Thursday, October 10, 2013

Make a garment a month challenge - Muslins to Test Garment

New Look 6095

Well, New Look 6095 "Easy"' is certainly quick and easy to sew as a muslin - here are the sleeves now inserted - as you see, the shoulders are straight up and down on me, and the picture on the pattern (on the model and on the sketches show  them out at a slight angle.  They also sit like this on some of the dresses I have seen reviewed  on Pattern Review.

The back not so bad, but this is due more to my narrow back than shoulder width.  And you can see the pocketing and pouching on my upper back.  Inserting the sleeves has not made much difference to the back (and why would it?).


I retraced the pattern and altered the shoulder so that it was longer, and recurved the armscye. 

Then I recut the top - I don't need to check the length, so this one is shorter.  I also altered the neckline - I added 5/8 inch, and slightly rounded the front and took out a little bit.  I added 5/8 inch to the back neck.

Here is Muslin No. 2.  I'm smiling because after the shoulder/arm  alteration the sleeves at least fit.  I also like the length of the sleeves so I will have to add a hem allowance as if these were hemmed they would be too short - I have athletic, bony  shoulders and don't want them to "poke out".

The sleeves/shoulders work on the back too.  I have also taken the zip in, but it hasn't sorted out the back issues - in fact there is more wrinkling:

And the side wrinkles have worsened, and the back curvature pouch is still there.  My back does not curve like that in this spot.  

Back to the drawing board....


(I'm  in and out of the garden today watering and what not, and also doing the washing - so I'm wearing thongs and casual me made pants...and at home hair !.)

Another muslin - number three.  Getting shorter as I am running out of the old sheet I have been using.

As I have a narrow back and a  short waist, I decided to shorten the waist at the front just above the waist (the standard position) and just under the arm for the back.  I thought this would raise the curve area to more my natural curve.  I was right, but the pulls are still there - and there is quite a curve in the small of the back that emphasizes the back curve.  Not sure I like the degree of curve here - looks like an early kyphosis, which thank goodness I do not have.

 I suppose I could always belt the dress to try and hide the problems:

But it doesn't seem to help.  Hmmm. I'll think about this for a while...

Back to the chores and the watering...


I had a thought last night - the dress is pulling from bust point right through to the back. I put the dress on (just before bed) and the seams were distorted at the front towards my bust point.

The next morning I checked the pattern again. Ease for the bust was 4 inches, hips and waist 5 inches.  Now, I have a narrow back, which means that the front is too tight, hence the distortion.  I also have a "thick"waist - two inches larger than the pattern size 10.  I decided to let out the dress about one inch below the arm to high hip level, so that I have the same amount of ease as the pattern suggests in all areas.  I know 4 inches is a lot of ease, but on a woven sometimes you need it - and a shift is supposed to be loose.

I started with size 10 - 32 inch bust, waist 25 inches, hips 34.5 inches.  I measure bust 34 inches (if I really breath out), waist 26.5 - 27 inches, hips 34 inches.  So I have a larger bust than the pattern allows for.  And with a small back, my bust (which is really more rib cage with a poor excuse of a bust attached) means that the dress is tighter at the front than the pattern suggests.  Hence the diagonal lines from bust to backside.  In addition, the waist is supposed to be smaller - this is probably also pulling the back in.  And shifts are supposed to be loose.

The next morning I checked the pattern again.  Ease for the bust was 4 inches, hips and waist 5 inches.  I altered my pattern again (fourth tracing) to reflect this ease.

I decided to cut straight into my fabric - it is a very cheap craft cotton, and I already know the dress basically works, so I'll just risk it. I'll still have a wearable garment for hot days, even if not perfect.

Well, I'm off to see what happens....

I've quickly made the dress up - now for the moment of truth - I'm off to try it on...

I'll let you know what happens next week - because on Saturday I will be writing my next post and it will be a summary of what all of you are doing for your Make a Garment a Month Challenge.  So many wonderful projects are in the pipeline ...

Til then, take care wherever you are,

Sarah Liz


  1. I so admire your tenacity with muslins. Looking forward to seeing the dress on.

  2. You certainly know how to end with a cliffhanger ;)
    Since seeing Joi Mahon's Craftsy class on fitting I changed from using circumference measurements to splitting up in front and backside measurements. Still need a lot of practice on this new approach, but it certainly works. Hope it worked on your dress too!

    1. HI Marianne - yes, you've got to think of the body three dimensionally like this - we don't have a midline like patterns, with half of the measurement at the front and half at the back. BTW, the dress is looking good on...

  3. I always admire your tenacity to get to the bottom of your fit issues and perfect the final garment - so many people (myself included) tend to make something passable and leave it that!

    1. Hi Kristy, thank you - and believe you me, I also sometimes take the "passable: approach :)

  4. Sarah Liz, you amaze me , with your making all these muslins, until you get it "right"... and you do!!! Congrats .. Can't wait to see it on you. Know it is going to be beautiful..

    1. Thank you - should have the dress posted next week - it is finished :)

  5. You amaze me with your patience I probably would have given up by now. I know your efforts will pay off and you will be rewarded with a lovely dress

  6. Fingers crossed for a great fit - this fabric looks too good to end up as a 'so-so' dress ... J

  7. Hi, Sarah Liz! I am a lurker so never have commented, but may I put in my $.02 worth? You said you went by your high bust measurement, which is 2" less than your full bust. The diaganol lines at the sides are angling from your hip and pointing directly at your bust; and those "pull lines" generally point to where we need *more* fabric. That would seem to indicate that you should do a full bust adjustment, wouldn't you think? If you added a smidge more to the bust area, the fabric would fall more easily straight from the bust and the diaganol lines should relax and go away. Whaddya think? You're very slender, but you *do* still have a bust!! ;-) It seems that a 2" difference in high bust/full bust is quite substantial when one is as slender as you, so perhaps that might help? (I'll go back into lurker mode now! lol!)

    1. Hi Carole, and welcome. I agree with much of what you say - my front is bigger than my back, but it is not just "bust"measurement - it's actually rib cage as well:) So I start and play around with what I have - sometimes I need to increase, sometimes not - and sometimes only in the waist area. BTW I have done something similar to what you suggested, and it worked. But not only did I adjust the bust, I adjusted the whole mid section. Feel free to come out and comment anytime - lurkers are probably highly observant, so any input is welcome :)

  8. you are so much more dedicated than I. I'm frustrated and ready to throw in the towel after 2 muslins. I've had another thought to try, but first I'm making a dress I can wear out of the house - plus it's my last weekend in October to sew and I don't think I've finished anything for me this month - thanks to this dress! we are off on holidays next weekend.

    Can't wait to see how your finished dress turned out. g

    1. Hi g. I will be writing a few posts this week on fitting which may interest you. I think it is a good idea to make something that works well for you first before going back to this dress. Do enjoy your holiday. S