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Jul 18, 2015

Susan Tries on the Blouse Muslin



Friends, no doubt you're wondering why I'm leading with a photo of designer Carolyn Herrera in her signature white shirt.

It's to remind myself that even internationally famous clothing designers wear clothing that will sometimes wrinkle, and drape awkwardly.  Our bodies are three dimensional and mobile and the clothing we wear needs to be able to move with it.  There's a reason why so many women have given up entirely on woven fabrics, opting for stretch knits.

Susan swung by today to try on the blouse muslin I made for her, as well as to see the fabrics we chose for the separates I'm making for her.



Let's talk about the blouse muslin.  As you know, I drafted it myself.  You may be wondering why I'm bothering, rather than working from a commercial pattern.  The answer is simple: I love it.  Drafting from scratch can take longer (though not necessarily), but it is incredibly satisfying to me and I'm learning a tremendous amount.  (I can honestly say that patterns no longer mystify me.)  With time, I'll get better -- and faster -- at it.

Susan's blouse is based on the bodice muslin I drafted previously. I shifted the shoulder dart (which had eliminated most of the excess fabric in the hollow of Susan's upper chest), to the side and redrew my front pattern.  I added a button placket, sleeves (also self-drafted from Dorothy Moore's excellent book) and a simple band collar.  The shirt is fitted at the waist with fish-eye darts and flares out as it extends roughly 4" below her true waist.  Working in stiff muslin on a what will be a soft garment is not ideal (darts look awful), but it does call attention to fit issues.  Before I cut into the Liberty fabric Susan chose for the blouse, I'm going to whip up another muslin in some inexpensive shirting from my stash.

Let's take a closer look.

The armhole is high enough for Susan to lift her arm without significantly raising the shirt.  The fish-eye front darts could be shallower; the collar band could be narrower.

The sleeve, even folded up clumsily at the hem, look pretty smooth

There's enough fullness in back for Susan to cross her arms comfortably in front.  An option is a back yoke with a small center pleat below it.



There's a little too much fullness between Susan's right breast and shoulder.  In a soft fabric, will this be noticeable?  The darts could be shortened.

Side seams are straight.

There's a bit of fullness at the left shoulder too.

I'm also considering extending the shoulder 1/2" -- it's a mite narrow.



I'm excited about tweaking this and moving forward.  As always, thanks for coming along for the ride.

Have a great day, everybody!

28 comments:

  1. I think the muslin is looking pretty good and I'm sure you will nail it with the next round of tweaks. Bravo!

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  2. WOW, looking pretty good. I do think, however, that the side darts are too low. You sure do amazing work!

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    1. that was the first thing I noticed, too. Ideally, you want the dart to go in a straight line from the side seam towards the bust point.

      and, yes, extending the shoulder a bit will help.

      isn't pattern drafting fun? even when it's confounding =)

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  3. I know what you mean about pattern drafting - I love it, too, and I think I could have said everything you said about it. Great fun. Susan's toile is looking good and will look even better with the tweaks you mentioned.

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  4. Your drafting is SO close to the mark. Quite a testament to your skills and understanding of form and fit.

    Ya know, she's gonna be spoiled for RTW after her next fitting. Of course, if that results in endless appearances by Susan, we'll all be better for that.

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  5. Fitting issues over boobs and back .. your muslin should lay flat and perfect .. please look at the details closely .. shoulders and collar look ok .. princess seams would be best for her in a top ... it will help you fit over the boobs and shape the fabric into the back an waist ... this is not perfect yet

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  6. Overall fit is great! I don't know if it is the way the pictures were taken but I agree with a previous comment that the side darts look low, but that is easy enough to fix. Susan will indeed be spoiled by your excellent fitting and pattern making skills. :)

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  7. The darts look to low to me but it could be an optical illusion

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    1. I agree the bust dart looks too low.

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  8. Check your length in the front. You side seams are straight, but the hem line appears to ride up in the front. (First photo and side seam photo.) Extra length helps here when bras change ect. I tend to draft a little extra in the front as moment will always draw fabric up.

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    1. That's what I noticed immediately, probably because that is a problem I often have. She might need a little more ease in the bust, which may solve your wrinkle problem, but definitely longer front too.

      I'm on the fence about the yoke in the back, maybe for a more casual top?

      I don't know if you know this already but it is really important that Susan wear the same underwear each time you fit her, it really makes a difference in clothing fit. You can't get fit in a sports bra for example when you are planning on wearing a balconette or push up bra with the clothing. Actually, one of the best things is to have a professionally fitted bra, most women are wearing the wrong size. There is lots of great info online for bra fitting.

      regards,
      Theresa

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  9. I think the darts tips should point slightly upward towards the highest point of beasts aka the nipple.
    I think you should have removed the sleeves in the fitting and try and smooth the fullness out and then repin the sleeves. The fullness might indicate that the breast dart isnt big/deep enough.

