yellow dress I'm working on, and I'm thrilled with it! I decided to make a muslin of the bodice only, since the skirt will be a circle skirt that I've draped and sewn before. It will just hang from the bodice, so the fit isn't as tricky.
It needs a couple tiny tweaks, but it's way closer than I expected it to be with a complicated design like this. Better still, I love it and I couldn't stop grinning at myself in the mirror when I first tried it on! I think what really contributed to my success with this muslin was following Susan Khalje's advice step-by-step in the book Bridal Couture. There were a lot of extra steps, but it was sooo worth it.
The muslin was cut with 1" seam allowances. I started out by thread-tracing each of the stitching lines on my machine. Here's the upper bust piece, with the thread tracings in a dark thread.
The twill tape is SO important. With a dress like this, it helps cup the fabric to the bust. On your muslin, you just pin it to the outside of your bodice, like so.
I put the bra cups in with a big catch stitch. I could have just tacked them loosely in, but I wanted to practice the catch stitch since that's what I'll use on the actual dress, stitching them just to the underlining. I figured out the placement of the cups by getting topless, holding each cup up to my bust and then holding the bodice up on top of them and pinning them in place. These cups are great; they're from SIL Thread and they're very thin, but molded. Love them.
I basted rigeline boning on the side seams only. I will probably use spiral steel boning on the final dress, but it was nice to use rigeline on the muslin since you can sew right through it. (If you're looking for information on sewing a boned bodice, it doesn't get any better than the bustier article in this back issue of Threads magazine.)
And then it was time to try on!
Quite a process, huh? When I saw all the steps that Susan Khalje recommends in her book, I was a little incredulous, I admit. But they really made ALL the difference in this muslin. I'll definitely be following her advice through the construction process as well!