Friday, August 25, 2017

Do You Fit As You Sew?

I've made quite a few garments lately using new patterns.  I made alterations to some of them before cutting them out based upon my measurements. Cause I'm not a muslin/toile kinda woman. Not to say that you shouldn't use them if that's your thing...I just know that if I made a muslin, I would never sew the final garment.

I've always tried garments on my body as I sewed them. Sometimes sitting in my undies waiting to sew that last seam to throw it on my body for a quick fit.

Lately though, I've been using the timer on my iPad to take pics.  I can see length better...get an overall feel for fit and take pictures of problem areas to look at and analyze.  Many times while constructing the garment I send pictures and video to Gaylen asking her opinion.

Also, I can step away from my machine and the garment. Pour over the pictures to make sure that not only am I solving my fit issues but also if any design decisions I've made are working.

So my Question of the Day is, "Do you Fit as you Sew?" Or do you rely on the changes you've made to your muslin/toile? Or your flat pattern measurements? Or are you really brave and construct the entire garment and then try it on? Also, how do you figure out what length works for you?

Talk back to me because I'm really interested in what your process is and if pictures are involved. Because since taking pictures and videos, I feel like my fitting and sewing process is improving.

BTW, I know quite a few of you read blogs on readers like bloglovin' and feedly. However, may I remind you once again that I don't flip into either reader very often so if you leave comments or questions there, they are basically going unread. I usually stumble upon them days or weeks later...just so you know!

...as always more later!

55 comments:

  1. Very limited during as I sew. Occasional alterations to tissue. Love your blog. Thank you. I need to be open to independent designers, I only use the main, standard companies. You make me want to branch out.

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  2. Hahaha! I do the same thing you do! I know my measurements and how I like clothes to fit so I wing and try it on as I see sometimes sitting in my underwear at the machine seeing a seam and then retrying the garment on. I never tell people because I thought I was alone in this practice. Nice to know I am not!

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    1. Oh, I totally have sewn in my undies to get a final fit...

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    2. It gets awkward in the winter, but I have a space heater and no windows. And a door that shuts.

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    3. I live with 3 men. I recently took the door off the sewing room to gain more space. So it's fully clothed sewing for me!

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  3. I adjust the length on the pattern before cutting if necessary. Then I choose the size(s) to cut based on the finished measurements. I usually pin and try on before I sew major seams. I rarely do a muslin unless I'm using a pattern from a company that's new to me.

    I can definitely see that taking pictures could be really helpful, but setting up my camera and tripod is such a pain!

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  4. I try to choose pattern companies with reliable sizing (Burda, Style Arc, Lekala) and make adjustments to the flat pattern. Then I check the fit of the side seams and the hem length as I sew. Like you, if I made muslins I wouldn't make much else. i make muslins for woven pants and for things like coats. If I'm using a pattern company I don't use often, or one where the ease might be more than I want, I make flat pattern measurements and do a muslin if it's a woven and the result is important to me.

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  5. Oh and like you I take photos. Even lousy mirror shots often surprise me - things can look so different from how they feel and I'm very influenced by how the feel when I look in the mirror.

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  6. I really appreciate your honesty. I too have found myself in my undies at the sewing machine. Now to answer your question I do muslims when I am making duplicates or hacking a basic design

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  7. Ah, this is such an interesting question! I generally don't make muslins but will for a big time and/or money investment project like a coat or jacket. I absolutely do try on a garment during the sewing process so I can make tweaks to the fit. For jeans, well, the stretch of each denim is different so I usually cut generously and baste and try on many, many times to get the fit right. That seems to work for me. As for adjusting pattern pieces, that's essential for me as I'm 5'9" tall so I adjust the pattern pieces for length before I cut the fabric. But I'm with you on if I made a muslin I'd never make the original garment I'd intended!

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  8. I have no one approach to fitting. It all depends on the project. If it is a first time project from a new-to-me pattern company, especially if the fabric I intend to use is on the pricey side, I will muslin, then fit-as-I sew a few times with the "Real"fabric. Other times, I'll just rely on flat pattern adjustment Sometimes I'll wing it and sew to the end, then try it on.
    My mother never muslined a pattern in her life, not even when she was making my wedding dress with $60 a metre duchesse silk satin (early 90s). She would make adjustments to the pattern, then she would pin-baste after cutting for the first try on. This was always torture to me, being scratched with a couple of dozen pins at once. She when then re-pin to fit, the fit again and again after sewing the main seams as she went. Her fit was always spot on.

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  9. Hi! I take lots of measurements before I cut out and often measure pattern pieces against TNTs to compare them for fit. I try things on as I sew and tweek the fit if I need to. Love your blog - such a stylish lady!

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  10. I'm not a big muslin maker; only for coats really. I adjust for length and do stuff like blending between sizes and removing sleeve cap ease as I trace (I trace everything). I ought to do FBAs but unless the garment is very fitted I don't bother! Having said that I usually make Vogue and Burda patterns only, and so I have good handle on how they fit me. I'm about to embark on a Style Arc jacket and I have NO IDEA what to expect; I'm definitely making a muslin this time.

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  11. Great question I noticed lately I have been making muslins and don't like how the muslin looks and feel to many changes therefore I don't bother to make the garment. I just purchased two new patterns from Cashmette never used these patterns before so I am on the fence about the muslins

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  12. I use to be a cut and sew person and then try to make fitting adjustments after garment was sewn. That was when I was young, skinny and hardly had to make any fitting adjustments. Then one day, a Vogue skirt pattern did not fit though they had previously. That was a wake up call, that I needed to understand fit and how to adjust.

    I don't normally do a muslin as I have little sewing time of late and then when finished with it, I don't have a new garment yet. I found out about Palmer/Pletsch pin fitting method in the 1990's and have used that technique since then which works for me. Sometimes I make adjustments that I normally make to a new pattern and it may or may not be what I needed to do for this particular pattern and regretted not pin fitting it first. Summary-pin fitting is my method of working with patterns.

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  13. I probably muslin about half the time. It depends on the type of garment and whether I already have a good idea of how the pattern will fit me. I will usually muslin a woven top, though sometimes a quick tissue-fit is good enough. I generally don't muslin skirts and knits, with a few exceptions. I do always fit as I go, whether I've muslined or not, and I'm very familiar with sewing in my undies; my kids have walked in on me before and that's a little embarrassing.

    I do find that making a muslin never takes as much time as I think it will, and I always learn from it!

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  14. I used to make it up and try to fit but lately I've started making muslins and I'm hooked! I don't make it up completely. For shorts recently, I cut out the fronts and backs, installed the fly front zipper for practice and tried it on to check the hips and crotch. I didn't make the waistband because that and the darts are easy to fit as sewing. But I did staystitch the waistline to keep it from stretching.

    My shoulders and bust are small for the rest of my body and the neckline and shoulder seams are harder to alter that others areas. So if I can't get a good fit around the shoulders on a muslin, the rest is easy enough later.

    If I've bothered to make a simple muslin and get a good fit, I'll end up sewing several different variations of the pattern. Worth the little time investment.

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  15. I almost always have to make adjustments to a pattern. My body shape does not seem to conform to most patterns. So, I almost always make a muslin and have been known to make two muslins before achieving a good fit. I only buy good quality fabric, so I have quite a bit invested and I do not want to ruin my good fabric!

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  16. I muslin every time. My object with sewing my own clothes is to get a good fit, and that is usually going to entail a forward shoulder adjustment, a rounded back adjustment, and a FBA, and grading between sizes. Then I make a minimum of at least one muslin. And then I try it on so many times as I sew that I feel like it is practically worn out before it is done! I am thrilled when I get a TNT, and make it several times. I have made my favorite tee shirt, the J. Stern tee, 9 times.

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  17. BTW, regarding the above comment, I am retired and have plenty of time to sew.

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  18. That's why I love Me Made May, because I can somewhat objectively see what a garment looks like/fits like rather than just how it feels. I have started to do this more as I work on a clothing article, particularly bras

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  19. I almost always make a muslin. With a size differential between shoulders and hips, it's essential for me. I actually enjoy the process --- although I've learned not to use $1/yard fabric anymore as it takes all the pleasure out of everything.

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  20. Both ways; sometimes muslin, sometimes fit as I sew. I do muslins for patterns that are unlike those I normally wear, i.e. more fitted or more complicated styles. Often I will make a first garment using so-so fabric, take many measurements, make pattern adjustments and then just wing it. Sometimes it results in a wearable garment, other times I go on and make another trial. When I was perfecting my jeans block I made muslin after muslin until I got close to what I wanted and then made multiples, tweaking the fit and refining the pattern after every make. When making a military field jacket using those Japanese pattern books I made a muslin and then another one because I had to size up so much. Even the largest Japanese men's size was too small for me. If I hadn't had an existing garment to take measurements from I would have ended up making a third muslin but that was a special project. Normally, I like to use a TNT, make style changes, cut and sew.

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  21. I fit throughout the whole process. On tissue, I start with the length on the sleeves and hem. I'm five-one so I usually have to shorten the length on most patterns, but I favour long-ish lengths that can hide the knee brace that I sometimes wear. I usually make what I call a "wearable muslin" meaning that I usually try it out on a fabric that I wouldn't mind if it didn't turn out and wouldn't mind wearing if it did. My closet is full of "wearable muslins." I also learned that fabric choice plays an impact on how a garment will fit. Recently, I made a few copies of a dress, two in cotton, one in silk and one in linen. The linen version had to be taken in as it fit larger than the others even though I used the same pattern and size as the other three versions. I also try on a make as I'm sewing... you never know what surprises are waiting to be discovered or what inspired changes might pop up.

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  22. I'm a toile kinda gal - and then I refine the fit as I sew. I often make two muslins before I get just the right fit, based on the number of changes I typically make to a pattern. (there is a reason I sew my clothing...)

    I think that if I just needed horizontal changes, or lengthening/shortening at the hem, I could get away with fitting as I sew, but that's not my situation.

    All power to you, though! :)

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  23. I go for the "wearable muslin", too.

    If I am making a top or pants, I will use a fabric suitable for sleeping in, then if it ends up needing adjusting, I still have something usable out of my experiment.

    That doesn't work with a jacket or skirt, of course, but with those, I use a pattern or garment I know fits well to pick/adjust the size of a new pattern. Most of the time, this works out well.

    Sometimes, I pin something together and try it on prior to sewing any seams, "just in case" I need to re-cut. This also works out well most times.

    Since I prefer certain fabrics for certain garments (ie: challis for skirts, poly/rayon Lycra for suits) I don't usually get surprised by the behavior of a fabric.

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  24. I'm like Sydney - I make a muslin every single time until I get the fit right. I've spent the whole year on wovens to get that fit figured out. I finally did but whenever I'm tackling a new pattern I measure the pattern to my measurements, do some "always adjustments" right away, then make up a muslin. I amade up 2 in my last make (Pia dress by Tessuti) and I'm really glad I did because the final make is such a dream fit I love it :) I always do a muslin because I never use inexpensive fabric. I have such a penchant for silk, linen, Liberty lawns and really high end knits when I'm sewing those too. Knowing a garment will run anywhere between $60 - $300 in fabric alone, I'm not prepared to take risks. I enjoy the process anyway! I love to sew and it's not about making myself a lot of clothes (I don't NEED a lot of clothes to be honest) it's about making myself a few great fitting lush ones that would cost me the moon to buy in a boutique (where I would never get the fit I love anyway).

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  25. Fit as I sew. I rarely muslin, and the changes to my pattern are most usually just for that garment ... as much because fabrics are so different in how they drape, from making to making.

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  26. I usually muslin new patterns if the style is fitted but always make my usual alterations before cutting and using the fit as I sew method. The latter method works for lots of patterns. Great question, Carolyn. It's questions like this that me such a great fan of your blog! Karen

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  27. This is a great question, and I am loving all the responses. Thank you kind sewists and seamstresses for your advice and processes. And thank you so very much Carolyn for keeping a blog with such wise readers.

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  28. I muslin woven garments and make simple adjustments before sewimg it up and then make final adjustments after the muslin. I go with my measurements on knits since knits are more forgiving.I am working on a moulage and sloper so all this becomes easier down the road - theoretically.

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  29. First of all. Am not as experienced or as good a sewist as you are. Although I do not much like making toiles I find that when I do make them I have generally been glad that I did....especially when I m using a pattern for a "new or newer to me company". I expect that as I become more comfortable with more detailed fitting issues I will, hopefully, makes toiles less often. Your work and methods are always inspiring to me...

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  30. I try and make as many adjustments to the flat pattern as I can before I cut my muslin. Then Sew up the major parts and try on the muslin to see if any further adjustments are needed. Many times I end up making 3 or 4 muslins before I am happy enough to go cutting on my expensive fabric. There still have been times after all that - that I cut the expensive fabric only to make a mistake during construction and have to scrap the whole project. UGH

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  31. I rarely make muslins but I do sometimes. But if I do, it's REALLY quick and dirty and incomplete. I absolutely fit as I sew! And I often sew in my underwear for that very reason. ;)

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  32. I've made a resolution to learn to fit as I shamelessly haven't learned to even make a FBA (Which I know I need). I just go by measurements and pray for the best now. But I am starting to at least make muslins.

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  33. I usually make changes to my pattern based on my measurements then fit as I go to be sure my changes fit correctly- mainly my hips and upper arms have become my trouble spots. If not I have had a few wadders that go out with the trash.

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  34. I always start with a muslin as I have several adjustments I make and they are not the same amounts from pattern to pattern. Sometimes it does require me to make more than one to make sure that adjustments I have made do in fact solve my problem areas, such as large shoulder blades, square and forward shoulders and so on.
    Thank you for your question, I learn quite a bit on your blog

    Marie

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  35. You bet I fit as I sew and I also sew in my underwear. I just knew there were lots of people who did who also sewed in their underwear and they showed up here.

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  36. Yes I make muslins sometimes multiples. Mostly because I don't all categories covered with basic patterns that fit to compare new ones to. I just bought more muslin today.

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  37. I am a Palmer/Pletsch follower, so yes, I fit as I sew. I tissue fit and fabric fit as I go along. I know my standard adjustments and do those before I cut. Then I try on the tissue and adjust. Then I baste the side seams and check the fit. The only time I make a muslin is when I sew a new pants pattern. And I do use muslin because I draw the adjustments directly on the muslin- with a sharpie marker. Then I have a permanent fabric record of my changes. I learned this from Fit for Art patterns- the Eureka pants. And they fit!

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  38. I hate making muslins and rarely make them. The truth is I pick my size and then make the entire garment before I try it on. It usually works out as I have a fairly standard figure. I don't try on as I sew because I have found that not having the entire garment made (except for the hem) affects the fit. For example, sleeves make a difference when it comes to fit. Also, just trying on the garment before it is complete can stretch it out. The few times I've altered based on trying on as I sew have resulted in me going back to the original pattern. You just don't know how it is going to fit for real until you are done.

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  39. I make muslins of new patterns, sewing them quickly with my machines longest stitch.It is faster, and easier to rip out stitches for changes. I also make muslins of patterns that are sized for knits and I want to make them in woven fabric and visa versa. That seems to happen all the time. I also sew in my underwear as I make the garments.I am never planning on having a blog, but I have often thought that "Sewing in my Underwear" would be a good name for one.

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    1. Carol - this made me laugh out loud cause you're right that would be some blog name!

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  40. I have started making muslin over the past few years. Usually I just muslin a part of the garment -- the bodice or make shorts from a pant pattern to adjust the fit. I have been adjusting some vintage patterns I bought that are two or three sizes too small for me. Making a muslin when I change the paper pattern that much really helps. Great question!

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  41. I occasionally make a "wearable" muslin if I have some special fabric & a new pattern I haven't tried before - but most of the time I just check the finished measurements and go from there. I usually have to make a bicep adjustment & sometimes a hip adjustment if the pattern is really fitted. I too, am part of the sewing-in-my-undies brigade- lol.

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  42. I measure the flat pattern extensively, and then make equally extensive adjustments as I'm generally 5-6 sizes larger than the largest size in the envelop (sometimes more).

    But now that I have a dress form, I no longer get naked during the sewing process! I actually pin the pattern tissue to my dress form to double check my alterations, as well as put my garment - at several steps along the way - on the dress form to make sure it still fits right.

    Just before completing the garment, I then try it on in case there need to be a few more on-garment adjustments for the right fit.

    So definitely fit as I go, and fit a lot!

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  43. I generally fit as I cut, really. I do all of the fitting adjustments before sewing any final seams, because I often make my own patterns. For the right things, I would fit as I sew, but it would likely be something loose-fitting, because the potential for disaster is significantly less when I fear it may be too big...

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  44. I have a very tattered tag board basic blouse pattern that I made in a pattern drafting course many moons ago. I compare the pattern to the tag board so I can make adjustments from that. I almost always have to raise the armholes on patterns with sleeves. I then do a few try-ons during construction to tweak the fit, if necessary.

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  45. I use computer generated paper slopers/muslins (that have been tested through wearable muslins) to create/copy patterns. When my weight goes up (ugh!) or down (yay!) I make computer adjustments and print out a new muslin. I usually don't fit as I sew because the muslin has become a tnt and the quirks have been worked out. I've had to make minor adjustments due to the stretch/non-stretch of the fabric. My biggest nemesis is crotch fitting *##@@!!! I'm getting better by using Connie Crawford's basic pants pattern (B5301) as my guide.

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  46. I have to do a little bit of everything when it comes to fitting patterns/garments to my body. Well everything except pattern fitting. I don't trust myself to pin patterns together and then try them on - I'm thinking that I would tear the pattern to pieces in the process. I make paper pattern adjustments and I make plenty of muslins. Even after all of this I still fit all through the construction process as well.
    I really thought I was the only person who sits around in my underwear while fitting and sewing.

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  47. It was my usual practice to fit as I sew, and usually ended up sewing in my underwear the closer I got to finishing my garment. I fondly remember the first time my husband found me sewing in my bra, he didn't know what to think. I am learning humility with age though, I am muslining now because 100% of my UFOs are due to fit problems, mostly due to my short waistedness, sway back and bodacious biceps as you call them Miss Carolyn. But even with making muslins, I can still be found sewing in my bra from time to time, lol.

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  48. For some stupid reason I cannot see if something fits until I have it done. Right now I am trying to tweak a blouse's shoulder and sleeve fittings. I guess you could say I am on my fourth or fifth muslin. I make them once or twice and they are good then I can't seem to duplicate without a lot of effort. I never sew in my underwear, I am in and out of my sewing room continually and I never know when I will be needed elsewhere.

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  49. I've been dealing with weight loss following weight gain... My size is inconsistent so I almost always make a muslin if I'm doing anything with precious fabrics. I also fit as I go though, so I guess it's a combination approach? I've totally done the underwear sewing thing too. I'd say 75% of the time I make a test of some sort, though it's often only the bits I'm worried about fitting... I'll make the bodice of a dress, but not the skirt if it isn't super fitted. I try to be as time and resource concious as possible.

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  50. I fly by the seat of my pants loool
    I do my normal add a few inches of length to the sleeve/hem and 1" swayback adjustments and then I sew the whole thing up and try it on at the end. It's very dangerous, I know. But I want to be more mindful and understand how to make as many flat pattern adjustments I can first before I start sewing.

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  51. I always sew in my underwear. I normally cut out a size too big and fit as I go. I thought I was the only one!

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