Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Muslin Fitting

So I mentioned I was making a dress for my Mother In Law for her 40th wedding anniversary party, using Dupioni Silk bought from Singapore when she was a teenager and a vintage pattern she used when she was a teenager.   Add to that the fact that my MIL lives 200 miles away and I won’t be able to get the dress to her until the day before the party.  No pressure then!  

So of course the first thing to do was to make a muslin (although I’m British and should say toile, I don’t like that word and can’t say it so I say muslin, so sue me!) so I bought the ubiquitous calico fabric and set about making the muslin.  The pattern was a size 16 which was the size my MIL was using in the late 60s.  I basted the seams and sewed the sewing line on the neckline and armhole. 


I took the whole process very slowly, sewing one or two seams at a time and then leaving it alone.  Eventually I ended up with a dress!



I inserted the invisible zip using this tutorial which tells you to sew the seam before inserting the zip, which is different to all the other instructions but its a much better finish, there isn’t that bump at the join between the zip and the rest of the seam.  I shall definitely be doing this in future. 

My MIL came for a fitting last week, now its 40+ years since she last made and wore this pattern and after that time and 3 kids I expected to have to make a few adjustments, the least of all being to move the dart positions and possibly having to adjust the waistline.  So you can imagine my surprise when she put it on, it was like a sack of potatoes on her!  She’s smaller now than when she was a teenager! 


How unattractive is that?!


The back isn’t much better!

So I set about her with some pins and ended up with something much better……


I didn’t need to adjust the bust darts at all.


The sides where taken in about 1.5 inches each side


The neckline was a bit too gappy for my liking so I pinned a dart in there to take in the excess. 


I’m particularly pleased with the back where I added 2 darts to the skirt to take in some extra puffiness. 


So overall I really pleased with the changes I made and more importantly so was my MIL.  Its so much easier to fit a dress on someone else rather than yourself!

In summary:

  • I took a good 5 inches off the length as MIL is not so tall and loads off the side seams. 
  • I’ve made a note to sew the back left dart a little deeper as there's still a little loose fabric there. 
  • I shaved a little off the back armscye as it was a little too tight so it was worthwhile sewing along the sewing line on the armscye as it showed this very easily. 
  • I added a centre front dart to remove bagginess. 

I’ve transferred these changes to a paper version taking care to line up the new back skirt dart with the existing back bodice darts.  I was very pleased when 2 independent measurements matched up and I’ve pinned the paper pieces together and everything seems to match ok. 

Now comes the nerve wracking part where I have to cut the silk!  I won’t tell you about being awake at 3am this morning worrying about it, I’ll just tell you that I’m going to go for it and take as much care as possible and cross my fingers!!!!  Wish me luck!

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