If you’re unaware, I sew one muslin a year as a pattern tester for Threads magazine, I follow their general guidelines on the details, style lines and size to include in the muslin —they have standards.
Other than that, I am not a muslin maker for myself. I mean, I don’t buy muslin fabric to test out a pattern FOR MYSELF. For a rare personal muslin make, I do what works for me. I used an old sheet once to make a newly acquired pattern; another time I used a cheap printed cotton from my fabric stash to test for fit, loved how it looked and wear that “muslin” as is.
However, I made a muslin-muslin today! The out of print pattern by Simplicity has been a stash resident and was used just once for the fur vest version. View A is new to me and has trench-style details that needed a test run. So here’s how it went….
What can one include and totally ignore in a trial muslin? It depends.
Obvious elimination: lining. I have never seen the need to line a muslin, ever. My jacket pattern is unlined anyway. Anyone lined a muslin, that you know of?
Optional Details eliminated: For this particular piece, I ignored the purely aesthetic details and kept what was essential to getting a good feel of the garment, including the fit and the general vibe — should we call it “chicness quotient”? I ignored the shoulder tabs (epaulettes), sleeve wrist tabs, facings for the front chest flaps, buttons and buttonholes. If this jacket closed with a zipper, I would add it to the muslin, though. (It depends on where the zipper is located in the pattern; a front zipper closure can be marked and pinned at the center front marked line to gauge the fit, but how would you pin a side zipper? ). Also ripe for elimination from a muslin is the interfacing.
Inclusions : I kept the actual front facing since it is integrated with the hem, and a finished edge of the front is essential to gauge a feel of the garment. I also included the collar and collar facing, since it’s also essential to the look, although I almost forgot the collar until I started writing this post. Heh. The sleeve hem and jacket hem is just folded up and pinned without sewing them down to allow for length adjustments. I would not eliminate a hem completely. The back pleat is a definite inclusion, not just to measure the vibes, but the actual fit ( as in, do they fan out too much?)
Markings: I like to go to town with pen or pencil markings on a muslin. Most important is the center front line, plus the buttonhole and button placement marks on both sides of the front. If this was a close fitting garment, a bust point mark (if provided in the paper pattern) is essential; this marking would indicate where your actual bust point lies in relation to the paper pattern. Additionally, one can write notes directly on the muslin if one so wishes!
The sewing process: can be made quick and easy by: 1) using a long but not basting stitch, 2) forget about seam finishes (obviously), 3) using old thread spools and thread colors you’ll never use. 4) do plan to trim and clip the seams where required; e.g. I had to trim and clip the collar and neckline seam to make that area sit smoothly on the muslin neck.
So what fit and aesthetic anomalies did I notice in this muslin? My only fit and silhouette adjustment was to redraw the seam in a small portion of the shoulder area of the raglan sleeve. That area looked too pokey and outward jutting, which I tamed by resewing a shallower curve. See photo below.
Muslin making has two distinct camps — For and Against; and they’re pretty firm in their convictions. What camp are you in? Chime in.