This is what the muslin is for!

Really interesting responses to yesterday’s post about muslins! A couple of you made excellent points about time. If you hardly get time to sew, who wants to spend it making test garments? Although, some of you put it differently – if you only have so much time to spend, you’d rather spend it knowing the fit and style are going to work. And it all depends on the project in question, as well…

I always suggest that people make muslins. I am on the muslin train, absolutely! Except when it comes to my own work. I’m so impatient, and excited, and starved for actual sewing time! The last thing I feel like doing is a dress rehearsal, pardon the pun. However, with Heather’s beautiful dresses (which is what I keep calling them in my head) I feel like I should. It’s like I owe it to Heather to do these dresses up properly.

So that’s what my muslin is for! I’m making up Simplicity 3965 first, I love – well, the simplicity of this dress. And because I don’t have a purpose to wear it, and it’s getting cold and gloomy out, I’m not rushing to the finish line just to be able to wear it. I’m going to take my time and perfect the fit, and sew it with extra love and care.

Here’s the fabric I’m using, too:

It’s a vintage rayon print and I absolutely love it! Hence, the muslin. Irreplaceable fabric plus never-used pattern equals a necessary muslin!

I’m going to pull out all the tricks on this one: underlining, hand-picked zipper, stay tape and a waist stay. My goal is to have it look simple and easy, with all of the structure and extra steps built in for a better quality dress. After all, that’s my new goal – a closet full of awesome!

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21 Responses to This is what the muslin is for!

  1. woolcat October 8, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    I hope you will keep us updated on all the details. I would love to see how the waist stay thingy works and how you adjust the fit on the vintage pattern. I swear you and my other favourite bloggers are as good as a dressmaking book – and more fun!

  2. Patty October 8, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    yay! I love, love, love handpicking my zippers. I rarely do them any other way now. They go in MUCH faster and I have so much control! Plus! If you use Gertie’s method (the hand-picked, lapped zipper ) and use a placket, it makes a fun design detail – I like it with an underlap (grosgrain ribbon wrappped in fabric is what I use) in the same contrasting fabric! I love hidden details (and zippers in dresses without an underlap make me nervous! ouch!)! (here’s what I’m talking about )

    Waist stay. I’ve done a waist stay once or twice in dresses and don’t really get what they’re supposed to do! Can’t wait to see details!

    That dress will be so adorable

  3. Mary October 8, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Beautiful pattern+beautiful fabric=beautiful dress. Can’t wait to follow your progress with this project!

  4. TanitIsis October 8, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    I love the cowl-back view! (I’m such a sucker for a cowl back)

    I would love to see detailed in progress posts, too… I’m a sucker for those as well :)

    Vintage patterns—definitely deserve a muslin. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the guts to use actual vintage fabric. :)

  5. Corinne October 8, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    This is one of those dresses that becomes a defining piece. Because the lines make it look simple, the structure is what defines it. With all that internal structure a light weight lining would give it a very light couture look. Would love to see the process. Great fabric!

  6. frk.bustad October 8, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    That looks like a gorgeous project! Looking forth to seeing the result, and do keep us posted on the work as you go along!

    I see the points with muslins, but I guess I’m more of a “having little time to sew, can’t be bothered to make a muslin”, but I wish I had more focus on that part to make my garments perfectly fitted…

  7. Sofia October 8, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    Wwithout a muslin, I would have started making the wedding dress and it wouldn’t have fit (tragedy!), and I couldn’t ever have made that fur coat so well. And those fab trouser pants I made – I took a pattern and edited it so much, my new pattern pieces are made off the muslin. I think that in some cases, you don’t always need them, but when it comes to tailored pieces, like trousers, coats, and fitted dresses, it’s totally necessary. And they take no time because you don’t have to do any finishing like hemming or interfacing or whatnot.

    By the way, thanks for the polyester awesome (non-office drone) blouse! I’m going to wear it and take a picture so you can see it being loved!