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  10. I'll also agree with Kate, the dart doesn't appear to be in the right position. With the blouse on Susan, mark with a permanent pen the apex of each breast. (Have her mark it, if you are uncomfortable.) That is put a dot on the muslin where her nipple will be. The dart will always point to that spot. It will begin about 1 inch away and go out to the side seam. You can see this in the sixth picture. If you took a ruler and continued the line of the dart across the body it would not pass through her bust apex. The shoulders look good, but try redrafting the bust darting. From the photos, I would draft Susan into a large generous B-cup or a C-cup. The size of the cup draft will depend on the fit of the blouse. The more tailored and crisp the final blouse, the larger the cup size, a loose gathered soft blouse gains some of it's cup fabric from the overall ease of the design.

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  11. I think the fullness or bunching under the arm indicates the armhole depth on the bodice and the armhole depth on the sleeve do not match. I've seen it before: the sleeve level is lower, and it is pulling down the higher fabric of the bodice, creating the bunching. It is a drafting error that will not be fixed by softer fabric. Also, I agree with the other comments about the bust apex and the way the darts miss the high bust point. And thirdly, those front waist darts need to be repositioned, to redistribute fabric volume at the hem; they are not sitting flat.

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  12. A dressmaker/teacher told me she washes that calico (as we call it in Oz) twice before she uses it to make her toiles. That might help.
    This looks fab. Having read the comments, I'll be very keen to see the next iteration! Lucky Susan!

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  13. The muslin looks pretty good but I think those bust darts from the side seams are just a little bit too low. And I agree with you about the shoulder.

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  14. Thanks so much for Dorothy Moore reference! I am teaching myself to sew and found her book to be fascinating and inspiring. I am very interested in drafting designs for my wife as well as myself. I love to discover how things are put together.

    I am struck how flattering your muslins are on Susan. She will be spoiled when you dial In the final design!

    John Thomas in NC

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  15. Raise the bust dart. Lengthen the front. Redraft the front armhole to remove excess fabric. Consider using a French dart or Princess seams.

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  16. I love your sleeve draft; they are the final fitting frontier for so many of us, and you've got them nailed. I agree that the bodice front needs more length overall, and I wonder if that is part of the bunching you see above the bust. Can you recreate some horizontal balance lines on the bodice front - one above the bust and one below? I think if you slashed a line just above the bust but below the armhole, and pulled the hem to level (a la Linda Maynard's Craftsy class), that the bunching just might disappear. I don't agree with others who would move the shoulder seam out. If I recall, Susan has broad shoulders and narrow hips. I think that extending the shoulder line will only accentuate the inverted triangle effect; as it is, you've created a better overall balance.

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  17. Shoulder fit looks good. I would address the fullness issues, they will not go away. The front looks to be riding up? I agree with others about the darts. Personally, I think princess seams would be easier to work with.

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  18. Peter, this is so much fun watching the process. Thanks for sharing it. Susan is a lucky gal to have you for this and that blouse is going to look WAY CUTE on her.

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  19. Nice draft, Peter! She will be more comfortable wearing this blouse if you give her more length in the front. Usually, I add near the bustline and dart any fullness. Agree that the darts need to be reoriented.

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  20. It's beginning to look good. I wonder if you did the full bust adjustment. That would make the front length longer. The dart angle could be higher. Try princess seaming from the shoulder next time. This is the best friend of the full busted woman!!

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  21. Nice drafting job so far. I agree with the other comments and your assessment of the shoulder. Susan may need a slight FBA to address the blouse pulling up in the front. Peggy Sagers suggests that the bust circle can/should be a two inch circle around the bust point. The dart needs to release the fullness for the bust, but not so close as to be awkward (think 1950's darts).

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  22. While I agree with some of the suggestions for alterations, please don't mess with the supposed fullness above the bust at the armhole. Looking at the pictures as a whole, sometimes it is there sometimes it is not. Woven fabrics on a moving human body will always have these issues. I work with muslin a lot, and it tends to 'stick' to undergarments like bras. A nicer fabric will slide back down over her bust after she moves her arms.

    One trick I use when I feel I start to nit-pick...stop staring and go make a cup of tea. Sit down and chat while she is wearing theuslin. Have her play with the dogs. Do normal things. See what you and she notice then.

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  23. You're getting there! It looks a tiny bit tight at the bust point. If you give that more room the whole thing might fall better. Sometimes I wear my muslins around for awhile to see if they have enough ease and they're hanging right.

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  24. Peter, I'm so glad you are finding drafting rewarding. Keep pushing on the fitting; this already looks better than most of my self-drafted stuff! I think fitting is far more difficult than drafting. Although I suppose they are really complementary and can't be separated.

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  25. Peter you did a great job. Really, this looks to me ready to go to fashion fabric. I think if your photos were of strait frontal, side, back - the comments prior to mine would be different. I would do exactly as you said - go to an inexpensive shirting fabric next, but I would make up up as a street wearable shirt that she can spend a couple of days in going about her routines so that you can get her feedback. I find actually wearing my first inexpensive garments the best way to avoid over-fitting and making changes that are not visible in the garment, but are only discovered in wearing. Thank you for sharing - this has been a very fun series!

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