Couture Dress: fitting the muslin

I’ve fitted the muslin a couple of times. Made some changes in between. Fitted it again. Changed things. Fitted it some more. Laid it on a chair for a couple of weeks.
That’s a trusted way of proving sewing work, didn’t you know? It’s like good wine or bread dough, it has to have some time to make up its mind. * see foot note

The fitting is done. Now it’s time to take the muslin apart. I had one hour before reclining to the couch again (from where I’m writing you this)

Taking apart the muslin really is just a bit of work. The important thing is to carefully note all the changes you make. I used a green pen to draw the new sewing lines before taking them apart. Then, as soon as a seam was gone, I made sure to remove the stitching lines in black that were no longer relevant. They’d been replace by green pen lines in places.
If I don’t make very clear to myself which lines are the right ones I’ll go doubting further along in the process. Or worse: try and be smart(er).

Marking the new seam with green pen, before and after ripping the seam:
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Before doing anything else: ripping out the obsolete black lines:
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I am marking the new sewing lines on both sides of the fabric. I don’t know yet which side I’ll use as a template. Better be safe.
To mark a line on the right side of the fabric where you cannot see the seam I use this technique:
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I’ve made small stripes across the seam, marking the fabric on both sides of it. (I’ll now flip over the fabric and trace the seam on the wrong side, on both pieces of fabric. This is easy.)
When I rip the seam the small marks will still be there when I fold open the fabric (and a small line of puncture dots. But don’t be fooled, I’ve resewn many seams while adjusting this muslin and I’ll easily loose track of which puncture dots are the line I want to mark)
The line I want will be where the small stripes have a sharp break.

I’d show you more clearly what I mean but it’s couchy time now… perhaps I have another hour tomorrow.

footnote:

Here’s what really caused me to take so much time off sewing:

it was a lot of work fitting and changing the muslin, I was loosing my motivation a bit. So I sewed that bag and that skirt in between, that was fun!

In the mean time I’d been on holiday and had to recuperate from that for a couple of weeks. Meaning I couldn’t sit up long enough to sew or stand long enough to fit properly. I did a bit here and there, trying to leave myself good notes. But that didn’t work and every time I took up the muslin I had to fit it first again to understand what I was talking about.

Then, when I was a bit better I wore my working skirt for the first time, it was a Sunday morning. Suddenly a big dog came onto our terrain and chased our cat high up in a tree. I had to run outside and zipped up the skirt in a hurry, breaking the zipper in the process. The dog then jumped into our pond but came running when I bellowed for it. It pranced beside me to its owner, all the while streaking me with dirt and water.
Then we had to talk the cat down who was in shock. That’s when my broken, filthy skirt fell down to my ankles.

That’s when I lost the will to sew for a couple of weeks… Add another episode or two where my health took a blow and demanded some recuperation time en here we are, months along before I finally got my hands on the Couture Dress again.

But now I’m playing again! As soon as I have the chance I’ll work on it some more. I decided to make a practice dress first, without lining. Just so I have something to wear and something to play with. I’m a bit afraid to cut into the gnome fabric. First I want to get the pattern right.
I’m looking forward to playing and making a practice dress.

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Gnome Couture Dress lesson 1 and 2: pattern to muslin pieces

Determined to make this dress according to the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje but also benefit from the sloper I’ve made I spend a day tinkering with the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 and my sloper:
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I put them on top of each other, looked for clues, tried to marry their lines, inserting the ease I had chosen.

Here I try to determine how much the pieces should overlap when the midriff pieces rest on my waistline but the bossom pieces honour my apex. Those midriff pieces have to be shortened, the bust piece must come down. But what to do with the shoulder?
Also I brought in the Center Front line (CF), I made the mid piece less wide.

A scary process as I really have not much of a clue yet. However I know the sloper is correct, I know commercial patterns add way too much ease and I have Susan Khalje’s course The Couture Dress as an example and guide.

I did a lot of things to the pattern…
for one I did shorten the midriff section. The original is 9 cm high, I opted for 8 cm.
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Here you see the new line in pencil, at the top. At the bottom the waistline coincides with the seam allowance of this pattern. As I am only interested in seam lines and not in cutting lines this serves me well.

Then there’s that horizontal slice of fabric that has to come out because I’m a bit bend. You can see it noted on the sloper. It will get a place above or below this midriff section as the midriff section is an eyecatcher and should not vary in height. I’m thinking below, in the skirt pieces.

Another thing I did was because my apex is more near to my waistline than it is in the Vogue pattern. I cut the paper piece and folded it so that it matched the sloper better. Then I altered the bust piece even more:
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I let the curved line follow the princess line of my sloper. It automatically ended up being a Full Bust Adjustment.

I had so many doubts about all of this, redrawing these lines, adding ease and choosing sites to do so! In the end I watched the video lesson 2 from the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress and I was reminded that the lines do not matter that much. It will all come together when fitting the muslin.

It gave me the boldness to push through. I just drew what I thought was good. Always keeping in mind the waistline, CF, CB and grain. And letting the sloper be leading (that is: my sloper + added ease). The Vogue pattern was following.

