Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crepe Sew-Along #3: Assembling and Fitting Your Muslin

And we're back! For those of you still assembling your muslins, here are the steps. First, baste your darts together. To do this, fold and pin them along the traced lines. I also put a pin at the very end of the dart so I know exactly where to stop stitching.

Turn your fabric over to make sure the pins line up with the dart tracing on the back side as well.

Stitch along the dart line using a long basting stitch, around 5 mm long.

Here's the dart stitched. Repeat this on all darts, front and back.
Using your tailor's ham to help you, press your bust darts down and your waist darts toward the center.

Pin at the shoulder seams and side seams. Machine baste.
As a final muslin prep, you may wish to press down the seam allowance on the neckline and back opening. This will help you get a better idea of how the finished neckline will look. Clip at the points of the sweetheart shape to aid your pressing. Here it is from the inside.
Put on your muslin! Remember to wear a well-fitting bra. Note that the back won't wrap all the way to the side seams; it will just cover the back dart. Pin the back wrap in place.

As you can see, my muslin is quite baggy in front and back. To remedy this, I took tucks out wherever it felt too big. Here's what I ended up with.
I started by taking a horizontal tuck out at the bustline. Reducing length in the bust is an essential part of adjusting for a small bust. Next, I took out width at the side seams. Reducing width is the second part of a small bust adjustment.

The neckline still gaped, so I took 2 tiny tucks at the sides of the neckline.

These tucks taper to nothing at the sides of the muslin. They're shaped like a wedge rather than a rectangle. You'll see this in more detail when I make these alterations to the pattern pieces. 

Finally, I took the shoulders up a bit, as they were giving me a line-backer look.
Here's the back pinned:
I took out a horizontal tuck across the mid-back. The back also benefited from taking in the side seams and shoulder seams.

Next up: transferring the changes to the pattern and making a second muslin!

How are you all doing? Remember to post your muslin pics to the Flickr Group. This way, everyone can weigh in on fitting solutions. It really helps me if we can all provide feedback for each other, so don't be shy!


  1. Thank you Gertie, I have very similar fitting problems to you and had worked a couple of solutions out but not all. In particular I had not realised that I had to take the extra length in the diagonal back out at the shoulders. I will probably have made about 6 new paper draughts before I get it right!

    On the subject of lengthening the bodice I have looked this up and feel ok about it but have realised that this has a knock-on effect on the ties. Do I widen the ties to take up the extra length or completely redraw the angle of the back diagonals? Appreciate your thoughts on this.

  2. I sewed my muslin this afternoon and fitted it on my daughter. Of course, I didn't read thoroughly, and I pulled the back piece all the way over to the side seam instead of just past the back dart. Gertie's BLOG says, "Note that the back won't wrap all the way to the side seams; it will just cover the back dart. Pin the back wrap in place." Oops! Time to refit.

    Instead of just thread tracing all the seam lines around the edges, I thread traced on my machine, snipped and clipped, and folded the seam allowance under all the way around, including around those oddly shaped arm holes. I think it was good practice for when I do the real seaming with my fashion fabric.

    Even though I pulled the back piece around too far, doing all that stitching and turning under around the muslin made it fit a lot better, especially around the arms. This evening, we're going to do another fitting with the back lapped to the RIGHT place, just past the dart.

  3. Glad you seem to be feeling better Gertie! I was working on my muslin while you were working on your post, apparently. I've uploaded my photos to flickr, and I'm not quite sure how to fix all the issues. Most of them are similar to your issues, so your post helped a lot. But I'm finding it hard to fix issues on the back of my muslin by myself (hubby helps a bit, but is busy doing other stuff). Any thoughts?

  4. Hi,I remain confused about how far to wrap the back. The schematics show the back skirt seam to be center, which it will not be if the wrap stops at the dart. Please clarify this point on how far the back should wrap. I could find no explicit instruction on this in the pattern. Help! (The back is not fitting well on me, so this point is crucial!) Thank you Gertie.

  5. Like Misty I'm wondering how to deal with fitting the back of the muslin. How I wish I had a dressmaker's form -- that fit me the way that yours does you.


