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I just want to say THANK YOU!

Lilith1951 | Posted in General Discussion on

To all the lovely people here who encourage us to slow down and do things the best way, not the fastest way.  Of course I’ve read through the years about doing muslins and doing hand work.  I never took it seriously, because my goal was to get things done quickly.  I bought books on “industry shortcuts.” I didn’t actually know any other home sewers who did couture type sewing. 

But since I’ve been reading on this site, I realize that actual people (not just professionals in haute couture) actually DO do some of these things so that their finished product fits perfectly and is well made inside and out. 

I recently started my 29 year old daughter a simple summer dress.  I haven’t made a garment for her in about 13 years, and in those days, (except for her formal dresses) it was all about getting it done.  But I suddenly realized that there was no hurry and that I could take all the time I needed to 1) make it fit right and 2) make it something that I was proud of even on the inside of it.  So I made a muslin, which proved to be very important, since we had to buy a 16 pattern due her bust size and she actually wears a 6 in RTW.  You can just imagine the adjustments.  I had to take in all the side and back seams.  But by doing this muslin, when I cut the actual fabric out and sewed it together the fit was perfect!

The fashion fabric is a teal eyelet, so it needed to be lined and she decided we should just do it in white.  Okay, but the pattern only calls for lining in the bodice, not the skirt section.  I had to decide whether to just use the lining as an underlining in the skirt, treating like all one fabric, or exactly what to do.  This was complicated by the fact that it’s an empire waist and the zipper actually crosses from bodice to skirt, so I had to think about how and in what order to do things.  I had already constructed the bodice (including the lining) and here I was trying to figure out what to do next.  I decided to attach the fashion fabric to the bodice and then sew in the skirt lining by hand.  It will look finished and lovely and I will actually hand sew the lining to the zipper tape after the zipper is applied to the fashion fabric.

I am so grateful for all of the experienced sewers here who encourage the extra time it takes to use couture methods and make muslins first.  I was not taught that in home  ec (in the 60’s) and it took some strong influence for me to change my outlook.  And really, it IS a mindset change to go this route, but I am SO glad I did.  My daughter’s dress is a simple summer sundress, but it’s going to look as good as anything she has ever bought in a store, and better than most.  It will be better made than most of them for sure.

Edited 1/31/2009 11:56 am ET by Lilith1951

Edited 1/31/2009 11:56 am ET by Lilith1951


  1. KharminJ | | #1

    Good for you, Lilith! It is harder to change the *mindset* than to actually *do* the "couture" parts!Go, girl! and Please post pics! Kharmin

  2. Ceeayche | | #2

    Lilith congratulations on the latest project with your daughter.  Please post pictures of the finished garment!  It sounds wonderful.

  3. Ocrafty1 | | #3

    Lillith,(beautiful name)

    Congrats on making a muslin.  I learned about doing them here, too. It is one of the most important things I've ever learned! Now I don't make any garment without making one first. You're right. They never taught us to do that in school or 4-H either. 

    Last week I made one out of a gauzy crinkle that had a similar hand and stretch as the fashion fabric I was going to use.  I liked it so much that I decided to make it into another top.  I made a paper copy out of freezer paper first.

    I frequently use fabric that I buy in remnant or sale bins to make muslins. Sometimes it is really nice, but very inexpensive.  Last week I was searching for a knit, similar to the tops that are popular now. JoAnne didn't have anything, but I had to make a stop at Wal-Mart for my son.  I decided to make a quick trip through their fabric dept....you never know what goodies you'll find.  Best stop of the day!  I didn't find the fabric I was looking for, but they had an enourmous selection of fabrics that were on sale for $1.50/yd., and most of it was 54/60" wide!  I always buy at least 2 yd. increments, but at that price I bought it in 4 yds.  I ended up buying 8 pieces.  Some of it is too nice to use as muslins...I'm gonna have several new tops!  AND I found a piece that I know a client will love for a blouse she's been wanting me to make.  It was a GOOD DAY!



    1. Palady | | #5

      Kudos on your having a WM that still carries fabrics.  Uncertain of where you live, but many of their stores here in the North East have remodeled fabrics out of the stores.  Likewise the yarn and crafts.

      Many have contacted AR Hdqrts but the effort fell on deaf ears.


  4. sewingkmulkey | | #4

    I certainly don't want to "rain on your parade" since you successfully accomplished a perfect fit.  But I might suggest that next time you sew for your daughter-in-law that you take into consideration her bra cup size.  If she is larger than a B cup, it's best to purchae the pattern size iusing the high bust measurement and then do a full bust adjustment (FBA) on the pattern as this is much easier.



    1. Lilith1951 | | #6

      No offense taken, sewingkmulkey--I come here for both encouragement AND instruction.  I have never learned about full bust adjustments, but that will be next.  With this young lady being a 4-6 in RTW, but a C-D cup, it makes more sense. 

      However, that being said, the way this dress was made, with a criss cross bodice, but simple side and back seams, it was easier this way.  The bodice fit her bust perfectly, with just taking in the back and side seams.  When you see the picture, you'll see what I mean.

      I will certainly keep it in mind for future pattern purchases and see what else I can learn.

      I got the dress done except for hemming, and in the end I decided to do a hand picked zipper, too.  I am very impressed with myself.  It looks wonderful.  Will try to get a photo when the hem is done.

      1. sewingkmulkey | | #7

        Great!  I'm so glad you haven't taken offense at my comment  as it was merely a suggestion. 

        We're all anxious to have you post a picture.



      2. Josefly | | #8

        Yayyyy. There's nothing like being pleased with a finished project. Looking forward to the photo.

      3. Ceeayche | | #10

        Congratulations on the project!

        If I can offer one more suggestion:  once you get a patterned altered for the C-D cup.  Make a copy and use it for further alterations! I too was once a D cup and a size six.  In my mother's effects, I recently discovered a flat bodice pattern made out of non-woven sew in interfacing labled with my name.  It has the straight grain marked and my back neck to waist and "clavical to waist" measurements written in permanent  ink.  Mom was so clever.  That's how she used to sew for me and  get it right!  Of course both my cup size and my dress size have climbed.  This appears to match my college measurements.  I recently attended a fitting class to get the blouse fitted right and can't wait to use this pattern to alter a pattern. 

        Now post those pictures!  I'm dying to see them!

        1. Lilith1951 | | #11

          I finally got those pictures posted!  They are in the gallery.


          1. KharminJ | | #12

            Yay! Beautiful job - and she does look pleased!

            (The photos are under Julee's New Dress, at post #9599.1)

            Thanks for the encouragement for us, too!

            Bright Summer-Soon Blessings ~ Kharmin

    2. [email protected] | | #9

      I second this, the LBG is much easier than grading the rest of the pattern and I also applaud your success and would love to see it.

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