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Making Multiple Muslins

Posted by Betsy C on


Wouldn’t it be great if clothing fit us perfectly, all the time, straight off the hanger? Ha! when pigs fly right? Most of us sew to make a garment that is custom made for our bodies. But what makes patterns any different than ready to wear? The truth of the matter is that just because you can make it for yourself does not mean it was made for you.

I revise the fit of patterns as my full time job and then I go home to make my own patterns. For me it is a fact of life that my first attempt at a pattern will not be successful. It’s not because I am a bad patternmaker, it’s just the way the process works. There is always something to be improved upon. If I make a pattern for a client and it is fit approved on the first sample, well let’s put it this way: I should go out and play the lottery that day. I like to treat the first draft as the experimental muslin, or the first step in a process. Sometimes I will sew up a muslin knowing full well that this is not going to be a good fit. But this brings me closer to where I need to be and I have a clearer direction on what to do next. I expect to make at least two samples for each new style. I have even done as many as five.

My point is this: This is just the way it is. It’s a way of life in the industry where we don’t even think twice about making a revised sample to get it right. Shortcuts get you no where, and that includes “tissue fitting” because you cannot check for functionality.  It’s better to spend the time slowly perfecting the fit and re-sewing samples. C’mon, we all have extra fabric that has been laying around. Why not use up some of the extra stuff? Added bonus:  it does make you a faster and better sewer by repeating the process. If you are going to take the time to custom make a garment for yourself then you want it to fit perfectly and sew together effortlessly.


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