drafting · dresses · patterns

Fashion Square Muslin

The original dress

The muslin

This is the muslin for the Fashion Square dress. This is actually the third muslin–the first one is now in pieces in various rooms around the apartment. Anyway, it only ever had two skirt panels, since I was mostly interested in fitting together the bodice pieces, so it wasn’t exactly a looker. The second muslin was dismantled to provide the pattern pieces for the third. Forgot to take a picture of it before I attacked it with the seam ripper.

This isn’t too bad for a muslin. The skirt panels still aren’t quite right–they buckle out at the corners, although that isn’t very obvious in the photo. The dress actually only has four skirt panels instead of five, as I originally thought it might. The bodice has six pieces: one center front panel, two side front panels, two side back panels, and one center back panel. This means it has a side zipper, which I like better than a zipper down the back. I need to modify the bust section–it is a bit higher than I wanted (although it also looks a lot higher on the dress model than it does on me) and doesn’t have quite as much of a slope as the pictured version.

Perhaps it doesn’t look it, but the dress sews up really, really quickly. The actual sewing of it is simple–it fits together a lot like a puzzle. The fitting has taken more time since the seams need to match up. A few additional thoughts:

– I lowered the waist a bit, but I’m not sure yet if I like it or not. I might leave it as is for the next muslin and see what it looks like in a patterned fabric.

– It is surprisingly comfortable to wear. Not terribly forgiving, though, except in the hips.

– I’m still not sure about whether or not to add a lining. I think not. Instead, I’ll probably just make a slip, perhaps like this one. The taffeta trim on the slip will help the skirt flare out a bit, too.

– The skirt panels were deceptively difficult. I originally matched the curve of the bodice to the curve of the skirt panel.* That caused the skirt panels to lie flat and only flare out slightly at the seams, rather than along the center. I ended up flattening the curve on the skirt panel, and it worked. The skirt still doesn’t flare out as much as in the photo, but the muslin fabric (at this point) has also lost some of its pizzazz; some of those seams are fairly perforated. I’ll probably flatten the curve out even more on the next version in order to get more drape.

– Despite the awkwardness with the original skirt design, I built the pattern from the skirt up, rather than from the bust down. It worked out pretty easily–my hip measurement, divided by 4 (with additions for seam allowances) gave me the basic outline of the skirt and from there it was just a matter of drawing rough versions of the pattern pieces and trying them out.

*In true DIY fashion, I drafted the curves with the help of our dinner plates. J! came home to find the living room littered with plates of various sizes; the medium one worked best.

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