Hey everyone! I was hoping to get this post up Monday afternoon but it took longer than expected. Better late than never! Let’s get that muslin fitted and make our changes, so we can get to the good part – sewing our real skirts!
Here’s the rundown of previous Sew-Along posts for reference:
- Crescent Sew-Along #1: Q&A and Schedule
- Crescent Sew-Along #2: Choosing Your Fabric
- Crescent Sew-Along #3: My Fabric Choice
- Crescent Sew-Along #4: Ready, Set, Prepare!
- Crescent Sew-Along #5: Supply List & Let’s Get Started!
- Crescent Sew-Along #6: Making the Muslin, Part 1
- Crescent Sew-Along #7: Muslin Part 2 and Gathering Tips
- Crescent Sew-Along #8: Grading It Up
First thing to do: try on your muslin. I like to try mine on with and without heels, just to get an idea of what
it will look like all dressed up! I also think skirts feel shorter with heels on, so if the skirt length is feeling right in flat feet, I have to check that it feels good in heels too.
Let’s run down the different things to check. We’ll look at several important areas of the skirt, decide if anything needs adjusting, and go from there!
Before fitting the waist, first decide where you want the skirt to sit. I like mine to sit at the natural waist, to accentuate the smallest part of me! You might want yours to sit slightly lower on the waist. Once you’ve decided where the skirt should be, let’s work on the rest!
On me: my skirt hits right where I want it, at the natural waist. So I can work on the rest of the fit, knowing the waist is correct!
Adjusting the Waistband
A good fit on the waistband will make the rest of the skirt hang well. If you need to adjust the skirt waistband, the best seams to adjust are:
- Centre Front seam
- Centre Back at the zipper opening
It’s best if you leave the curved seams alone, or the look of the yoke will change. Also, any changes you make to the waistband, you’ll have to make on the facing as well, and it doesn’t have any curves seams!
On me: I’m happy with the fit of the waistband! It appears I haven’t changed size and the curve from the waist down to the high hip fits right, no puckering or straining. (The little horizontal dent across my waist is from my tights – I can’t believe it’s visible! Yikes. Must pull tights up higher..)
In this skirt, the hips are generously full. Once the waistband fits, you shouldn’t have to make any changes to the skirt pieces! If you do take in or let out the waistband, I’d suggest leaving the skirt panels as-is, and just having slightly more gathers or slightly less gathers. Unless you are making major changes to the waistband, keep the skirt pieces the same!
Put your hands in the pockets. Are the pocket openings comfortable? (Aren’t they nice, roomy pockets?!) If you dislike pockets, you could sew them shut. Or remove them, and add the pocket section back on to the skirt front. (Does anyone hate pockets? Would anyone want to see how to make the skirt front without pockets?)
Finally, how’s the finished length? We have the hem allowance pressed up, if it starts to fall down put a few pins in the hem to hold it up. This is why it was important to decide where the skirt should sit on the waistline, as that will affect the hem length!
On me: I feel like it could be a touch longer. I love the flirty, playful original length but now that I’m biking, I’d like an extra inch or two of coverage. Especially for days when I’m not wearing tights.
One of the great benefits to making a muslin first is the chance to make sure you really like the style. When you sew, you don’t have the ability to try before you buy. (You do have the ability to adjust the fit, colour and fabric though, so that’s a trade-off I can live with!)
Picture the muslin in your chosen fabric. Do you still love it? Do you want to go ahead with the sewing project?
So now what?
Let’s make the adjustments to the muslin, and try it on again.
If you need to take in the seams:
- Turn skirt inside out, and try on, taking it in with pins until the fit is right. Remove pins on one side of the seam, and slip off the muslin. Draw in the new seamline with pen or fabric marker. Stitch the new seam.
If you need to let out the seams:
- Unpick seam, and pin new seamline in place. Remove pins on one side of the seam, and slip off the muslin. Mark new seamline and stitch the new seam.
- If the amount to let out is greater than the seam allowance, add a piece of scrap fabric in between the seam and pin in place. Sew this piece of fabric to the opened seam allowance.
If you need to shorten the skirt:
- Easy! Just press the hem flat, measure the amount to shorten the skirt from the original stitched hemline, and press up the new hem amount.
If you need to lengthen the skirt:
- Press the hem flat, extending the hem allowance. Is that long enough? If not, you can add more to your real skirt, but you won’t be able to see the effect on your muslin.
On me: I unpressed the hem allowance, and tried on the skirt again without any hem. That’s the length I want! So I’ll add the hem allowance to my pattern pieces before cutting the skirt.
If you’re wanting to do the same thing, here’s a shortcut – write on your pattern pieces how much to add, and just cut the skirt pieces that much longer when cutting your fabric. So in my case, I want to add 1 1/4″ (3.5cm) back on to the skirt length. I’ll pin on the pattern piece, measure down 3.5cm, and cut!
If you have a good memory, this is fine! If you’re forgetful and are likely to cut off the extra, better add some paper to your pattern pieces.
Try on, and decide if any more changes are necessary. Repeat until the muslin fit is just right!
One last step before we start the real skirt…
And that’s transferring these changes to our pattern pieces. If you have no changes, that’s great! You can get to cutting right away.
For the rest of us with changes, you can do one of two things:
- Copy the changes from your muslin to the pattern pieces
- Use the muslin as your pattern pieces
If you’re wanting to copy the changes from your muslin to your pattern pieces, I’ve shown (roughly) how to do it in this post here. Simply measure the difference from your new stitching line to the original stitching line, and add/subtract this amount from your pattern. Repeat for anywhere you need to take in or let out!
NOTE: If you’re altering the waistband, make sure to make the same changes to the waistband facing as well!
I don’t usually suggest using the muslin as a pattern, only because muslin has give and may have changed shape if you’ve tried it on. Your muslin may have ‘grown’ as you’ve worked with it, and your skirt may end up too large if you use it as a pattern! Pattern pieces are flat and don’t grow, so the first option would be my suggestion.
That was a lot, so I hope I’ve explained it thoroughly for you guys! Does everything make sense? Are you confident to follow along at home?
I’ll break down the sewing steps into smaller bites, so they’re easier to follow, as these fitting and muslin posts have been pretty lengthy. Ask if you have any questions!