Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adventures with "Anna": Muslins

Our first wedding of the season is next month and I have a lot of sewing to do to make the deadline.  I am planning to make the By Hand London Anna Dress.

Since this is my first time making the Anna, I started with a muslin to check the fit.  According to my measurements, I am a size (34) in the bust, (28) in the waist, and (39) in the hips.  For muslin #1, I cut a straight size 6, which corresponds to a 34-27-37.

The front actually looks pretty good:

Muslin #1 Front

But, you can tell from the sides that this muslin will not be the last!  The pleats are cutting straight into the center of my chest and the side seams are not straight. Clearly, I cut a size too small.

I had read in Sarah Veblen's Perfect Fit to blend between the sizes if your measurements don't conform to the bust-hip-waist of a particular size. In my haste to blaze through muslin-making, I completely ignored Veblen's sage advice.  After showing muslin #1 to my instructor Sharon, she sent me back to the pattern paper to blend the sizes.  I was all over the charts with the results of the blended pattern paper, from a size 6 in the bust to size 10 to account for my (apparently large) rib cage.

Retaped pattern pieces with new stitching lines
Sharon encouraged me to mark my stitching lines on the new muslin and give myself a full 1 inch seam allowance for further adjustments, as opposed to the standard 5/8. She also stressed the importance of stay-stitching the neckline (even for a muslin!) and drawing in the center front line.

To fit muslin #2, we only pinned the shoulder seams, leaving open the sides and not sewing/pinning the front pleats or back darts. With muslin #2 on me, Sharon moved the front pleats to a more pleasing place and adjusted the shoulders so that the shoulder seam is in harmony with the curvature of my shoulder bone.  Then she created new side seams by pinning me in.  We made lots of notations on muslin #2, in preparation for muslin #3.  I learned from the fitting that my left shoulder is higher than my right.  Who knew?

Muslin #2

Below is muslin #3 (!!)  SO MUCH BETTER!

Muslin #3 Front

Muslin #3 Side

For the sake of comparison, check out the side seam lines on muslin #1 vs. muslin #3!

Phhew! I'm now ready to use muslin #4 to sew up a wearable muslin. Stay tuned!

Culture In the City

We try to see shows at Lincoln Center as often as possible since we live pretty close by and can get discount tickets through the LincTix program.  Two great shows this month:

Paul Taylor Dance Company:  I don't usually attend alumni events, but I am glad I showed up for this one.  It was the first "Spring-ish" evening of the season, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine at the alumni reception on the Grande Promenade.  The show was (of course) excellent, with the added bonus of Paul Taylor showing up for the curtain call!

King and I:    I have always  loved the Yuel Brenner film adaptation from the '50s, so I went into the show with high expectations.  The costumes, staging, all-star cast (Ken Watanabe and Kelli O'Hara) etc. did not disappoint.  Interesting tidbit:  From our seats I noticed that the members of the chorus had on knee pads to protect themselves from the non-stop groveling to the King!

Yes, that's my Mommy and Me skirt peaking out!


  1. I love the Anna dress. Once you the bodice fit right, it sews up rather quickly and you vary the skirt for a number of options. Cannot wait to see how your turns out!

    1. Yes, I am hoping this will turn into a quick sew now that the muslining is (fingers crossed) finished. Thank you for the words of encouragement!