Category Archives: Muslins

Muslin-y Pictures of S2311

Last night’s session with Thea was very successful.  I continue to be excited about this coat.  I just adore this pattern.  Did I mention that it is well-drafted???  And the collar/lapel is just about as perfect as can be.  LOVE. THIS. COAT.

So, I realized some errors I had made, but it’s all good.  No animals were harmed in the making of this muslin.  ;)   I forgot I had changed the seam guide on my Featherweight from 5/8ths to 1/2 inch, so all my seam allowances were an 1/8th off. 

Oh, and I figured out why my bobbin thread kept breaking.  Now this is just a theory as I have not really researched it, but I think the needle position must be in its highest position when you pull out your work.  I think the way the machine works is that having the needle position high changes the way the bobbin releases the bobbin thread.  Oh maybe I’m on crack here, but it’s just a theory.  I experimented last night with keeping the needle up at its highest position whenever I removed my work after a seam and I had no problems whatsoever with the bobbin thread all night.  So, I think I’m on to something here.  However, this mild success in using the Featherweight did not convince me to use it for this coat.  I am still going to use my Emerald 183.  I think I need to practice on the Featherweight with less complicated, less important projects first before I sew something like a coat.

Thea helped me fit my coat.  She agreed with me that the fit was basically fine but I could use some shaping in the back to remove some of the bulk there.  The pattern provides a center back seam, but there is not much if any shaping in it, so we added about a 3/4 inch of shaping out from the waist tapering to the hem and yoke.  It looks great now.  We inserted the sleeve pretty easily.  Thankfully there is not an excess amount of ease in the sleeve cap, so very little easing was required.  There was also easing for the elbow which I love.  Gives great shaping to the line of the arm as well as being practical for something pointy like an elbow.  I should mention that I was mistaken about the pattern calling for sewing on the sleeves in the flat.  I just misread them because they have you jump around the instruction sheets from Coat A to Coat B instructions. 

Thea also helped me figure out how to attack the back yoke to the front and collar better.  The pattern itself is missing some markings, so that was part of my problem. The other was not know how to properly sew a squarish u-shaped piece to a straight piece.  I will explain that later.  Ingenious method though. 

Without further ado, here are the pictures of the muslin on me!  I wore a suit jacket to fill out the coat a bit.  I am really pleased with the fit and look of this coat and can’t wait to start cutting out the purple wool.  Please ignore the goofy faces.

Note: the muslin is really stiff. the wool has a softer drape.

Again, the back will be smoother in the softer wool

Happy sewing everyone!

S2311 muslin

There are two things I want to discuss today folks.  So, buckle up! 

First, my Simplicity 2311 muslin for the sewalong.  Here’s a refresher on what the finished coat looks like (top left, the short camel version).  

S2311

I cut a straight sz 14 in heavy weight muslin (think of it as almost like painting canvas).  I found this weight to be extremely helpful to give an accurate read of how the coating would drape if a bit ravelly.  It took me forever last night to get to a point where I could try on the muslin (more on why later).  Essentially I got to the point where you attach the sleeves.  I believe they instruct you to sew them on in the flat as opposed to in the round.  But it was late and I wanted to see the fit, so I skipped that and basted the side seams.   

The verdict?  I.  LOVE.  THIS.  COAT.  I love the wide lapels.  I love the princess seams in front.  The back needs some fitting but luckily enough there’s a CB seam to play with.  I think I might take some bulk out of the shoulder blade area through to the waist, but that’s about it. This coat is going to rock!!!  I was scared of the princess seams, but they were really easy to sew.  I didn’t need to clip anything to get them to lay flat.  Weird!  The collar and lapel have a great shape and lie around my neck and shoulders beautifully.  And I didn’t even do the inside facing/over collar yet.  This is a really well-drafted pattern.   

I’ve decided that I won’t interline this coat.  I’m intending it to be a fall coat, something transitional and more like an accessory rather than true outerwear.  So, even though I bought cotton flannel for it, I am just going to use the purple wool coating and silk charmeuse lining for this coat.  But I could totally see myself making the longer version for a more substantial winter coat next year.   

I wish I had a picture of me wearing the muslin, but I was too tired and not camera ready last night, so here’s a totally craptastic shot with my iphone to tide you over.  

  

Thea is coming over tonight to help me fit the back and show me how to sew the back to the front better.  I had major problems sewing that part last night and just did a down and dirty job of it in the muslin to see how it looked on.   

And speaking of problems…  I had an awful time using my Featherweight last night.  AWFUL!!!  I almost dragged out my Emerald 183 from retirement.  I couldn’t get the bobbin to wind correctly and smoothly so my bobbin thread kept getting stuck and then breaking.  I have no idea what I’m doing wrong.  One time when it broke, something jolted the needle thread tension discs and now they are really loose.  I hope I didn’t break my “new” Featherweight.  I guess the honeymoon is over.  :(   As a matter of fact, I am probably going to un-retire the Emerald 183 to sew my final coat.  I don’t want to slow down the making of this coat due to machine temperamentality.  

Happy sewing everyone.

Muslin Surprise

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!

Muslin Success!

Butterick 5147

Last night I cut out and sewed up my muslin for Butterick 5147.  Obviously I didn’t include a lining for just a muslin.  And I have to say I count this muslin as a success!!!  Sorry, I don’t have pictures yet.  I just did a hasty (read sloppy) zipper insertion, so I need to clean that up before getting a real assessment of the fit.  But…  I think…  All I need is a slight swayback adjustment and maybe some adjustment for the back neck gaping I saw.  Although I will start with the swayback and see if that takes care of the neck gaping, which it could, who knows!

