Monday, January 3, 2011

The art of the wearable muslin

Happy New Year everyone! May your sewing be fun and your work wearable. Now how's that for a sewing blessing?

I have loved this jacket (BurdaStyle 06-2010-114) for quite some time, and while I was in sunny Nelson, far from Internet access and a sewing machine, I kept thinking how I'd love to make it in silk dupioni, and wear it with white flares and a navy blue tank top. I could not get the image out of my head, and so the quest to make the whole outfit as I see it in my mind's eye was born.

I wanted to muslin it first, as there are a number of areas I thought might get me into trouble and I was right. My preference is for wearable muslins, because I don't like wasting my time or my resources and a jacket is pretty big time investment to go straight to the bin.

The secret to a wearable muslin is to choose fabric with a similar hand so it will behave in similar ways to your final fabric but to create a different mood to it by using fabric which makes a different statement.

I therefore decided to make this muslin a relaxed summer jacket by making it unlined, unbuttoned, and using some more of the cotton linen blend I used for my cargo pocket skirt.

I used Gigi's Hong Kong finish tutorial to finish the facings and hems, but overlocked all the princess and side seams as they were too curved to take a binding treatment, and I needed to be able to alter them for fit at a later stage.

The instructions on this jacket were as clever as they were indecipherable. When I finally understood what they were telling me to do I felt so smug. For example, in order to get the front lapel to sit flat they get you to pin the roll line....

...then roll the roll line and then pin the edges and sew using the outer edge as the guide. isn't that a clever way for a hobby seamstress to master the art of turn of cloth without having to draft anything?

The shoulders and raglan sleeve are dramatically curved which makes fitting difficult - the pattern calls for raglan shoulder pads to support the area so leaving them out was problematic.

So here is my first item for 2011. I am very happy with it!

I have been falling behind in my commenting - like many other bloggers I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with what everyone is doing! Please know that I still love what you are making and read with interest - if I don't leave a comment it's not because your post or sewing is undeserving and I hope you feel free to do the same with my blog.


  1. I now have the pants suit in my mind's eye, too. It's the perfect "Love Boat" outfit for a certain wedding coming up!

    Lovely to see you last week, I wish you lived closer.

  2. Wearable muslin does not work for me - yet. I imagine you need to be reasonably confident with your fitting, or retro-fitting.
    Your jacket looks terrific. The turn of cloth idea is very clever. I am glad you worked it out for us.

  3. Nice jacket but it isn't a muslin. Hate to be pedantic but a muslin is a muslin and anything else is a 'test garment'. Like you I make a lot of test garments. Love your idea of making this jacket in silk duponi.

  4. Thank you for the sewing blessing - it's a good one! I like that jacket and at least you can be enjoying sewing jackets that are more suitable for the warmer weather. Whether it is a 'wearable muslin' or a 'test garment' - the idea works!

  5. Whatever you call it your jacket is looking good!. Happy New Year.

  6. Thanks for the sewing blessing. Lord knows I need it!

    I loved this jacket in the mag and yours looks fab! Flares sounds good but why not be totally daring and make it to wear with shorts like Burda does??!

    What.. don't tell me you don't have many occasions to wear shorts and dupoini silk jackets?? neither

  7. It looks great!! I may have to rethink my blanket dislike of everything in burda for the last year. I totally missed that jacket and it is fabulous.

  8. Your title really grabbed me because I'm a huge fan of the wearable muslin even though it is much maligned in the sewing world. I truly believe that you can't know how a pattern/garment will react until it's made up in real fabric and worn out and about. There are issues that show up in your everyday living that never show up in your sewing room - but that's just my point of view.

    You've made a wonderful jacket and I love the Hong Kong finishing!

  9. That's a great looking jacket. I love the raglan styling and those sleeves. Very fun.

    You could say I'm stubborn and never make muslins (and sometimes pay for it) or that everything I make is a wearable muslin, ha!

  10. For a wearable muslin, this is damn good! I love it and I, too, can see the outfit in my mind.

  11. Very nice. Now you can make that up in any fabric and feel confident. Keeping up with blogs is impossible. It becomes hit and miss!

  12. Thanks for posting the in-process photos. It's good to see how people do all the little things that make a garment turn out well in the end. And your jacket looks nice too :)

  13. I love that outfit on you - so flattering!

  14. Sigh, another great garment and another lovely outfit. How do you ever decide what to wear on a morning?

  15. My problem is making the teast garment/wearable muslin in the lesser fabric and then never getting the confidence or time to actually cut into the 'good' fabric.
    Your jacket looks nice and I can so imagine that with flares and a tank.
    I know what you mean about commenting. I tend to read blogs using FeedDemon now and it's so easy to let commenting slide. But I am reading!

  16. What a nice suit... Really turned out nice. Thanks for all the detailed explanations... very helpful.

  17. Your wearable muslin is super super cute! If you hadn't said it's a muslin, I wouldn't have known!

    Happy New Year, and I can't wait to see your "second time lucky" post--which keeps popping up in my blog roll, but blogger says it doesn't exist when I click on it.

  18. Thank you for the sewing blessing and thank you for posting pictures from your warm climate.

    I love that jacket! It fits beautifully.