Posts Tagged ‘muslin


Practice makes perfect

A custom bridal gown will always begin with at least one mock up, sometimes more. Even when I’ve taken great care with measurements, even when I’ve considered multiple aspects of fit, there are always some details that need to be fine tuned, and it’s much better to work these out before we’re using the fashion fabrics for the gown! Additionally, some things look different in real life than we imagine them on paper. My clients and I both need to see an example ahead of time to work through any desired changes and to gain confidence with the design overall.

For Rachel, I made two mock ups, and we had a total of three muslin fittings as we fine tuned the fit of the bodice, the placement of the off the shoulder sleeves, the length and amount of fullness in the skirt, the shape and amount of fullness in the overskirt. The overall design remained unaltered in her case, but I spent a great deal of time perfecting the fit and shape to make sure her gown would be the most flattering thing she’d ever worn. Rachel was delightful to work with. She stood patiently as I pinned out fabric and insisted each time “there’s no rush; I don’t want to take it off!” Our mutual friend Ann-Michelle was able to come to most of these fittings and it was loads of fun. Rachel shared the evolving wedding plans with us and her excitement was infectious!

At her first mock up fitting, I showed her swatches I’d purchased for a few fabrics I thought would be suitable for her gown. I was thrilled when, at first glance, she announced that she loved the fabric which had been my personal favorite. It was a stunning iridesent purple Dupioni silk that took on bluer or redder tones depending on the light. None of the shades it took on clashed with orange, and it seemed like the fabric would really help pull in some of the various colors that would be present at her wedding. Plus, the texture and weight of it was ideal for the type of pick ups she wanted – some shape, some texture, but not too much volume (not too poofy!). This was one of several times that it felt like Rachel was reading my mind, picking my recommendation even before I’d suggested it!

The series of mock ups took place over a month and a half but I’m condensing them to one blog post because just as I could scarcely wait to start sewing the silk, I can hardly wait to show you photos of the *actual* gown in progress! More to follow soon…


Birth of a Muslin

I spent a couple days this past week drafting the pattern and sewing up the muslin for a bridal gown I’ll be making in the near future. I thought I’d share the experience with my readers!

I pretty much always begin by sizing my dressform to my client’s measurements. This particular gown will be made for a plus sized gal with an hourglass figure, whose measurements were a bit larger than my adjustable dressform adjusts. I needed a good representation of her figure to be able to drape the bodice, and I didn’t want to swing for one of those deluxe uber adjustable dressforms just for the muslin. So, I cut 4″ wide strips of quilt batting and wrapped them around the form to pad it.  I had lots of control over *where* the extra padding went, and the batting is just fuzzy enough to sort of stick to itself which made it easy to put it on. Right after taking this snapshot, I took a roll of masking tape to it so I wouldn’t have to deal with the batting shifting each time I put the muslin onto and off of the dress form.

Padded Dressform

Once I was sure I had a good size and shape, I drew up the pattern for the bodice lining. For the lining I used a simple princess seamed strapless pattern, converted it to a sweetheart neckline, shortened and tapered the skirt. I left it a little longer than the final bodice would be, so I could draw out the asymmetrical line where the bodice attaches to the skirt in 3D, right up on my dress form. (It doesn’t show terribly well in the picture, but I drew my line straight on the muslin with a ballpoint pen). I also adjusted the back of the bodice, to allow for corset style lacing in the back. I drafted the skirt pieces and matched them up to the bodice to mark out the same angled lines for that seam.

Muslin Pattern

Having removed the skirt pattern from the bodice lining, I moved on to draping the bodice itself. This was by far the most time consuming part of the process. I pinned muslin fabric straight onto the bodice lining, taking up small, irregular pintucks. I didn’t want the dress to look pleated, but rather to have a slightly random, organic look to the ruching, so I spent a lot of time undoing and redoing the pinning, twisting and stretching the fabric, until I had everything in place. Then after a strong blast of steam from my iron to set the wrinkles (and make them a tad less poofy), I had to carefully remove the pins from the lining, and replace them in the outer fabric, so I could take it over to my machine and stitch it down. Had to do this four times for the different sections of ruched fabric, then sew them together.

Bodice Draping

Once the bodice fabric was sewn together I attached it to the lining, and then sewed the skirt onto the bodice. Added the laces in the back, and there you have it, a muslin that gives a really good feel for what the final product will be!

Rhianna Muslin Front Rhianna Muslin Back

September 2018
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