I was so excited at how well this muslin fit that I booked my teacher Thea tonight to help me with the fitting issues.  I will take pictures of before and after so you can see the muslin.

For reference purposes, I am making view C, the black sheath dress in the picture above.  Here’s the line drawing:

B5147 Line Drawing

It has bust darts and fish eye darts at the waist in front and back.  I’ve never sewn fish eye darts before and did not have an easy time sewing them last night.  It was hard to start them off at the right point precisely.  Anyone have any tips? 

So far my verdict on this dress is that it’s a real winner.  I love the neckline (not too high or too low), the shaping is excellent, the ease is spot on (I tried sitting in the dress – no problems), and I think it’s very flattering (even for this post-partum body).  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I really thought fitting this dress would be a nightmare.  I thought I was going to have a nasty surprise on the sizing since I just had the 6 inch debacle last week.  I cut out a sz 14 and don’t need to add any inches anywhere; just take some out of the back for the swayback adjustment.  How cool is that???

I have no idea yet what fabric I am going to use.   I will have to shop my stash.  

I will most likely make my version with a hem above the knees to look more current with how people are wearing skirts/dresses these days.  I have to confess, I feel funny about my knit dresses with hem lengths below the knees now.  I am so excited about this sew along.  If this dress can make a post partum chick look good I think it will make anyone look good.  You have to try it out.  Join us!  The Butterick 5147 Dress Sew Along

Oh and one more thing…  I think this dress is definitely TNT material for me.  This will be a great dress for my work wardrobe.  And it’s soooo easy; only 2 pattern pieces (4 including the lining). 

Happy sewing everyone!

Researching

I have been procrastinating the start of my Knip Mode skirt a la Cidell by researching FBAs (Full Bust Adjustments).  There is a plethora of information out there on the interwebs and frankly, I’m drowning.  Each tutorial I read brings up more questions than answers for me.  (Is this sounding like a trend to you? Because it is to me.)  Karen’s probably going to say that I am thinking about it too much.  I have found two methods so far that are promising (i.e., I understand them).   But I still have some questions.  

Let me back up a bit and tell you how I came to the conclusion that I need to add an FBA to my tops.  Remember when I started my TNT (tried and true patterns) project a couple of months ago with the failed pencil skirt and drape neck top disaster

NL 6901 Muslin

 

NL 6807 Muslin

 

My teacher Thea saved the day with two of the muslins.  I really like the fit of my pencil skirt now (please don’t notice that it hasn’t yet been put into production yet though).  Tuesday night I tried on my NL 6901 muslin again and the pendulum has swung back into the hate territory.  This muslin is not salvageable.  Since I had to cut off the binding due to not being able to rip the stitches out, the neckline is too huge.  Overall the size is too big, yet too small in the bust.  The armscyes are huge.  I think I need to go down one maybe two sizes to get this to fit correctly.  However, since the bust area is already too small in this size, I now know that I need to do my first ever FBA.  

Which leads me to all the research I’ve been doing this week on FBAs.  I’ve found tons of tutorials for FBAs using darts for woven tops.  I even found a tutorial for wrap bodices.  Specifically I need an FBA tute that does NOT utilize a dart and is good for knits.  I found a cheater one on Debbie Cook’s site that I think my work, but I am wondering if it would make my armscye too big.  Hmmmm…  I guess I just have to put the big girl panties on and try it, right?  *big breath* 

One question that needs to be answered first though is, how much of an FBA should I make?  Most patterns are drafted for B cups.  I am well into C cup territory.  In all my research, I have yet to find the amount per cup you should add for going up one size.   Do any of you, my lovely readers, have any suggestions as to where I can find this information?  My newbie sewist intuition is 1 inch, but who knows, I could be off by a mile.  

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.  What have you been up to?

Mish Mash

This was supposed to be the post with the tutorial on lengthening a bodice, but instead it will be a mishmash.  I thought that I had taken all the requisite pictures for said blog post, but upon writing the post, figured out there were quite a few missing pictures.  So, suffice it to say, the tutorial is still forthcoming.  It’s almost finished.  I promise!

Also, I am dying to show you all what I made my Mom for Mother’s day, but she reads the blog, so I can’t.   But since I can’t keep a secret (about presents anyway), I at least got to tell you (and her) that I made her something.  And in her favorite colors (oops!  that might have been a little TMI for a secret).  Oh well…  You’ll all have to wait to see it until she sees it.  Sorry!  But that’s what I sewed this weekend.

Last night, I went through my entire collection of Burdas (back to Jan 2009) looking for a great dress to make for a family wedding scheduled over Labor Day weekend.  I have a few contenders and will post them later.

I also pre-treated my fabric for the Knip Mode skirt.  I will start working on it this week!  I had a lesson last week with Thea and we tweaked the fit of the muslin a little bit.  We did really well with our drafting.  Only minor tweaks were needed. 

So, even though I have been radio silent the last little while, I actually have been working really hard.  Honest!

More to come soon.  Happy sewing everyone!

(Sorry, no pictures for this post.)

Sizing – Argh!

Last night I sewed up another muslin of another New Look pattern, #6807, in “my” size (16).  This sucker was 3 maybe 4 sizes too big!!!!  How can New Look’s sizing be that kind of variable from pattern to pattern.  That is just insane!  Thank the gods I didn’t use any good fabric.  I used the really icky dots fabric as my knit muslin. 

This is what it’s supposed to look like:

New Look 6807

And this is what it looks like on me:

 

YUCKORAMA!!!  Apologies for the blurry bathroom pic.

I am stepping away from my work wardrobe TNT project and sewing some birthday presents (don’t get mad at me Selfish Seamstress) for my nieces and nephew.  I need a break from crappy pattern sizing.

Hoping you have a better sewing weekend than me!