Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wearable Muslin

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a pattern making for knits class this past Spring 2015 semester.  For the final, we had to draft patterns and sew the garments that would make up an entire ensemble, the only condition being that the fabric be a knit fabric.  I decided to make a top and skirt.

I used two fabrics for the top.  A yoke with a black semi-sheer knit (not very stretchy) and the bodice in a very stretchy jersey.  In preparation, I created a muslin.  My muslins usually end up marked, cut up and written upon.  This is the first time I ended up with a "wearable" muslin - score!

The fabric I chose for my final was a semi-sheer black knit with little stretch for the yoke.  The bodice fabric, a beautiful floral of red and fuscia flowers on a black background, however, had 50% stretch.  I found in my stash a burgundy-purplish very stretchy cotton jersey and a teal rayon jersey that was not very stretchy.  My challenge in making the muslin was to use fabrics that had the same or close to the same amount of stretch as the fabrics I was going to use for the final so that I could get as close as possible to an accurate read of fitting issues.  I made a muslin of the top only since I knew I would not have any fit issues with the skirt.

The way I determined the amount of stretch was to use my Fairgate Knit Rule which I received as a gift from a very dear sewing friend.  It works the same as the edge of the pattern envelopes for knits that tell you that the fabric must stretch "to here" on the pattern envelope.  With the knit ruler, you place a pin at #1 and another pin at #5.  With the fabric edge along the edge of the ruler, stretch the fabric to the highest point where it does not feel like you are forcing it.

My final fabric had 50% stretch.  My stash fabric had 40% stretch.  I decided that would be close enough (because I didn't have time to shop for 50% stretch fabric to use as a muslin).  The fabric in the top photo is straight along the ruler.  It doesn't look like it because the edges of the fabric curl to the right side.

What my fitting muslin told me was that I needed to make a deeper armhole so I adjusted the pattern draft accordingly.  This was an easy fix for my burgundy/teal muslin - just sew the bottom of the armhole deeper.  The muslin also told me I needed more room across the bust so I adjusted the pattern draft.  For the muslin, I took apart the 1/2 inch basted seams and then used narrower 1/4 inch seams by using the 3-thread stretch stitch on my serger instead of the 4-thread security stitch I normally would have used.  I also used the coverstitch for the hem.

I am very happy to have an unexpected garment added to my wardrobe.  It is very comfortable and I like the color combination.

Speaking of colors, I purchased a hanging basket of vibrant impatiens a couple of weeks ago at my local Shop-Rite supermarket.  The weather has finally warmed up here in the Northeast so the flowers are blooming beautifully.  I thought I would share them with you (ala Kyle from Vacuuming the Lawn)…so pretty.  

My next post will be about the ensemble made for the final.  Happy sewing!


  1. Wow your muslin looks like the real deal! Beyond wearable!

    I have never seen that knit ruler before ever!

    1. Thanks Kyle! My friend took the same pattern making for knits class I took and the teacher recommended this ruler for the class assignments. I had never seen it before prior to receiving it as a gift but it is a handy tool.

  2. p.s. Your flowers are beautiful!