sdsa: the muslin

Alrighty! I think we’re ready to go ahead and cut out the muslin and get started fitting the dress. I’m giving us a week and a half to do this, so hopefully that will be enough time for everyone? (We’ll be finalizing things and cutting out the fashion fabric on February 7.) Again, feel free to follow at your own pace with this–I know most of us are super busy right now and have to squeeze sewing in around other things. Be sure to post photos of your muslin to the Flickr group if you’d like help with fitting; I think that will be a great way for us to critique and offer suggestions as needed.

Before you cut the muslin, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Final adjustments: make any remaining “pre-muslin” adjustments that we’ve covered previously on your paper pattern.
  • Seam allowance: the original pattern only allows for 1/2″ seams. If you’d like a bit of wiggle room to adjust things, I recommend increasing these to 3/4″. I usually just pin my pattern down to the fabric and pencil an additional 1/4″ around the edges.
  • Cutting out: follow the layout diagram included with the pattern for cutting out your muslin. If you’re using narrower/wider fabric, you can adjust your layout accordingly, but just remember to follow the grainlines marked on the pattern pieces!
  • Following the directions: construct your muslin as the pattern instructions specify, but don’t worry about finishing seam allowances, adding the zipper, hemming, etc. Since this is purely a dress for fitting purposes, I usually just iron and tack up hems temporarily and pin together the opening edges where the zipper will go. Also be sure to use a basting stitch when sewing your muslin up–this makes things easier to let out!
  • Marking adjustments: pinning and using a marker to mark areas that need to be adjusted are invaluable tools. I usually just pinch out excess fullness, pin and then mark the muslin once I take it off. Conversely, if you need to let a seam out, this is where the extra width comes in handy. We’ll delve more into how to transfer these fitting marks to your pattern pieces next week.
  • Design tweaks: if you’re planning for any adjustments/additions to the design, add those now to check proportion and placement. I’m planning on adding pockets and will be including those in my muslin.

01.27.11 | getting ready to cut out!

Laying out the pieces on muslin and adding an additional 1/4″ to the seams.

I am hoping to post how to sew the shoulder yoke on Monday, as well as some fitting critiques on my own muslin later in the week. So stay tuned for those! I think once we start to work on the muslin fitting stage, things will start to come together and make more sense as far as constructing certain portions of this dress. As usual, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

If you’d like to do small bust adjustment prior to cutting out your muslin, I spent some time yesterday afternoon figuring things out a bit. I came up with a fairly decent solution for this particular bodice style, although like all fitting adjustments done on paper, this does not replace the need for a fitting muslin!

A video seemed like the best method for documenting how I did this, and I included the formula for determining the amount needed for your SBA. As I said in the video, do let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer! This whole fitting series has been a great lesson for me too… Having to translate what I do know and realizing how much I still have to learn about fitting has been somewhat humbling! But stretching myself a bit in sewing isn’t a bad thing, right? I referred to several online guides for small bust adjustments, as well as pouring over “Fit for Real People” and “Every Sewer’s Guide to the Perfect Fit”. Hopefully it makes sense–this is the first time I’ve tried to explain something like this (and SBA’s are still something of trial and error for me!).

Note: I posted this in reply to a couple of comments below, but I think it’s helpful: “I just pulled out “Fit for Real People” to check what they are saying about the bust cup difference, and I’m wondering if the other formula I used was slightly off (it’s from a different source and they said it could be used both ways, but I’m thinking perhaps it was really only useful for FBA). An A cup is 1″ difference between high and full bust, B is 2″ and C is 3″, etc. So if you are an A, I’d suggest taking an overall 2″ off the pattern, for a total of 1″ on the half piece. (Or whatever the case may be.)”

sewing pattern small bust adjustment from Casey on Vimeo.

So go ahead and cut out those muslins! If you are feeling confident, start sewing it up if you have time over the next few days. Otherwise I’ll be posting that shoulder yoke tutorial and then you can get started. Can’t wait to see your muslin on the Flickr group!

January 27, 2011 · 24 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: ,

Gina January 27, 2011 at 19:15

Thanks, I know this will fall in line just like you said. I like the part of adding some, better safe than sorry later. I am very interested in how you mark and transfer from the muslin to the pattern. I guess you have to rip the muslin apart and make the changes to the paper pattern? I’ll be looking forward to your post on this. Thanks so very much!

Casey January 28, 2011 at 09:03

Yes, we’ll basically be using whatever changes you make on the muslin to transfer to the paper pattern. It’s not as scary as it sounds though! Although you could also use the muslin pieces as the pattern as well. I’ll go over everything once we get to that!

♥ Casey

Ann January 27, 2011 at 19:22

This was so helpful! Thank you for finding the time to make this little video.

Marie January 27, 2011 at 20:13

Thank you for your time, and effort, in making this video

Amanda January 27, 2011 at 20:26

The video tutorial was a great idea! Thanks for taking the time to do that :) It’s so easy to understand this way.

Cindy January 27, 2011 at 20:36

I am a little late but would love to join the sew along! I have always loved this pattern.

