This weekend my sister asked me if I make many muslins since I am for this current project. The answer is no. I just doesn't suit my crashing through life with enthusiasms personality. I mean the hardest thing for me about knitting is checking the gauge, which is about the best advice anyone can give you and I have a six foot long Christmas stockings to fill every year to prove it. I curse myself for not checking my gauge every year as I realize I have been reduced to looking for stocking stuffers of volume not of quality (carmel popcorn anyone? Six packs of sport socks?)
My sewing time is precious and the thought of making every garment twice makes me crazy.
However there are some occasions when a muslin becomes a time saver and not a time waster. This particular dress project falls into that category, the category being:
1. It's a style you haven't worn before, or has details like this asymmetrical front that you just can't visualize without working with it with your hands. Sometimes you can find something similar in the stores and sometimes you can't. Plus you have to find parking and if you really liked trooping around the stores that much you wouldn't be a sewer.
2. The fabric is something you would feel really bad about wasting. Check.
Now once you get your head around the time investment here are a few other advantages to muslin making:
1. You get to burn through some of your more hideous fabric and can get it out of the inventory and out of your conscience, guilt-free. I would never wear this loud print and you know it's been eaten up by the process and now I don't have to.
2. You can also get rid of dumb zippers that you can't even remember why you bought them (for me because I am now invisible zipper only these days I can get rid of all my old school zippers.)
3. You can clean up your old bobbins and ends of weird threads that you bought for just one mending job. I have sewn through the ends of six bobbins to do this muslin.
4. You can sew like you were in grade nine again. No seam finishing, marking with permanent markers. Write advice to yourself right on the fabric.
So yesterday I made my muslin which just goes to show that different bodies react differently to the same pattern. For a real pro job on this dress, beautifully finished, go to the Sewing Lawyer for her version. I note that Sewing Lawyer and I didn't have the same issues, which is another reason to make a muslin when the garment counts. I also see she interlined her's with silk organza and I will be doing that too, it seems to have worked so well in her wonderful version.
This is what I found out about Vogue 1182 on me that I would not have known otherwise, or known too late, if I had gone directly to the fabric:
1. It is too short. I am 5'9" and add 3" and the raw edge, so unhemmed, is still hitting me just at the top of the knee cap. I am going to have to add a surprising 5" to this dress just to get it to mid knew which for this event is where I want it.
2. I was concerned that this large open collar would gape since the one part of my body that is scrawny is my neck, so I cut the top a size 12 (I am not a size 12) and that proved to be a good call, and I am happy with where this sits. However being a tall person who teaches I spend a lot of time bending over and my neck bends forward, not that attractive I know but that's the way it is for us tall middle-aged women. As a result the large collar at the back sort of gaps and stands away from my back neck and I note that the centre back seam actually curves out a bit. I curved it back in at the top 5/8" and trimmed the same off the back of the collar pieces. It would have driven me crazy ever time I looked in the mirror to see the back of that neck gaping.
3. OK ease. I am a size 16 hip and a size 18 waist so obviously knew I had to add to the princess seams to make this size 12 fit. I did that and the result was humungous. The fact is that this pattern has 3 1/2" ease built in at the bust and 4 1/2" at the waist and hips and IMO that is just way too much for this fitted style, even when you take the pleating into account. I also think that too much bust ease would make it harder to hold the wide low neckline in place. So the real version will be cut for 1 1/2" ease at bust and waist and 3" at my hips which is plenty. I restitched the muslin and this works. I am also going to lower the side seam shaping an 1 1/2" which I should have done in the first place.
Off for five days to Winnipeg now for family and fabric,those two closely related activities, and will be eager to start this dress in the final version when I get back.