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Unintentional Muslin

2012 November 20
by elizabeth_admin

Oh boy.  It’s late here on the West Coast and I have just finished attaching my collar and stand to my linen shirt.  And I have just come to the realization that I may be making another muslin, not a can-be-proudly-worn-in-public garment.  I wasn’t deterred when I realized that I had forgotten to add length to my button bands after completing an FBA to the front.  I just cut out another set of button bands.  I wasn’t deterred when I realized that I had run out of my favorite interfacing mid-project and that all I had left was too “crispy”.  No, I just went ahead and used the crispy interfacing.  And I wasn’t deterred when I realized I had put the buttonhole on the collar stand too early and now could not get a nice clean finish on my collar.

I just kept plowing through the process.  I was determined to have a shirt.  A red linen shirt to wear over tanks and camis with jeans or shorts.  I love wearing shirts.  I love linen.  A beautiful red linen shirt sounded lovely to me.  It sure did.

But when I put that collar on the shirt tonight and executed it so poorly, what with the wrong interfacing, the too-soon buttonhole and all, I finally realized that I wasn’t making a wearable garment.  I was making a test garment, practicing my shirt-making skills (and badly at that).  I don’t think I can bear to show you the attached collar up close, but here’s a pic of it before I attached it.


Can you see how stiff it is even in a picture?  I bet I could attach a motor to this collar and it would be sturdy enough to fly.

Have you ever made an unintentional muslin?  Please tell me so I don’t feel so alone in my shirt-making hell.

Bonus PSA:  If I hadn’t had a good three yards of this yummy red linen, I wouldn’t have been able to persevere with my “muslin”.  I cut out countless test plackets, cut two whole new button bands and cut out two additional cuffs.  I still have a goodly sized scrap left over too.  But if I had bought just enough for the pattern, I would have been out of luck.  I bought this fabric from my then local fabric store, P&S Fabrics, about 5 years ago.  It was a great buy and I knew when I bought it that it would eventually become a shirt,.  I just didn’t know it would only be a muslin though.  🙁

May you sew real wearable garments and no unintentional muslins!

12 Responses leave one →
  1. M-C permalink
    November 20, 2012

    Just make a small Nehru collar instead, surely you have enough fabric for that? And it won’t be quite the same sort of shirt, but it’ll be beautiful all the same..

  2. November 20, 2012

    Wow, you and I have been living a parallel living shirt-making universe! I’ve made exactly – and I do mean *exactly* – these same mistakes. I wouldn’t count this out as a muslin yet, if you can make another collar that’s good and as for the placket there are definitely design options there: (a) cut the placket into pieces with some sections bias and some straight grain, as the linen weathers the textures would be interesting (b)make the placket out of a different color linen or (c) maybe change the button design to hide the patch.

  3. November 20, 2012

    I made a muslin in the last few weeks that over time I started wanting to be a wearable garment as I started liking the fabric but then the fit was so poor (needed an fba and didnt do one…nuff said!) that it went back to being an (unwearable) muslin 🙁 even though it started life as a muslin I was still sad when I realised that it was still one!

  4. November 20, 2012

    See, that is why I am FOR buying too much fabric. By the time you have fine-tuned your construction choices, it will be a very successful shirt.

    And YES i have done it, hence my strong opinion that this is a GOOD situation!

  5. Cheryl Lemmons permalink
    November 20, 2012

    There’s a simple sheath dress still hanging on the garment rack in my sewing room after a year because I have a hard time throwing a failure in the garbage. The fabric was part of an inherited stash. It is a beautiful deep coral color and I thought I would just whip it up quickly. This fabric didn’t press well (must be gabardine); the invisible zipper puckers at the bottom and the lining is disaster (I now know to avoid cheap polyester lining). It did fit well, so in that regard I guess it was a good muslin. Maybe I’ll summon up the courage to fully admit failure here and toss it out today and get the bad karma out of my sewing room!!! And maybe find a better fabric and give it another go.

  6. Carol S permalink
    November 20, 2012

    How about a contrast collar? It might be as usuful, but could still be wearable and you could do the cuffs to match.

  7. November 20, 2012

    Ok so the collar looks a little stiff, but I don’t think it’s that bad? Unless it looks awful when it’s attached?

  8. November 20, 2012

    Been there. Done that. Sometimes, it’s about the process. 😉

  9. November 20, 2012

    Button down shirts are PURE EVIL. I have been trying all year to get a properly fitted button down shirt. I went through something like 4 muslins and wasted 3 of my “good” fabrics (luckily I didn’t cut out the real fabric for the project, but if any of the shirts I had made actually fit, they would have been totally wearable). I wasted a lot of good interfacing too. I still haven’t made a legit button-down shirt, and decided to push that project off until later. I am still annoyed that the shirt is winning though.

    So, um, yes, I totally understand “the process.”

  10. November 20, 2012

    I’m completely laughing at your comment about adding a motor and seeing the collar fly! I’ve had an unintentional muslin – on a pattern i have made before!! It’s very frustrating, so i feel your pain.

  11. November 21, 2012

    What a shame! With such lovely fabric as well. Couldn’t you do what M-C suggested and make that work?

    Oh, yes I have made unintentional muslins, many of them.

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