81508 – Wearable Muslin

This past year, every time I’ve learned something new about fitting for my body I’ve returned to this pattern and try to perfect the fit.

I began by opening my Excel  worksheet  and comparing the measurements of my body with the measurements of the body LC used when drafting the pattern.  I traced a size large. Measured the pattern.  Calculated total circumference  Calculated without seam allowances. Calculated total ease.  Calculated… and then a surprising thing happened.  I looked at the finished garment measurements which LC provides.

From that perspective, the Peggy Sagers perspective, a medium would give me 4+” bust ease and 4″ hip ease. For a woven,  non-stretch garment.  I had to ask myself, did I want more? More than 4″ ease?   I remember the medium Ebb fitting nicely across shoulders and upper chest.  It was the center front length,  hip circumference and recently shoulder  slope that cause me concern. So for the first time I can remember, I chose size as Peggy Sagers recommends.  Based on the finished garment measurements, I chose to trace a size medium.

I double checked the medium pattern at  bust waist and hip.I opted for a 2″ BWL. I’m guessing LC uses the same back waist length as the Big4. Then moved onto my…


Sloping, Narrow Shoulder Adjustment as per Katrina Kay.  My previous attempt on a Loes Hinse pattern was easier than pie. I mean it was text-book. But on this CLD pattern,   I struggled.  I could not make the alteration as KK described and retain the same armscye shape and length.  After an hour,  I walked the sleeve along the front and back armscye.  I think the sleeve cap will still be longer than the armscye. I think it will fit even though the back armscye is +3/8″ and the front is +1/8″ longer than the original.   My final alteration was adding 2″ length to the center front at the hem. Both back and front hem are fairly horizontal with only a slight up-tick at the side seams. It was difficult to  add length and keep the hem horizontal. I never really was satisfied with my addition. I think it curves the front hem too much. But I’ve seen this before and while the tissue  looks odd and on the ironing board the garment looks wrong, it hangs correctly on me.

I’m using a rayon Challis purchased not too long ago.  I thought the blue, while not my blue,  would dominate and the overall color scheme be fine for me. When it arrived, I almost sent it back. The actual fabric is dominated by taupe’s with equal amounts of blue and sage. This is not going to be a flattering coloration but it’s good for a muslin.

I used a slightly different sewing order.  I interfaced the front button bands, taped the neckline and then finished the button holes and buttons before taping the back shoulders and neckline. I basted with water-soluble thread from here on out, till I was ready to call this muslin done. One oddity, I based the right shoulder 3/8″ the left 1/2″. That’s what worked on LH5203.  I’m into repeating successes however minor.

My first try-on was a surprise.  I’m using a 3/8 shoulder pad in the left shoulder, 3/4″ in the right. Still I expected to see some swag lines on the side because the armscye lengths had been changed.

The back looks more like the asymmetrical shoulder thing is going on. Side shows only maybe 1 of those annoying swags and the worst I can say about the front is that the empire should be horizontal but appears to be curving.  To my surprise, the hem is too long at center front.

I decide to increase the slope of the shoulders another 1/8″ which still adds 1/4″ length to the back armscye but brings the front back to LC’s original draft.  I also let out the side seam from underarm to vent; basting at 1/4″ instead the 5/8 SA drafted in the pattern. This seems to be enough to fix the back!

and vastly improved the front


Even the side looks pretty good. I’m ignoring any sleeve issues right now. Noting the drag line at the bust. The hem needs to be fixed.

At the final stitching, I increase the armscye slope another 1/8″ which yes shorts the front armscye length 1/8″ but leaves the back armscye 1/8″ longer than LC drafted. I offset the empire line at the center front so that it is 1/4″ deep on the upper bodice but the full 5/8″ on the other side. That tapers to 5/8″ for both about 2″ before the side seam.   While I can tinker with the middle of the empire, the side seam must stay the same as the back side seam. I also trim the center front hem 1″ and then try to re-establish its horizontal nature.

That would be a fail. I have a horizontal, straight hem with angled corners on the back, but a curved hem on the front.  At this point, I can only hope I’m at the forefront of a new hem trend and we can say ‘you saw it here first’.

I never feel as though my sewing of fitting tweaks is  as accurate as if I had been able to sew and only  adjust the amount of ease at the side seams. I’m right because the handling causes some stretching even though I taped critical curves.  But it’s more than that. A frustrating, ‘this just isn’t perfect’ kind of over all impression when the garment has been handled extensively before being  finished.

Disturbingly, my left shoulder is now lower than my right and I’m beginning to see the 80’s return. It’s got to be the shoulder pads. I’ve ordered another set from Wawak that are 1/4 and 1/2″ thick. Going down 1/4″ in thickness on both and thereby hopefully moving away from the 80’s. But also, making the difference in height between the pads  1/8″ less than the previous 3/8 & 3/4″ pads.  When I get the new pads, I’ll have to baste the shoulders and armscyes yet again and tweak armscye depth.  Otherwise, I can’t complain about the appearance of the back. I think it’s supposed to look like this.  I think the back should drop straight from the shoulders and hang free of the body.

Despite the variance of the hem, I’m also pleased with the side view. I’m not seeing multiple swag lines or even a slight pull at the bust.  I’m still getting the upward slant of the empire.  Note, I finished the sleeves and turned up a 1″ cuff but did not create that cute little divot that LC drafted in the sleeve. I know it’s an easy thing to do but by now I was ready to get this done and move on.  My preference is for 1 fitting to tweak ease at the side seams. These multiple tweaks are nerve-racking.  Besides, these are not my colors.  If they were my blue eyes would pop out of my head. No fooling, the right blue makes my eyes gorgeous. The right green and brown makes my skin smooth, slightly flushed and healthy looking.   These colors are doing nothing for me.

Straight on from the front, looks really good. I’m a bit picky and note that I haven’t quite solved the rising front empire line. I don’t think most people will notice. I’m also rather pleased with the front view of the sleeves.  These days, my front sleeves twist. I know it’s a posture issue, but haven’t been able to correct it. I’m not sure I’ve fixed it here either. These are 3/4 sleeves.  They’re not reflecting the full effect of how my arms normally hang.

This is a good muslin. I finished it and will definitely wear it a few times just because that’s the only way I’m truly sure about fit.  So many times, I’ve found that a garment almost changes shape after it’s been on the body a few hours not to mention a trip through the washing machine and dryer.

I’m rather eager for the next version and have already tweaked the tissue

  • Increased shoulder slope
  • Adding 1/2″ wedge to CF of upper bodice — trying to make the upper bodice longer instead of adding to the hem.
  • Returned CF hem to original squared off and horizontal position.
  • Added 1/2″ ease to back side seam. Hope that’s enough. Technically, changing the side seams to 1/4″ added a total of 3/4″ ease across the hip but evenly to front and back. Personal experience is tending towards adding more ease to the back.



3 thoughts on “81508 – Wearable Muslin

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