Friday, November 9, 2012

Sureau Sew-along: Sewing Your Muslin

Finally, we're sewing something!

Take your fabric and cut the pieces you need:
front bodice (x2), back bodice (1 on fold) and button placket (x1) are essential
♥ facings, sleeves and skirt are optional

I usually skip the skirt to save some fabric, especially when it's just gathered rectangles, like in this case. I usually skip facings as well, so I can pin directly on the neckline if I need to, but this time I've cut them. For sleeves, I usually cut just one.
When cutting your pattern pieces, remember to pay attention to the grain of the fabric: if we cut pieces on the bias, we're going to have an imprecise fit.
Remember to transfer all the markings on your fabric.

Now let's start constructing. I included photos, but please refer to the illustrations in your pattern booklet for more precise images.

First thing to do: pin and sew the front and back darts. Usually, I either mark them using carbon paper and a tracing wheel or I use Rochelle's method, but you can do however you prefer.

Sew starting from the leg of the dart going toward the point; don't backstitch, leave long thread tails and knot them manually.
Press them toward the center (I often skip this step, but it does make a difference).

Sew two rows of gathering stitches between the marks of the front bodice center. Use a long stitch and leave long thread tails. Pull the threads to make the front bodice equal in length to the button placket. Pin and stitch. Press the seams toward the center and you should have something looking like this:

With right sides together sew the shoulder seams. If you're assembling the facing, sew the front and back facing together at the shoulder seam, pin to the neckline and sew.
Notch the seam, turn the facing to the inside and topstitch all around. You don't need to be super precise, but it helps to keep the facing in place.
If you're not assembling the facing, I highly suggest marking the seam allowance of the neckline by thread tracing it (i.e. sewing a seam around the neckline with a 1,5cm seam allowance).
By doing this, you'll know where the actual neckline is when you try on your muslin.

Now, it's time for the zipper. Machine baste the right side seam, press the seam open and pin the zipper. Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper on the right side of the fabric. Using a seam ripper, remove basting stitches.
Sew the left side seam of the bodice.

Finally the sleeve(s).
Gather the sleeve cap between the marks as we did for the center front bodice. Sew the long seam of the sleeve. With right sides together, pin the sleeve cap to the armhole matching seams, notches and matching the sleeve cap center mark with the shoulder seam. Gather the sleeve until it's equal to the armhole: the back portion is going to be more gathered than the front. Sew with the sleeve facing up, so you can have better control on the gathers.

And we're done!
Now you can try on your muslin and decide if you need alterations:
♥ is it too snug in certain areas? Is it too big?
 are there vertical or horizontal lines i certain areas?
♥ is the length ok?
♥ are the shoulders ok? Does the neckline gape?

For me, everything fits except for the neckline, which gapes quite a bit.
We'll se how to alter our muslins during the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, if you need some advice, post a photo of you wearing your muslin on our Flickr group and Eléonore and I will do our best to help you.


  1. this is so cute! love the blog girl! can't wait to read more!

    ps: if ya want to help a sista out, please enter the giveaway i have going on! it's super cute! :) have a great weekend!

    love, rach.

  2. The steps are very clear ! I love how you illustrated the zipper part :)
    I'm sure it will help a lot the english-speaking sew-alongers !

  3. i massacred my muslin :-( but i learned my lessons. Thank's for this post. Now, i know how to do it right the next time.

  4. What do you mean you massacred it? XD

  5. i am making another one though :-(

  6. Take comfort knowing that once you have the perfect muslin, sewing the dress will be a breeze, and you can sew endless versions of it with your eyes closed! :)

  7. I have a problem with the facing, it seems too short on one side, too long on the other. I guess the button pat has something to do with it. Can you tell me the width of yours?

  8. You mean it's not the same on the left and on the right?
    Did you alter the neckline and maybe didn't do the same on the facing? Or maybe you pulled it while sewing and it stretched?
    It would help a lot if you could take a picture of it :)

  9. sorry I was too late to see your kind response. I already finished the dress and totally loving it