Sunday, 28 April 2013

Muslin muslin muslin

I've thought about the word 'muslin' so many times that it has lost all meaning.

Normally, I use a combination of tissue fitting (a la Fit For Real People) and winging it. But this dress is going to be made of nice materials, so it requires less 'winging it' and more actual effort. Fit For Real People is great, but I think large adjustments are more accurate on the fabric.

Significant alterations required at the top of the bust!
Warning: bra and undies photos below the break!



This is the Elomi Occasions basque. Boned cups mean that even my bust doesn't need strap support.

I measured myself over my foundation garment of choice - it requires a second person to put it on, so I can only fit things while Chris is home! I have a 15cm (6") difference between my high bust and full bust. Incidentally, my underbust is the same size as my high bust. As I'm sewing a formal dress and wearing tight underclothing, I don't want or need much ease. Silk crepe de chine and georgette have some mechanical stretch, so a very fitted muslin bodice should ease well with the fashion fabrics.

Gratuitous shot of beautiful underthings. Mind the hipster jeans muffin-top!
Starting with the size for my FULL bust, I traced the bodice pieces onto muslin. Because it's a princess seamed pattern, I thought it would be easier to reduce some areas (rather than adding huge amounts to one location). Poppykettle concurred. It's convenient that my butt also requires the larger size, so the skirt will fit with minimal changes.

You can see by my silhouette and the huge seam allowance at the top that the pattern was large everywhere except over the bust.
I sewed them together with a long machine stitch. The front and the back are still separate at this point, because I know that I'm a completely different size for each! I pin-fit the front myself, making the seams the right size (if not the right shape).

The back is harder, because I have to twist around to pin-fit... which completely *changes* the fit. Sigh. Chris says the back is "fine", but I need him to pin me back into it and photograph it so I can be sure. He's brilliant at all kinds of things, but I'm not sure how much I trust his fitting judgement!

I traced the new front shape onto paper. This gave me the opportunity to straighten seams and grainlines. I also added about an inch to the top of the middle front piece... my basque has substantial cup coverage, and I'm not planning for it to peek out the top of my dress!

That line on the piece on the right is where the original neckline sat. I like cleavage, but there would have been too much underwear on display.
You can see the main changes above - my bust has much greater projection than the original, and is slightly lower. However, I'm short between the collarbone and bustpoint, despite the added volume (this could be because the size I used is generally too large for me). My new pieces do not have seam allowances. I have less of a waist than Vogue patterns in general, so the underbust curve has changed shape slightly. I added about 1cm to the length of the middle piece, grading out to nothing at the side seam (so it still matches the back).

Then I traced the corrected pieces onto some fresh muslin. Side note: muslining seems very wasteful, fabric-wise. I wouldn't do it often, for this reason alone.

I've re-sewed the front together, and this time added the straps and back pieces. The straps sit oddly, which I think is a function of too-big seam allowances and thick fabric. This fit is nearly perfect for my requirements. I just need to retry it with the basque on, and check the back fit again.

Greatly improved, and should cover the cups of the basque.
Next, it's onto the fashion fabric! I plan to mostly use the couture methods from the books I reviewed last week. I've learned from past experience that the machine doesn't always speed things up, especially when working with delicate fabrics and fiddly pattern pieces.

I'm sorry this post turned out to be so epic! I'd love your thoughts on my muslin, the fitting process I've followed, or indeed anything else that occurs to you!

14 comments:

  1. Loved your warning - bra and undies shot below - LOL!! And what a bra that is. I even had to peak over at the website to see if they had my size - but alas - no. Very beautiful.

    Your dress looks like it is going to be a fantastic fit. I am sure all your hard work will pay out in the end. Can't wait to see it.

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    1. It's possible that my workmates read this site, plus some people are a bit uptight about underthings. So I figured I'd warn them ;-)

      It is a gorgeous basque, and not nearly as expensive as I thought it might be. Considering what I pay for regular bras, I'm happy to consider this an investment in a piece of art!

      I didn't think I'd enjoy the fitting process, but with my eyes on the goal it's not so bad. I can't wait to see the finished product either...

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  2. Looks good so far. For the back fitting for next time you could consider sewing a zip into the muslin. Obviously you weigh up the time versus the convenience of being able to whip it on and off.

    Nice undies!

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    1. Good idea for the back fitting. I think there is minimal work to do on this particular one, so I'll probably persist with pins this time.

      Hehehe thanks - I like the undies too!

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  3. Hot damn those are sexy underthings! Own your curves, they are fabulous!

    I think it is awfully sweet that Chris is helping you with this process in these little ways. Your dress is going to be so special, and I'm glad I get to watch the progress.

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    1. Can't really hide the curves anyway, so I might as well use them :-)

      Naw, you made me a little teary! We're both fairly private people (despite what my blog might imply), and have few local family members we can rely on for help. So we help each other. I help with his model aeroplanes (though I'm pretty useless), and he occasionally helps with sewing.

      I'm glad everyone can be a part of this too - I couldn't sew anything at all without the help and inspiration I get online!

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  4. Alas, I have nothing practical to offer - I'm simply in awe of the hard work you are putting into this important project.

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    1. That's okay! I'm muddling through, and the instructions seem good - so support is at least as useful as advice. Thanks :-)

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  5. Hi Kat - you are on track, but make sure that everything is okay on the muslin before going over the the proper fabric. Even if you do have to do a trial - in fact, if you have some fabric around, a total trial of the bodice including straps would be a good idea. This dress is important, so don't feel bad about the muslin waste (although I tend to agree with you, and that is one reason I don't like muslins - wasteful of resources, both material and non material). You have done well, but all your blue marking lines, must be transferred on to a new muslin and tested before you do your garment. Sorry to sound bossy on this, but then you can relax with the real thing. If that makes sense. Sorry to go on and on. By the way, princess lines and curves are made to go together, and a wedding dress looks better on curvy figures.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'd been toying with the idea of a 'practice run' - I probably will (thank you for steering me in the right direction). I agree that normal ideas about waste seem to go out the window on certain occasions ;-)

      Not bossy at all, this is why I'm putting it out there for comment! I appreciate the help.

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  6. Hi Kat, one more thing - I realise that you were probably just checking how things were working - I'm referring to the picture of the muslin over your everyday bra - but I am going to make sure you know to check it over your basque I think you called it (we use a different word here) - because, and I am sure you know this too - each undergarment gives a different shape. Finalise the shape on your torselette (basque). I just thought I should mention this - it's obvious to me, but I can't make assumptions. Also, if you have your shoes, put them on. Just in case your posture changes a bit. Obsessive I know.

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    1. Oh yes, definitely. As I said in the post, putting the basque on requires some teamwork! Chris wasn't available at the time, but I'll certainly wear the basque and shoes for fitting :-)

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  7. I can't help with any sewing details, but when my aunt-in-law made my dress we did a muslin practice dress first. Which was super useful because she ended up having to redo the neck and back lines a couple of times to get them right.

    It looks amazing!

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    1. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the whole thing in muslin - I agree, it's looking good so far :-)

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