Make the Muslin

15 Sep Make the Muslin

You’re an elegant woman and you walk beautifully” said the Frenchman at the Savannah Highway Harris Teeter on September 1 at 3:15 pm. I was wearing a mask, flip flops and  this dress. After I gathered my wits I thanked him for his flattering comment and told him he made my day. Then I texted my husband and suggested he may wish to talk this way to me. 😉

In retrospect I believe the lovely Frenchman was admiring the fit of my dress, because a perfectly fitting garment accentuates your attributes and downplays your flaws. It’s comfortable and moves with you when you walk.

On those rare occasions when I receive compliments such as this I’m always wearing a sheath that I’ve made.

Perhaps this compliment was the catalyst, but I haven’t made a sheath all year and it’s time for a new one!

I’m excited about sewing a new pattern and chose Kwik Sew 4261.


I especially love the silhouette and the fitting opportunities this pattern provides,

but to get the fit I wanted,  I needed to make a full muslin minus the facings since it will be lined.

Keeping me company through the muslin process was CHANEL Haute Couture from A to Z!, a fascinating one-hour documentary which chronicles the process of creating the current Chanel Haute Couture collection. The muslins are worked to perfection and are beautiful enough to wear to dinner. It’s a must watch!

I chose the size that fit my pandemic waistline and worked from there. The bust, back, and shoulders were all too large and needed adjusting.

Shortening the back bodice pieces was a simple fix as was the shoulders!

No matter the size, Princess bust seams always run large on me, and this alteration is usually the most time consuming.

The bodice side seams were adjusted, and I tweaked the hips slightly.

I know, this is no Chanel muslin, but I’m sewing the dress pattern with confidence now. The only thing that could be more helpful is fitting this pattern on a body double – a class I vow to take with Mary Funt from Cloning Couture!

My goal – to make my simple sheath dress fit as well as this simple sheath dress

or this one  – no short cuts allowed!

Until soon 🙂

  • Mary Korby
    Posted at 10:44h, 15 September Reply

    Great reminder. Do you have a fitting buddy?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:45h, 15 September Reply

      I do, Mary, and I need to use her more often!

  • Heather Zinck
    Posted at 10:53h, 15 September Reply

    What a lovely compliment. I love how you noted the date and time.
    As always, a beautiful dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:55h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you, Heather! Compliments such as this stop me dead in my tracks……. easy to remember all of the details😉😉

  • Becky
    Posted at 10:55h, 15 September Reply

    Very flattering. An abundance of those “fitting opportunities” is indeed helpful. Can’t wait to see this in fashion fabric.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:58h, 15 September Reply

      Many thanks, Becky. It takes more time for sure, but I love the details for such a simple silhouette!

  • Joan
    Posted at 11:01h, 15 September Reply

    Thank you for a technical (or fitting) post, Sarah! Fitting is my bugaboo, so I love reading and seeing how other women fit themselves!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:30h, 15 September Reply

      My pleasure, Joan! We.learn so much about our bodies and shapes through fitting patterns, as well as what silhouettes are flattering. It’s worth the effort 😊

  • Mary Funt
    Posted at 11:18h, 15 September Reply

    Nice work on the muslin. I’ve always found that time spent perfecting the fit is never wasted and saves you big time when it comes to making the finished garment, especially is the fabric is expensive. The video you linked is amazing; I never tire of watching it. It’s true, the sewists work the muslin until it’s absolutely perfect. Thanks for the link to me. Having a dressform that duplicates your body is a wonderful addition to your sewing tools. I’m doing the class via Zoom but nothing beats in-person. Hopefully the isolation will end soon. I’ll be watching for the finished dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:33h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you, Mary! I’m starting with an inexpensive fabric. If all goes well, I’m going to use the pattern to wear with one of my recent French Jackets.
      Your class would endlessly benefit my sewing – I need to buckle down and do it!

  • Gail Cunningham
    Posted at 11:39h, 15 September Reply

    I guess I need to get out of my usual rush and make the muslin!!! Thanks for telling me why!!!

    Have a great day!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:56h, 15 September Reply

      You won’t regret it, Gail!!!!

  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 11:44h, 15 September Reply

    Thank you for the reminder about the value of making a muslin & the link to the documentary.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:57h, 15 September Reply

      My pleasure, Bernadette! It is a W O N D E R F U L documentary! Enjoy😊

  • Lynn Pias
    Posted at 11:47h, 15 September Reply

    I am a huge tunic bible fan, I’ve made dozens of them, and always follow your posts and I find I am always thinking “where are you wearing all these dresses?” 😀

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:59h, 15 September Reply

      😂😂 These days, I’m wearing them to the grocery store! Many thanks for your comment, Lynn and I’m glad you’re enjoying The Tunic Bible!

