Hi! I am Kathy from handmadedresshaven.blogspot.com and I am going to talk to you about muslins.
Sewing for yourself can be daunting, at first, especially when you look at your pretty fashion fabric and think about what it cost. What if you make a mistake? What if it doesn’t fit? You could ruin a very pricey piece of fabric if you don’t sew the garment just right. A muslin, or toile, is the way to practice making the garment with cheaper fabric, before you cut into your pricey fabric.
Toile is French for canvas, but it also is used to mean “a muslin” or practice garment. I am going to call it a muslin for the rest of this article but I wanted you to know that it is the same thing as a toile.
A muslin is not just for beginners or advanced seamstresses. Making a muslin is a must for everyone!
Why do you need to make a muslin?
There is no such thing as a pattern that is true to size. No pattern is going to fit you perfectly.
- Spending hours sewing up fabric that is $15, $25, or more a yard, only to find that the garment does not fit, is an expensive venture.
- You can experiment on your cheap fabric with adding elements, making minor alterations, or adjusting parts of the pattern and not worry about ruining your nice fabric.
- You can keep practicing until you get everything just right and then you can trust that the garment you will make from the pricey fabric will look great!
- Making a muslin is not just for couture. It is also for ready to wear clothing and even clothing you just wear around the house. It is about getting it fit.
When should you make a muslin? If you want your finished garment to look great on you, you should make a muslin. Otherwise, you risk it ending up in your UFO (unfinished objects) bin. And this doesn’t just apply to us curvy gals. Everyone should make a muslin who is past the age of puberty and/or has any curves at all to their body. You should even make a muslin for little children’s clothing if you are making something really important! It is about getting the best fit possible.
Here I am wearing the first part of a dress muslin I am working on. I started by sewing just the bodice so I could check fit. As you can see by my notes on this picture, I need to start over and add some yardage to this pattern. Good think I checked because I would have ruined $60 worth of voile instead of $2 worth of muslin.
What fabric should you use?
Use something inexpensive that is the same weight and drape as your fashion fabric.
- Muslin off the bolt is a great option because it is cheap. But old sheets also work as a muslin for cotton fashion fabrics.
- Make sure the muslin fabric is the same weight and stretch as your fashion fabric.
- For heavier fabrics or fabrics with stretch, try looking on sale shelves for something of similar weight and stretch. The idea is to sew something similar but not as expensive.
- Ponte knit is a great lightweight muslin fabric.
- Polyester charmeuse is a great muslin fabric to sub for silk charmeuse.
- Some experts also recommend sewing a shade lighter or similar to your fashion fabric so you can observe drape and fit effects.
What do you do with a muslin when you are done?
- Try on your muslin and check for fit. If you have fit issues, rip out seams and make adjustments until you get it right. If you need to cut out new sizes, do so.
- Mark on the muslin in pen to remind yourself of what adjustments you made to the pattern.
- Store your muslin for the next time you make this pattern.