Muslin 4??

When I finished Muslin 3 I thought I was 1 tweak away from TNT (as perfect as possible).


I thought it was time to make a full front and back. Permanently compensating for my lower right shoulder with appropriate alterations.

Then I got distracted.  Christmas was around the corner. I needed to get my 200 needle knitting project done.  I converted my almost perfect block into a dartless block (using instructions at Ikat Blog) and my custom knit into cut-n-sew.   My cut-n-sew didn’t turn out badly

The hem flared instead of hugging the body.  I over-corrected by using elastic in the hem. But it’s in the OK/not-bad category of knitting/sewing projects.  I was confident enough to then use my dartless block on a Tissue Knit which did turn out badly.

I looked at these side views and wondered if I had used the same pattern. Did the bulk of a sport-weight yarn make that much of a difference?  Did converting from darted to dartless ruin the fit?  Was it the self-lining?  Or tricot lining of the sleeves?   I’m really not sure what caused the issue. I’m almost glad this is fabric which I estimate to be flimsy and not durable. This year I can wear vests and cardigans; discarding it at the end of the season without regret.  Except for the fit.

Since I wasn’t sure if the issue was fabric, the dartless block or conversion thereto, I decided to step all the way back to the almost perfect Muslin 3 Tissue.

I started by walking the seams. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered that in making some alteration, I’ve skewed the length of the seams.  To my horror I discovered that the front side seam allowance was 1/2″ longer than the back side seam and that the armscyes were 1″ shorter than the sleeve cap (1/2″ on front and back portions).  I hesitated to make the change to the side seam allowances. I couldn’t remember exactly if that was part of a cheater FBA. Which didn’t seem logical because I had a 1-1/8″ deep dart. Why add a cheater at the same time??  The sleeve cap/armscye also perplexed me. It’s not unusual for a sleeve cap to be longer than the armscye in which it is set. But it is rare in a knit.  Ease may be added to the sleeve cap for style or to increase the range of movement. With knits, range of movement is not a concern. I would not have added ease for that. Also, this was to be a basic knit. The pattern with all my fitting and style, minimum requirements. I would not have added style ease.  So what happened? And, what shoulder I correct?

I chose rayon/lycra interlock fabric with a big print.  I loved it on the catalog page but hesitated to use when it arrived. I kept wondering how to place the giant print.  I’ve played this game before and lost. The last time I centered a bull’s-eye right over my tummy– the very last place I want the eye drawn to.  With its good weight, neither as light as the rayon-lycra single knit of Muslin 3 nor as heavy as the 200-needle sports-weight yarn, I thought it would be a good candidate for Muslin 4.

I laid out and cut my fabric in typical fashion except that I cut a piece and ran to the serger to finish the edges. This might not have been absolutely necessary. This is an interlock. However I’ve had so much trouble with the last few knits curling practically as they were cut that its habit to serge finish and stabilize those edges immediately.  I did not compensate for the side seam difference but I did cut the underarms 1/2″ deeper. I measured down the side seam 1/2″ then cut an arc to meet the original. Note: I made no permanent changes to the pattern at this time.  I stitched the darts permanently. Changed to water-soluble thread in the bobbin and stitched together all the pieces.

I was stunned by the first fitting.

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How did this get so big? I didn’t see this excess ease with either the sweater knit or tissue knit.  Did I not transfer my adjustments from Muslin 2 ?  I basted CF and CB seams at 1/4″ then at 1/2″.  With this fabrics 50% stretch, I might even be able to take in more than that.

I couldn’t believe how much the shoulders were hanging over my own:


That was another thing I thought correct with Muslin 2. So as with Muslin 2, I cut a stay from a very light fusible tricot interfacing. I’ve seen ribbon stays on sweaters and very wide necklined knit tops. I know that tailored garments have lots of interfacing with acts as both a stay and body building for the fabric.  I’m even adding strips of tricot interfacing along the side seams of my pants because it helps the seam to skim the bumps and dips. But I just can’t wrap my head around needing to add a stay to a T-Shirt.  It did work.   I also rewalked the side seams, this time carefully aligning notches. Ah! Ha!  When I added length, I added more to the front then I did to the back. By an even 1/2″.  Easy fix. I made a 1/4″ deep tuck completely across the front.  Basted everything together again and …

started looking at the U’s on the sides:

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The angle shows the U’s more clearly on the right. The U’s are on both right and left side and there are more on the right side (my lower shoulder side).

So far the wisdom I’ve encountered has said pinch at the shoulder, increasing the shoulder angle, until that doesn’t work. Then pinch at the underarm and that should fix these drag lines.  I discovered on my own, that a rounding back also contributes.  I do have a dart built-in for my rounding back.  It’s a ‘cheater’ dart. When I cut my fabric the back neckline appears to have a little hump at CB. I know without the neckband to force the back and it’s dart into place, I won’t be able to remove all the drag lines but I should at least reduce the number and make them less deep by pinching.  If anything, the U’s got worse.

Finally totally in desperation, I wondered if there was another issue involved.  What if, there wasn’t enough ease under the arm?  On the left side, I ripped out the underarm seam and basted it as close as possible to my serging.


So not all corrected but improved.  Now I’m asking should I have lowered the armscye, as I did, or should I have carved it deeper into the front? I also remember removing 1″ ease from the CF and again CB. Could there have been too much ease there because the armscye was not positioned correctly?

I considered ripping the stitching and carving into the armscye but decided that wouldn’t tell me exactly which issue was in play because I’d already lowered the armscye. I think the experience justifies my fear of messing with the armscye and sleeve cap. It’s really not as simple as “t both must be the same length + ease added for style”.   I could add a gusset. Same issue, I’ve already lowered the armscye. Already added 1/2″. If that works, I’d be asking do I carve deeper; add more????  Plus, my gussets added after-the-fact then to be messy.  I add a gusset at the crotch point frequently.  It’s a good way to reduce the amount of fabric needed. But I do it before I cut the fabric for the back leg. Not the same as trying to add a diamond-shaped patch later on.  Frustrated. Not knowing what to do. I simply finished the garment with the thought “It’s winter.  I can always wear a vest.”


I may not to. The left side looks near perfect. most of the visible lines are the fabric print rather than drag lines.

I look back at my pattern pieces trying to decide which alterations to transfer from garment to tissue.

The 50% stretch has me worried. If I transfer the full 2″ ease adjustment,  will my pattern work for ITY and Jersey knits? Or only Interlock and Slinky?  (I’ve heard someone say that if you’re making separate woven and knit blocks, you need a knit block for each range of ease.)

Lowering the armscye 1/2″ didn’t work; so should I scoop out more armscye or add length at the side seam?  (The later might also add a little more bust room.)

Obviously the right shoulder needs more than what I’m doing (which is stitching a 1/2″ SA on the right and 1/4″ SA on the left shoulder).  When I fix that, will I  need to change the right armscye yet again?

Looking back at that bust dart, does it need to be lowered a smidge?  Don’t know if you can tell but it’s really close to the underarm.  If I move it, I think I want to angle it down the side seam as well.

I had intended a loosely fitting garment. Blocky i.e. straight sides but well-fitting through  the shoulders bust and underarm. Now I’m wondering if I might not be more pleased with more shaping.  I know I love the Rochelle and Madagascar (both Loes Hinse patterns) but thought I had room for a more relaxed silhouette. Truth is, I’m just not WOW’ed by this back


Is that inevitable? I mean if I don’t add darts, CB or side seam shaping is that always going to be the view as I’m walking away?

Sigh,,,  well at least I feel like I can wear this one without a vest.




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