Patricia Schoeman January 27, 2011 at 21:31

Thanks for sharing the info in the video – a lot of ladies will find this helpful :-)

Amanda January 27, 2011 at 22:59

P.S. One thing that has always confused me is my high bust/full bust difference (1″), except I’m not an A cup. I know cup size in patterns and bras can be different, but I fit into Colette Patterns and those are designed for C cups! I know the difference is correct, but maybe my back curves inward and affects the measurement? Just curious if anyone else has an “off” difference, or if I’m just weird :)

Casey January 28, 2011 at 09:00

I just posted this in reply to another comment, but I think it might be helpful with your question:

I just pulled out “Fit for Real People” to check what they are saying about the bust cup difference, and I’m wondering if the other formula I used was slightly off (it’s from a different source and they said it could be used both ways, but I’m thinking perhaps it was really only useful for FBA). An A cup is 1″ difference between high and full bust, B is 2″ and C is 3″, etc. So if you are an A, I’d suggest taking an overall 2″ off the pattern, for a total of 1″ on the half piece. Does that make sense?

♥ Casey

seeks corey January 28, 2011 at 12:44

That helps me a lot, Casey! Thanks!

Amanda January 28, 2011 at 21:16

Thanks Casey for your very thorough response! I was able to figure it out :)

Kat January 28, 2011 at 03:49

Hello Casey!

I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite some time now. I recently started sewing again and was baffled by the SBA. I checked out several tutorials with loads of great photos but nothing is quite so clear as seeing it in video. I can’t wait to start a new dress so that I may use this technique.

Thanks so much,
Kat

Maggie January 28, 2011 at 04:29

I agree with everyone else. This is a fantastic resource, and you did an excellent job!. As part of the sba-group I say a big and hearty Thanks!

Maggie

Portia January 28, 2011 at 07:25

That video is a great idea, although being small is unfortunately not a problem I have, lol… ;)

seeks corey January 28, 2011 at 08:31

I tried to comment on this last night, but it’s not showing here. The tutorial is great, except I don’t know what an a-cup counts as in your fb-hb-bcup(2) formula. I also halved my fb-hb difference and it only comes out to 1/8″; generally I wouldn’t take it in, but I am not sure if I’m setting myself up for excess fabric. help!

Casey January 28, 2011 at 08:55

I just pulled out “Fit for Real People” to check what they are saying about the bust cup difference, and I’m wondering if the other formula I used was slightly off (it’s from a different source and they said it could be used both ways, but I’m thinking perhaps it was really only useful for FBA). An A cup is 1″ difference between high and full bust, B is 2″ and C is 3″, etc. So if you are an A, I’d suggest taking an overall 2″ off the pattern, for a total of 1″ on the half piece. Does that make sense?

♥ Casey

Maggie January 28, 2011 at 10:55

I know you mentioned not to hem, finish seams, or put in the zipper, but do we want to put in the back facing? Will that effect the overall fit of the dress? I’m about to cut the muslin, so just wondering if I needed that piece or not.

Thanks!
Maggie

Casey February 1, 2011 at 06:39

I am putting in the facing along the neckline because of the way the front yoke is constructed. It just makes things a bit easier and less fiddly!

♥ Casey

Liz January 28, 2011 at 12:29

I’m curious, what type of muslin fabric is everybody using? I don’t want to necessarily use the regular cotton muslin fabric since I’m making this up in a very drapey silk.

Maggie January 28, 2011 at 12:54

Hi Liz,
I am just using the regular cotton muslin, even though my fabric is also drapey (wish I had thought about that sooner!) but maybe you could find a thin sheet that might have more drape to it?

Maggie

Casey February 1, 2011 at 06:41

I’m using regular muslin myself, only because I’m underlining my silk so the weight of the muslin is similar to the silk + underlining weight. But, you could certainly use whatever (inexpensive!) fabric that is a similar weight. I wrote a bit about this in the supplies post.

♥ Casey

Kristin January 28, 2011 at 19:23

Thanks so much for the video! You make things seem so simple. :) I’m still trying to decide if I want to attempt that adjustment or not. I’m already planning on doing the sleeve cap ease adjustment and probably having to shorten the bodice…I’ve never in my life altered a pattern at all, so this is a little intimidating for me. But I figure if I’m putting this much effort into the dress, I might as well go all the way and make it fit me perfectly. :) I would never have attempted all of this if you weren’t hosting the sew along and helping us along!

~Kristin

Megan January 29, 2011 at 07:45

Wow! Thanks for putting this together! I just finished my SBA… I’m getting ready to cut muslin 2.0 (good thing I bought clearance fabric!). I’m excited to have a dress that I can actually fill out in the bust area!

Amanda Mac February 3, 2011 at 03:17

I agree with Kristin – I was really intimidated by altering the pattern as I have never (successfully) done this before. I didn’t understand the linked SBA pages at all so felt a bit defeated and was going to skip that part despite the need for an SBA!

Casey, you are the BEST teacher and make it so easy to understand what to do – plus doing it in video form was great. Now just the length adjustments to do…

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