Muslin City

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Fresh on maternity leave before bub#2 arrives earthside, in possession of a recently-received pattern order from Marfy (from their Evergreen #2 catalogue), AND with the urge to epically introvert and sew – I figured I’d use some of this time to pull together a whole bunch of muslins, ready for fitting on the other side when the time permits – that and I was just so keen to do some sewing!

This is probably all aided by the fact that I’ve now got a sewing room – and have finally unpacked and sorted my sewing supplies which have been sitting in boxes for some 4 years now. Having everything to hand, being able to properly catalogue my fabric and pattern stash, and not having to unpack and pack up each time I feel like sewing, is hopefully going to mean I can do some sewing throughout the next year.

Wish I’d had this level of energy during my pregnancy first time around (Can I just extoll the extreme benefits of finding an pregnancy friendly iron supplement that actually WORKS?!?!) So, here are some of the patterns that have me excited, and the muslins I’ve sewn of them..

F2758
A shirt dress pattern from the 2012/2013 Catalogue that has been floating around the top of my to-sew list for quite a long time – I just haven’t found the right matching-but-not-matching two fabrics to make the most of the design features. I LOVE the shoulders of this dress especially – they’re curved, which I think is very flattering. I’ve got broad shoulders, and the shoulder extension on this pattern is the capped sleeve I’ve been searching for, for many years.

The pocket detail is also a huge amount of fun, and I’m hoping that this will work towards accentuating my non-existant hips. I’m even more excited about this pattern now I know that Buttonmania can make curved belts – I have one of my mum’s leather belts from the 60s that is curved, and it is beyond flattering. Probably again, because it defines the waist whilst providing lovely lines to assist visibility of non-existant hips on me.

Loving the neckline angles and pleat detail – plus that curved capped shoulder
+ pockets you can sink your hands into, easy

F3990
A jacket pattern from the 2016/17 catalogue, described as “wool gabardine jacket with peplum, inset pockets with flaps at the waist and studded trim”, this is a muslin from early 2018 that I had fitted by Susan (I booked in an afterhours session with her) during her teaching tour that year. I since had been temporarily put off it when reading about my Kibbe (Dramatic Classic) which had a throwaway comment about not picking jackets with horizontal seam lines at the waist? I think I’ll likely get over that and make it anyway.

I’ve had two jackets like this fitted by Susan in my sewing lifetime – and I’m seeing a definite trend in the adjustments made for my bodytype – the princess seam equivalent of an FBA for additional boob room (I’m a DD cup, so well beyond the B patterns are typically drafted for), plus a bit extra at the front sleeve cap. And one of Susan’s personally preferred adjustments – a dart emanating from the shoulder seam at the back, to capture the round-ness of the body here (and because the back’s princess seam finishes at the armscye, leaving a large flat expanse of fabric to cover what is, in a typical (and probably slightly aged!) body, a curved area.

F2005/F6048
A pattern very close to my heart, because it featured in the 2009 catalogue as F2005, and I missed out on being able to get this one in my size (I think I emailed the Marfy team about it in 2011/2012) – so I was beyond thrilled when it showed up as F6048 in the 2nd Evergreen Catalogue! You can see a slight change in the treatment of the waistband – If pushed I would say I prefer the inseam version on F6048.

No collar or sleeves on my muslin yet because I know I’m going to need to work in the equivalent of an FBA – much easier to do when unfettered by sleeves and collars! I’m already convinced this will be a great coat option for Kibbe Dramatic Classics, like me:

F3629
I saw this little top pattern as being a great way to use up short lengths of much coveted fabrics – it only requires 0.7m of 140cm wide fabric. It’s from the 2015/2016 Catalogue, and I muslined it over 2 years ago – what it really needs is a bit of proportional adjustment to better suit my frame, and I’m thinking to draw from those curved capped sleeves from the F2758 dress to do this. It’s a great example of why muslining is good to determine if you actually want to go ahead with a garment or not! This is one that will need adjustments to make it suit me.

