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And speaking of muslins…

2011 November 28
by elizabeth_admin

I’m so geeked that you all are as excited as I am by the muslin of NL 6067.  I think it’s going to be great!

Here’s the odd thing I noted though…  I discovered with this muslin that I love making muslins almost more than making the actual garments themselves.  I mean, when you sew a quick and dirty muslin of garment, you don’t actually cut or sew the facings or lining and you don’t finish any seams.  You just make the outer shell without any of the inner workings.  It’s SO QUICK!  And you get an almost whole garment out of it.  It’s almost the real thing! 

I know “almost” is not really a finished and wearable garment.  But what a bang for the buck.  It’s so satisfying to sew that quickly and get a real sense of how a garment is going to work or not.  And when it works, Wow!  It really works. 

The dark side of that coin though is that the actual sewing of the garment will be a little less fun because there will be soooo many more steps involved.  My A to Z just added a few more alphabet letters.  I know I will love this finished dress and wear it to death but…  I have to say the hardest part of the project is starting it now. 

So my question for you all is, ok there are two questions:

  • Do you enjoy muslining like I do for that quickie bang sewing satisfaction?
  • Do you find starting a project daunting when you think about all you have to prep before you actually get to sew (cutting lining, fashion fabric, interfacing, marking, etc.)?

Here’s the fabric I am considering using for this dress.  I bought it at Elliott Berman at the first shopping day I hosted with Robin in 2010.  It’s a silk with a wonderful hand. 

The silk is on the right


Now I just have to buy some matching piping for the obi-esque belt.  This fabric might be actually hard to match since the hues are so muted and the finish of the fabric is a little suede-y.  I could just go with a plain matte black though.  Hmmm….  food for thought.

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Lucy permalink
    November 28, 2011

    It’s gorgeous fabric, but… don’t you think the cool pleats are a little in danger of getting lost in it?

  2. November 28, 2011

    Oooo, pretty!

    I too share your enjoyment of making a muslin – a few hours and something tangible that will let you see how amazing or not your plan is going to turn out. I love them because I can cut and sew them in one night and have a much better sense of how much effort will be necessary in pattern alterations. I also then feel daunted by the amount of work the actual garment will be, since there will be all sorts of details that are going to take up a lot of extra effort. Sometimes I delay starting by a day or two because I just don’t feel like doing all of the work. Then I get annoyed by not sewing, so I get started on the real thing.

  3. November 28, 2011

    Love that fabric. Can’t speak directly to the muslin question as I don’t sew clothes all that often these days (yet, at least!), but I am wondering why you don’t make your own piping. It’s easy peasy! Just sayin’… xos

  4. November 28, 2011

    I’m lazy about muslins, but I suck it up and do them when the fabric is expensive.
    I love the silk fabric you are considering using. The muted tones are very pretty and rather sophisticated.

  5. November 28, 2011

    I like muslining, too. It’s so quick and easy. And then you know exactly what you’re doing before cutting your nice fabric.

    I find it overwhelming when I cut a garment in the fashion fabric and then realize I still have to cut the lining, too. Sometimes it does seem like too much. But I don’t mind the rest. Really, it’s just cutting that kills me with it’s tediousness.

  6. November 28, 2011

    I’m even weirder. I HATE making muslins, it feels like such a huge step between starting a project and ending up with a finished (wearable) garment in my hand. However, I LOVE all the preparation steps once the muslin is done and the pattern pieces adjusted. I like cutting into my fashion fabric, interlining/interfacing as necessary, finishing seams, all of those stupid things.

    Transferring pattern markings more or less makes me want to scream though.

  7. November 28, 2011

    Lovely fabric choices.

    As for muslining… hate it, but luckily have been able to make most of my garments with minor alterations.

    No, I don’t think of it as daunting… just a necessary evil….lol

  8. November 28, 2011

    I like making a muslin – but I don’t enjoy working out how to alter one if it doesn’t fit! If it does fit first time, then I really enjoy sewing the actual garment because I’m 99% sure it will be nice when I’ve finished.

