Muslin 3 PJ Top 2

I need one more set of PJ’s. For winter, I need 3  PJ sets.  I was raised with the one-to-wear one-to-wash philosophy but I’ve found  a ‘spare’ can be a Godsend.  You just never know when a baby is going to spit up or, more likely in my case, when you’re going to snort coffee through your nose laughing at something you just read.  Since I’m still not entirely pleased with Otto 2/2006 #02, I may as well make another T-shirt for PJ’s. Kill 2 birds with one stone, eh?

In addition to the list of changes shared previously, I moved the bust dart down 1/2″.  I had forgotten to mention taking in the side seams under the arm and I transferred  those changes too.  This tissue which is close to fitting me the way I want, no longer has the smooth curve Otto drafted. Although I’m in the ‘curvy’ category, my side seams are not very curvy.   I carefully hung Tissues 1, 2 and 3.  Eventually, they will go in the trash. For now I appreciate having a reference. I’ve also tossed Muslin 1 (the water melon pink knit). Muslin 2 has already warmed me during my evening rest and I’m pleased to say that the bicep/elbow area stretched enough to be comfortable.

I chose my next fabric to make a coordinating PJ set with jean styled legging purchased 2 winters ago at Walmart. I am surprised at how well these jeggings have held up. I’m hard on PJ’s.  I change PJ’s once a week. Whether they need it or not. They are washed in hot water. Baked on high heat until dry.  My chosen fabric has about 30% stretch. It will stretch to 40% if I pull hard but it shows that hard pull.  I prefer not to wear garments stretched that far.  My fabric has a combination of fibers or else some really good polyester.  Feels like cotton with lycra but could be poly with lycra. I had no intentions of burning and sniffing to figure out fiber content. It’s the stretch factor I’m most concerned with; 30% fits my needs just fine.

I cut my new fabric using Tissue 4. I immediately reinforced the back shoulder with fusible bias tape and serge finished all the edges.  I stitched the bust darts permanently ie. poly thread in needle and bobbin before switching to water-soluble thread in the bobbin for fitting.  I cut right and left shoulders the same. When it came time to baste the shoulders together I offset the front right shoulder 1/4″ below the back.

When I basted the sleeves into the armscyes I experienced an extreme  “WTF” moment.  With Muslin 2, I was stretching the sleeve to fit the armscye and thought I needed to shorten the sleeve cap.  With this, Muslin 3, I’m gathering the sleeve cap.  Lots.  In my mind, you don’t gather a T-shirt sleeve. Nor the armscye.  The sleeve cap and armscye should fit together very smoothly.  I’m not saying I’d never add gathering or extra ease in a knit sleeve.  I’m saying that typically,  especially for what is to become my basic knit block, I want a smooth seam armscye and sleeve cap join.  And I’m flummoxed that I’m not anywhere near that standard.

I made a 1/4″ tuck (total 1/2″ length removed) in the sleeve cap and then tried to pin the armscye and sleeve. Nope.  Still too much length along the sleeve cap edge. Increased the tuck to 3/8″ (total 3/4″ removed).  Better but NOPE.  Increased the tuck to 1/2″ (total 1″ removed.).  Close. Maybe no cigar though but close. Every time I handle the sleeve and armscye, I’m lightly pressing. I fear that I am lightly distorting as well. I decide this is close enough this time.  I really don’t want to take out too much and be back to gathering the armscye to fit the sleeve cap. Been there. Done that. Don’t like the resulting wrinkles around the armscye.  I alter my tissue to reflect the new sleeve cap shape and then re-cut the 2nd sleeve to match the first. Baste the other sleeve into the armscye and baste both side seams at 1/2″ — my preferred side seam allowance. In the mirror, front looks pretty good. Sides not bad. But from the mirror, I never know for sure whether the back is good or bad.  I take pics. Waddle upstairs to do a little editing and evaluation.

I do very little to my pics.  I’m not smart enough and don’t want to be.  I rotate so my pics arent at a slant.  I also crop because I want to see and share details of my garment vs all the stuff in my sewing rooms. I will lighten a picture so that I can see (and share) drag lines. Just before sharing on my blog, I resize my pix.  I don’t  want to post a pic so big it can’t be displayed on your screen.  I did all the above to these pics. Because my fabric has a black background, I lightened my pics 97%. Boy was I surprised

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and pleased.  The back and front arent’ half bad.  Ignore the hem on the back. The fabric is rolling dreadfully and I think the camera snapped just as I was tweaking the lie of the back.

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The sides aren’t half bad.  I’m not seeing huge drag lines either side although I admit one side looks nicer.  It’s hard to see but I may have unnecessarily lowered the bust dart.  I’m not going to change the pattern just yet.  It’s one of those things I’ll watch.

What really surprises me at this first fitting, is the shoulder width. While the shoulders of Muslin 2 seemed to fit nicely at the shoulders, Muslin 3 is way off:’

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I’m not sure how well these 2 pics show, but Muslin 2 (brown print) shoulders are sitting much closer to my own than Muslin 3(black/blue/green etc print).

I decided to try a ‘stay’. Pulled out some light weight fusible interfacing and cut cross-grain, a narrow stay in the shape of the back  shoulders and neckline.

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I’m happy to say it worked perfectly.

I think I’m finished.  I think I’ve got my basic knit block. There’s still a little extra ease in the front neck and I’ve just noticed that in adding the shoulder shaping to the tissue as a dart just below the shoulder seam, caused the CF and CB to buckle a little. They’re no longer perfectly straight.  I may be able to fix both issues at the same time.  For now, I applied a band and gatheredthe front neckline to it.

After hemming:


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I’ve ditched tissues 1-3.  Tissue 4 becomes my block with a note about adapting for the right shoulder, and checking the front neckline.  This fabric could have stretched out of shape. The back did, why not the front? Except I’ve been noticing that the garment front necklines aren’t hugging my neck the way I would like.  As for the CF and CB angle, I sliced off, not more than 1/8″ at the neck which turns to nothing long before the hem is reached.  I would like my block to contain a little more shaping.  That’s something I’ll work on in future knit tops. I know I will because the way I’m fitting now starts with pulling out my block and adapting the pattern to my block. Adding a little more shape is something of which I will be reminded. I may also tweak the fit in other ways. For example at some point I’m going to want full instead of half patterns to match stripes and large prints. I may as well do that soon and adapt the right shoulders.

You know, it’s a relief to have this done.  I almost don’t believe it.  BTW, I’m not trying to correct or disguise my shape even the asymmetrical shoulders. Not trying to highlight any particular part of my body ala /<ardasians.  My goal is a smooth fit that skims the curves. No drag lines, fabric puddles or unstitched darts. Just smooth fit from which I can develop any style I want.



4 thoughts on “Muslin 3 PJ Top 2

  1. I am so IMPRESSED with all the fitting you’ve been doing. You’ve succeeded magnificently! I have a PP t-shirt 104 cut out for a wearable muslin. You’ve inspired me!


    1. PP104 is a wonderful pattern. It was my GOTO for many years and was easily fit. My aging body just requires so much more work and I’ll admit that because I sew I’m more demanding. Happy fitting!




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