Sewing Projects: My First Muslin

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Behold, my first actual muslin. Muslin is a word that has two sewing meanings. On one hand, it’s a kind of fabric- cheap, so you can try out a new pattern and not worry about cutting up your nice fabric. On the other hand, it’s the garment itself that you make out of the muslin- your trial garment.

I’ve never made a muslin before. This pattern was one I printed from the book Make Your Own Clothes by Marie Clayton. It comes with patternmaking software. All you have to do is pick the item you want to make, plug in your measurements (it collects a lot of data, so be prepared), and then shoots out, ready to print, a pattern for you to use. You do have to tape it together since you’re probably printing on 8.5 X 11 paper. You even get to choose the amount of seam allowance. The only tricky part is taping the pieces together. You have to align the X’s on the corners of the pages and that took some patience.

Another thing to consider about this book and its patterns is that they aren’t the most good looking things you’ll ever see, but in my opinion they are great places to start. They don’t peg you into one look. You can really add to these blank (for lack of a better word) patterns.

Below is my muslin of the scoop neck top, without the sleeves. It’s summer. I’m not making anything with sleeves, yet. I have to say that I like how this fit overall. I took my own back measurements (not recommended) and so the back is  a little loose, but nothing I can’t fix. It might also be the ease that comes in the pattern.  The front and bust fit really well. The armholes are a little loose because it’s intended to be a sleeved garment. Overall, I like it! Kudos to the program.

You can even see the shape of my lower back. This is something that usually gets missed when I wear stuff off the rack. Again, short-waisted. I’d like to modify this amount of the pattern- cut the neckline way lower (not that low), and trim back the shoulders since I won’t be attaching the sleeves.

The back also shows the appropriate fit. I like the way this sews together. Really simple design and the cut of the individual pieces leaves a lot of room to adjust the fit while keeping it nice and tailored.

Now that I’ve got this going in the right direction, I got all excited to alter it into a wrap top like this one from the most recent Real Simple magazine:

There are several more patterns I might try from this patternmaking program. I’m also thinking this would be fun to play with in a sewing class context. During the first class, everyone would get a chance to plug in their measurements, then print, tape together, and cut out the pattern pieces. Second class, we’d cut our muslin- we wouldn’t use nicer fabric until we know that the pattern works. Then, off to sew. Third class, we’d be working on altering the muslin and then altering the pattern, and finishing the muslin based on these changes. A fourth class could be used to cut our nice fabric and start sewing it together. A fifth class would be used to do the finishing work on the top, like the collar and any trimmings. Just a fun thought.

If altering patterns to fit has become a necessity for you, I highly recommend the New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader’s Digest. It’s got a detailed section on altering patterns, and more specifically, altering a muslin, or as they call it, a Fitting Shell to make a Master Pattern. That’s definitely on my list of things to do.

Well, that ends my week of sewing projects. Last week I did all this sewing and this week I’ve spent it writing about all my sewing. It’s nice to stand back and think about what I’ve done.

Till next time. Thanks for reading!


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