Wednesday, May 9, 2018

If it matters, it's worth doing right!

Over the years we have talked about making muslins.  Not every garment needs a "trial run" to test the fit, but when you're not sure, it's better to make a muslin before cutting into your final fabric.  A good fit matters if we are to show our best selves.  The right style for our body type also matters, if we want to reflect who we really are.  And of course, our time matters, if we don't want to waste it making clothes that we will never wear.

Wearable Muslin

We like "wearable" muslins.  Why not make your trial pattern out of a less expensive fabric, but not so cheap and thin that it doesn't reflect a comparable outcome.  If you are eventually making a knit dress, by all means use a similar knit to make your muslin.  If it ends up fitting or just needing some minor adjustments, then you could end up with two garments.

You can ask any sewist what is the hardest garment to fit and it will be usually be pants. There are sewists/teachers who have devoted hours of instruction on making pants that fit...pants that flatter your figure...and pants that you will wear. The only way to ensure a modicum of success is to make a muslin first: if it's worth your time and energy, then it's worth doing right. Right?!

Lander Pants

Sometimes we are just not sure how a pant will look on our body shape.  There are so many variations of leg widths and lengths.  Big wide legs are trending this season, and True Bias's Lander pants are really popular – they have a little retro vibe that fits right into my Destiny Wardrobe. We've had some missteps with pants on my shape in the past (we even scrapped a finished pair once, they looked so awful), so now we always make a muslin.

We used an inexpensive bottom weight cotton to make our muslin.  The pattern's instructions are easy to follow and pretty simple to make.

Love the button fly front.

During the fitting process, we determined that the waist was probably a little big...

Nice fit in the seat, though!

I think these are a keeper!

Morgan Jeans

Making a muslin for jeans pattern is a no-brainer – jeans are fun, but they do have some tricky areas that you may want to test your skills during a trial run.  Closet Case's Morgan jeans are made with fabrics that have NO stretch, so getting a good fit may require some adjustments – you won't have the stretch to hide the fitting issues.

Laurel chose this woven midweight cotton/linen canvas fabric to make her muslin.  I should mention that she's had the pattern for almost a year and has been intimidated to start a pair - all because of getting the right fit. (Me-made jeans strike fear in even the expert sewists!). "Fitting Fear" keeps a lot of us from making our Destiny Wardrobes – we just have to slow down, breathe and go for it.

After sewing the Morgan Jeans together, give them a spin by modeling them in front of another person.  Laurel thought they looked pretty good from the front, but her non-sewing husband pointed out that there were some strange wrinkles in the back.

After some online research, she determined that a "flat bottom" adjustment was needed – basically, scooping out the back crotch to lower the natural curve. This is why we make muslins - she was able to correct the booty wrinkles. When you are ready for another pair, check out the Morgan Jeans Kit from Stonemountain complete with hardware!

Inari Tee Dress

Another reason to make a muslin is to ensure that a particular style ends up looking like what you expected. Everyone has a different body type, and just because the photo of a garment pattern looks great, it may not really work in reality. We love Named's "Inari" Tee dress and Crop Tee.  But not everyone can pull off a crop top.

Cutest look ever, but am I too old for this?!?

Only one way to find out.  We used some rayon scraps to make a muslin, and knowing that we might be a tad "mature" for that belly-showing thing, we cut the pattern a little longer. We also added a little width at the bottom.  The result is cute, but we're still not too sure if this fits our Destiny Wardrobe mindset.

Experiment and Be Brave

Not every muslin try will be successful, but that's the whole point.  We want our wardrobe and our garments to say something about who we are.  If they don't fit correctly or they just aren't rockin' on our bodies, then why bother. Sewing clothes that matter means that you take the time to chose carefully, both in fabrics and patterns. Do experiment with different styles – you might be surprised what looks good – that little dress that you thought would make you look frumpy might just be the right-sized pattern for you! We don't always know what we like until we see it for ourselves. So be brave, and make a muslin! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As always, I am standing with you 
celebrating your creative potential.

Suzan Steinberg

Owner, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley CA

Stay in touch and email me at