Monday, November 13, 2006

On Making Muslins

This is a bit of an extension of Ann's post over at the Sewing Divas. She highly recommends muslins. I do as well. I started making muslins only a year ago when I took a seminar from Peggy Sagers on pant fit. Then I made a few more in my attempts at perfecting her pattern for me. Then I made a couple of HP patterns. Now I am sold on them. I have a stash of muslin fabrics that are under my cutting table. I baste them together and often pin strips of fabric to them to add where I need to. This has saved my life a couple of times already. One thing I have to get away from, though, is the hope that I can make each muslin "wearable" and use not expensive fabric, but nice stuff all the same. I have to take that next step and realize that there is a difference between a muslin and trial garment. Kathleen Fasanella at The Fashion Incubator has a great article on this. She differs between the muslin, the prototype and the actual garment. I Have to get into a 3(ish) step mindset on garment sewing (assumes my standard inital paper alterations like FBA already done):

Step 1: muslin/cheap-o fabric for fitting only, basted together and original markings traced on;
Step 2: muslin 2 for tweaking to ensure above steps necessary and right;
Step 3: trial linings done if needed first, for final tweak
Step 4: final garment take a deep breath and cut the good stuff!

I am trying to follow this for my coat, although I am taking a bit of a short cut here. My muslin is actually some old flannel that my Mom passed on to me. Seeing as I want to interline the coat with some flannel, I am making my first go at this in the flannel. I am using the coat pieces, not the linings as there are more pieces to the wrong side of this coat than there are the outer layer! It is easier to fit the actual coat at this stage than figure out all the facings and the lining pieces! If the adjustments I made to the pattern at the paper stage are good enough, then I will start fooling around with the lining in a cheaper fabric as well. The flannel will be serged to the cashmere and then I will have the lining and the thermal layers done separately. The thermal layer I will sew last as I am considering making it a zip in layer. If I do that, I will follow the Threads article on winterizing your coat (Threads #121, pp. 46-51).

Interesting fact of the HP coat ... although the raglan sleeves look fairly loose fitted, they (and the sleeve lining) are actually cut on the bias. I have not seen that before. I can't wait to see how they look in the flannel. Question: when I cut and assemble the coat and the lining layers, should I let them hang overnight before I attach the cuffs (which are cut on grain)?

I am amazed I got that far this weekend as the Hubby and I managed to paint the living room and then rearrange the furniture and prep 3 of 4 walls in the dining room for painting as well. We inherited a border that is not my taste and it is everywhere in the ground floor of the house! They even bordered the interior of the coat closet in the foyer and the powder room. After living with it for a year, it is time to make this house mine and add some warm tones and get that border gone! This week will see the dining room done but for one wall. The hubby won't be home for 2 weeks, so I am leaving the wall with the china cabinet on it till ge hets back. I can't move it alone and I don't want the china and crystal out for 3 weeks on the table with the kids around! More time for my coat that way, right?

1 comment:

LMH said...

Lorna, Roberta Carr's book on Couture sewing has a decent discussion of sewing with the bias, including sleeves. She says to cut the sleeves at right angles to each other so you get a mirror image in fabric design, hang, and drape. Also, cut all bias SAs 1.5" because the cut edge will "explode," meaning the stitching line will get elongated and screw everything up. The wider SA ensures the stitching line is far enough into the fabric to stay accurate. She also says to stretch as you sew & mark your stitching line, because the bias nature of bias will make the seam look narrower than it is. Also, stitch with crosswise and lengthwise grains always perpendicular at the stitching line (go 5-10", stop, lift the presser foot and let fabric settle, then go another 5-10", etc.), and, finally, all completed bias garments should be hung 24 hours before hemming and this includes sleeve hems. Maybe you already know this stuff, but if not, hope it helps.