Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Gray Dress, Episode 1: Making a Muslin

I have begun working on the muslin for the gray dress for my Sherlock costume.  I'm following the couture sewing methods taught by Susan Khalje in her class on  So far I've had some ups and downs with the process, but I'm happy with the overall process so far...

Preparing the pattern.  During the couture process it is stitching lines, not cut lines, that matter.  So I began by marking the stitching lines on my paper pattern pieces.  I used a protractor to make it easy to mark along the curves.

Preparing the fabric.  I matched the selvages and ironed a new center fold parallel to the grainline.  It took a couple tries.  I had to put it through the washer and dryer after the steam of the iron started distorting the fabric.

Cutting out the pattern pieces.  I left lots of extra room so I can play with the seams.

Transferring stitching lines to the fabric.  I used two sheets of blue wax transfer paper and a tracing wheel.  I taped the transfer paper to the table so it wouldn't slip away from me.

Sewing over the traced lines.  This transfers the stitching lines to both sides of the fabric.  This does several things.  It makes it easier to match seams since you can do it tactically, and it gives reference points to work from during the fitting.  But I did have to fiddle with the tension on my machine quit a bit to get it to pucker as little as possible while sewing through just a single layer of fabric.

Assembly.  I assembled the top and bottom separately, since I knew I would need to add length in the torso.

Adjusting to fit... 

Not there yet.  :-(

I lowered the waist.  But I also need to lower the bust darts and give myself more ease on the side seams and the sleeves.  I think I'll leave it alone for a few days and also think about whether or not I want to keep all the pleats.  It's looking a bit too busy at the waistline.

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