Sunday, January 30, 2011

Muslin Take Two-- and Some Advice Needed

You may remember this picture that I posted last week when I realized that I needed to add some major length to the bodice.  (Imagine-- at first I thought it was supposed to look that way!)

I went back to the drawing board and added 2" to the pattern.  While some of you advocated not changing it at all since it didn't look bad per se, I think the second muslin is much better as the proportion seems more correct in this second one.  Another reason I wanted to lower the waist is that I do want to include the belt-- so the natural waist needs to actually sit at the waist, not at my ribcage.

A few sidenotes:

  • These are NOT the shoulder pads I intend to use.  I wanted to use shoulder pads for the fitting since the pattern calls for them and I definitely want to use them.  (They're supposed to extend into the sleeve cap).  I will most likely make my own from batting when I get to that point in the process.  I have a few forties dresses in my closet that I can use for reference.
  • When I was a design student in college, I did an independent study with one of my professors where we focused on fit.  One great trick I learned is to tie a piece of elastic around your waist (the black line above in photo).  Jump around a bit/wiggle/move and the elastic will naturally settle into the smallest part of your waist.  THIS is your natural waist.  Compare this with where your pattern has the waistline marked (also visible on the muslin in the middle photo above) and adjust accordingly.
  • I also lowered the armhole about 1".  It felt a little tight, and there were wrinkles forming along the side seam.  According to Vogue Fitting (a wonderful resource that you can buy used on Amazon for as little as $2.00), the underarm seam should start about 1" below the armpit.
  • I'm ready to move on to the fashion fabric.  Woohoo!
So, I need y'alls expertise on something:

This dress has an opening in the side seam to allow for me to put it on (see picture below).  The original pattern calls for snaps, but I don't really know how one makes a placket (for lack of a better word) for snaps in a side seam.  Does anyone have any experience doing this?

My mom suggested using an invisible zipper instead which is fine except I don't think I like zippers in side seams.  In my recollection, they tend to buckle strangely which ruins the silhouette of the dress.  I have a suspicion that gals with a lower waist-hip ratio can use a zipper there, whereas girls like me with tiny waists and larger hips run into trouble.

Any thoughts or suggestions?


  1. for side zippers, as a curvy girl, my suggestion would be to use a couple strips of stiffer fuseable interfacing in the seam allowance.

  2. I don't have any specific advice on the snaps, except that I'd try to made it like lapped zipper, and just put in the snaps instead of the zipper.

    But more importantly, your newest muslin looks GREAT!
    The shoulder pads are a little funny, too.

  3. I've been thinking the same thing - side zippers kind of suck.

    I'm making a dress now that uses both snaps AND a side zipper in the same opening. The snaps are on a placket that is hidden within the pleats of the dress...but I could make a placket that carries up above the waistband and continue the snaps up instead of using a zipper.

    Would you just attach a piece of fabric into the seam allowance for the placket? Not sure how it could be done.

  4. I just found this link at Threads Magazine. It's about sewing vintage and includes some helpful tips on techniques that are not widely used today. It has a how-to for putting a placket with snaps in. Apparently zippers were not widely available to the home sewer until after WWII.

  5. Your second toile does look much better! I love this design and keep thinking about it - I actually have some fabric that would be perfect, so might just have to make one for myself!

    If you were to use a zip I would definitely fusetape the zip allowance, it stabilises the bias area of the hip curve and prevents distortion.