The Very First Minoru Muslin

You asked for a bit of guidance on making a muslin of the Minoru Jacket, and today’s post is exactly that! I still have the very first muslin I made of the Minoru Jacket, and thought I would use it for demonstrating today. Today I’ll talk about our goals when making a muslin, tips for sewing up a quick Minoru muslin, and things to check for fit and placement.

Our goals when making a muslin are:

  • Decide if we even like the style. If we don’t like it, we can save our fabric for another pattern!
  • Check the fit.
  • Check placement of details. Things like pocket placement, or in this case, the placement of the waist elastic.
  • Decide if there are style adjustments we’d like to make. Style adjustments would be something like shortening the collar. It fits as is, but you may want to customize the garment just because. Something like adding belt loops to trousers – it’s not about the fit of the garment, or the pattern pieces, but now’s the chance to play around with the pattern before cutting your real fabric.

Making the Minoru Muslin:

Here are the things I did to make up a quick muslin of the jacket, with photos to help explain!

I cut a slit in the collar instead of inserting a zipper, and pulled the hood through the hole. Want to try it on with the hood out of the way? Simply roll up the hood and pin the opening shut.

Sewed in one cuff only. Why? Mostly to save time and save elastic. Also, if you want to make an adjustment to the cuff, you have a second cuff and sleeve to test with! That way you can compare left cuff to right cuff, and see if your cuff is better after the adjustments. On our real jackets, we do sew the elastic according to the measurements, there isn’t an opportunity to adjust the cuff elastic without unpicking and re-doing them.

Skipped the lining. Nope, all you need is the shell of the jacket. The only time the lining matters is if you’re going to sew a thick lining into your jacket. In that case, remember to account for the thickness of the lining when fitting. Maybe you want to use a thicker fabric instead of muslin. Or if the muslin fits well, cut your lining from the thick fabric, and pin it into the muslin to see how much bulk it adds.

Zigzagged the waist elastic in place. Here’s a blurry, dull photo attempting to show you the zigzagged elastic. I drew the elastic placement lines right onto the muslin, and zigzagged the elastic to the muslin, stretching as I went. This is tricky to do evenly! I’d suggest pinning each end of the elastic, and then stretching and pinning evenly in between each side.

Need to raise or lower the elastic? Rip out the zigzag stitching, and re-stitch the elastic higher or lower as needed. On our real jackets, we’ll be able to tighten or loosen the elastic as needed. You don’t need to decide how tight to make the elastic right now.

Baste the zipper in place. You can use the zipper you intend to use on your real jacket, and plan to rip it out after the muslin is finished.

Baste hem in place. Press the hem after basting so it’s flat. (You can always press it open to adjust later, but it helps to see the hem pressed flat when you’re trying it on. It doesn’t have to be basted nicely, as long as the hem allowance is accurate.

(You might notice that only the back is hemmed and the front is cut but unhemmed. Good eye if you spotted that! That’s something I was testing on this muslin, your pattern will be properly aligned from front to back.)

Things to Check:

  • Size. Is this the best size to make? Try it on over sweaters and long sleeve tops. Now lift your arms up, reach forward, move around and see if there’s enough ease for you to be comfortable. Is the whole thing too big or too small?
  • Length. How is the body length? How’s the sleeve length? It’s easy to lengthen or shorten the sleeves and body.
  • Placement of details. How is the waist elastic? Is it too high or too low compared to your actual waist?
  • Fit preferences. Would you like the hips narrower, the sleeves wider, the hood larger? Take in the jacket as needed, try it on again, and see if it’s better. It may help to take ‘before and after’ photos, to see if it really was better before or after the adjustments!
  • Style preferences. Want to shorten the collar height, turn the long sleeves into short sleeves, add patch pockets? Now’s the time to play around and finalize the details.

