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njean | Posted in Fitting on

I have been away from doing a lot of sewing for 12 years. In the past I happily made many garments w/o worrying about muslins or advanced fitting, & I think (hope?!) most of my clothes turned out well, & fit nicely.   HOWEVER, in that non-sewing interval, I spent a lot of time reading about sewing, & fit, & muslins, etc.  Now that I am once again able to sew, I find myself rather paralyzed– my ingorant blissful sewing replaced by knowledgable, fearful anticipation of ill-fitting garb! Is it really possible to make a muslin w/o having someone else handy to do pinning & marking, or w/o having a dress form?  The one muslin I prepared for a blouse seemed alright, but when the blouse was constructed, it was too loose, & now needs to be adjusted. Any advice? consolation?


  1. lou19 | | #1

    You need to find a fabric similiar in weight to your fashion fabric.

  2. decoratrice | | #2

    I agree with the previous reply--choose a cheaper fabric that you don't hate, similar in weight and drape to your fashion fabric.  Then try out the pattern.  In the best case, you will see the simple adjustments that need to be made, and have a bonus garment.  Some of my favorite garments are my "wearable muslins".  For something that needs careful fitting, like a jacket or slacks, you really will need someone to help with marking and pinning.  Kenneth King has done articles on fitting muslins in the last few issues of  Threads that are marvels of clarity and logic.  Good luck!

  3. lauriehodges | | #3

    Old bed sheets or bed sheets from a thrift shop make good inexpensive "muslin" for blouses or other items using lightweight fabric. It also drapes similar to rayon chablis.  

  4. carolfresia | | #4

    Hi, NJean,

    You can fit a muslin on yourself! It's a little more tedious than having someone else pin for you, but you can do it.

    A cellphone camera is a really helpful tool, along with a full-length mirror. Shoot pictures of yourself, front and back, to get an idea of the muslin's fit. Assess where you think you need to take in or let out, and either stick a pin in or mark with a marker, provisionally. Take off the garment, pin it more carefully and accurately, try it on, and repeat. You'll get closer each time, and while this will take a few ons and offs of the garment, you'll gain a better understanding of the fit you're aiming for. When you're close to the fit you like, baste the adjustments, and check the fit. At this point, you might want to go into the "wearable muslin" phase, using an inexpensive fabric similar to your "good" fabric, to see how the garment works when completed.

    Once you've successfully fitted a garment, you can use that pattern over and over again--and make style and design changes to it without having to do a lot more fitting.

    For a very detailed class on this process, consider Sarah Veblen's "Create a Master Skirt Pattern" and "Create a Master Bodice Pattern" videos (TauntonStore.com). I love Sarah's approach to this: You need to invest some time in fitting the master pattern, but after that, all your work can be focused on design and creativity!

    Carol Fresia, Threads Technical Editor.

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