Muslin Woes

OK, “woes” might be overstating it a bit.  But what’s going on with this muslin?  This is the super popular Burda 2/2011 dress with gathered rectangle skirt and cap sleeves.  I’ve been dying to make this for a while– I’ve been tempted by all the really cute versions of it floating on the internets by such cool doods as Marie, Reana Louise, Oona, and most recently, Suzanne.

Ignore my face (and the acres of exposed skin!!), please! Sometimes this face happens when it's after midnight and the photographer is mocking you and you're willing him with your mind to TAKE. THE. D@#$. PICTURE.

This is a straight size… hmm, I have no idea what size it is.  It’s the smallest size, whatever that is.  I printed out and assembled the pattern last summer, and looking at it now, there don’t seem to be any markings indicating what size each cutting line denotes.  Sigh… BurdaStyle, sometimes I wonder why I don’t make more of your patterns, and then I remember…

As you can see, there are some weird horizontal wrinkles under the bust (I get those a lot– any idea what causes that?).  You can see my typically awful darts in action… ugh!

Let’s take a closer look at this atrocity:

From this perspective you can see that the neckline is gaping a bit, but the biggest issue seems to be the weird extra fabric running from the shoulder to the bust.  I wasn’t sure how to remove this.

The back looks OK-ish.  I think I can live with it.  I might do the tiniest swayback alteration, as it looks like there might be a little bit of extra material back there.  Hard to tell.

Any thoughts/suggestions?  I have to say, I’m a little daunted by the alterations that need to be made here.  I just don’t feel confident that I can fix them properly, and I’m really unsure about how to do the full lining (the Burda instructions are super hard to understand).  But I love everyone’s versions of this dress so much that I really want to tough it out and finish this dress!

41 responses

  1. Hmmm, that is a strange amount of excess under your bust (though it probably means you have a nice flat stomach!). You could try taking the stitching out of the bust darts, then put on the muslin (inside out) and pin yourself some new darts that fit your figure better. It looks like you have a narrow ribcage, so maybe changing the shape of the dart will help.

    Also, you could reduce the gape at the neckline by rotating some ease to the bust dart (I show how to do that on one of my blog posts about this dress). Also, it looks like you have some gaping above your bust. I had the same issue, and removed that by slashing a straight line from the neckline to the armhole, and then overlapped the cut pattern pieces. (Then taped them together and reshaped the neckline and armhole).

    Or, you know, you could just find a better pattern and save yourself the effort. I don’t know who this bodice was drafted to fit!

    Like

    • Great advice! I was wondering if the alteration you made between the neckline and the armhole would work. I kept trying to pinch different darts, and they all looked weird. Ugh! I will try to re-do the darts– that’s a good idea. Thanks for your input– I hope my dress turned out half as nice as yours did! Your final version really fits perfectly!

      Like

  2. I agree with Suzanne about increasing the darts under the bust and rotating some of the fullness from the neckline by rotating that ease to the bust dart. I think it should be fairly straight forward but what do I know. I’m on my 3rd muslin and I still don’t have a finished product. And my fitting woes are very different than yours.

    Like

  3. I’m sorry, I don’t have any advice to offer as I’m horrible at trying to fit muslins. I was thinking the same thing as Suzanne, though, re: the excess under your bust, you skinny critter.

    I will say, I’m glad you’re trying this pattern out because I’ve admired it on other bloggers, too, but have been too scared to try a BurdaStyle print-out pattern thing. Good luck! 🙂

    Like

    • I feel like I’m not getting any better at fitting muslins– every time I make a new one, I just run into more issues hat I don’t know how to fix! Ugh!

      Print-out patterns are fine (although it’s a little tedious to deal with), but I have to say, I’m not that impressed by the BurdaStyle instructions. They’re really unclear, there are lots of typos, and it doesn’t even tell you which sizes correspond to which cutting lines. I’ve had much better experiences with print-out patterns from Grainline and Pattern Runway.

      Like

      • Interesting. Maybe I’ll try Grainline or Pattern Runway.
        I’ve just been apprehensive about the print-out patterns ever since my finished Colette Sorbetto came out all wonky – too wide on the sides and too short in length. I couldn’t get the pattern to print exactly to scale, no matter how much I fiddled with my printer settings. 😦 Feels like I’m doomed!

