muslin prepping made me realize there were a few things still needing addressing before we begin our test garments.
The first is how to handle your pattern: you'll want think about whether you want to cut out your pattern or trace it. This is a purely subjective matter that most sewists feel pretty strongly about either way—just look at all the responses to Carolyn's post on the subject! I usually cut out my patterns. (Unless they're vintage . . . but even then sometimes I cut. Don't rat me out to the vintage police, okay?) A lot of people like to trace their patterns so the original sizes are retained for future use, a perfectly understandable route. If you're in this camp, just be sure to have some pattern paper (or Swedish tracing paper or whatever it is you prefer) on hand for next week.
Secondly, let's talk about sizing. Women are often (rightly) perplexed by how to handle the fact that their body doesn't fit into one clear pattern size. For example, I got this question by e-mail earlier this week and it's a great one:
Before I start buying cloth all willy-nilly, I'd like your input on sizing. Based on my measurements, my bust falls between 14 and 16 and waist and hips are between 10 and 12 (I'm sure you can imagine how well off-the rack (*snort * - not intended) works for me, so honing my sewing skills would be a HUGE blessing). So which would probably be easier - starting this as a size 16 and taking in like mad on the muslin, or going as a 12 with large seam allowances and taking out where needed?
First off, you're not alone! It is very rare for women to fit into one ready-to-wear size. I have a similar problem, with my hips being a size larger than my bust and waist. But there's an easy solution: with multi-size patterns like the one we're using, you can just transition between sizes where needed. So, as an example: if I need a size 10 in the waist and a 12 in the hips, I'll just take out a handy red pen and a ruler, and taper my size 10 out to a size 12 in the hips. It really couldn't be easier!
For the question above, the sewist in question will probably want to start out with a 16 in the bust, and use her red pen to taper down to a 12 in the waist. The other option is to take a high bust measurement, use this as your bust measurement, and then do an FBA on the pattern in advance to accommodate the bust. This is a good way to go if you have a relatively small frame with a large bust. (Because if you go with your true bust measurement, it might fit in the bust, only to be huge in the shoulders and upper chest.) Here's a great FBA tutorial. The method shown is taken from Fit for Real People, an excellent resource on pattern adjustments.
For an SBA (small bust adjustment), I've found that just taking in the garment along the princess seams works well.
Lastly, I wanted to say: don't stress too much about the whole muslin weight thing. As long as you're not using a super light weight muslin for a heavy weight fashion fabric (or vice versa) you should be fine. Just get the best thing you can find in your area, and go for it. I think that's it for today, sew-alongers. Oh, and make sure you've joined the Sew-Along Flickr Pool!