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How much muslin do you buy?
By the yard, or by the bolt?
bicrafty
bicrafty
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Date: 7/24/12 5:57 PM

It seems like I will go through quite a bit of muslin since I'll probably use at least(!) one test garment for each pattern. Plus I want to create a great sloper for both darted bodice, undarted bodice, skirt, and pants. And probably several different types of dresses (by several I mean maybe three).

I'm not looking to create one of a kind garments here. My goal is to create a classic wardrobe that fits my body, lifestyle, and budget.

So here's the gist of this post: Do you buy muslin by the bolt? Is it a good deal (I'm sure sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't...but when it is should I jump for it?)? Do you use bleached or unbleached? Does that even matter? Is most muslin 100% cotton? What about muslin for a knit garment?

Any input is appreciated! Thank you in advance for your time and effort in answering!!

quathy
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quathy  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/24/12 6:04 PM

I buy it by the bolt - yardage varies. I have a bolt with 50 yds currently, but have purchased 8 and 20-yd bolts in the past. Usually I can find it for $2/yd or a little under that. Make sure you get a width that meets your pattern requirements. I like to get mine either at Joann, Amazon, or sometimes I'll find an online retailer. I tend to go for unbleached, though I don't lose sleep over this choice. I do choose cotton only, so I know what to expect.

For knits, I order enough of a knit to leave wiggle room to work out fit issues, or buy something cheap that has a similar stretch and drape. I typically use medium-weight knits, not sure if that makes a difference (I don't wear thin knits).

KathySews
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Date: 7/24/12 6:31 PM

I have a JoAnns near me so use my 50% coupons to buy by the bolt. I find I am more willing to work out patterns and "waste" the fabric when I have no fear of running out. Now I need to find something for knit muslins.

Doctor Sister

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Date: 7/24/12 6:43 PM

I frequently use a "fashion fabric" for muslins. I have huge stash of pretty cheap fabric and a warehouse fabric store near that sells pretty cheaply.
But sometimes you just need muslin - real muslin. I buy a bolt at Joanne's when I have a really good coupon. Some of the bolts don't have that much yardage, and it is nice to have the bolt to store the fabric on. I'm finishing up my second bolt in a couple of years and am surprised that I've used that much. It is handy to have around.
Sis

Marie367
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Date: 7/24/12 6:57 PM

I didn't buy a bolt but I think I bought 10 yards of 108" It has lasted me a long time. Knits are tough because you really need the type the pattern calls for. It is hard to find cheap knits to use as trial garments. I have better luck with fitting knits so I just use something that I have gotten on sale. I am finding that I am getting better with knowing what works for me and what alterations I probably need to make. I was never one to make alot of muslins anyway.

Courtney Ostaff
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Date: 7/24/12 7:46 PM

I buy by the yard, but I do only one or two items at a time, and get the fit just right. You'll find that creating those slopers and different patterns can be a time-consuming process. So, if you have money and space to invest in that bolt, go for it--it's almost certainly a better deal. I, OTOH, have to buy as I go. ;)

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to bicrafty <<
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Date: 7/24/12 9:02 PM

I'm in a "divided camp". While I make "muslins" of all my patterns, I don't actually use muslin all the time. Why? Because of the cost and because I need to see what the pattern will look like in its finished state. So what do I use? Old sheets for one thing. The sheets have enough drape, especially if the garment I want to make has drape. And then there's the reduce, reuse recycle thing. Sheets are excellent alternatives for muslin. Oh yes, I've purchased yards of muslin in the past, but then it didn't work for me because muslin can be as different as apparel fabric--sometimes its stiff and sometimes its not.

What else do I use? Fabric that is similar to the garment I am making. This is the time for me to pull out the orange knit, the "not-so-friendly" gray knit, the knit-I-bought-on-sale-and-didn't-like-the-color, etc., to see what will work.

My sloper and fitting shell and dress form are all out of muslin, but that is because they are tools. If I wanted to make a knit top, I'd use the sloper to cut out a muslin pattern, but if I wanted to make some design changes, I'd use a funky unlikeable knit if I were planning on a t-shirt. Making an early garment, aka "wearable muslin" in the fabric similar to what I want to end up with will show me how that fabric is going to behave.

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bicrafty
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<


Date: 7/24/12 9:13 PM

While I understand the 'wearable muslin' idea, I'm so new that I don't have a stash yet (don't ask me about my yarn stash, though!). Plus, what do you do with the wearable muslin after you make the final garment? Is it a faux-pas to pass it along to Goodwill, etc since it's so custom?

If I'm going to make a wearable muslin...given my current circumstance...it better be really wearable and not something that I only 'like'. I really only have room and budget for 'love' garments. I love your idea of using old bedsheets!! I'm all about reducing, reusing, and recycling so that is an idea that will be put to use, I can promise that.

Courtney Ostaff
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In reply to bicrafty <<


Date: 7/24/12 9:21 PM

Some muslins of fashion fabric are so terrible that they're only good for rags. Or the trash. Those we call wadders, as in, we wad them up and throw them in the corner in frustration.

Others are Not Quite Perfect, and those we often wear, just not to the Big Event.

Sewing for charity has a long history, and is a venerable idea.

I often cut the fabric I use in a wadder down for an entirely different garment for my 4-yr-old.

cinca
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In reply to bicrafty <<


Date: 7/24/12 9:32 PM

Whenever I am low on muslin and have a 40 or 50% coupon from Joanns, I get a whole bolt of whatever muslin I like. I pre-shrink it because after I make my test muslin, I may want to cut it up and use the pieces for quilting or other small projects.

I make notes for the alterations and use the original tissue pattern again, so I don't usually need the muslin that I made to test the pattern.




-- Edited on 7/24/12 9:37 PM --

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