This is a slapdash block that I made from a design in the Sew Out Loud Quilt Along. It was my first attempt at paper piecing and I just wanted to see if I could do it. So, I didn't even do any ironing and I just added more fabric when I positioned the pieces incorrectly. I love this design, but my paper piecing skills leave a lot to be desired.
Anyway, I thought it was a good way to start off my muslin post, since it was kind of a quilt block muslin. So, I really want to learn to make clothes for myself, but I've only done a few very simple sundresses a couple years ago, which I wear all summer. (Get ready for some awesome headless photos!)
The first two are Mendocino sundresses (free pattern from Heather Ross), the one on the right is the Museum Tunic (free pattern from Anna Maria Horner).
But, I really want to learn how to sew one of the many patterns I've collected. So, I dove in and made three hilarious, half-made muslins - the three stooges, if you will. After much hemming and hawing and surfing the internet for tips, I picked two fairly simple patterns and one a bit more challenging (for a newbie). I used some yardage I had lying around (not final dress-type fabric-you've been warned), but first I traced the patterns onto tracing "fabric" (it's with the interfacing - it's Trace Ease or Sew Ease tracing, something... Helpful, right?!) and then cut the pieces from there. I checked my measurements and I measure somewhere between a 14 and a 16. (Oh, and when I say "muslin" - I mean a total Type B muslin. I didn't iron anything, I didn't stay stitch, I didn't finish any edges, and on one, I didn't even finish the placket.)
The result: three hospital gowns/inmate-at-a-mental-institution-type dresses. Observe:
This is Simplicity 2147.
It's called "Learn to Sew"; it literally has 4 pattern pieces. So, I read reviews and blog posts. I figured I'd just go with a size 14, because that's what my measurements said. Let's do this...
I don't actually have a pillow in my shirt in that picture. The shoulders and bodice were good. Everything under that horizontal seam... I have actually sewn in about 2.5" on both sides of the waist in that muslin. Hospital gown, much? Trash bag dress? Check and check. I can see it being cute in a drapier fabric and the proper pattern size, but I'm not holding my breath.
The next one is super-awesome (but not) - the Continental dress from Lisette - Simplicity 0353.
Again, I went with a size 14. Hilarity! What, what, what is going on here?!
I don't know either. The sides could have been taken in at least 5" (each!) and the armholes were gaping, to say the least.
I made this out of some Ikea cotton that I have decided not to use in quilting. It didn't even make sense for me to finish this one off. I was actually able to make a second muslin out of this one - in a size 10!
Finally! Another Lisette pattern - Simplicity 0451.
I really, really want to get this one right. because I love the idea of a simple shirtdress. I used some free fabric that I got when fabric.com made one of their rare cutting mistakes. I've been trying to swap this one for a while because I had two yards of it and it wasn't something I was going to use. But - enter the muslin. I knew I wanted short sleeves, so I was able to eek out all of the pattern pieces except for the button placket using 2 yards of fabric. This one, I just bit the bullet and cut out a 12.
I couldn't really figure the placket out and then it turned out much more narrow than the photos I've seen (plus I messed up by attaching the collar before I attached the placket - oops). I have a great black/grey chambray that I want to use to make this, but I need to tweak this muslin a little bit. I think I can just let out the seam allowances a titch (they are the standard 5/8") in the skirt and it might do. Otherwise I might have to figure out how to grade the skirt portion to a 14. (Yep, I eyeballed those pockets and they are totally crooked!)
Even though I bungled my way thru all of these, they were never meant to be wearable muslins and I think I learned enough about shape and to some extent, sizing, to use in the final projects. But a big part of the hesitation in sewing for myself is the fit issue. The sizes are ridiculous. You should, theoretically, be able to measure yourself, find the the size on the pattern and that size should correspond to you. But it doesn't. And that's what's kept me from really getting into sewing for myself. Each project takes two or three iterations before it's something worthy to be worn outside (rather than just worn and mocked on my blog!). I generally don't have that kind of trouble with quilting. Sewing time is precious and these muslins are the black hole of time suckage. I think I'll get back to quilting, instead :)
My husband is going to help me make one of those duct tape dress forms soon and I hope that will help with some of the fitting issues.
The adventure continues...