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On muslins – How many have you made?

Palady | Posted in Fitting on

Scroll down on the following URL for the effort of a Sewing Divas member.





  1. sewingkmulkey | | #1

    Thanks for posting this!  As a former professional dressmaker I always made muslins for my clients as I couldn't afford to ruin their fabric but was rewarded with a perfect fit every single time.


    1. Cityoflostsouls | | #13

      I'm trying to get back to my sewing (and use this complete sewing room I have) and since you've made many muslins could you send me any links or a quick list of how-tos for making muslins.  I have never done this but I need to since nothing seems to be rght for my very thin frame.  Thanks in advance.  Sue

      1. sewingkmulkey | | #14

        Sue - I don't have any quick links to post but I'm sure other posters can supply these.I will say that the first step is to get the correct pattern size by accurately measuring yourself (get help) and then purchase your pattern using these measurements. If you have a large chest (C cup or larger) use the high chest measurement. It's important to not get hung up on length when looking at measurements as they are an easy fix. By purchasing the correct pattern size you will get the proper fit in the neck area and upper chest area which is the most difficult area IMHO to adjust. Since you have a slender frame you will probably have to lengthen the pattern in the bodice as well as the skirt/pant area. You are probably aware of these adjustments because you encounter them when purchasing RTW. Next prepare the tissue pattern by making the necessary adjustments like lengthening, FBA, etc. Then use some cheap fabric similar to what the pattern suggests. Typically, I use muslin (unless I'm sewing a pattern for knit fabrics) for woven fabrics as I have plenty on hand. Lay out and cut your tissue pattern pieces on the muslin (or knit) and mark straight of grain and other significant markings directly onto the muslin fabric. I then sew up the muslin pieces taking all darts, pleats, whatever using a large basting machine stitch. I do all this very quickly but accurately and don't do any finishing (facings, hems). I then press the muslin and try it on. It will be obvious from the fit of the rough muslin where you need to take tucks or let out seams, etc. You will need a helper at this point and they can mark directly on the muslin with a felted marker what adjustments need to be made. Of course pins can also be used in this adjustment period. If, after this trial fitting you are satisfied with the fit, you can use the muslin as your pattern pieces. Simply remove the stitching (remember I said large basting stitch) and you're set with a perfect fit.Hope this helps and I'm sure other posters will chime in with steps that I may have overlooked.Karen

        1. Cityoflostsouls | | #15

          Thank you so much for your help.  I really had no idea how to handle this.  I set up a complete sewing room five years ago however at 6 months I took my little greatgrandson into my home.  At that time I worked nights, took care of him during the day and lived on about 2 hours sleep a night and I did this for 3 years and tried to keep my house up and handle my small farm.  I adopted him and thought my dream of doing a lot of sewing would happen.  He has required intense therapy and health care with all kinds of therapy, tutoring and care.  Now he is in second grade and except for treatment for ADHD which is working fine he's doing great.  Way up in reading, excellent in math and quite the athlete.  I'm so proud of him!  Now it's my turn but when you're older eight years is a big chunk out of your life-more than when you are younger!  It's time to get started and my son is great now at entertaining himself.  I look forward to using my stash and enjoying my sewing room with embroidery thrown in for good measure.  I was actually afraid to try the muslin and cut into my stash that I have accumulated!   I was sure I would ruin everything from being so out of practice.  My favorite thing used to be tailoring.  The embroidery I have done for gifts only.  I don't have anyone to help me measure but I'll woirk it out.  I love threads and there are wonderful people here.

          1. KharminJ | | #16

            My dear - you have taken on quite a project, to raise another little boy in this day-and-age! Congratulations on all your successes with him so far!Whereabouts do you live? It's entirely possible that someone "here" knows someone "there", who would welcome a sewing buddy, or at least be able to help with the "you really need two people" parts. I don't remember if you have any local fabric (or even knitting or embroidery) shops near you ~ you might inquire if they have get-togethers where you could connect with other enthusiasts. Or, maybe a parent from your son's school?

        2. Cityoflostsouls | | #17

          Thank you so much  This is truly going to help me get started again.  I had no idea how to do a muslin and didn't want to ruin my fabric.  I have a nice stash.

          I was having trouble getting into Gatherings till I realized that my screen saver was coming on  way too soon and was eliminating the site before it had a chance to come up.   Its a busy site and the screen saver was just interfering.  A friend helped me with that and also with the volume for videos-helps to have a friend with a PHD in computer science.  I can't remember what I think I've learned!  If he comes back maybe he'll help me with my printer!  I'm giving him insulation for some buildings he's putting up!

          1. sewingkmulkey | | #18

            You are welcome! You'll find this site full of women and men who love to share their knowledge of sewing. It's quite refreshing.Karen

  2. Ocrafty1 | | #2

    My thanks 2!!  It always helps to see how different people cope with their fitting problems.

    I had to chuckle when I scrolled down and saw the patchwork jacket.  I made one that was similar out of lame scraps for one of our former ringmasters. 

    In Peru, IN we have a unique program for young people.  Peru was a winter home for many circus groups in the early part of this century.  When those people retired, many of them settled in Peru.  The kids wanted to learn how to do the 'tricks' and the Peru Amateur Circus was born. This isn't just an after school type program.  These kids start training in late March and give performances during the 2nd week in July. From tightrope walking to flying trapeze and everything in between. These kids have performed and competed internationally for many yrs.  They must be residents of our county and between the ages of 7 and 21. Here's a link for anyone who wants to check it out. 