Previously trying it on, the recommendation from my sewing friends was to bring in the width, make it more ‘tank’ like, which is also an option (you can see this adjusted blue line on my muslin photo below). Either way, my broad shoulders make the subtle ‘sleeve’ treatment of this pattern fade into obscurity. I also need to play around with the front pleats – they get a little lost on my bust expanse, so it’s possible grading this up via an FBA would be beneficial. Or somehow increasing the pleats to make them a little more – front and centre. Also, sewing the top half of the pleat down instead of it remaining open would be better!

F5209
This is a shirt with some really cool angled seams – which I muslined a few years ago too. It was a bit of an experiment – I bought it in a size larger than I typically go for (the 48 instead of the 46) – to check to see if I would benefit from going up a size. The experiment confirmed that no, I should stick with the 46 – even if my weight fluctuates. Why? because the size 46 fits my shoulders better, and the 46 pattern bust point aligns better to my bust point than the 48. The second picture below illustrates this well – in order to get this pattern to fit I’ll need to pinch out a dead dart horizontally between the bust apex and shoulder – there is too much length here. This means adjusting the sleeve and armscye – lots more additional work than the simple vertical adjustments I typically do.

Still, this pattern was a fun sew – and co-incidentally – a freak stripe match at the sleeve!!!!! It always happens best when you don’t even try….

F3079
A skirt from the 2013-14 catalogue, which I’ve always thought would be great chopped off as a mini skirt. This is one I’d like to be able to wear throughout this upcoming summer – for this muslin I was going to shorten it to mini length straight away, but was overcome with the urge to try it as is – which I like! (in theory/on the coathanger… I can’t actually get it on at the moment!). I’ll need to adjust to make it more post-partum friendly – which will mean making the waist width a lot more similar to the hip width; currently there is a 10cm differential. I don’t have a friendly stash fabric to kick into this so this one is on hold until I find the right fabric. I’m hoping this will be the project I’ll be able to work on in 15min chunks once bubs arrives *fingers crossed*

F5212
Another skirt I’m really excited about – lovely bias design lines with a slight flare at the hem through each godet style panel, the 1st Evergreen catalogue describes is as “This shaped skirt is made of six diagonal panels that open at the bottom giving the skirt volume”. I also noticed this beauty was part of the 2009 catalogue – so it’s obviously been a favourite to have made it into the Evergreens.

Understandably, it’s a real fabric hog – coming in at requiring 1.7m of 140cm wide fabric! As a result, I don’t have fabric ear-marked for this one – largely due to the length – so I’ll have to keep an eye out in future if this one is ever to join the depths of my wardrobe!

NEW HORIZONS DESIGNS – ELEVATION HOODIE
Obviously my lifestyle for the next 6-12 months is not going to revolve around beautiful blouses, tailored coats and jackets… but more comfy knits and sweats! I’ve been stockpiling a whole stack of See You At Six French Terry’s that quite honestly, get me as motivated to sew as the patterns I’ve listed here. But first, I bought a long length of a cheap and cheerful knit with similar weight to the FT’s, to muslin this and hopefully another later on, so I can check their fit (and add some zips for invisible nursing access!!) on the other side and sew in manageable chunks and increments as we head into winter. I’m really hoping pre-planning in this space is going to help with sewing productivity on the other side… we shall see!

Elevation hoodie invisible zipper insertion for nursing access success!

And that surely rounds out at least two full years of actual completed garment sewing from me, not including the projects I’ll be distracted by on a whimsy. This is by no means indicative of ‘sewing with a plan’ – goodness no. I’ve rather happily come to the realisation that I’m at my best when I’m sewing for pure pleasure, rather than under pressure to fill a wardrobe gap. Regardless, I’m optimistic about sewing opportunities this coming year, thanks largely to now having a dedicated sewing space (hello, 15 minute sewing increments). Fingers crossed.

3 comments

  1. What a great idea to have all your muslins ready to go. 15 minute segments are probably realistic with a toddler and new babe. Hope all goes smoothly. Congratulations on the impending arrival.

  2. Wow – that’s a proper wish list of possibilities. I’m in love with the bias skirt with the diagonal style lines at the front. Wishing you a smooth transition into this next phase of your life, and I hope you get a contented sleeper for no. 2 :)

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