Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why do a muslin? Why? Oh why?

I've been thinking about muslins. A lot. Because I have a unique body, the pattern right out of the envelope would never work for me. So, I 'have to' make a muslin(s) for figuring out the fit and hopefully will help me to turn that pattern into my pattern.

So far I've muslined Burda and Ottobre many times to come up with a well fitting Tee. I'm almost there but not quite yet... I did learn a few things worth mentioning -  I tried the famous Y dart FBA technique and discovered that it was not for me. Continuing on my quest to find a well fitting Tee, I even printed and taped a million sheets for a 'customized' Lekala pattern. No, that didn't work for me either....  More on these two later... But what I discovered in this process is that, even though I did start on the muslins to sort out the fit issues,  I got a lot more than that out of it...

Here's what I think muslins help me with:
  1. to work on fitting issues, of course (duh!)
  2. to see if the pattern style suits my personal style 
  3. to see if the pattern style suits my unique body shape
  4. to do a trial run on the construction technique, if I'd like to try that.
  5. to figure out the order of construction or come up with your own better version
  6. to see if the drape of the fabric is the right fit for this pattern
  7. to take the pressure off to get the garment look and fit super duper great the very first time (that's torture!)
  8. to use up stash ;)
  9. to say bye to the fear factor - muslins can be done in cheap fabric that I don't care to wear anyway and if it doesn't workout, I can kiss it goodbye and embrace another muslin.
  10. to feel encouraged - after every muslin, it's so obvious how far I've come from where I began and how close I am to a decent fitting tee.
 What else do you think making a muslin can help with? 


  1. I find I like to do a wearable muslin - ie not a crappy or "muslin" fabric but not an expensive "in absolute love with" fabric. I purchased a lot of cheap gingham to do muslins with but become very demotivated when using it. So I have put it aside and use a fashion fabric that I like but won't cry over if it works.

    I thinks using a muslin approach - whether it is cheap yuk fabric or nice fabric (but not great)is great for those of us who are learning or for new patterns or if you don't have great slopers.

  2. Well said. I wouldn't think of not doing a muslin. I would add that it's great to be able to sew it up really quickly without fussing about perfection and see what it's going to look like.

  3. I use fabric from second hand shops as my material for mock doing this I agree with all 10 points above but also if it turns out...then even better, I can wear my mock up too...;)

  4. Thanks ladies.. And wearable muslins - yess!!That is another fantastic benefit of muslining!

  5. I agree with you and find muslins very useful. I make a muslin for almost everything to ensure the garment suits my body. The one thing I don't do is make wearable muslins. I tried that in the past and found that I take too much time in making the pattern wearable instead of focusing on the fit, which was the whole point of the muslin in the first place.

  6. yes Lynelle.. I don't make wearable muslins either (that's why it never occurred to me to add to that above list) because to me, that brings on the pressure to make it look good and get it right the very first time.

    To me, making a muslin is very similar to practicing a technique on scrap fabric... Except the scrap is much bigger and instead of working on a technique, it's fit that I'm going for.

    However a lot of people make wearable muslins and it works out well for them. I guess different strokes for different folks.

  7. I find that lots of times the muslin help me decide if the pattern is actually "doable" for me. When you see the diagram/pic on the envelope, it can be very appealing. Then I'll get it done in the muslin, and decide the pattern is a "No Go" for me. I can't tell you how many times its saved me from wasting my fabric on a garment that will just hang in my closet. It also helps with the standard fitting issues; especially length issues.

    For my muslin fabric I usually use quilting muslin when I can catch at 50% off sale, and then I buy a bolt, or I'll buy fabric when Joan's has the 50% off on clearance fabric ( I use this for making knit muslins).

  8. That was ace to read and very inspirational. I'll remember it the next time I need to dig deep and find the motivation to make a toile/muslin xx

  9. For me it helps clients visualize where seams go and pockets go and how tight something will be with a center zipper etc. It confirms to clients that i know what I am doing and they maybe didn't pick the most flattering pattern for their body so then we can start over and not use their great fabric for a ho-hum pattern. In my next post I will feature a man's vest that was changed and improved after making the muslin.

  10. I make muslins sometimes and I'm usually happier when I do. That said, I don't have a lot of time for sewing which is why I sometimes omit this necessary step...

  11. Yes, I agree ... We end up much happier when we do muslins..


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