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Mockery is important

As in like, making mock-ups out of inexpensive material before doing it on the good stuff. Not actually mocking people, unless they’re politicians. Then they’re fair game.

Why bother with a Muslin? Doesn’t this mean I’ll have to make the pattern twice?

It sure fucking does! *thumbs up* and that’s great because you can make all your mistakes on the cheapo fabric that doesn’t cost you dollars per inch, and refrain from going into bankruptcy. It also means you can make all the adjustments you’ll need before you get to the fancy stuff and then your final product will fit better.

What you’ll Need

  • Shears
  • inexpensive no stretch fabric
    • I’ll be calling this muslin from now on but I’ve used cheap green broadcloth that I have left over from another project
  • pens – 2 colours is easier
  • Pins. A lot of pins
  • a mirror
  • a bit of patience

Cut out the pieces

Using our traced pattern pieces from part 1, and whichever Helper you’ve got, pin and cut out the pieces in your muslin fabric.

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Because this is basically a ‘throw away’ version, I write down all the information that was on the pattern pieces onto the fabric itself in one colour of pen.

I’ll be using the other colour to mark the changes that I’ll make later.

Baste/Sew the pieces together

Did you know that some machines have a basting stitch built in!? I only found out my new machine did earlier this year and it’s made my life a lot easier.

But! If your machine doesn’t have a basting stitch built in, just set the stitch length to the longest and go forth and straight stitch.

So, at this point I’m going to refer you to something that I didn’t do because I’m dumb. Ahem.

Read. The. Instructions. Before. You. Start.

Why? Because this pattern has extra wide seam allowances in order to create boning channels later on.

I did not read this and used the regular seam allowance of 1/2 inch and then was like ‘why is this so big?’ then as I started taking it in, I figured I should check JUUUUUST in case I’d made the seam allowances too small.

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In my defence this was happening and it was really cute so I didn’t want to disturb her.

Mistakes like this are one of the best arguments towards making a muslin. I just went back and sewed the proper allowances and bam, much better.

(I also put the boobcups in wrong twice due to my need to align seams.)

Ahem. Anyways, it’s all put together? Time to…

Fit it to your body

Pin it on. Yes, to you.  YES, CAREFULLY. I put on a close fitting shirt and pair of pants and pinned the top centre of the corset to my bra (so it doesn’t twist, and pinned the bottom centre to the waistband of my pants.

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Having help here is really nice, but it is  possible to do this on your own. Pin the back of the corset into place on your shirt, and then take a look at where the corset is sitting and what parts aren’t fitting well.

For me, my natural body shape no matter how slender or how squishy I am, is never going to be an hourglass. Instead it’s kind of like a column that with ribs that flare out rather than tuck in. Because of that, a corset sized to fit my waist will have loose floppy bits around my hips and sometimes around my chest.

Everyone’s shape is different, and this is where it’s worth taking a bit of time and pinning in seams until the corset fits YOUR body.

Things to keep in mind while adjusting the fit of your muslin:

  • If you’re pinning seams in to take up slack, take in all the seams until the slack is gone.
    • If you only take in one seam it’ll distort the seam lines and make the final product look wonky
  • If you need to let out a seam, rip it out and pin to where the new seam will be.
    • Using your second colour of pen, make a nose or line where you’ll need to add fabric for the new allowance when you cut your good material.
    • Don’t be afraid to add more fabric if you need it. A better fit is more important than matching the size of the pattern
  • Feel for where your actual waist is and mark with your second colour of pen. The pattern doesn’t have a waist line marked on, so this will help if you need to lengthen or shorten the corset
    • If you’re tall, you may need to add fabric here.
    • If you’re short, you may need to take in so that the corset fits properly.

Note: As I am of amazonian stature (5’9” with a bit extra) I usually add a whole inch at the waist, and this corset was no different.

FIX IT, FIX IT, FIX IT!

Once you’ve got things pinned to where you want them to be, carefully unpin the muslin from your body and with your second pen, mark down the pinned seams and smooth out any wonky lines.

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I do this but cutting it in half and adding an inch of fabric to the pieces.

Then sew along the new lines. Try on the muslin again and make any more adjustments

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This is what my Muslin v2 looked like. You can see that there’s the extra inch added at the waist and the boob cups have been taken in to fit the bra I’ll be sewing into it.

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Be sure to mark off the new seam allowance from your adjusted seams. Then trim the fabric to match it. Don’t forget to copy any notches or marks that will be cut off or you’ll run into trouble later when we put the proper material together.

Let ‘er Rip!

Once you’ve finished adjusting your muslin so it fits well and your seams are all updated with the proper allowance, rip your stitches out.

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Did you know the ball tip is supposed to be inside the seam so it doesn’t rip the fabric? 

Once you’re done that and covered with thread bits, I find a sticky lint roller or a bit of tape the easiest way to clear up the mess. Alternate but less effective methods include rolling your cat over it.

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These muslin pieces will be your new pattern pieces for the good fabric which we’ll be cutting into next.

BONUS – hold onto your muslin pieces once you’re done with them by putting them into a Ziploc bag and writing the pattern on the outside with sharpie. That way if you need to make a similar item for a different costume, you’ve already got the pieces that fit you perfectly ready to go.

See you next week!
oxo Calamity

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