I hope this helps you get started with fitting and adjusting your Minoru muslin! If this seems overwhelming, just remember that fitting and adjusting is a good thing. We have the option to fit our jackets and adjust them to our preferences! This is way better than trying to buy a jacket off the rack in sizes Small, Medium or Large. Already your jacket is going to fit you more precisely because of the customized elastic, because you get to choose your fabric and choose from a range of 9 sizes, not just S-M-L.

Want to see what we’ve talked about already? Click the links below to read more:

Any questions on making a muslin? What kind of adjustments did you make to yours? (If you’ve written a blog post about your Minoru muslin or pattern adjustments, include a link in your comment!)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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17 Responses to The Very First Minoru Muslin

  1. Annabelle January 13, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Thanks Tasia! This is very helpful for starting out – I will be busy this weekend working on my muslin. By the way – I got your new pattern announcement today! I am really excited about it because I love the idea of sewing up separtes for everyday.

  2. Vicki Kate January 13, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    I love the new pattern too! My muslin is done and has been adjusted to suit me and how I’ll wear it. Husband thought I was nuts seeing if I could drive the car in it with pins all over it.

    • Tasia January 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      That’s a good idea! Testing it out, doing what you’ll actually do. Great suggestion for testing bike-friendly clothing too!

  3. GPetunia January 13, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Thanks Tasia. This is great for me because I’ve never made a muslin before. I won’t be making the jacket because I now live in South Texas and have jackets and heavy sweaters to get rid of after living most of my life in a colder climate. I expect to be making muslins of other garments and this great tutorial of yours will be a big help.

  4. adela January 13, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    hola yo quisiera el patron de la chaqueta pero necesito la talla 48 gracias

  5. Latrice January 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I have a question, can I reuse the elastic for the final version or should I buy more?

    I already did my collar wrong. I sewed 3 sides and then turned them inside out. Thanks for doing this I can see what I need to do to make a proper muslin for this jacket.

    • Tasia January 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Latrice! Reusing the elastic – that’s a good question. For the cuffs, if you’re happy with the size of the cuffs, you could easily rip out the cuff and keep just the elastic part. For the waistline, I feel like elastic that gets sewn through isn’t as strong anymore if you rip it out. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but if it were me, I’d use new elastic for the real jacket waistline. I could be wrong, but that’s my suggestion. Reuse the cuffs, get new elastic for the waist. I hope that helps!

      • Katy July 20, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        Tasia – I’m wondering if you could gather with basting stitches at the top and bottom of where the elastic goes in the muslin?

  6. Amanda January 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! I am trying to learn how to make muslins at the moment and this is SO helpful :D

  7. Juliette Sewing and Style January 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Muslins are great! Everytime I decide to get started with an unknown pattern I go straight with the good fabric. And everytime I regret not to try it out first…. How ironic))))

  8. Montana January 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Oh, thank-you! I will definitely be behind on the sew-a-long due to work, but I cannot wait to get home and start working on my muslin! And so excited for the new pattern, congratulations! :)

  9. Katherine January 14, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    So glad you did the muslin because it forced me to do one of my own! (I always want to skip this step!) I discovered that my shoulders are evidently huge, so I added some extra width (2″!)to the jacket back pattern piece.

  10. Fabiana January 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I just finished my muslin, and it fits me quite well. I will only need to reduce the sleeves a little bit. Can’t wait to get started tomorrow!

    I used to have a hard time getting the fit right with sewing patterns from other companies – I think I’m buying your other patterns after this one ;-)

  11. GPetunia January 16, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Adela would like the Minoru jacket pattern in size 48.

  12. ashley January 17, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    I’m looking to get a dress form and am wondering if you have any recommendations. The reviews are hit or muss on Amazon.

    I love your blog and patterns….can’t wait to get started on my jacket!

  13. cass January 27, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Making my muslin right now!! yay. So glad that there is a sew-a-long as I am finding the instructions very difficult :(

  14. Michelle Perry August 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    I am going to give this a try in a few weeks. I just learned how to make pants and need a new project.