  • Hanh-Trang
    Posted at 11:47h, 15 September Reply

    Flattering indeed, coming from a native of lhe land of haute couture and making all those hours of fitting and spending time on details worthwhile! Bravo, Sarah!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:59h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you, Hanh – Trang! There’s nothing like a good fitting garment 😉

  • Michele Slberhorn
    Posted at 11:58h, 15 September Reply

    I took a Sloper fitting seminar and my big take-away from that was that one should fit their shoulders and upper torso first. It is much easier to adjust bust, waist, and hips than shoulders. I was using patterns a size too large in that area and as a result things never fit well.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:06h, 15 September Reply

      Hi Michele! I agree with you and know I deviated from the rule of thumb here. Susan Khalje also says fitting begins with the shoulders.
      The first thing I did after making the muslin was fit my shoulders, then the rest of my upper torso. I knew the skirt would need little adjustment and so it all fell into place easily. Even if I started with the smaller size (XS) I would have had to adjust the shoulders, bust and back AND waist AND hips, so after examining the pattern pieces I chose to cut the small.
      Many thanks for your comment!

      • Ev Roth
        Posted at 11:02h, 16 September Reply

        I wondered about that too. And with your experience in adjusting patterns, I’m sure this made sense for you. What did you adjust on your shoulders? Did it involve the neckline?

        • goodbyevalentino
          Posted at 11:31h, 16 September Reply

          I removed 1 1/2 inches from the shoulder seams then graded the curve. I did not touch the neckline thank goodness!

  • JS
    Posted at 12:09h, 15 September Reply

    Thanks for the Chanel video. I love Loic Prigent’s 2005 series “Signé Chanel.”

    I look forward to seeing the finished dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:55h, 15 September Reply

      Your are so welcome and that’s a great series, though I haven’t seen it all. I know you’ll enjoy it 😉 Many thanks for the comment!

  • celestial
    Posted at 12:22h, 15 September Reply

    A compliment by a Frenchman is a compliment to be cherished, because most of the French believe Americans dress and stand horribly (and I have to agree, in many instances). Vive’ le coutour! (No, I don’t know a word of French.)

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:57h, 15 September Reply

      Oh I cherished this encounter for sure! Maybe he was an angel, but in any case, Vive’ le coutour!

  • Mary Lynn Cheely
    Posted at 13:42h, 15 September Reply

    Is there any way to fit oneself with out a dummy (alive or otherwise!) Certainly wish I could train my dog, but all he wants to do is watch tv – he whines when I turn it off! He was enthralled with the Steelers game last night! I’m trying to finish a needlepoint Christmas stocking, so haven’t sewed for ages. I hope all is well with you all; we’re doing quite well here. Blessings to all of you.

    • JS
      Posted at 13:50h, 15 September Reply

      I know people who fit themselves without dress forms or a fitting buddy. It takes a great deal of patience. A setup with two or three mirrors helps so you can see yourself from all angles. You could also explore buying a form, new or used, and padding it. Some people have had good experiences with the Bootstrap dress form pattern. You sew it and stuff it.

      Craftsy has at least one class on fitting oneself, but I don’t know if it’s any good. If you aren’t a subscriber, you may be able to get a trial subscription.

      • goodbyevalentino
        Posted at 16:53h, 15 September Reply

        I took one Craftsy dress form class, but I did not have success. If you really want a double, I urge you to take Mary’s class. I’ve seen her double and student’s doubles and they are exceptional!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:51h, 15 September Reply

      Hi Mary Lynn!
      I have a dress form but not a body double. The dress form is indispensable. It can be adjusted with knobs but a true double is ideal. That cute dog doesn’t need to do a thing except keep its owners company!
      Glad y’all are doing well 😉

  • Alex in California
    Posted at 14:21h, 15 September Reply

    I am agree with the Frenchman. I’ve always thought of you as an elegant woman.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:54h, 15 September Reply

      That’s so sweet Alex. I think the French have a way of making everything elegant 😉

      • Ev Roth
        Posted at 11:12h, 16 September Reply

        They do say what they think…. Years ago I was in Montreal for a conference and during a free afternoon, decided to get my hair done. Those were the days when we backcombed every hair on our heads and then sprayed so it would last through at least one (or more) sleep. On my taxi ride back to the hotel, the french taxi driver asked, so I said why I had been to the hairdresser, and he replied, “I bet it looked better before you went.”

        • goodbyevalentino
          Posted at 11:30h, 16 September Reply

          No tip for that cab driver! Rude is never a good thing 😖

  • Margene Yeaton
    Posted at 15:24h, 15 September Reply

    Even your muslims are wonderful! Most definitely you are worthy of such a lovely compliment!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:56h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you, Margene! I worked diligently on it until it fit 😉

  • Margene Yeaton
    Posted at 15:25h, 15 September Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:56h, 15 September Reply

      Spellcheck isn’t as smart as it thinks it is 😂😂😂😂

  • Suzanne Landau
    Posted at 16:28h, 15 September Reply

    How you got from picture A to the final perfect muslin I would love to know. I like to start with my shoulder measurements because thats how I learned to adjust patterns, with the Nancy Ziemen method of pivot and slide. how you work from the waist is beyond me. Please tell us your secret!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:02h, 15 September Reply

      Suzanne, I don’t work from the waist, but I after carefully looking over the pattern pieces, I decided to go with the size that fit the waist.
      Regardless of the size I would have several adjustments to make.
      I started with the shoulders, then adjusted the back bodice piece. These two adjustments were all I needed to make the dress hang straight. Next I adjusted the bust. Once the bodice was complete I fit the sides. No secrets!!

