Muslin 5

I  thought, I was going to pull out the tissue of Muslin 3; make a T-shirt; adjust the right shoulder a little and be done.  Didn’t work that way. Muslin 4 was so wonky, I think must not have transferred my alterations to the tissue.   I did end up with a wearable Muslin 4 that fit as well as Muslin 3 but not without a lot of effort and still not the TNT I want.  I want a knit TNT/sloper that fits across my shoulders and upper bodice and then drapes smoothly to the hem. Not satisfied with Muslin 4, I started with Muslin 5.

There are some changes that must be made at the tissue stage. Muslin 5 required some of type changes. I made a full copy of each piece ( full front with left and right sides. Same with back).  Which preserves the previous tissue in case I have to restart the process, and also allows me to record the alterations I’m making for my asymmetrical shoulders.  Besides I’ll need full pattern pieces when working with stripes, plaids and large prints. May as well have a TNT ready to go for those types of fabrics.

I think the ease changes I’ve made on Muslin 4 are good. So with Muslin 5 my biggest question is going to be how to adapt the armscye.  On Muslin 4, I lowered the underarm. Didn’t work. Combined with removing excess ease, the drag lines were visibly worse.  This time I’m extending the armscye  1/2″ at the underarm side-seam which will be tapered back to the previous side seam at a point just under the bust.  (Adding a little ease at the bust as well.)

Back: Extend armscye 1/2″
Adding line to connect to side seam
Repeat on front adding to bust area

2nd Question was how to handle the ‘way too big’ factor. On the new tissue, I marked 1/4″ lines from the original centerline. Muslin 4 designated Line 2 or 1/2″ as the Center when placed on a fold.  Two quarter-inch marks away (total of 1″ from the original centerline) is a new line titled “CB/CF 50% Stretch”.  It will be the centerline when placed on a fold.  When making a CF/CB seam,  I prefer  1/4″ seam allowances. However for the purposes of   Muslin 5, I cut along the 1/2″ line giving me a CB/CF seam and some fit insurance i.e. a place to let it out if the 50% line makes the garment too tight.  I envisioned a V neck and 4 body seams, 2 side seams and center front + center back seams.


3rd Question was how to  perfect the right shoulder.  I think I’m only doing half or a third of what is required for my asymmetrical shoulders. Currently, I stitch the right-shoulder seam-allowance  at 1/2″ (left at 1/4″).  Effectively I’m pinching the right shoulder an additional 1/2″ which shortens the armscye 1/2″ on each side.  The next step after shortening the armscye by pinching, should be restoring the full armscye length.  I’m positively doing that on the left and consequently the left side of the bodice always looks nicer than the right.  My conclusion is that I need to lower the right armscye another 1/2″  to compensate for the effect of the pinch/deeper seam.   The pattern looks wonky, but I do expect at least some success for now.  In the future, I may need to develop a right sleeve and a left sleeve to reflect the asymmetry of my shoulders..

Draw line at top where shoulder will be lowered 1/2″. Align previous tissue with the side seam and shoulder, then redraw the armscye.

My next fabric was also an interlock with 50% stretch. It however was cotton not a string of lycra anywhere.  I’ve only had it a few years. Purchased about the time Mill Ends closed.  No idea how old it was when Mill Ends got it.

I laid my front and back pattern pieces on the fold and cut the left-side shape. Next I trimmed 1/2″ at the folded edge. This should left me  1/2″ CB/CF seam allowances.  I wanted a front V neckline and I wanted the back neckline a little lower. I cut both those changes while the fabric was still RST.  I separated each of the pieces of front and back. Replaced the Right-side tissue of back and front on the respective fabric pieces; then re-cut the right shoulder and underarm 1/2″ lower.  Any number of cutting procedures could have been used to reach the same end-point (fabric pieces adapted for my asymmetry and ready to sew). This was my choice.

Unsure of how much handling this muslin will receive, I taped the necklines and the back shoulders before serge finishing all edges.  Then  popped the bobbin with water-soluble thread in the sewing machine and basted everything together. I intend to wear shoulder pads, so I grabbed a pair and basted them.

The first fitting was encouraging but doesn’t quite look right. There are fewer drag lines and I’m happy that the left and right sides have nearly the same drag lines.


My Right Side                             My Left Side

The left does indeed look better than the right, suggesting that the right underarm may need a little more scooping.  Despite adding 3/8″ to the side seam along the bust dart, there are distinctive pull lines at the bust as if more ease is needed.  The tummy certainly would like more:


Although the sleeves feel fine, I do wonder if a more ease is needed right from elbow to forearm. I note with glee (almost) that the shoulders of the garment are matching the shoulders of my body.  I’m assuming that’s the taping I did of back shoulders and neckline.   My goal was to keep the neckline both front and back from stretching during handling and later on during wear. But I’m not unhappy to have added a stay as well.


And then I spent 5 fitting session unsuccessfully trying to remove the remaining drag lines from the bodice.

left_resize right_resize

I increased the depth of the bust dart as well as moving it’s position due to lowering the armscye a total of 1.5″. While the sides are improved from Fit01, this still is what I want.


I added a back neck dart, shaped the CB seam and added back darts–something I think is anathema  for a T-shirt. Removed them all too, because they made the back worse not better.


The front looks worse after Fit05 then it did with Fit01.  I cut new sleeves after adding 2.5″ to the sleeve and pattern because lowering the armscyes created a 2.5″ difference in length.  There really was not choice. Before cutting new sleeves, horizontal drag lines had formed in the cap. At least, I don’t have deep horizontal lines in the elbow.  Rather annoying because after all this work, I hardly think it looks better than Muslin 4

back_resize sideleft_resize sideright_resize shoulder-points_resize

In fact, I dont think it’s  even the same caliber as Muslin 2


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This may partly be the effect of fabric. Muslin 2 and 3 were single knit/jersey fabrics. Muslin 4 and 5 are both interlock knits. I seem to recall a fight with interlock fabrics last year in which I finally decided old interlock knits were definitely not to be trusted and removed the 5-years and older interlocks from my stash.

This is nuts. I’m making no progress. Every muslin I make seems to be a recreation of Muslin 2 which I then wrestle into Muslin 3 condition. I’m no closer to a TNT than when I started.  Not only that I was appalled at the final sleeve pattern.  I needed 23.5 inches for the cap. I’m expecting a 19 or 20″ armscye. This is a knit with lots of stretch. Why did it need such a deep armscye to achieve Muslin 2 fit? And still didn’t shake all the wrinkles.  If I could buy decent fitting RTW, I’d quit sewing.


4 thoughts on “Muslin 5

  1. I know you must be frustrated! I do enjoy looking at your modifications and what they achieve, though. Getting there is a bit of a drag, no?



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