Monday, November 4, 2013

Simplicity 1699 Muslin and Some Tips From a Beginner!

See, this is why I don't muslin. Okay, there are adjustments I can make to this pattern but...if I sewed this in my fashion fabric and it fit this way, I would not be unhappy. I would acknowledge the imperfections, but I would wear it, proudly.

Front: I could use more room from the bust down - my shoulders are narrow with respect to the rest of my upper body. Look at that sloping left shoulder!!!

Back: Will I do a swayback? nope. I should...I should in preparation for my classic fitted blazer.

Side: It isn't level from front to back. I need a little more length to get over the bust. See how it's pulling slightly?

It *is* a little tight across the back when I lift my arms or bend over.

I *think* my bust dart needs lowering but I'm not sure. Chime in please!

I've been doing narrow shoulder adjustments on my tops lately and have been quite pleased. I'm not sure it's necessary on this though. I think I just need to account for the sloping shoulder rather than narrow both shoulders. Also, I thought I'd hate the pleated sleeve but I don't!

I posted on Pattern Review for a muslin critique but would appreciate any and all advice, comments, suggestions, etc. I am getting pretty excited about this little jacket! :)

As I was making this muslin, I was all...WOW! I am going to sew EVERYTHING with cotton broadcloth!!!! It cuts well, it sews flawlessly, it presses like. a. dream. Swooon. Make everything out of cotton broadcloth!!!! Ok, not everything get my drift.

Do not sew over your pins. It's a bad, bad habit. I have been caught a time or two. Once, the needle the pin, the tip of the needle broke off, and it hit me in the face. Luckily, I did not get hurt. That stopped me from doing it for awhile. Then I started again. And this weekend, this happened:

for shame

Lastly (for now), change your sewing needle! Throw away bad pins!!! But since those things are sharp, have a handy, dandy, sharp thing container. For me, that's a glass (!) Trader Joe's spice jar. (They have amazing garlic powder, cumin, oregano, basil and smoked paprika. For $1.99 each!)


  1. You are far braver than me. I muslin everything since I have many fit challenges. Plus, it's a good way for me to use up the WTF fabric.

    Before I give my critique of your muslin, I'd like to suggest trying shoulder princess-seamed garments. They are SO much easier to fit than darted fronts for a few reasons. First, if the shoulder seam is too long, you can take a deeper seam allowance at the point where you join the side front to front and side back to center back without affecting the sleeve. Second, you can adjust for a fuller bust and nip in at the waist to remove extra width. You can also add width at the hip if needed. Shoulder princess seams give extra room for curvy chicks to make adjustments. Being a curvy chick myself, I have come to appreciate the ease of fitting with these design lines. The latest issue of Threads has an article on how to change darted fronts to have shoulder princess seams.

    Here are some thoughts about the muslin:

    1. FBA (maybe an inch or so): Measure the gap between the CF and divide this number by two. This is the size of your FBA.

    2. More width at hip level: The extra width gained from the FBA might help this.

    3. Broad back or bicep adjustment: I've learned from experience that when a jacket or top binds as I reach forward, I need either a broad back or bicep adjustment. If the back is not wide enough, then you have no room to maneuver forward. If the bicep area isn't wide enough, fabric will be "borrowed" from the back to compensate for what is lost.

    4. Narrow shoulders: The shoulder seam looks a little long to me. Maybe remove 1/2"?

    5. Lengthen jacket: The jacket looks short and it's not even hemmed. This, of course, is personal preference.

    6. Bust dart: It looks like it's in an okay place.

    Wow. I think it's time to end this comment of epic length. I've spent MANY yards of fabric making muslins for woven tops and thought I'd share how I'd go about addressing the fit. I hope this helped!

  2. Thanks L! We'll call it "beginner's luck"! LOL!!!!

    I do like princes seams BUT I am making this in what's kind of a busy plaid and didn't want to do plaid + princess seams for my first jacket (well, first woven jacket).

    A small FBA is a good idea and will give a little more waist and hip room. The finished measurements for the waist on the size 16 is 1" less than my actual waist size and the hip is exactly the width of my hips. So I agree, a little more room there will be nice.

    I DO have large biceps so maybe that is more of an issue than the back. I do have narrow shoulders and have been doing a 1/2" adjustment on my latest tops which has made an amazing difference! I'll try it with the adjustment.

    You're right on the length. This is about where I'd want the finished length to be. And darts are still confusing me. I should read about them :)

    THANK YOU so much for taking the time to help me out! I really appreciate it

  3. Great job for a beginner and I like the fact that you can see challenge areas. Cotton broadcloth is a joy to work with. I watched a Cynthia Guffey video about fitting jackets. She said the pattern should fit your shoulders--everything else can be adjusted. Her methods are so simple and very easy to follow. She has three videos on Daily Craft TV for $9.99 each. I highly recommend these videos for anyone who sews. On her website, her videos are $35.00 and up.

    1. I've heard good things about this set of videos. Thanks for the reminder!!

  4. I just made two of these. You have a longer torso, therefore you'll need to measure from the back of your neck to your waist, check the back of the pattern for the back-neck to waist length and add additional length.
    Personally, I didn't like the sleeve tucks and will remove them from my pattern before cutting again. Have fun with this project.

    1. I saw yours Dorothy! Especially love the bright, colorful version :)

  5. I think your muslin is looking good..[I too.. do not always do muslins [shame on me]..
    Your bust dart looks right to me..
    I love sewing with cotton fabrics too. I have been sewing for years, and I sew with cottons alot.. One of my favorites... for the reasons you described.
    I look forward to seeing your jacket.. Happy sewing.

    1. Muslins. Bleh. I will muslin pants, because they are crazy and if I'm afraid of ruining a fabric that I love. Otherwise...bleh. LOL! :)

      Ooooh I wanted a bunch more cotton pieces at the moment I was working this up. Just made life so much easier! I picked up lining fabric yesterday so hopefully I'll get it done in the next week or so!


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