This year I’m sewing along with Gertie from Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up through the Craftsy online community to make her Starlet Suit. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.
My goal of having a perfectly fitted Starlet Suit jacket muslin by today was a touch optimistic. I’m still struggling with how the sleeves set into the back of the jacket (see original muslin here). I drape and pin until I think I’ve fixed the problem, but when I set the sleeves in hopeful that this next time everything will be perfect, the little folds of fabric are always there in some form or another. At this point I must have set the sleeves a hundred times, and the edges of the muslin are so frazzled that they’re useless for aligning either the seam allowances or the stitching lines any more. I’ve decided to cut out the main pieces again and have a fresh go at it.
Despite still having this sleeve issue, I have learned a lot these past two weeks of fitting. I know I need to lengthen the jacket above the waist. You can see above that I lengthened my original muslin by 1″, but I think I’m going to lengthen my next muslin by 1.5″. I’ve also let the waist out a bit at the side seams. I don’t want to lose the shape of the jacket, but I do want to ensure that I have a little bit of ease there.
After watching more of the class videos, I also learned that the front pattern piece and the side front pattern piece have different hem allowances (5/8″ and 1 1/4″, respectively), so I should not have matched them up as I did in my original muslin. It was easy enough to readjust those seams in all subsequent rounds of fitting with this muslin, and I will do the same in muslin number two.
I also learned from Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch that part of the sleeve weirdness is that the princess seams have not been trued at the sleeve seams. This means that if you measure the stitching line from the highest notch on the princess seam on both the front pattern piece and the side front pattern piece, the lengths will be different. The same is true for the back pattern pieces as well. In my first muslin I matched the stitching lines, which left me a bit confused about the excess of fabric I had to ease in. In subsequent fittings I matched the highest notches and stitched straight to the sleeve seam, which left me with a triangle of excess fabric in the sleeve seam that I just trimmed off. I think I got it right in the front, but I don’t think I did in the back, hence muslin number two.
I’ve also figured out that fitting with shoulder pads is a must. When I was trying to figure out how to fix the bagginess in the front (see original muslin here), I found this video from Silhouette Patterns. One of the first pointers I learned from the video was to fit the muslin of any jacket that is going to have shoulder pads with the shoulder pads. When I threw shoulder pads into my muslin, the bagginess in the front immediately disappeared. It was an amazing moment to realize that adjusting an unexpected seam was the key to getting a good fit in the front. The back still looked off, but, again, that could be due to my incorrectly truing that back princess seam.
Now to get cutting and sewing to see what muslin number two reveals…