Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My garment for this month - muslins first

This dress required lots of muslins...

For my garment for this month I am making up a New Look pattern - a simple shift dress.  I want to make the version with the cap sleeves.

New Look 6095
 I haven't made many dresses for myself and had no idea what my fitting problems would be, other than I know that I am a fairly up and down shape, with small hips and a larger front than back.  My back is very narrow and slight.  I also have very slim legs.

So I decided that I should just start with a muslin.  I cut a size 10 - bust 32 inch.  I measure 34 inch but my high bust and neck area always indicate that I should cut smaller around areas. The garment has plenty of ease but is it right for me?


The shoulders are going to be a little narrow after the sleeves are set it.  The neckline is too high at the front. The wide neckline is going to allow my bra straps to show.

Straight away I know I will have to adjust these areas.  There are also drag lines from bust to hip.

The back view :

You can see quite marked pouching in the upper back area - this is because of my narrow back.  Not easy to fix given that if I move it in I am going to have real problems with the armhole, which is already going to be altered to widen the shoulders.

Lets look at the side view:

Well, what a great pouch on my back - sticks out gloriously.  There are also drag lines from the bust point.

I will have to try again:


I lifted the dress at the shoulders ( I just tacked it). 

 This has not done much to help the situation, although the zip is straighter.  There is still a large bag around the zip.  I don't really want to change the arm too much - I already have to extend the shoulder - and I will have major problems with the sleeve if I am not careful.  I'll probably leave the shoulders in the original position.

I next played with shortening the waist - I just took the zip out, tacked up the waist and tacked the zip back in:

Still very baggy in the mid section of my back. 

I took the dress off and pinned some of the excess in (and I'm feeling rather pensive in this shot):

I added a sway back tuck (which meant taking out the zip and tacking it back in again:

I still have a pouch in the middle of my back- you can see the distortion even in the back view:

Okay, slowly looking better, but now there is a marked little pouch just above my waist.  And still marked drag lines.  And the garment is shorter at the front than the back.

 Well, I know I would have all sorts of fitting lessons to learn - its like making trousers (pants) all over again.  And I haven't even put the sleeves in yet...

Then I consoled myself by thinking that no-one would notice any of these fitting issues when I am moving:

Except in real life I don't go around drawing attention to myself like this !

There is more to this story yet - I'll blog that another day:)

Meanwhile, lots of you have joined the Make a Garment a Month Challenge - it's going to be fabulous seeing what you all make for yourselves.  I update the blog roll regularly. Some of you have started sewing, some have finished a garment, and some are still planning.  I'll write an update on everyone's activities later this week.

Happy sewing everyone...

Sarah Liz :)


  1. Sarah Liz I dont think they are as bad as you think. The drag lines at the side of the bust, may rectify themselves when you set in the sleeve. which will lift your fabric slightly. I have to say you really suit dresses, especially shift styles.

  2. Hi Louise - no, they never are as bad as you think. I have actually set the sleeve in by now, and it's not making that much difference. Thank you for your vote of confidence about me in dresses - lifestyle dictates lots of practical clothes, but I may have to alter that :)

  3. Muslin time ;-) the last one is almost good - when make dresses which are dut in the tail I usually fit only bodice part and use my standard skirt pattern. But I see that this one has not so strait cut line.
    Is it meant to be made of knit or woven fabric?
    It will be for sure great summer dress :-)

    1. I'm not used to making dresses, so this one is going to be a bit trial and error - but at least it gets me started :)

  4. Sarah Liz, Some people do prance around like that - in Lala Land.
    I think you're going well with your muslin. And you look like you're having a ball too. Nice work.

    1. Thank you - it's my first dress in years, so it is fun, but full of learning challenges :)

  5. LOL! Just love the action shot. Your muslin is coming along well, all this tweaking, tacking and tucking will definitely pay off when you finish the 'good' version - can't wait to see it ... J

    1. Thank you Judith - be interesting to see what solutions I finally come up with.

  6. How do the side seams look? Perhaps the hip circumference is not wide enough and the fabric is being pulled to the back. I think some drag lines are going to be there as we're trying to fit a two-dimensional sheet on a three-dimensional figure. You might be able to dart out some of the diagonal lines, but then the dress could become too tight and hard to move in.

    1. Hi L, the hip circumference is wide enough - I have eeny weeny hips. I don't want to dart out the excess - as you say, ease is needed so you can move.

  7. I am sure your dress will turn out so well after all this work on muslin. Good luck!

  8. Wow.. alot of work , you have put into fitting this dress.. It will be a super good fit ,when your through..
    Thanks for sharing your fitting problems.. I learn so much from you.

    1. I hope so, but it's still wait and see at the moment :)