  6. Hi ladies! I've written to Sarai at Colette to get feedback on the back wrap issue. My directions were based on the line drawing, where the back wrap covers the back dart, but doesn't reach the side seam. My thinking was that if it fell somewhere in that zone, we'd be good - since the fit on a wrap dress is more flexible than other garments.

    I'll let you know as soon as I hear back from Sarai!

  7. I have forward shoulders. The shoulder seam is toward my back and the side seam is shifting toward my front. How do I pin this to fit?

    Pictures and blog post here:

  8. I don't have an easy way to post self-pics, so I didn't post muslin pics, but I had a lot of changes, some of them the same as Gerties. I have no idea how to transfer these to the pattern though.

  9. Hi Gertie! I hope this isn't a stupid question: where should the side bust darts hit? Mine seem kind of high but this is my first time working with darts so I'm not sure. If they are too high, could you please tell me how to lower them?

    Thanks so much!

    PS: I haven't posted any pictures on my blog yet. I mostly sew for my son so I feel kind of weird taking pictures of myself!

  10. Even though I'm not doing this sew along (especially since *cough* I haven't finished the other one yet! Darn you holidays for getting in the way of my sewing progress. haha!), I am finding how you fit this really helpful. Seeing how you just pinch out excess and go from there--it is a style of fitting that makes a ton more sense to me than a lot of others that involve fiddling around with the pattern prior to fitting. (Not that pre-fitting doesn't have it's merits--I do use it--it's just the "on the body" approach always seems to fit better with how my brain works. ;)

    ♥ Casey | blog

  11. Thank you for your detailed explanations on how you are fitting your muslin. It is very helpful to see the actual fitting steps since fitting is a great struggle for me. I have found this to be a goldmine of information.
    Thank You

  12. Gertie, do you have any tips on how to educate/train/beg/encourage husbands and boyfriends to help with fitting the back? Is it better to just give in and get a dress form?

  13. Okay, is it me, or do the notches make no sense as they don't even remotely match up?

  14. Amy, I think you'll need to just pin out a bit (just to see how much of an adjustment you need), remove that on the flat pattern, and THEN make your shoulder seam adjustment. Fit for Real People can help you with that part.

    Caryn, I'll have a post tomorrow showing how I transferred my chages. And no, the notches do not match up whatsoever.
    You'll need to re-mark them.

    I'll go over lowering darts too. They're high on a lot of people on this pattern.

    Gaylene, I fitted my back without the aid of a husband or dress form. The key is get a good back view (either through pictures or a mirror), take off the muslin, pinch out ease, and then put it back on and repeat. Can be tedious - but definitely do-able.

  15. Gertie,

    Thank you for sharing your fitting adjustments. I am swimming in my bodice and now have a better idea as to how to proceed. Since I am an A cup, I am also going to try Lizzy's suggestion about transfering fullness from the waist dart to the side dart.

    I am wondering, however, if you or anyone else knows where the two darts should end in relationship to the apex?

    Thank you.

  16. Gertie,

    Thank you for showing exactly how to work with a muslin. Many long time sewers don't have a clue as to how to do this and it really makes a great difference in the final fit of the garment.

  17. Ok - am I a freak?

    My notches did match up and my wrap does meet the side seams.

    The fit is dreadful though - and I think I shall have to make more or less the same adjustments as Gertie. I am waiting for a friend's help tomorrow to get the pinning done properly. I was amusing the neighbours with contortions in front of the kitchen window trying to get it to fit.

  18. Cindy W. -- I believe since you are an A cup, the darts should end about 1/2" from the apex, and both darts should be pointing to the apex (mine are off like most people so I need to fix these!). This is what I got from reading Fit for Real People anyway :)

  19. Lin2Too, it is impossible for the notches to match -- you must have something wonky. They are completely drafted wrong which really bothers me about this pattern. It is a detail that should have been caught in testing before it went to be sold. There is also a blatant error in the Lady Grey pattern as well in the cutting layout which is truly disappointing. I tend to have higher standards for independent pattern companies, and am shaking my head.

  20. I know I'm way behind here (Christmas sewing was priority 1!) but am relieved that I was not the only one with bizarre shoulders that needed some correction!

    This is also the first thing I've sewn since figuring out my real bra size (Bravissimo style), so it is interesting to see how things are turning out.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake