Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sew a Muslin

My blog has come back from the dead to tell you to sew a muslin, which is probably one of the most important tools available to all of us awesome sewing people.  A muslin is the first draft of a garment made out of cheaper fabric (muslin).  It allows you to make the necessary adjustments to the pattern without risking your more precious material.

Having a first draft is especially important when you're oddly shaped, or when drafting your own patterns.  It's better to factor in the fact that you're going to make mistakes when drafting and spend them on two dollar a yard fabric rather than the sixty dollars of wool coating, interlining, and lining that you have hanging out in your stash. 

Let me show you.

Sometimes the pattern elements you planned just wont work.  You'll follow the instructions perfectly and the garment is sound, but then you put it on for a fitting and it looks...

This is the first draft of the great coat sew-a-long that you may have been wondering about over the last few months*. Notice that it looks awful.  Just- really let it sink in for a moment.  The sleeves are overly large,  the unpictured belt was so wide that it was bordering on comedic. and the box pleat that I have in the back um... doesn't really work with multiply layers in play.   Plus the length and the hood weren't great.
Now imagine using the expensive fabric and having to fix all of those little things with no wiggle room. 

And just for the fun of it: imagine not crying about it, because you're a resilient adult and you've totally got this. 

You also run into a lot of simple glitches when drafting your own patterns.   You'll be drafting a very cute simple dress to wear to a wedding in august, and then suddenly the skirt and the bodice wont match up.  One of them is two inches too big, but it could have easily been the other that was two inches too small.

But it's okay because I did a muslin first, so it took about two seconds to fix the pattern and then the dress was perfect.

The "I'm actually an idiot" mistakes will come too.  Also seen on the bridesmaid dress I made for my sister's wedding this summer.   I wanted to have a nice gathered top like the one featured on this dress here.  To do that I took the front bodice piece and stretched it out so that I could gather one edge.

Hopefully some of you are laughing because instead of having a dynamic draped bodice I ended up with an awkward boob cup.   One that was much too large for my breasts and started at my natural waistline.  This happened because I had extended both the neckline and the waistline.  When I gathered the waistline in,  the neckline had no choice but to form a generous cup. 

What I actually needed was a piece that looked more like this.   Instead of being stretched the pattern piece is fanned out.  That way the neckline remains the same length and you can gather or pleat the waistline edge to get the effect I wanted. 

All of these problems could have been disastrous if done in the final material.  In the case of the coat it would have been the end of that project.  Instead there wasn't an issue at all, for any of them.  All because of one simple beautiful tool available to all: the practice run

After tweaking the pattern until it's perfect, all you have to do is sew the final project! Yay for you!

*or... more like 18....