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.
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.)”
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!