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Tips & Techniques > pin basting

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Posted by: ryansmumAria

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Member since: 7/29/05
Reviews: 135 (tips: 96)
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Posted on: 6/23/10 6:43 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 5 people   Very Helpful by 14 people   
There are many steps to getting that great fit, it's not just luck.

After doing flat pattern adjustments and tissue fitting, there's the 1st muslin. You could hand or machine baste but I prefer to

pin baste!

Pin basting is taking pins, I find that short ones work best for this, you then pin at the seam line.

I pin baste with the side seams facing outwards so I can easily make adjustments. Other seams can be lapped or what ever is appropriate for that piece.

This process is infinitely easier done on a dress form, even one that isn't your exact size as it allows you to pin curves much easier. I don't really see how you can baste without one, maybe it's possible but I'd imagine a lot more difficult.

Try your garment on (carefully as this has the potential to hurt!)
and determine what needs to be altered. You can re-pin it and try again until it's right.

Note adjustments needed. Transfer to your pattern.

This is quite time consuming but you end up with a much better fit and no big surprises when you sew everything up.

I only learned of this technique after sewing decades and I wish I had known to do this along time ago. I would have had a lot more successes in my earlier years but I was always in a rush to get things made up fast. I must add that I have many wadders that could have been saved if I had only done this. These days I rarely have any.

By the way, I do teach this technique to my students. I have found that most students won't take the time to do the pattern alterations, muslins, basting (pin or hand) but then when something is all sewn up there is that looks of confusion as to "what went wrong?". It's almost always far too small.

Of course, I go over what is needed to get a good fit and I see eyes glazing over...

it's almost funny!

But it's my hope that there are PR members who will benefit from this info.

This is best if you can get someone to help you although I do this on myself.

For tops/dresses ~Start at the shoulders and make corrections there before you go to the next step. Then do your side seams and again make corrections.

Sorry, I do not have explicit step-by-step directions for this. I learned to do just by practicing and seeing what made sense.
You will quickly get the idea once you start doing this.
If you do not have a dressform, you now have a great reason to get one. This technique is best done using one. I'll pin baste on my form and then after it's all done and corrected, I try it on for one more fitting before I sew it up.

For pants~ if you have the real fit for pants, there are instructions on how to pin fit pants that are excellent.

good luck and give this a try. I think you will be delighted with the results!

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Futuralon said... (5/24/13 5:59 PM) Reply
I just did this for the first time. I do not have a dress form and pin basted a princess dress muslin in the following way. Lay a piece wrong side up on a working surface (ironing board). Pin second piece in position at the seam in a few areas (notches, top and bottom - as you would pin down a tissue pattern piece). Then starting at the top of the garment, pin your two layers a long row of pins one by one downward to the hem. All the pins point the same way (to the floor as wearing). Then repeat this on all the other seams. Once it was all pinned up I tried it on in front of a full length mirror - very important you have one of these. It was amazing to the muslin go from a shapeless sack to a cute number with the fitting. I recommend this procedure.
ryansmumAria said... (6/24/10 9:57 PM) Reply
Mable, I did do a search in hopes that I could provide a link with explicit information when I first wrote this tip but did not find much at all, to my surprise. It might be clearer to you if you think of the pins as a substitute thread so treat the garment sections as if you were basting by hand. Do it in the same order that you would sew the garment up. Start at the shoulders and get a good fit there as that is the most important first step. Then the side seams, those seams are best facing out -Adjust your side seams so you get a good fit before you start adding sleeves, seperate necklines, etc. I hope that helps a little more...
Mable said... (6/24/10 9:22 PM) Reply
Sounds right but would like a little more info
RLL said... (6/24/10 3:04 PM) Reply
Yea, love the safety pin idea!
elsew said... (6/24/10 9:54 AM) Reply
Love the idea of using the quilting safety pins for this process.
paulakiss said... (6/24/10 0:59 AM) Reply
I always pin baste my muslins. Thanks for the tips!
LindaNan said... (6/23/10 10:08 PM) Reply
this past year I've been using quilting safety pins rather than straight pins. this eliminates most of the ouch. I do the adjustments with the pins open then close them for try-on
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