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Beginner problems
Muslin or not?
Challis
Challis
Beginner
OR USA
Member since 3/21/13
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Date: 10/16/13 8:13 AM

I am a beginner sewer and I can't sew a think that fits? I want to know should I make muslin first and is this hard to fit to your body. I have no one to help pin my muslin or is tissue better ?

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Sewing lady

mgmsrk1
mgmsrk1
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NY
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Date: 10/16/13 8:55 AM

If you already know you have trouble fitting things then of course you should make a muslin.

If you know you have problems with fitting you can adjust your pattern a bit before you sew your first muslin and go from there.

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1968 Kenmore 158. (AKA The Hulk)
Bernina 230
Janome 6600 (for sale)
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Juki 600
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Kenmore serger
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Kiawe
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Kiawe
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Date: 10/16/13 8:57 AM

If you have already made some items that don't fit, treat them as muslins. Compare them to clothes that do fit you. Are the measurements different? Are the shapes of the armholes or the crotch different?

Also, if you're using commercial patterns and just starting out, don't trust the measurement charts to tell you what size to make. I find that I have to usually go two sizes smaller than what the chart is telling me. If the garment just seems too big or too small, try different sizes til you find one that's mostly right before you begin tweaking the pattern.

JTink
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JTink
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In reply to Challis <<
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Date: 10/16/13 9:06 AM

Challis, Yes! When making a "first time" garment, a muslin is a must. I don't have a fitting buddy either. I would suggest you start with something basic. A garment doesn't have to have a zillion seams and darts to make it lovely. Some of my best and favorite garments have only a few seams(not counting sleeves). I let the fabric do the talking.

Take your measurements. Start with your high bust, full bust, waist and hip(hip being the largest part of your body below the waist). If you are bigger than a B cup, they make patterns now with the optional cup sizes. I would suggest getting one of those to begin with and not worrying with an FBA at this point.

Here is were I differ from some. After taking your measurements, trim your pattern in the size that corresponds(most patterns are multi size now days). I then trace my original pattern on to Doctor paper(yep the kind you sit on in the exam room). I might add a little extra seam allowance as I trace, for wiggle room. I place my pattern pieces on top of the paper and trace. Some don't trim the pattern first, they slip the pattern piece under the tracing paper and trace the lines that way. It's all personal preference and I've been sewing for close to 40 years. Kinda know where my ins and outs are

I like to tissue fit, before making a muslin. Just pin your pattern pieces together at the seam lines and gently slip it on. It's not the "be all" of fitting, but it will give you a heads up if something major needs to be done before cutting the muslin. Examples: you need to raise or lower the waist line, make shoulder adjustments, need a little more or less around the hip.

Do you have any good fitting books? I like Fit For Real People. It's very basic and easy to read. Do you have a pattern you are working on now?

Vintagelover
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Date: 10/16/13 9:33 AM

challis you have been given wise advice.

I only have one suggestion to add; consider unpicking simple RTW that fits WELL and copy. I did this when I was a beginner because I had no sewing buddy for fitting and not much experience with understanding fitting issues. The most common items I copied were knit tops/dresses and woven skirts. Worked for me to make a mini wardrobe of clothes that fitted GREAT and then I worked on learning to adjust patterns. Hope that all the advice you have been given here gives you some confidence to give it all a go.

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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OH USA
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Date: 10/16/13 10:17 AM

Challis, this is a common problem. It does get easier when you begin to understand your problem areas and how to correct them. There are classes that can help you (check on here and on craftsy). Books can help too. Consider getting a dress form (some are as low as $100) or make a duct tape version of yourself. Post fitting questions on here with pictures and lots of people will jump in to help you. Certainly make a muslin out of the cheapest fabric you can find that is similar to what you want to make the final version out of. Stick with basic patterns that do not have alot of details until you get better with the adjustments you need to fit yourself. Lots of us do not have anyone to help us. I take pictures of myself and that helps me see where the problems are. It sometimes takes several muslins to get the fit I want. HTH

MrsCharisma
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Date: 10/16/13 10:26 AM

I like the idea to treat what you've made as a muslin. Post the pics here for advice from the experienced sewers.

I don't muslin in general because I will be less likely to "re-do" my work. What I do is know ALL of my measurements, not just bust/waist/hip either and I flat measure the pattern. That's my start with adjustments. I end up with decently fitting garments that I enjoy wearing.

I am preparing to make a bodice muslin because I have been ignoring my swayback and would like to work on my narrow shoulders whose left slopes more than the rightthen I'll use that in conjunction with flat pattern measuring and tissue fitting.

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Nakisha
www.sewcraftychemist.blogspot.com
Singer Talent 3321 | Brother 1034D

My Big 4 Sizing: Medium | Tops 14/16 | Pants 18 | Skirts 16/18.

My Measurements: 36 HB | 38.5 FB | 34 W | 44 Hip

aprilla
aprilla
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Date: 10/16/13 10:41 AM

I agree with using what you have already done to try to make it fit, so why not use it as your muslin, experiment. It's a strange business, fitting! As a beginner on my own (my helpers are useless) this is what I've done.

Turn the garment inside out so you can see the seams easy and (I use safety pins) start pinning the seams to fit you better... one side then the other to keep it all balanced. This presumes the garment is too big, you will have to open the seams to do opposite, if there is enough allowance. On a back, I guesstimate, pin the safety pins and try on, change as necessary till it seems better. The safety pins mean you can turn it right side out to have a look now and then, no ouches.

Following the pins, draw in your new better fitting stitching line, and you can rip the old seams. More fitting might be needed depending on how you're liking the progress, so baste till you're content. Then, use this to compare it to the original pattern. When you are happy trace a new pattern from it remembering you need a seam allowance.

Basically that's what I've done, on my own. Again, and again, and again. I don't always remember to use the new seam lines for a pattern so often lose what I've gained and have to do it all over again. That's a pest and a waste of time so I'm trying to be more patient and transfer to paper what I change. It's working for me but as a beginner maybe I'm just happy if it fits pretty good rather than perfect!



PattiAnnJ
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Date: 10/17/13 0:05 AM

Have you tried any of these Amazing Fit Patterns?

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I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

radollrose
radollrose  Friend of PR
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WA USA
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Date: 10/17/13 0:39 AM

Even though I consider myself an advanced sewer, I keep taking classes (mostly online) and reading all I can about fitting from books and blogs. It is amazing how much great information there is available on the internet! Did you know that PatternReview.com offers classes from major designers? Take a look at the "Online Classes" button to see what's available. I get most of my books from the library then decide if it's one I want to invest in buying, they can be pricey. Here are a few more ideas for you.

Making a muslin is critical to getting the proper fit. Make sure your muslin material is as close as possible to your fashion fabric. On the other hand, spend as much as you can afford on your fashion fabric, linings, and under linings. There is only so much you can do to make cheap fabric look passable. It usually screams "home made" which is the last thing you want. Have you checked out www.craftsy.com yet? They also offer great classes, and they go on sale too! Once you've paid, you can watch the course as many times and whenever you want.

If you decide you are really going to enjoy sewing, you should seriously consider investing in a dress form! Then you won't need to worry about having a fitting buddy. Good luck!

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Shannon in Seattle

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