Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monique Dress - Muslin #2

Thanks to the advices of a fellow seamstress (Madame Karpen, Merci!) on a facebook group, I resumed working on my Monique dress today! As per her advices, I started with a smaller bodice size, the MEDIUM (38-30-40) and did spread the pattern 2 inches apart, instead of 1.

Pattern Modifications
I made all sort of flat pattern manipulations, based on the book "Every Sewer's Guide to the Perfect Fit" by Morris & McCann:

1) I did an FBA of 1 inch following the method 1 ; I sliced from the pattern Original Bust Apex (apex) to the armhole single notch, from the apex to the waist seam through the waist dart and from the apex to the side seam through the bust dart. Than I spread 1 inch at the apex, tapering to nothing at the armhole.

2) To realign the bottom seam of the bodice, I sliced from the apex to the Center Front (CF) fold and spread 3/8 inch.

Added the maximum suggested (1 in) at the bust with FBA

3) Since I'm more than a D cup, I decided to sliced and spread another inch following the method 2 of the book. For this, I moved the waist dart closer to the side seam so I could slice it in the middle and hit the shoulder seam. Then, I spread 1 inch. This step moved the apex about 2 inches closer to the side seam - I should have move it back to its original position after spreading as I  discovered with the second muslin...

4) I redrew the darts, starting 2 inches away from the new apex and keeping the same dart feet.

Added another inch at the bust with method 2

 5) Finally, I lengthen the front and back bodice patterns by 2 inches, so the waist seam would fall under my bust. I determined this by measuring myself and the flat pattern from shoulder seam to under my bra band both in the back and front.
Lengthen front and back bodice by 2 inches

Sewing Muslin #2
It took me a while to do all those alterations, since I am a beginner at pattern fitting! I was happy to finally try my new acquisition ; tracing paper and a tracing wheel. I decided to trace the SEAM lines as oppose to the seam allowances, as suggested by Gertie's in the Bombshell Dress class on Craftsy (I LOVE this class! I have yet to make the sultry dress...) I did also machine thread traced my seams and cut really big seam allowances strategically at the shoulder and side seams, mostly because I don't know any other method that would allow me to easily measure the modifications I made to my muslin...
Thread tracing of muslin

I was glad that it seems to fit well, except for the darts. The apex was moved when I added the second inch of ease at the bust, but now it was wrong. So the bust dart was too far away from my real bust apex and the waist dart was all wrong!

I elongated the bust dart with pins of about 1 1/2 in. For the waist dart, I had to unpick the basted seams and redo them while wearing the muslin with pins. I will modify the pattern to indicate my real apex and the new darts...
Monique dress, Muslin #2

I wasn't able alone to put more than 2 pins in the back...

The gaping armhole is gone!

What is left to do:
  • Sew my new darts and a zipper (or wait for my husband to pin me in!), to verify ease and if the neckline is gaping (as seen a little on the pictures above)
  • Redraw the waistband pattern to match the bodice and add 1 inch to the length so the waistband bottom will hit my natural waist.
  • Decide if I redraw the facing pieces or use my pattern to fully lined the bodice.
  • Decide if I want any embellishement at the waist and hem...
  • Try the slightly gathered A-Line skirt to determine if I prefer clean darts to gathers... 

What do you say? I might finish it in time for my birthday next week...


  1. You haven't stayed the neck nor is the facing attached, but it does seem to be standing away from the neck a bit. Pin out a dart or two and see how it lays. Take in that amount in small overlaps in the tissue. If you still have issues in the fabric, than you can use a stay tape in the seam line and ease the neckline to the tape. You can use Kenneth Kings staying method that's done before you even take it off the cutting table so that there is no chance of stretching. You can find it on Threads online.
    This looks much better than your first muslin, congratulations!

  2. Thank you so much Nancy! Your advice are invaluable to me!!

    I've looked at the staying method you mention and need to find a source for silk organza in Montréal now! :D

    When my husband came home last night, I asked him to pin the back completely and realized it's a little tight when I cross my arms...

    I plan to add width to the back bodice along the zipper first, then try to fix the front gaping. Could the front gaping be minimized with shoulder angle alteration?