  • Green Door
    Posted at 17:27h, 15 September Reply

    Who helps you pinch out the spots that you can’t reach yourself – like the back? I’ve given up on trying to explain what I mean by “take in”, “smile line”, “make a dart” etc to my husband. And my kids are too little to reach. Ugh!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:30h, 15 September Reply

      My husband is a good sport and gives it his best! After the back is pinned, it is marked and tweaked on the dress form 😉

  • Lisa Jones
    Posted at 18:48h, 15 September Reply

    I can’t wait to see the dress in fabric. I always make a muslin. Then, I take the muslin and make variations, so it saves time over the long run. I have made the Tunic Bible pattern eight times, and they all look different. Keep posting……

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:56h, 15 September Reply

      Lisa ~ I LOVE the tunics I’ve seen and thank you for the repeated makes. I’m glad the pattern works for you! Making variations of a muslin is an excellent idea. Simple silhouettes such as sheaths loan themselves to variations. Many thanks for your comment!

  • Janet Steinhagen
    Posted at 19:37h, 15 September Reply

    You have a lot of patience and perseverance, and you always seem to have success. You are an inspiration. Are you able to do your pin-fitting yourself?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:09h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you so much, Janet! Patience and perseverance are key to sewing success………. I pin fit on my dress form but my husband pins my back. Can’t you tell from the photo? 😂 😂 😂

  • Francoise W.
    Posted at 04:33h, 16 September Reply

    I’m French and I think you may be have an ideal vision of the French male: IRL, it’s quite unusual to be complimented on your outfit by a stranger in the street except if the individual has an idea in mind, ahah
    I strongly believe that a muslin is a must for all adjusted outfits, in particular for jackets, pants and sheath dresses. It’s a lot of work but it worth it. But to be honest, when the project is not adjusted, I rarely prepare a muslin, or I sew a ‘wearable’ toile, with a less expensive fabric.
    I love Loic Prigent’s Youtube channel, it’s a must when you are interested in fashion and couture, as he has a very special approach of the topic, a lot of humour and fun. I missed this one and I’m happy to discover how the last Winter Chanel Haute Couture was implemented in a COVID period, with homework and social distancing.
    Thank you for sharing and ‘Vive la Couture’

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:14h, 16 September Reply

      LOL ~ It’s important to keep it all in perspective isn’t it? Wearable toiles work too, and I’ve made a few, but I could tell this particular pattern would need several adjustments.
      I did not follow Loic Prigent’s You Tube Channel, but I do now! Many thanks for your comment, Francoise 🙂

  • Cindy Vance
    Posted at 13:12h, 16 September Reply

    Do you have a link to the Chanel documentary? I’d really like to se it.

  • Rebecca Bagwell
    Posted at 14:18h, 16 September Reply

    I’m remembering my first Muslim you helped me with. I think I redid several times but was so excited to sewon my fabric. Makes it so much more enjoyable knowing it will fit and never a need for a seam ripper! I posted pic on EOS and most comments were “ the fit is perfect”! I was so happy and I was thinking “well, it should be, a redid my muslin 5 times”! LOL

    Thank you so much for teaching and helping me. I will always do a Muslim!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 14:48h, 16 September Reply

      Ah, thank you Becky! You always look fabulous in whatever you wear!!!😊

  • Karey Harrison
    Posted at 20:19h, 16 September Reply

    Thankyou for the details of your fitting process. Love the ‘pandemic waistline’. I’ve been referring to them as ‘COVID calories’ 🤪😅

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:45h, 17 September Reply

      😂 Let’s just say the COVID calories resulted in my pandemic waistline 😖

  • Christine Taylor
    Posted at 09:26h, 17 September Reply

    Thank you for the link, its fascinating and I will watch it again, I have also subscribed to Loic’s channel.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:14h, 17 September Reply

      My pleasure! It’s a plethora of inspiration and learning, isn’t it?

  • Kelly M.
    Posted at 20:06h, 17 September Reply

    Sarah, I have just recently discovered your blog and your creations absolutely inspire me! Thank you for sharing your sewing journey and your expertise. I have been sewing since I was a teenager and love it, but I am still very much a novice. I’m am in the process of “re-learning” how to sew clothing the correct way and your blog is so incredibly helpful. I would love to subscribe to it, but every time I submit my email address, I get a message of “success” but I never receive the email to confirm and it’s not in my spam folder, either. If you have suggestions, I’d be grateful. Btw, I have put your book on my Christmas Wish List. I can hardly wait to read it. 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:37h, 17 September Reply

      Thank you, Mercer for your lovely comment. I don’t know why you’re having trouble subscribing. I entered your mail just now to the subscription list. One suggestion I have is to follow me on Bloglovin until you start to receive blog posts by email.
      Good luck with your sewing and please stay in touch! 😊

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