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Muslin Surprise

2010 July 16
by elizabeth_admin

Thea was over last night and we worked on fitting my muslin for the B5147 dress.  Remember how I said that it probably only needed a swayback adjustment?  Well, I was completely off the mark.

If you will recall, I needed to set in the zipper better, so I basted that in more accurately and tried it on again.  As soon as I saw it on me again, I knew no swayback adjustment was necessary.  Then Thea went to work on helping me fit the muslin.  Here’s what we did:

  • raised the back 1 inch (need to remember to increase the bottom by one inch to compensate)
  • added 1/4 inch at the side seams for a total increase of 1 inch
  • my left hip is much straighter in shape than my right hip so I straightened the curve and took in that side seam a little more because it was pooching out
  • lowered the bust dart about 3/4 inch and changed the angle a little lower as it was too high for my bust
  • raised the hem by about 6 inches (man! this dress is long!)
  • changed the back sleeve shape decreasing it about 3/8 inch
  • decreased the side seam under the arm about 3/8 for a closer fit (might add some back as it’s a little tight across the back)

Here’s what the muslin looks like so far.  We only made the changes to one side of the muslin (my left, your right as you look at the picture), although we let out both side seams and raised the back on both shoulders originally.

It looks pretty good as is now, but I still want to tweak it a little further.  I think I overfitted in some areas and removed too much ease.  While I can still sit down in the dress, it’s a little too fitted looking and for my liking.  Also, I still have drag lines pointing to the bust.  I have solution to that (see below).  So here’s what I have to do next:

  • add an inch to the hem of the back pattern piece to account for raising the back
  • add a complete 5/8 SA to the pattern pieces since I let out the side seam by a 1/4 inch
  • add back in a pinch at the left hip SA due to over fitting
  • add a little less than 1/8 inch to bust dart tapering to the point
  • add back about 1/8 inch to under arm SA to get better ease for the back
  • now that the back is raised, I have to cut down the back neck 1 inch to the original placement

So once I have made all those changes and check the fit one last time, I am ready to use this muslin as my pattern.  Once I’ve made sure all the marks are made, I can cut out my good fabric.  I still haven’t chosen which fabric I will use to make my first iteration of this dress.  So many to choose from!  But that’s a happy problem.  And folks, yes, this will be my TNT sheath dress pattern.  I love it!!!

Thoughts on the fitting process: 

  • I’m really glad that I had Thea to help me fit this dress.  I would never have known to raise the back at all; it would not have occurred to me in a million years.
  • I think you really need a fitting buddy, preferably someone who is knowledgeable, if you’re a beginner like me.
  • the change you need is never the one you think of initially, at least for me.  This is NOT intuitive for me at all.
  • It’s almost never just one change.  One thing leads to another to another.  😉 

But the most important lesson learned?  Fitted garments are flattering, no matter what your shape!

Happy fitting everyone!

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Jane Larsen permalink
    July 16, 2010

    Looks great, Sweetie. It will look great on you too!

    Love, Mom

  2. Darci permalink
    July 16, 2010

    That is going to be one knockout of a dress! Glad you’re getting the adjustments down!

  3. July 16, 2010

    Muslin Surprise sounds like a casserole dish 🙂
    anyways.. you’re going to love this dress even more once the fit is perfected! It’s going to be awesome, and think how fast you’ll be able to pump out well-fitted sheath dresses afterwards!

  4. Rosie permalink
    July 16, 2010

    Looking good!

  5. July 16, 2010

    Wonderful results! I am so glad you get help from a teacher, because I do, too. I have sewn all my life and I am such a beginner when it comes to fitting. My teacher told me, “Fitting is hard. Practice, practice, practice. You will get it”.

  6. July 16, 2010

    I see you have another Robin commenting so I thought I’d differentiate myself in my sig this time. I LOVE the muslin on you – it looks fantastic! I cannot wait to see this one in fabric.

  7. Karen permalink
    July 16, 2010

    Looks great on you…. I don’t have a sewing buddy. Do you think someone who doesn’t sew could still help me with the pinning once I make my muslin?

  8. July 17, 2010

    It’s looking great! Other than the points you’ve identified the fit looks really good, particularly the back.

    I was wondering if you would please share your email address with me as I had something I wanted to ask you via email.

  9. July 17, 2010

    Yes, it’s just a little too tight (ease-wise) but otherwise looks great. Good job! I wish I had a sewing buddy to help me.

  10. Harriet permalink
    July 17, 2010

    Looks very good! I have a question: when you say “raised the back,” what do you mean exactly? Thanks!

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