Sunday, January 12, 2014

Muslin Complete: Simplicity 3833

Hearing that my muslin-in-progress photos were helpful for a couple of folks who are thinking of trying this dress was so gratifying! And, as you will see, Lauren of Rosie Wednesday's comment that I might want to consider a swayback adjustment was certainly right on the money.

Really, I hate this fabric. It is has a quality of stiffness, despite being a knit and not actually feeling stiff. See how the hem folds into little pointy...peaks? But whatever. It has served its purpose.

I cut a bunch off of the hem since showing you the first pictures of this muslin (maybe 4" or something like that). Finding the best length for these kinds of tops is tricky, just as everything having to do with proportion is tricky, but I'm happy with the length this ended up (26" from the base of the back neck). The dress-over-pants look is fine by me, but since I have so many dresses, I decided that this should be clearly and only a top.

In unpicking the center back and side seams to give myself a bit more room through the waist and hip, I managed to make a hole in the seamline of the center back. Thus, I had to sew that seam back just a tiny bit snugger than it started out. But the sides seams, thankfully, came apart without incident and I was able to let them out about 1/4", giving me a total of 1" extra ease. That little bit makes all the difference in feeling comfortable.

The back is a mess and I rather hate to show it. But...yes, clearly I need a swayback adjustment and I won't be skipping it again, even at the muslin stage!

All those draglines from the shoulder blade to the underarm also seem to be suggesting a sloping shoulder adjustment. I did deepen the shoulder seam by 1/4", but apparently something more is needed. I'm still thinking on this one. It's a common issue for me. Sometimes I need to increase the shaping at the upper back (rounded back alteration, shudder).

Instead of a neck facing, since I knew I could pull this over my head and didn't need a zipper opening, I used a binding to finish the neck edge. I have learned that double knits need a longer binding strip than stretchier jersey knits. For jersey knits, I usually use a strip that, once seamed at the center back, is 20% shorter than the neck opening at the seamline. But for double knits, 10% to 15% shorter is what is needed: if the binding is too short, the neckline will pucker.

All this care and thought is going into the muslin for this garment because my prospective "real" fabric is so lovely: a lime-ish green wool doubleknit. Now I'm seized with indecision: should the "good" fabric become this dress or should it become a long cardigan? On the one hand, a cardigan would see more daily use, but then it would need careful cleaning to avoid shrinkage. A dress would be lovely, but I have lots of them. I just don't know!


  1. Oooh, it's looking to be a lovely fit! I hope it translates well to your 'real' doubleknit fabric. I like it, as is, as a dress. If you make it a cardigan, it would lose the part I like best, the seams under the bust and down the front of the skirt part. But, obviously, you are the one wearing it, so whatever best fits into your lifestyle.

  2. I have this pattern, my MIL gave it to me but I was having a hard time visualizing what it would look like on a person in present time. It's darling :-). I think I'll go rummage through my stash and see if I have any suitable fabric.

  3. I'm glad to hear the swayback adjustment will work for you! I can't wait to see this dress in the lime green. It's going to be wonderful!

  4. At one time I thought I needed a sway back adjustment and later discovered that what I really needed was to shorten the center back length considerably. After that, the sway back adjustment wasn't necessary. It's something else to consider and an easy alteration. You can pin it out on your garment to see if it's worth considering.

  5. Well, it would always be a dress for me! I am so impressed with what proper sewists like you can do. I love the seaming detail and look forward to seeing the pattern made up in your chosen fabric. I have half-resolved to try and do some sewing this year (allowing myself a get out, as usual) but lack confidence as well as skill!
    Thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog, I really appreciate you dropping by and taking the time to say hello.
    Love Curtise x