    I was assistant wardrobe mistress for 4 yrs.  There were 106 performers and 2-3 costumes for each performer.  One of my favorite parts was what we called 'strip & zip.'  If a performer had back to back acts, we had to get them in/out of their costumes quickly.  They stood still while 2 or 3 women peeled their costumes off of them and pulled the new ones on.  We always figured out a way for them to remain partly covered, usually by utilizing the main part of the previous costume.  Oh, those were the days!  Once I made 40 pairs of boys pants, in various sizes, in 2 days.  I did have help cutting them out...9 ladies with electric scissors spent a whole day doing it...then I took them home and SEWED!!!  Lots of great memories...but it was exhausting during show week.


    1. miatamomma | | #3

      Deb--Do you know why the circuses spent  the winter in Peru?  I just wondered how they got started there.


      1. Ocrafty1 | | #6


        I'm not sure, but its something I've wondered about too. I've emailed the International Circus Hall of Fame.  I'll post the answer here when I get it.



        1. miatamomma | | #7

          Thanks, will look forward to it.  Went through the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota FL several years ago.  Not a big curcus fan but found it fascinating.


          1. Ocrafty1 | | #8

            Hi Miatamomma,

            Sorry it took so long, but I just this minute received a reply from the Circus Hall of Fame.  This is what they said:

            There are 2 reasons the circuses wintered here in Peru.  One is that we were and still are, I believe, a railroad hub.  Therefore, it was easy to put together a train or a few box cars to send to anyplace in the USA, Canada, or Mexico. 


            Another reason is that it was cheaper to bring the hay eating animals to the hay and grain, than it was to ship enormous amounts of hay and grain to where the animals might live outside of Indiana.


            Peru is indeed a railroad hub, although, with our current economy the number of trains traveling through the area has slowed down considerably.  So that makes a lot of sense.


            DH worked for Norfolk Southern for 3 yrs. It is an absolutely horrible lifestyle for any family. Many people don't know that the Federal gov't. only requires 8 hrs. between shifts for RR workers. This means that they can "tie up" at 8 PM, then be required to pull another 16 hr. shift at 4 AM. This can be repeated for many days without a day off.


            If the engineer/brakeman/etc. gets into the station at 8 PM and has an hr. drive home, will be called at 2:30 AM on the phone to be in at 4AM (they must have 1.5 hr. notice)...he/she only has a little over 5 hrs. to spend at home, and this includes sleeping time. They are gone for days at a time, as once they reach their destination they may be stuck there for several days before there is another train for them to bring back to their local station.  There is absolutely no time for themselves or their families. They may get home at 2PM, and the family has to be absolutely quiet so they can sleep. It is impossible to understand the effect it has on their families without living through it.  The $$ is pretty good, but it was not worth it for our family! We refer to it as when he 'ran away to join the circus', even though his job had nothing to do with the circus. We thank God that he doesn't have that job anymore!!!



            Anyway, hope this answers your question!



          2. KharminJ | | #9

            Hi (once again!) Deb!

            I've just taken yet another "left turn" in my thinking because of a post here - My Dad was a fireman and then an engineer for the CB&Q RR when I was little (he passed away when I was 8), and I'd never really recognized the inherent stress that his schedule must have put on our family life! I only remembered how cool it was that sometimes, he'd call and ask Mom to have popcorn ready when he got home (maybe 2 in the afternoon, maybe 8, maybe 10ish) - he'd've had dinner somewhere already, on the road, because it was an odd time for *us* to eat, but wanted to share "quality time" with his Girls (Mom, my sister and me). Thanks for the insight - I'll share this with my (little) sister - we do a lot of "socio-psychological archeology" on our younger years - there's so many "AhHah!"s to discover! ...

            Bright Blessings! Kharmin

          3. miatamomma | | #11

            Thanks so much for the info on Peru as a circus home.  We have never had anyone in the railroading business.  Had no idea it was so rough.  That wears on a family when there is no time together.  Thanks again, Deb.


    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #4

      You certainly lead an interesting life my friend! What an experience! This was something I knew nothing about, but am now looking further into it. It looks like another thing to add to the list of things to see in my lifetime. thanks for such an interesting link. Cathy

    3. Palady | | #5

      What a wonderful experience!  Laborious to be sure but the end result was certainly worth your talent Deb. 

      I especially enjoyed the read because I learned of something completely unknwon to me.  The Human Pyramid really caught my eye. 

      It is gratifying that there are adults who encourage youngsters and spend the time to encourage their spreading their wings.

      Gracious of you to introduce me to this facet of life.


    4. Josefly | | #12

      I've just caught up with this thread. It's fascinating, starting with the link to The Sewing Divas, on into the wonderful youth circus program, and your involvement with it, and your family's experience with railroad work. I've really enjoyed reading it all. Your years as costume-maker must have left you with so much know-how and problem-solving. Wonderful.

  3. KharminJ | | #10

    Thank you from me, too! But for a totally different reason - the first post on this link is about using "balloon applique" to create a continuous wrap-around effect on a border-print skirt - I WILL be using that technique on a couple of linen-and-sherpa vests that are in my ToDo pile! Well, back to the *current* project now - been here far longer than I intended ~ as usual! Kharmin

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