  8. Amy October 8, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Oh my goodness, I would love to be able to sew well enough to make a muslin first but honestly, I have no idea how to go about altering patterns just yet! I’ve made 2 dresses and a skirt so far and whilst I’ve been pleased with how they’ve turned out, equally there’s definitely alterations I’d like to make before I make them again but I have no idea how to do it! The dresses are 2 different styles from the same pattern but both turned out too large across the bust (sad face for tiny boobs) but I don’t know how to make the area smaller without having to alter basically the whole top half of the dress.

    For the moment I’m content to sew myself clothes that only fit 80% right because the satisfaction I get from wearing something I’ve made makes up for the other 20%. As I get better and more confident though, I’ll definitely be upping my game and learning how to alter patterns!

  9. Debi October 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    LOVE, Love, love the fabric! It will look amazing!!!

  10. learningnewtricks October 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I love the pattern — which back are you making? The material is also goregeous! I have been working on a Burda Marie skirt for many months. I first made it with stretchy material, and that one didn’t go as well. I am now working with a wool material, and it was originally a Ralph Lauren skirt I bought from the Assistance League for $2 that I am refashioning. I consider my thrift store purchases my muslins. I have nice material in my stash, all saved for when I finally get a nice fitting. I should mention that it has been taking me so long because the skirt is for my daughter. Since I first started in April, she has gone from size 48″ hips to 37″, so I have to keep redoing the fit! It’s okay because I keep learning and trying new techniques in the process. This skirt has been my best muslin experience, and really inexpensive. It may seem strange to use a nice wool for a muslin, but it gives me great satisfaction seeing how it’s turning out thus far.

  11. daiyami October 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    I was feeling ridiculous making a muslin for a simple knit crossover wrap top—I mean, knit stretches—and then it totally didn’t fit at all (too short in the bodice). Thanks be I didn’t use my nice sweater knit! (I finagled a very messy adjustment to the pattern on the muslin but am scared to try it out)

  12. quietandsmalladventures October 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    oh i can’t wait to see all the details! zippers are my nemesis and i haven’t ever done a waist stay. plus the fabric and pattern are gorgeous!

  13. Haylee October 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    K that pattern is amazing! It’s definitely going to turn out great.
    Can’t wait to see it!

  14. Funnygrrl October 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Beautiful fabric. I agree about posting your steps. It would be nice to follow your progress.

  15. Mary Pona October 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    Just put a new bolt of muslin on my shopping list for tomorrow. Yes, I did mean bolt. I use muslin for testing a lot of my patterns – some patterns I threw out after making the muslin because the fit was so bad, not worth fixing. Sofia is right. It doesn’t take that long to put together a muslin because no finishing is required so it is well worth the effort. The only time I don’t really bother is if the fabric I’m using for the garment is less expensive than muslin.
    Love the vintage fabric but, I hate to admit it, I remember wearing dresses like the one in the pattern.

  16. Sue October 9, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    What pretty fabric. All the extra work will be worth it for the finished dress that you know fits beautifully and is made beautifully.

  17. Charlotte / l'Atelier October 9, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    Such a pretty fabric !

  18. Tasia October 9, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Thanks everyone! I’m making View 2 – the plain back one. No strap, no cowl-type drape.

    PS. did you know that cowl-looking view isn’t actually a cowl? It’s a ‘drape’ they call it, and it’s just a triangle of fabric tacked to the outside of the garment. I was wondering how they were going to make it! (Feels like a cheater way to me but what do I know :) )

    I’ll definitely post progress reports! Especially the steps that might be interesting or helpful to read about. Have a great weekend! :)

  19. Fourth Daughter October 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    The more I read these sewing blogs the guiltier I feel for my own slapdash efforts… I never make a muslin! Although I’m making a trial dress for the spring races in a fabric that I will actually be able to wear if it works, so that counts, I suppose. I just don’t like to “waste” fabric on making something that won’t get worn!

  20. Catherine October 11, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Oh my! I am in love with that fabric and that pattern! Can’t wait to see your progress and results! I am a total beginner and haven’t yet made anything remotely complicated – I am basically at alterations/refashioning/wrap skirt stage just working my way round my machine (!) but am totally sold on the idea of muslins for anything more challenging or when I use some of the vintage fabric I have started collecting!

  21. amber October 13, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Oh, the fabric is just beautiful! And I love the style lines on the dress. Can’t wait to see it all finished!