        Like

        • Hmmm, I wonder if your issues with the Sorbetto were caused by how it was drafted. It was WAY short on me– I had to lengthen it by something like 3″ (and I’m pretty average height). But if your test square was way off, that’s really annoying. 😦

          Like

  4. girl, i’ll tell you waht, the reason this dress got so popular was the sew weekly theme that used it, and EVERYONE had problems with it. the drafting on the pattern is absurd, neck gaping aplenty and curved waistline and really i wanted to throw it out the window.

    i’m trying suzanne’s dart rotation, because i really do like the look of this dress. did you raise the waistline on the pattern enough? that could cause those bunches at front & back waist. i get those underbust gapes a lot, usually taking the darts in (underbust only) fixes it. but first make sure the pattern waist marking sits at your waist…

    i got the weird extra shoulder fabric too. in the end, i cinched the sleeves at the top and called it a day. a day in which i’d think very carefully about spending 5.40 on a pattern again.

    Like

    • Ugh, I was hoping that this wouldn’t be the case. I’ll be sure to check the waistline against the pattern– I forgot to transfer that mark to the muslin. Thanks for the advice! I may try to shape the underbust darts a bit more and see if that helps with the fit.

      Like

  5. I would be minded to muslin the skirt part attached – you never know it might behave differently with the skirt attached. Have you left enough ease in your last photo at the back and also round the bust? I think it’s tempting to make things too tight when fitting. Can you pinch out that excess and transfer the adjustment to the pattern? I feel for you as fitting is a nightmare. Good luck – nice to see you’re making a dress!

    Like

    • That’s a good idea– I’ve kicked myself in the past for not attaching the skirt (lengthened the “too short” bodice, but then the weight of the skirt pulled it down and it was too long). And I could probably use a bit more ease, too. It’s so frustrating when things are tight in some places and loose in others! Ack!

      Like

  6. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out many tricks to tweaking the bust portion of a dress so I don’t have any advice to offer. I had that excess fabric between the shoulder and bust on my Trudy dress too. I suspected it had something to do with the sleeve being part of the bodice, since it’s the first time that particular issue has happened. Since your cap sleeves are part of the bodice too, perhaps there is an alteration we need to learn when we’re working with patterns like that…?

    Suzanne’s advice sounds promising though! Please do share what you learn. By the way, kudos to you for making a proper muslin! I expect this dress will be adorable on you!

    Like

    • I’m going to dig through my fitting books tonight and hopefully I’ll find a solution. I’ll be sure to share anything I find out! I think you’re right– it has something to do with cut-on sleeves. I’m such an amateur!

      Like

  7. I was having this same problem with my Peony muslin, and I wondered if adding the skirt would make a difference. A look through my alterations book only yielded “flared lower ribcage” as the only fitting problem that was even slightly similar, and that was an issue of too tight, not too loose.

    But I also saw “shallow upper chest” – which might be what’s going on at the neckline? The fix was pretty easy – a little tuck going from the neckline toward the middle of the armscye. I wonder if doing that would lift up the rest of it a little?

    Obviously, I have no clue!

    Like

    • Ack! Don’t even remind me of the Peony dress! I can’t even look at mine now– the fit is so off that I’m annoyed just thinking about it! I’ll try pinning out a tuck like you described– that sounds like it could be the right fix. Thanks for your help!

      Like

  8. Like Oona said I would check your waist v pattern waist – if your waist is higher than that of the pattern the fabric could be pooling up under your bust cos of that.
    If you’re up for messing about with your bust darts try moving the dart (from memory I think Gertie has some pretty clear tutorials on how to do it) but I think trying out one where on the flat pattern the dart comes from lower down in the side seam and points up towards your bust would be worthwhile because if you think about what the dart does its pulling fabric from one area around to be folded against another part, so if the dart is coming from below your bust its going to pull some of that excess out of the way – I’m not sure if I’m making sense to anyone other than me right now…

    On a separate note I really don’t understand why Burda is so popular. The indie pdf pattern makers popping up all over the place these days are really setting such a good standard for print @ home with better designed, better drafted, better instructions and in most cases direct access to the designer if you run into problems. The Burda patterns very rarely look like they fit the models either – check out the picture in your link – she has the same excess shoulder fabric her arm being raised and positioning of hair are just disguising in – a dart from shoulder down towards bust should fix it, just make sure you keep enough ease to be able to move your arms!

    To summarise, I suggest moving your bust dart & adding a shoulder dart – the 3 (incl the existing waist) should give you a better shape – apologies for the essay & god speed 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks for all the good advice! It makes a lot of sense to think about how dart placement might help with the extra fabric– I think I will try darts that come up from the side. And you’re totally right– even in the photo of the dress where it’s not on the model, you can tell that the fabric hangs funny under the arm and next to/above the bust. Stupid BurdaStyle!! I swore that I wouldn’t make another one of their patterns after the last one was a totally unwearable mess, but I got sucked in by the cuteness of this dress!

