Friday, January 27, 2006

Do you muslin?

Or as a subtitle: How many muslins can ya make?

I love to sew! I think about sewing all the time! In the dr's office, long bus rides, boring meetings at work ~ it is a way to escape from the pressures of my life. It also allows me to indulge in my creative side. When I am dreaming about sewing, I can make anything. When I am sitting in front of my sewing machine, anything can come forth. At times it is almost magical...until we get to fitting!

Fitting the bane of my sewing existence! I totally understand that if you have a well sewn garment but if it doesn't fit, you haven't quite accomplished your goal. But dang, do you have to jump through so many hoops to get something to fit right!!!!!

I mean c'mon people, why can't the shoulders just slide down a little? Why does that armhole have to land right on my shoulder bone - exactly 1/3 of an inch to the inch! Why does that dart have to be rotated 184 degrees south into the side seam so that the armhole lies flat? Oh and why, oh why do I have to lower my bust point! C'mon, work with me. I don't really want to know that my boobies have almost lowered to my waist! Does any woman really want to deal with that ?

Sigh, I know, I know. A well-fitted garment makes a woman look slimmer, taller, younger, whatever....but it's obtaining that fit that can sometimes be like having an infected tooth worked on at the dentist's office without novocaine.

I know that there are things you can learn...tricks of the trade. But sometimes I want to tear into a pattern and just make it up! A glorious outfit from a beautiful piece of fabric in the latest style that makes me look taller, younger, slimmer, glamourous! Yeah that's what I want! Does that happen....rarely! Instead, I have to open up the pattern, look at the pieces, flat measure the pattern, check to make sure the shoulders fit, find a red pen (that some teenager has invariably taken to put a red dot on her forehead! What for, we are black, children!) to mark that lowering bust point on my pattern (where did I put that advertisement for bust enhancing surgery?), add inches to my side seams or slash and spread the pattern so that they will fit over my ever enlarging abdomen and behind, fat pad adjustments, center back seams, maybe another seam so that it looks like I am skinner than I am!!!!! Do you get the picture?!

I don't like to fit. I would rather create. When I find that inspirational picture, see that rock, that leaf, that woman wearing that beautiful skirt that I would make just a little differently, I don't want to worry about FIT! I want to play! I want to drape beautiful fabrics together and get that amazing outfit without worrying about fit!

So here are the questions of the day....does worrying about fit stop you from sewing? If you muslin, how many do you make before you call it quits? Do you make a wearable muslin? And here is the big one, how important is fit to you? Or do you just wear it? I mean, RTW fits lousy and people routinely go out the house in it all the time! Can't you sneak out the house in something that doesn't fit exactly right? Would the masses really notice?

So, do you muslin?


  1. whether i make a muslin or not depends on the garment. always always always for jackets and evening/bridal gowns. sometimes 2 or 3, until i get it right, so that i can just construct the garment itself. never for tops and blouses. sometimes for pants, depending on how fitted they are, and how much i love my final fabric. rarely wearable ones, just quick and dirty muslins that i can write on. sometimes i consider a top the first 'draft' or wearable muslin, since i usually tweak something on the next one. muslins are your friend! do them! :)

  2. Never! I do basic length alterations to the flat pattern - I'm a pretty standard shape - then cut, allowing extra seam allowances in any "iffy" area, hips etc. I thread mark all the stitching lines and baste and fit every seam before machine stitching. Rebaste and fit again if needed.
    Long winded? Yes. Worth it? Every penny!

  3. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, depends on how much I've made that garment, how difficult I think it will be. I make a lot of muslins; I'm not a standard shape, but I am always happy if I think I can skip a step or many on the road to a wearable garment. Usually my muslins are not wearable, sometimes a wearable muslin is like the third fitting before the final garment.

    I would rather make muslins that ruin something I really want to make by not doing it though.

    But boy do I understand about wanting to just cut something out and create without worrying about fit. I get that urge. I think I would ultimately be disappointed though.

  4. Sometimes. Usually for a pattern line that I've never used before; I've no idea how it runs. For Vogue, which I use fairly often, I pretty much know what to do and I'll do flat-pattern/pivot/slide to get it close enough for a wearable test garment, then tweak for later if needed. But I have a Burda jacket that has had two complete failures in muslin, but I like it so much that one day I will get it to fit! But it'll take at least one more muslin... ;)

  5. Usually I make a "wearable" muslin. I can get pretty close before I cut the pattern out, and if something strange comes up, then I can adjust for the final garment. I don't know if I'm easy to fit, (I certainly don't think so) not very picky (I don't believe that either) or just have finally figured out about what needs to be done. I also use the same patterns over and over when I get them where I want them. That saves a lot of time and trouble.

    It would definitely be heaven to be able to just lay out the pattern, cut, and sew with the knowledge that it would fit perfectly. But, why should this be easy, either? :)

  6. Your post was so funny. I have just finished making a "block pattern" using techniques from when I read this post.

    It took three days of reading/re-reading before I could comprehend what they were saying. I felt better if I could remember as K. Fasanella states, "This is engineering people!". Kind of let's me off the hook for moments at a time, after all, I'm artistic - not technical!

    While connecting "dots", I had gone thru three markers because my boys saw me drawing with their crayola markers and thought they needed to draw too. After three days, I have a bodice block that looks almost good enough to call art. And suprisingly it fits! Maybe I'll frame it for the studio.


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