Because I brought the pattern apex closer to the waistline (not only in the bodice side sections but also in the bodice front midsection) it brought the neckline too low so that has to rise.
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I reserved a bit of extra fabric in the muslin to determine how high I want to have it later, while fitting. How to do this and many more little and big tricks I learned from Susan Khalje, it really is a good course.

In the end I was confident enough to pin all the pieces to my muslin (again with lots of nifty tricks) and cut the muslin. (I am such a mental cheap skate. I had to actively give myself permission to “destroy” this piece of cheap muslin and just try it and see where it will lead. I’d rather not venture than run the risk of a waisted effort. Really, I’m squirrel poo.)
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a nice pile of pieces, ready to trace. I use waxed paper. Again, watch the course.
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Raising the back. Making notes on all the pieces before laying them aside.
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This is the skirt mid back:
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On the left you can see how I altered the lines. I put the ease (decrease) for the back mostly in the princess lines and not in the side seams. Because I have such a curved back (and not much of a waist)

On the lower right you see that I added a vent. Using this tutorial and my experience with the Wriggle Dress that had a vent too. It is very easy and looks good.

All pieces cut, traced and noted it was time to put away the paper.
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Tracing paper and pattern paper are now snug in their envelopes again. Usually I run away mid project and forget to tidy up. This time I am regarding tidying up as part of the process. And it feels good!

the size of Gnomes…

I measured me, my sloper, the pattern V8648 without seam allowance and took note of Vogue pattern sizes, the amount of wearing ease they add and the circumferences noted in the pattern pieces of V8648.

measurements chart

Quite a difference between the measurements Vogue follows for their size 12 and the numbers they state on the pattern. Here’s where the 3″ to 4″ wearing ease they add to all their “fitted” patterns comes into play.

But I also noted a difference between the measurements they state on the pattern pieces and the measurements that I found by measuring the actual paper pieces.

getting a head ache from all this talk about ease?

perhaps your gnome hat is too tight!

I will be following the pattern pieces but adjusting to my own measurements. Because the pattern already includes a 1,5 cm seam allowance I can grade up easily while for the hip I can keep it down. Now I have to decide how much wearing ease I prefer. I know from previous experience that the 4″ the big pattern compagnies add is way too much for me.

I may make a muslin without any ease and decide while I fit how much I want.

NB. I need to correct in height, I only need 36,5 cm from the back neck to the waist. The pattern is much longer.

let me think on it for a bit

UPDATE: I remembered this post where I gathered recommended ease, at the bottom of that post. Based on that information I will sew a muslin with

bust 97 cm + 7,5 cm ease (2.5″)

waist 76 cm + 2,5 cm ease (1″)

hip 96 cm + 5 cm ease (2″)

Now I’ll Just grade the vogue pattern to these sizes. I’ll take size 12 as a guideline, using the seam allowance to find the right line. This will become my stitch line. Then cut generously. Stitch stitchline for visibility. Sew together muslin.

 

Gnomes in progress: insecurities

– I ironed the cotton. Ready to cut my muslin now.

– figured out the ease from this previous post. I’ll do 2,5cm on the waist, 5 cm on the hip and 7,5 cm on the bust but will cut wider so it may even end up with up to 7 cm around the hip. I want to wear this dress over a longsleeve and tights so I may add a little bit of extra ease. However, I wore the Anemone Dress today, it has no ease, and it was too loose around the hips. Apart from when I sat down, then it was good. So I guess minimum ease works for me.

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– figured out how to adjust for the extra fabric to be taken out at the side and back. I cannot make the taille detail less high, I think it has to come out from the bodice parts and the skirt part. Probably divide between the two. Perhaps sneak in a little bit of decrease in height into the waist band.

– before cutting: insert vent instead of slit in the skirt

– watch the video course on crafsty.com by Susan Khalje and follow the steps.

Then I got really insecure….  my body sloper is not very good I think. It fits well but sections may not be straight. Not if I have fitted it all by myself. Fitting should be done by someone else.

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I put the waistline of Vogue on the waistline of my sloper and the apex on the apex. It seems I should make the waist band less high…

Then I really had my doubts about the paper I cut. I cut without ease and wanted to add the ease whilst transferring it to the muslin. This is difficult. So I threw away to papers and redrew the pieces onto another piece of tracing paper.

Then I got insecure because my pieces are not very well balanced. Although the princess lines run right through the apex I fear the mid block section will not appear of equal width on both sides of the Centre Front.

Then I fot the papers from the waste basket. If I were to buy another piece of stretchy cotton I could use them to make another sheath dress….

Then I laid the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 on top of my pieces. I grew very insecure. These pieces had their left and right mirrored, they would be of equal width, But there was so much more ease on these than I planned.

Right now I’m leaning toward just doing the course as is, from the Vogue pattern. Forget my sloper.

But with a little shortening of the top part since my back is shorter. My front too, come to think of it. I’d have to do a Full Bust Adjustment (or in this case, adjust the waiste)

all in all, gnomes are very insecure today.