Saturday, 19 March 2011

the UGLIEST fabric you've ever seen

I proclaim that blog title as a fact, not a question. I apologise for what I'm about to do to your retinas, but Lizzie asked me in the comments to the last post to share how I make muslins (aka a toile.)

First step is to find a fabric from my stash that I won't ever wear in public but is similar in fabric content, weight and drape to the fabric I plan to use for the final garment. And this fabric certainly fits the bill:

In my defence though, I often buy fabric in bulk lots either from the op shop or garage sales and that's how I end up with gems like these in the stash. But since I'm a hoarder (albeit an organised one and not out of control yet), I never throw any out, no matter what level of ugliness it is. But clearly even ugly fabric comes in handy sometimes!

Now I'm not a professional dress maker, and despite the amount of muslins I've been making recently I don't even make them all that often really. So this ain't a professional tutorial, I'm just sharing with you what I do.

After picking the right fabric, I tend to make the first muslin straight off the pattern with just a few alterations to the pattern that I always make such as a sway back alteration and a narrow shoulder adjustment. I don't bother with interfacing or facings although I do fold under the finished edge 1.5cm so that the finished neckline isn't lower than thought at the end (yeah I learnt that one the hard way). I put both sleeves in too, because getting a good fit around the arms and shoulders is important to me. And now that I've discovered that I have one shoulder lower than the other I now realise why the fit on both shoulders always turned out differently!

And then while I'm wearing the garment, standing in front of the mirror, I basically pinch and tuck and fold and pin the garment to my desired fit, and draw on the garment where I need to take it out (usually around the hip). Literally, like this:



And then I unpick all the seams, transfer the changes to the pattern or make a new pattern piece if it's too different. I've read some pattern making books that recommend using the muslin pieces as the actual pattern which makes sense if you're making something once, but since I want to get rid of the ugly fabric eventually but keep the modified pattern for future usage, I just make the changes to the pattern paper and stick a post it note in the envelope of the changes I made.

If I'm lucky there's not too many changes after the first muslin and I'll then take my chances and go on to make the final version. This dress however needed lots of reworking, to the side panel alone I've reduced the side seam quite a lot, pinched a little excess out of curve of the princess seam, as well as reducing the width of the front panel and the back panel too!

So I'm now onto my second muslin for this one, but it's looking promising. I'm so looking forward to finishing the muslin for this one and binning that ugly fabric - it's depressing sewing with it!

Sorry for the short and rather lame post, as I said I'm not an expert on this so I don't have too much to say about the topic. I just do what works for me, even if it rather unorthodox (or slipshod). Plus I'm convalescing at this point in time, I have another bout of tonsillitis. First one for this year, but after the five bouts last year I wasn't too keen to see it come back so early! My doctor says one more bout and she'll recommend I have them removed which sounds really painful but could also mean a week of ice cream yay!

21 comments:

  1. Okay... so when do I tell you I actually like that fabric. Well I do..there I said it. I think it has a real wow factor that dress (muslin).

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  2. I really like the fabric too. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished dress, it looks like a great pattern.

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  3. Well fabric or not, I think your explanation on making a muslin was a good one.

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  4. Like Summer flies... Can I say I like that fabric too.

    I enjoy reading how others tweak their garments... Thanks for sharing.

    My niece had her tonsils removed a week ago, after several bouts of tonsillitis. She mentioned that it wasn't as bad as the she thought it would be compared to what she had read on the internet.

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  5. I like the fabric too! On the wrong person though, I see how it could be ugly!

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  6. Thanks for the warning & the overview! I'm always a bit unsure as to how mark my changes on the pattern piece itself. I find myself overthinking it & then get frustrated.

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  7. Forgot to ask - have you brought yourself to wear your wedding band yet? Or is it still disinfecting?

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  8. I would totally wear that fabric - I love it!

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  9. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I do declare I doth love yonder fabric you so despise. (Apologies to Willy S!)

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  10. Hi Kristy, thankyou for doing this post, especially as you have tonsillitis. I think you do muslins better than I do, and your idea to use similar weight fabric (I use calico, but I can reuse it for cloth dolls) is a good one. I also like how you fold under the hem on the neckline, and I think I should be putting in both sleeves. I think doing a second muslin is a good idea too; a jacket I made recently after doing only one muslin did not sit as well as it could have. A second one would have alterted me to this problem. Thanks again for your tips and I am looking forward to seeing the final dress. Lizzie.

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  11. Erm, I like that fabric too!

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  12. Yes, I like the fabric, too!

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  13. I truly believe that when it comes to fitting that everyone must find the method that works best for them! And this obviously works since you turn out some amazing dresses.

    As for the tonsilitis, I feel for you. I always seemed to be sick when my kids were smaller and now that everyone is grown...not so much anymore...there is hope! And I'm glad Anna is sleeping more!

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  14. Patience is not my forte and I almost never make muslins. Is this the Simplicity dress you wrote about in your previous post? I also recently bought that pattern and will use it someday - hopefully. I will make myself a note that this dress could need a few alterations and that I should consider a muslin.
    Btw, ugliest fabric?!?!? I quite like it :-)

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  15. Sorry... but I kind of like the fabric too... I probably wouldn't wear it as a dress but I would deffinately be rocking a very cool handbag with that fabric...

    Sorry to hear about your bout with tonsilitis again.. I had mine out when I was 23, after being sick non-stop. Actually best thing I ever did. I hardly ever get sick now. It deffinately wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, just extremely itchy when it started to heal.

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  16. I'm not in the habit of making muslins so I'm not sure how. I think your explanation is pretty good. :) Like the others... I actually like the fabric, too, hehe... not to convince you otherwise.

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  17. I am with you on the fabric. A little bit lizardy for me (yes it is a new word--brand new!). But your muslim is awesome!

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  18. Hmmm, yeah not my favorite either..
    but I was going to say that you could donate it to someone or a charity shop... because someone like Summer Flies might like it! The dress pattern is good!
    Feel better... there seems to be a lot of "bugs" going around here too!
    Too Funny.... I just read all the comments... looks like your outvoted! At least to the liking the fabric.... maybe you should auction it off to the highest bidder! LoL...

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  19. I kind of like that fabric. I'm making a muslin this weekend, so your knowledge will come in handy.

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  20. I've just read the entire first page and oh gosh, you make me want to learn to sew! I love the dresses and really wish I had the time, or inclination, to make my own.

    Maybe one day I'll teach myself to use a sewing machine!

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  21. That is some ugly fabric. I think your blog is great though, so have a look over here:http://crazyknitter.typepad.com/crazy_knittin_and_sewin_a/2011/03/awwww.html

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