Hawthorn Sew-Along: Working out the Muslin

I’ve been wanting to make a shirt dress for a while, so I thought the Hawthorn Sew-Along is the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Hawthorn Dress Sewalong

Colette’s patterns are usually a bit too big for me in the bust.  And the darts are always too high.  So I immediately lowered the bust darts and made my first muslin.  It fit okay, except I had a serious poof of fabric above the dart.

I knew I needed to do a SBA (small bust adjustment), but I was feeling lazy, so I decided to just take a horizontal tuck out along the bust line.  I also divided the one dart into two, according to Colette’s tutorial.  (2 darts were recommended if you did a full bust adjustment, but I think it also helps reduce the pointy-ness of the darts on a small bust too.)

The second muslin looked better, but not great.  I re-sewed the darts a few times, and fiddled with the side seams, but could not get rid of the excess above the darts.


So I retraced my pattern a second time, and followed Colette’s tutorial for making a SBA.  I took out about 1/2 inch.  It seemed to be the right adjustment.   The darts on the left are looking pretty smooth.  (Ignore the ones on the right, I was messing around with those and messed them up.)

Here’s what my altered pattern pieces look like.

On a high note, the back fit pretty much perfectly. Normally with Colette, I have a lot of excess fabric in the upper back, but this one was fine.

For the final version, I’m going to be using a lightweight purple cotton sateen that I got at Mood. It has a bit of stretch, so I really hope that doesn’t goof up all my fit adjustments!

2013-07-07 14.12.20

Buddy “helping” me figure out the pattern layout.


8 thoughts on “Hawthorn Sew-Along: Working out the Muslin

  1. I’m just about to put my muslin together today – thanks so much for this post!! It seems as if you and I have the same type of adjustments. I might end up giving those two darts a try – once I see what sort of issues I have with muslin #1. 🙂

    • Hello again! I have a quick question – thought you might be able to help. :/ This sounds kind of silly but I’m trying on my muslin, and not really sure how much to pin at the front seam to accommodate for what we’ll take in for the buttons. How far in did you pin in on your muslin?

      I’m confused because it looks like the seam for the skirt pieces is much wider than for the bodice, and want to make sure I’m taking it in correctly (since I usually do a waist adjustment for Colette patterns). 😉

      Thanks so much for your help!! I’m so ready to get my dress started soon with the real fabric!!! 😉

      • It’s a good question. Not sure if this was right, but here’s what I did: On the pattern, where the button holes are marked, I drew a line down the center of the circles. I assumed those represented the buttons, and therefore, that would be the point where the bodice would come together when buttoned.

        Then I transferred that line to my muslin (I stitched along it too, so that it would be easier to see), and then pinned along the lines of stitching.

        I didn’t do a muslin of the skirt. So hopefully that will come together okay.

      • Hey Marrie!! Thanks SO MUCH for the help!! I unfortunately have not made much progress on my muslin this week, but this certainly helps me get through any doubts I had about the fitting!! It makes perfect sense to pin where the buttons go.. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that before!! 😉

        I can’t wait to see how your dress turns out!!! 🙂 And thank you again so much, you’re so sweet to help. xo

  2. You did the bust adjustment just as it should be 🙂 I always have issues with this, so now, I now how much to alter. I learned from a great book that was printed in the late 1950’s. Looking forward to seeing your progress. m.

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