    For this reason, I also like re-sewing patterns that I’ve made before. Today I made two skirts – one of which I’ve made twice before (but I had to retrace from Burda because I’ve lost a bit of weight since I made the last one) and the other I’ve sewn four times in as many weeks. Because I’ve sewn them before and knew they’d fit, I spent quite a bit of time playing around with different ways to insert zips because I still haven’t found a way that’s just right for me.

    I meant to comment on your muslin post, but got distracted and forgot – that dress is a really great shape on you. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished article.


  9. November 28, 2011

    I don’t mind the first muslin (they are fast!) but I gotta say the second one—and I always feel like I need a second one—kills me. Cutting out the lining can definitely be a show-stopper, too, although since I got new (AWESOME!) shears last summer I actually sometimes even enjoy cutting. Sometimes.

  10. November 28, 2011

    I haven’t commented here before but I really enjoy your blog so thought I would dive in 🙂

    I will confess to having never made a muslin – I have only made myself a few things (mostly stretch) so far and I have a few reasons / excuses for not doing them:

    1. I never have a plain / cheap fabric with similar drape / stretch to make a muslin from
    2. I am extremely time-poor (two kids, part-time job etc) and always think it is a waste of time. I know it’s not really and it’s how you make your sewing better etc. Perhaps when the dudes go to school?!!!
    3. I haven’t made anything in a seriously expensive fabric yet. I might go for it if I ever get brave enough to try silk or cashmere 🙂

    I still feel like I am pretending to be a sewist – perhaps I would feel like I am a “proper” sewist if I actually did it properly?!!

    On the fabric – it’s lovely. Maybe the belt could be a muted plain grey/blue like some of the dots are but then you could do some accent stitching in one of the brighter more yellowy colours? It’s hard to see colours well on this monitor so forgive me if that’s a terrible suggestion!

  11. November 28, 2011

    I think I can classify myself “a real muslin person”. I do make quite a few of them, although most are not really quick and dirty. I muslin first to get the fit of a pattern right, but secondly to try out the actual pattern to see if I will have problems actually putting it together. I quite often add facings, collars and lapels. I even add a zipper, do you?

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      November 28, 2011

      I definitely add a zipper. How else will I get a true fit, especially if the zipper is at CB, there’s no way to pin yourself in otherwise. but regarding facings, I never put them in. Lazy? Maybe, but I just want to see where the waist falls on my torso, and if the size fits me, or to see if I need an fba, etc. Thanks for chiming in!

  12. November 29, 2011

    I find what I really dislike is fitting as I go. If I’ve made a muslin and worked out the fit issues first then seeing the real thing is more fun.

    Your muslin’s looking really good!

  13. Quiq permalink
    November 29, 2011

    I’m not into prints but your silk is gorgeous!

    I like muslins, too, because I’m always very anxious while sewing and I put myself under a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly – so it takes a long time. Plus I’m very picky about clothes, the final garment has to be spot on or it won’t get worn, so I don’t want to spend weeks on something I’ll finally throw away.

    So muslining is good because 1/ no pressure while sewing it, so relaxing, and I can serenely practice those new-to-me techniques 2/ when I actually sew the final garment, I already know how to make it, I know everything is going to be OK, and I know I’ll like the result so I can concentrate on perfect stitching and enjoying the process.

    Add to that that I have luxury taste in fabric and you’ll understand that I very rarely sew straight from the pattern.

    It helps that I already have a full wardrobe to producing garments quickly is not my priority.

  14. Rosie permalink
    November 29, 2011

    For me, making a muslin is a necessary step (given my fitting issues, FBA, etc.). It helps me work out any kinks and see how a pattern would look on me before I go cutting into my fashion fabric. As Quiq said above, this also allows me to enjoy the process of actual garment sewing and, I refuse to waste $ on fashion fabric.

    As far as preparation, while I don’t mind cutting the fashion fabric, cutting the lining, interfacing, I really have to push myself to do the marking. Of course, once all of this done, the process is pretty much a done deal.

    Your muslin looks great and look forward to your finished garment.

  15. November 29, 2011

    I love making muslins too! I love how it’s no pressure to get it right or perfect (at least for me). You can make as many mistakes as you want and it’s ok because it’s just muslin.

  16. November 30, 2011

    I think you should use the silk print you have.

    I also hate all the steps needed before I actually get to sew. Sometimes all those steps discourage me from sewing, but I keep going.

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