#RoyalWeddingSewAlong My Muslin & Fit Adjustments (McCall's 7684)

Missed my 90,000 instagram stories? Lucky for you I also took a bunch of photos! Bonus: no rambling.

Muslin 1:

 Okay! This is my starting point, a straight size 12. When I selected my size using the finished garment measurements, I was between sizes 10 and 12, and since it's always easier to take in than to let out, I went with the 12. As you can see it's large all over! I also noticed it's long on me--the waist band pattern has the waist mark just at the bottom of the band, and my natural waist is somewhere in the middle of the waistband. However, I like how the bust darts are hitting, and the volume of the cup, so this pattern, though large, is looking promising overall!

Muslin 2:

I decided to start with the simplest thing, taking in the side seams, straight up and down. I took in the side seams at about 1/4", making the circumference 1" smaller all around. The waistband is now snug but not restricting, and the bottom of the waistband is now resting right at my natural waist, just where it should be. The waistband being where it should be is really emphasizing that the bodice is much too long, though. In the side photo, you can see that the shoulder straps are practically floating off into the sky! However, if I take up the straps, I know that will change the level of the neckline and bust and I really like those as they are, so in the next muslin, I'll take height not out of the shoulders, but the waist.

Muslin 3:
Much better already! I took a horizontal tuck out of the front and back bodice pieces, about 3/4". There is still some bunching at the back, but I think that will be pulled out by the skirt. We'll see!

Here is what my front bodice pattern piece looks like now--I sliced off the bottom seam allowance and shifted it up 3/4". I sliced off 1/4" from the side seam. I redrew the dart legs to the new dart leg endings (which were shifted up with the seam allowance). Full disclosure: for accuracy, what you should really do is remove all seam allowances, make modifications, then add back seam allowances. That is why I cut off the seam allowance and moved it upwards, rather than just cutting it off and moving it up. I'm a cheater.

At this point, I am loving the front fit and briefly considered just taking in the side seams under the armpits, narrowing to nothing at the waist. If I didn't have y'all looking over my shoulder, I would have just done that and have called it a day! But! But! I knew I really ought to be a better example and was what was needed really less space under the armpit? No. This is what was needed:

An armhole dart to resolve a gaping armhole! Not so different than just taking a wedge out of the side seam, but definitely not exactly the same either. I transferred this armscye dart onto my flat pattern, and rotated it into the waistline dart. This made my dart huge and made me really nervous, so I sewed it up really quick and whoa whoa whoa I would have needed something from What Katie Did to fill out those pointy pointy bust darts. I also noticed some neckline gaping--I had taken too much out of the armscye, in addition to making my bust darts too wide. I didn't take pictures of this muslin, muslin 3.5, it was simply too distressing--it is on my instagram feed though, modeled by my dress form, if you must see it for yourself. I do have lots of photos of the patterning process though, since it's a little difficult to describe:

Here I drew in the dart lines, transferring them from the armscye of the muslin to the armscye of the pattern, all the way to the point of the waist dart.

I cut through the center of the armscye and waist darts, to but not through the dart point. I rotated the pattern around the dart points so that the two legs of the armscye dart were overlapped. This opens up the waist dart--a lot.

 Retraced and redrew the armscye curve. Then I made a truly disastrous muslin.

Final muslin:

For this final version, I reset after my dramatic pointy darts and made a more modest armscye dart. I rotated that into the waist dart, but also overlapped the waist dart legs very slightly (about 1/4") since I noticed a bit of extra fullness through the bust point, beyond the obvious pointiness, I mean, on the dart rotated muslin 3.5 (this is similar to how one does a small bust adjustment, if you were wondering). This combination of armscye dart rotated into waist dart and slight overlap is visible in this photo of the back of the altered pattern--the front is obscured with washi tape, my preferred pattern alteration tape due to repositionability! :)

In the first armscye dart rotation, remember that the legs were overlapped (so they looked like one  line). I took out about half the dart width at the armscye. 

 I also overlapped the tip of the waist dart--here you can see two dots just to the left of the circled cross that indicates the bust apex. That's actually the tip of the dart, cut in half!

From the back you can see the way the two darts are interacting. The darker, near 90* angle is comprised of the side leg of the armscye dart and the side leg of the waist dart. The lighter, almost 180* angle underneath is the center front leg of the armscye and waist darts. The area just to the right of the bust point that forms a little polygon is being removed from the pattern--just a little bit of fabric over the bust. (Hope you were paying attention in geometry. Also, sewing is S.T.E.M. if your school district is wondering.)

The front of my bodice fits smoothly over the bust with no pulling, there's no gaping along the neckline or shoulder in front or back, and the waist hits just where it should. Could I continue tweaking the fit? Yes, endlessly. But I think this is looking pretty good and it feels comfortable. The only thing I will be keeping an eye on is back length--on my final version, I'll pin on the skirt and see if it pulls it down and smooths it out. If not, I may shave a bit more off horizontally at center back tapering to nothing at the side seam.

To recap: muslin 2 took out excess width, muslin 3 took out excess height, (muslin 3.5 gave me extremely pointy darts), and muslin 4 resolved a gaping armhole and a bit of extra fabric over the bust all in one. Phew! After all this muslin, you can imagine I'm pretty excited to cut into my fashion fabric... that'll be next week!

One last note: don't be surprised if this is the most detailed post of the bunch; once you get your fit nailed down, the rest is smooth sailing!


ps: these are all in black and white for two reasons. first, it's less distracting! second, wildly different lighting in my room over the course of several evenings! 

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  1. Great job, whew! You are quite the designer, the dress will be beautiful. You did not rip seams and do over on the muslins, you made new musins? I am new to the concept and looking forward to learning as much as I can. Thank you.



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