barely had to make any adjustments.  But that was a skirt and my bottom half is a standard size, the problem is with my top half which isn't quite so standard.  Collette patterns are cut for those with a reasonable sized bust which is good as that's what I have.  However, I have a very narrow back so my measurements aren't standard (32E if you must know).  I came up against this same problem when adjusting my new dressform (see last post and yes, I know it's supposed to be a Christmas present but this muslin has become something of an emergency!)  The back section was as tightly closed as I could get it, whilst the front section looked like an autopsy victim - wide open and gaping right down the front.  I still had to put a bra on it and stuff it to get the exact measurements.  But it now exactly mimics my measurements which I'm delighted about, and which was the whole point of buying it after all.  

Anyway, back to the muslin, because of my bust/back anomaly, the first muslin I cut out was really baggy and looked dreadful.  In fact it was so ridiculously baggy I re-cut it to the next size down.  

Ridiculously baggy muslin
Still no good though, so I went back to Gertie's blog for advice.  I basically then did everything she advised, as the fitting issues she was having were exactly the same as mine:

The back had too much bulk, even pulled across as a wrap, so tucks were needed on each side.

The shoulders also needed taking in, along with the side seams.  However, it was at the front where the most work was needed.  Look how much excess fabric there is.

Another horizontal tuck right across the front was called for.  I also took some small tucks out at the sides of the neckline so it didn't gape so much.

Much improved but still not too flattering

This was WAY better but it was still baggy under the bust. I get this a lot - there's basically a shelf where the bust is, and then unless it's fitted well, the fabric falls straight down to several inches in front of my stomach, making me look pregnant (which I'm not). I read a bit more of Gertie's blog and she started talking about reshaping a dart for a more flattering bustline. YES, that's what I'd been waiting for all this time!  I also moved the dart down and the combination of both these adjustments seemed to work
Lovely new fitted muslin 
The new muslin still has fold marks on it and the darts are very quickly sewn and not pressed (I was getting very frustrated by this point) so they look a bit pointy, but essentially it's a very good, flattering fit.  Here's the back.

I still don't entirely know what I'm doing when I'm transferring the muslin changes to the pattern pieces but my method of winging it seems to be working.  Gertie really has pulled out all the stops for this sewalong, she's an amazing teacher and I'm so grateful. Despite all the huffing and puffing, I would never have been able to adjust the fit so well on my own.  The next step will be cutting out the real fabric (which fills me with horror) ... x


  1. Oh wow, the new muslin looks great, what a difference! Well done :) I finished sewing my 1st altered muslin today and is much improved from original but still with faults. I'm going to take some photos tomorrow to put up on flickr and blog to get some advice.

  2. Thanks Suzy. I unpicked the 2nd muslin and used that to make the new pattern pieces. I just hope it looks the same shape when I make it in my real fabric! Will look out for your muslin pics. x

  3. Hi Jane, very nice work on the fitting! I need to work on that part next. I was wondering, are you happy with your new Lady Valet dress form? I was looking at one myself online so I'd love to hear what you think of it! Thanks!

  4. Jane, this looks like hard work!!! What a great muslin you finally made though, very impressive. The thought os it fills me with fear...maybe one day ;o)

  5. Marie, yes I was way out of my comfort zone! - everything I've made before this has been reasonably straightforward to fit so this was pretty harrowing. Amanda, I'm very happy with the Lady Valet so far (I've only had her a few days though). Each measurement (bust, waist, hips) can be adjusted four ways so if you have got a big difference between the front and the back it's really useful. It's also much easier pinning clothes to a dummy than to yourself, especially if it has a wrap back that keeps flapping about! Let me know what you think if you do get one. So far, so good though! x

  6. Your muslin looks amazing. I'm envious! Mine still has wrinkles, and I was thinking that I would just go with it, but now that I've seen yours, I won't be satisfied until mine looks as good. Really inspiring!

  7. Wow, the difference between the before and after pictures is amazing and really does state the case for owning a dressform! My measurements front and back are more consistent with the average in my size (except for my hips, which go off the chart...), but I still often come a cropper with a badly positioned shoulder which makes the bodice droop to one side (too many years of carrying heavy bags!). Can the Lady Valet take such inconsistences into account or would one have to add a slight shoulder pad? Whatever the case, I'm now completely sold on getting a dressform and will have to get to work on the husband to make him see the sense in it!

    Looking forward to the follow-up. Your dress is going to look stunning!

  8. Thanks for your lovely comments Amy and Nathalie, I just hope the finished dress looks as good as the muslin! Nathalie, I think you would have to add a shoulder pad. Even though my bust measurement was accurate, the shape was wrong so I had to pad it out slightly. Good luck on persuading your husband! x

  9. Your muslin looks wonderful. We seem to be having the same problems—I'm about the same size as you, though one band size smaller, with an hourglass shape, and...well, you can imagine, I'm sure. I think I'll be cutting a new muslin in the smaller size, to, and going from there.

    "Harrowing" is a really great way to describe this. ;)



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