Friday, March 25, 2011

My First Muslin!

Here she is: my very first muslin of a garment!  (I'm not counting the unsuccessful Crepe muslin as a muslin since it didn't even resemble a garment.)  I'm making Amy Butler's Rainy Days/Runabout Jacket pattern in the sewing class that I'm taking with a few aunts and cousins

And unfortunately you also get to see our hideous kitchen, including the lovely paper blinds that will be replaced with actual curtains when I finish them this weekend.  Ignore all of that and focus on the beauty that is my muslin!  I cut it in Extra Small and am using the mid-thigh length.  You can also make it in short, knee-length, and long.

I love how the hood lays when the coat is closed.  The bodice fits almost perfectly too!  I was worried that the hips would be a bit tight, since they measured a little wider than the Extra Small called for, but the fit seems fine.  And yes, I'm standing on the toilet in our powder room to get this shot.

My one and only fitting issue is where the shoulder seams hit.  My instructor said that when I sew up the real thing, we'll kick these out about a half inch and that should take care of the puckering in the shoulder and across the back of the bodice.  I trust this judgment since she's trained with THE Kenneth King and THE Susan Khalje (who is also running the sewing camp that Gertie will be attending next week).  I also have to hem the sleeves a bit, but that's pretty minor and easy.

After my instructor told me how to get these sleeves in, I didn't have a problem.  Trying to figure this out on my own was another story.  My homework that was supposed to be finished by Wednesday's class was to put together the muslin so we could work out fitting issues in this week's class.  Tuesday night involved lots of struggles to fit the sleeve into the arm hole.  The sleeve construction involves making a couple of rows of stitches and then pulling the threads to gather the material (called gathering stitches) to create the little mini ruffles.  Having never done this, I thought I was supposed to stitch the sleeve into the arm hole and then pull the threads to fit the sleeve in, which clearly was not working and clearly doesn't make any sense since both the sleeve and arm hole fabric would be gathering, rending the gathering part useless.  I ended up ripping some of the fabric and breaking threads.  After a couple of tries and some cursing, I threw my muslin in my bag and decided to wait until sewing class for my instructor to lead me in the right direction. 

Boy was I way off.  The gathering stitches only go on the sleeve piece and THEN you attach it to the arm hole.  Not only did I somehow miss this crucial information, but I was also trying to attach the wrong sleeve to the wrong armhole.  This was a big duh moment for me.  Thankfully everything turned out nicely once I knew what I was supposed to be doing.  Aren't the little ruffles adorable?

Here's a close-up of the front bodice.  Look how nicely the waist lines match up on the two front bodice pieces!  Strangely enough, the waist lines on the front and back pieces don't match up.  My instructor and I couldn't figure out why this was, since the top and the bottom of the front and back pieces matched up perfectly.  Everything fit nicely though, so we decided to leave it be.

Before I get to class next week I have to take this baby apart so we can use the pieces to trace the pattern on the actual fabric.  I might cry a bit while taking it apart.  It's so awesome!  I am loving that I am finally on my way to making a garment that actually fits.  Hopefully this starts a trend!


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