      Like

      • let us know how you get on with it, oh and I also meant to say unless you know that you want the gathers and that they’ll flatter you (some people hate them) a really easy alternative is to pleat your rectangle down to waist size rather than gather, its also really easy to control it too rather than trying to get regular gathering 🙂

        Like

  9. The great things about muslin posts is all the advice from everyone – it’s great for learning! I’ve joined the “pinch out the bits that are wrong” camp in my naiive fitting travels, but also interesting to read about waistline siting and so much more …..good luck, let us know how it goes 🙂

    Like

  10. Looks like you’ve got lots of helpful advice here! That’s great 🙂 Good luck with your fitting, I have been to, and am currently in, fitting hell! lol! It’s sapping my sewing mojo big time. Time to reach out to the internet again I think. You can do this 🙂 I believe in ya!

    Like

    • Thanks, Jo! I know what you mean about fitting difficulties– they really suck all the joy out of a project! Good luck with your project, and I definitely recommend posting about it– I’ve gotten so much helpful advice from the fancy sewists out here in the blogosphere!

      Like

  11. I think this may be one of those bodices that you could fiddle around with quite a bit and still not get anywhere! I often have trouble with that extra stand-outy fabric from shoulder to bust. I hate it and have never really figured out what causes it. Maybe the shoulders are too wide – or the pattern was never contoured correctly for a low neckline? Anyway – try pinching out a “v” of fabric there (this will bring your shoulders in so your cap sleeves sit on your shoulders) then on the flat pattern rotate that “v” into the bust darts.

    Muslins…. I’m always glad I make them because you figure out this sort of stuff – but secretly every time I’m crossing my fingers and going “please just fit, please just fit, please…”

    Like

    • Ugh, I was TOTALLY hoping this would just magically fit! I’m going to try to do a “v” pinch– that sounds about right. I tried to pinch a straight dart above the bust and into the armhole, but it just wasn’t working right. It’s so confusing!

      Like

  12. Oh no! I love this dress after seeing Suzanne’s version and I think the struggle is worth it (although I haven’t been there myself…).

    I guess I’m in the pinch and pin camp, too. Like someone else stated, if you have a bust and flat stomach and want something fitted, then you need some pretty intense darts. I think Suzanne mentioned princess seams, which is something I’ll consider if/when I make this dress. They would help with the neckline, too.

    Ha ha. Your pictures are darling. I’m in muslin hell with the Darling Ranges bodice and totally feel your pain. I feel like I have a freakish upper body that no woven will ever fit. Back to boxy silhouettes and knits!

    Like

  13. The Simplicity dresses I’ve just made have that weird fabric bit from shoulder to bust, too. I honestly had no idea what to do with it, so it stayed. It made me wonder if it’s time for me to start doing FBAs, even though I don’t think I’m super-well-endowed. It’s just that there’s this concave area from shoulder to bust point, and the fabric is maybe a bit taut over it (in my case)? I dunno… I’ve finally figured out my back. Sorta.

    Like

    • I was wondering about doing an FBA, too (unfortunately, I cut the smallest size, so I guess the only option would be to draft smaller bodice pieces). I have a concave area from shoulder to bust point, too. Sigh… bodies are weird…

      Like

  14. i am just finishing up this dress myself … would it be so hard to add a tad more detail to the instructions, like when you are supposed to just use outer fabric or when you should be sewing lining and outer together?!?!!
    check this out for the zipper:
    http://msjennyhomemaker.blogspot.com/2011/06/invisible-zipper-tutorial-fully-lined.html?m=1
    it is not exactly the same, but gave me enough of a clue about flipping the bodice lining to the outside to sew to the zip tape.
    I, too, would point out that the skirt gets a but on the heavy side so that might change how your bodice hangs. Good Luck!!

    Like

  15. This pattern is a complete disaster area. I don’t know how Burda feel like they can charge what they do for it! As you’ve noticed, the instructions are particularly bad. I didn’t bother following them at all when I made this dress. The above tutorial for the invisible zip looks good, but I did mine a different way. It’s not quite as neat on the inside but is very simple. I’ve described it here: http://mymessings.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/one-pattern-seven-bloggers-finished.html but briefly i sewed together the raw edges then treated that edge as one to insert the zip as if the dress wasn’t lined, it worked great!

    I can’t make any comments on the fit i’m afraid as i’m not sure what to suggest and I butchered the pattern with my bodice block before I made my muslin.

    Like

  16. Pingback: Gift of the Wind Dress « threadsquare

  17. Wish I had seen your post about this dress before I made this dress. I had similar problems with the fit and I am a completely different shape. My blog on it is here http://busylizzieinbrizzy.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/flowery-girly.html. Lucky I got the magazine out of my local library so didn’t pay for the pattern. I have fixed most of the pattern issues with my dress and other people don’t seem to notice, but I am not 100% happy with it. It was somewhat comforting to find out others had the same problems – I thought I had suddenly become really bad at sewing!

    Like

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: