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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Policy statement on muslins

First of all an update on the closet cull.

I made great progress today with Miss Scarlett's help. In between baking in the Easy Bake oven we went through the last of my closet. She sat on the bed and was very helpful and definitive.

"Throw it out Babs, throw it out. It's yucky."

Well that was easy. You need a 2 1/2 year old to get this job done right.

I have also been trying to figure out what to lay on the runway for myself until I get back to full sewing speed after the next few weeks. 

I have a huge list of things I want to sew, but I need something I can pick away at when I feel like it, but is still sufficiently interesting to feel like little sews are worth doing.

Claire Shaeffer's chanel jacket.

Bingo, we have a winner.

There is so much to one of these jackets that it invites slow sewing, and this is going to be the time for that. I also have a slight case of needing to get back on the horse since my last attempt was so frustrating, most of which, I have decided, was because of a pattern that was not meant to be, at least on me.

Which raises the whole issue of muslins, wearable muslins and if you do them and how much.

I have to confess something. 

I have seen a lot of fitting muslins in circulation over the years. Some seem to me to have made the rounds, from class to class, for literally years. 

It has dawned on me, and this is just my opinionated opinion, coloured by my traumatization with the last channel jacket pattern, that if most of a particularly pattern isn't fitting all that well on your particular body in your particular size, well it isn't about infinite tweaking to get what you want,  that's just not the right material for you. Kind of like marrying a man on the basis that you can change him.

Anyone who has ever found a pants pattern that fits more or less out of the envelope, like my Style Arc Lindas or the pants in Vogue 1264, has realized, like I have, that a good pattern is a good pattern and it's nearly impossible to fuss that kind of quality out of a pattern that doesn't have it more or less already.

So I am quitting muslin making, or at least going back to not making them. 

Of course if I have super great, never able to find that again fabric, then I will make a "wearable muslin" starting from a new pattern and what I know are my basic alterations length-width in the waist- square shoulders and not much else.

The worst I can have is the knowledge that this particular pattern is not worth making again in valuable fabric.

The best I can have is confirmation that this is a good pattern for me and the knowledge that only a few little things that I now know to do next time, will make it perfect.

And the thing about a "wearable muslin" is, well, you wear it. 

I don't know about you but there is a huge difference between trying something one and seeing that it looks like it fits and putting something on your body and seeing how it feels. 

Even if the garment feels good when you put it on there are always what I call the 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM fitting issues - the armhole that feels a little tight, the crotch that pulls up when you have to sit in it all meeting, the neckline that moves off your shoulder. 

Standing in front of a bathroom mirror doesn't tell you these things does it?

So despite a rising pile of more urgent business I should be taking care of I am probably going to take scissors to some white pique this weekend and see what Vogue 8804 looks like.

And eventually feels like.


Jane M said...

I've taken quickie muslin mock ups to to a short fitting session with Sarah veblen a few times. Maybe 3 of the 6 are worth pursuing....the others we just laugh at and then toss. I get annoyed when I'm tossing out an independent pattern that I spent $20 on but as you say, no amount of tweaking is going to change that fact that it looks awful on me. Loking forward to seeing this new pattern take shape for you.

Mary said...

What a breath of fresh air! I make wearable muslins, as I have a never ending need for work clothes to wear at the barn and in the yard. I have learned that some styles won't suit me, or won't fit right so I now avoid those patterns. I have made real muslins for the following:Clover pants, tailored jacket, sheath dress. I consider those muslins part of my education as an intermediate level sewer. I am learning about fit and how tweaking one part of a garment will affect another part. It is not crystal clear to me. Luckily, most of my clothing is casual and sporty.

Martha said...

All so true.

I go on muslin binges sometimes but then I just want to make something and hope to wear it. I can always rip it apart and make a purse. It's fabric. It's not brain surgery

I like the idea of CS's pattern in white pique. It will be great on you. And I'm so glad to know about your go-to pants pattern. I may give that one a whirl too.

Bunny said...

I make muslins and with my shape I have to. But you are so right. Many the perfectly fitting garment I have made that upon real life wearing I have found just not quite right. It's not something you can adjust for until you really know how the pattern wears.