My mama (with the accent on the second syllable), who went to her reward in 2006, sewed her way through everything from baby clothing to sport coats for my father and suits for herself. She never, ever made a muslin of anything. I’m not sure if that was because she had some sort of innate sense of how big things had to be or she was just lucky. I took a sewing class in high school where I had to make a tailored jacket and she once saw me hunched over, hand-sewing hair canvas into the fronts of the jacket and steam pressing the living daylights out of the thing. She told me that she thought I was a much better seamstress than she was but she’d never go through all that to produce a jacket.
And her jackets showed that and she did not really care, frankly. For her, I think it was all about the challenge of just doing it. I have a certain amount of that too, which has driven me to make things like snow suits, purses and so on. But that’s a digression (we do that a lot here).
Unlike my mom, who was 5’10″ and only wore a size 16 (the old size 16, not the new and improved sized 16 – she wore a size 38A bra, was broad shouldered and had very developed arms from playing tennis), I’m from the “Ukrainian grandma” side of the genetic equation, which means that I am stumpy, short-waisted, short-armed, hippy, have a big rear end, and with age have developed a protruding tummy. I could very easily have fallen in love with elastic waistlines years ago, but I…am…vain. This means that making muslins has been part of my sewing life for a very long time and I got into the habit years ago with them that I never see them as possibilities for wearing. I make them out of muslin (who would want to wear something out of today’s muslin? Not the Jane Austen sort of sprigged finely woven stuff of 200 years ago). I’ve got a lot of stash — I even inherited a good deal of it when my mother passed on, so I probably have enough to open a small fabric store at this point — but I just can’t bring myself to using it to muslin up a trial on a pattern. It gives the thrifty Scottish part of me the shakes.
But, back to this particular muslin. This muslin is a trial run for someone else and I was trying out two treatments for the front of this blouse because this person is going to have a baby in late December or early January so she needs some room in the front. On one side of the front, I did a godet, which I thought was quite pretty, but the ‘customer’ liked the other side, with the pleat better instead. However, she didn’t like them in the front,which is why the notes in the top photo say “move to the side seams’. Now, theoretically, I might remember what she wants, but I’d rather put it right there on the muslin because it also reminds me that I need to put a princess seam (which conveniently enough, I can use the cut I put in for the pleat) all the way to the shoulder seam so that I can give her a bit of room in the bust area.
The second photo shows the bottom of the sleeve – the ‘customer’ doesn’t like full-length sleeves, but she does like a cuff on her sleeve, so I left myself not only directions there, but also a little bit of a drawing to remind me of the fact that she doesn’t want just any old cuff; she wants one more like a French cuff. I’d never remember that if I didn’t put that there. I suppose I could write things down on little slips of paper and staple of pin them to the pieces of the muslin but I have the tendency to take those off, put them aside and lose them.
For me, writing right on the muslin works.