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!

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Buddy “helping” me figure out the pattern layout.


Sometimes Sewing Takes the Back Burner

Sadly not much sewing has happened around here lately.  I’ve had lots of plans, and little bursts of productivity here and there, but nothing much to show off.  But I don’t think it’s entirely a bad thing to have a bit of a break.  It makes me feel more excited for the projects I’ve got planned.

Part of the reason for my lack of productivity is due to having out of town company for a week, and then I went to visit my grandma for a few days.  Isn’t she the cutest?  I miss her so much and wish that we lived closer together.

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I made the blue blanket in the background. It was my second major crochet project! 

On the flight out to see her I started a new knitting project.  The pattern is called April Showers Cowl.  It’s a simple lace cowl, that is long enough to wear as a scarf or doubled up for more warmth.  My knitting output has been really slow lately, so hopefully I’ll finish this in time for fall!

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My next sewing project is to make a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding next weekend.  (Yikes . . . I better get working!)  It took me a long time to decide on the pattern.  I finally settled on Simplicity 1651:
Last night I tried the keyhole version of the bodice, and it just didn’t work for me.  The key hole was more like a large bay window, inviting the neighbors to see everything.  You can’t tell from this muslin pic, but it’s pretty bad.  The key hole isn’t that low, but the twist causes a huge gaping problem.

So for plan B, I went with the sweetheart neckline. It fits pretty well without needing any major adjustments.  Gotta love that.  I’m also going to make the full skirt.  Now I just have to decide if I want to add the cap sleeve or not.  I tend to make everything sleeveless, and I want to break that habit.  But I’m worried the sleeves might make this dress a little to sweet.  I don’t know.

This is a really crummy picture (sorry!) of the fabric I’m planning to use.
It’s a soft drapey Rayon challis.  I hope it will work with the fullness of the half circle skirt.  I’m not going to muslin the skirt, just going to go out on a limb, and hope it turns out.  We’ll see how it goes. . . .

In Progress: Butterick 5032

To prove that I am, in fact, sewing a dress that’s not based on the Truffle pattern, thought I’d show you what I’m working on:
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I’m going for the yellow version.  I really love the front pleats.
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I got the muslin done, and now I’m just waiting on my fashion fabric to arrive in the mail!  I am really pleased with this pattern, it pretty much fit right out of the envelope, and I only had to do a few alterations.
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I ordered some plum colored cotton sateen and some black wool blends.  Not sure which I’ll use, got to wait and see how it looks in person.  That’s the bummer with online shopping.

Speaking of fabric shopping, I had a brief encounter with Mood L.A. last week.  I was in L.A. for a conference and had just enough time to stop in walk around for a bit before they closed.  I got overwhelmed and unfortunately left empty handed. 😦

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So many choices!

Next time I go to L.A., I’m going with a plan and more time!

More Muslin Madness: Thurlow & Peony

I’ve been muddling around working on the muslins and pattern alterations for my Thurlow trousers and Peony dress.  Someday, maybe I’ll have a finished project to share, but until then it’s more muslin madness.

On my Thurlows I was having a problem with the front crotch.  So I took my muslin to class, and my teacher pinned out the excess and showed me how to make the alteration to my pattern.  I ended up shaving off the front inseam by about 3/8″ and took a tiny scoop out of the front crotch curve, as illustrated by the purple line below:


I think they are looking better.

Thurlow Muslin #2

They look like they are tight across the thigh here but that’s because I was playing around with the side seams.

So I took the leap and cut out my fashion fabric!  I’m making up this pair in navy cotton twill, with a white and blue cotton for the lining.  Here’s a peek:

Thurlow Fabric

On my Peony, I knew I’d have some changes to make based on my previous Colette dresses.  But this pattern is kind of a bugger.  My usual alterations haven’t been enough.  So far I’ve lowered the side darts and repositioned the front darts.  I also lowered the neckline a little.  On the back I made bigger neck darts because it was gapping. This is what my flat pattern alterations look like so far:
Peony Alterations

Then I sewed up the muslin, and I’ve got some problems.  There’s a vertical wrinkle running down from my shoulder along the armhole.  And then there are those diagonal lines below the bust.
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If when I get those issues figured out, I’m planning to use this crazy big dot fabric for my dress.  I’m on the fence about whether to ditch the sleeves though.  I think they may be giving more fitting problems than I feel like dealing with right now!
Big Dots

Thurlow Trousers: Muslin Madness

I’m about to pull my hair out trying to work out the fitting issues with my Thurlow trousers.  I just keep ripping and tweaking and ripping and tweaking.  I think I’ve lost all perspective and I can’t even tell if the changes I’m making help or not.  Do you ever do this, just doggedly keep working on a muslin, even though you know it’s time for a break (or bed)?

Ugg. So I’m finally taking a break.  Here’s where I’m at.  Warning, these pics are unflattering and a bit fuzzy.  Pretty much exactly how I feel right now!
I think the front is pretty good, except I’ve got an annoying wrinkle/poof at the bottom of the crotch in the front.
See how the fabric poofs out there? (Ignore the top wrinkle, that’s just a fold from my poor pressing.)
I think maybe the crotch needs shortened.  I tried pinning a tuck across the front, but I get a camel-toe-ish looking thing going on.  So I don’t think that’s the right adjustment.

The back is okay, but I still have a break under the seat that I can’t completely eliminate.  I’ve tried adding to the back inseam, but this is about as good as it gets.

I missed my sewing class for two weeks, due to the Maui vacation.  So I was hoping to be caught up and have my muslin worked out before class meets this week.  Anyone have any thoughts?  Am I just being too picky??