Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Tailored Suit: Muslin 3 and A Very Cool Book

This post is about two things that interrelate. For those of you who want to hear more about the latest muslin (and how I've stayed away from bridges today), see farther down this post.

I do want to say, right off, that all of your feedback has been incredibly helpful - the advice, the commiseration - it really makes a huge difference. So thank you all.

But let's start with some truly fabulous eye-candy:

This is my new book, Singer Fashion Tailoring, written in hipster-days of 1973 - when all of the coolest titles were written without capital letters.

Back-page advertising wasn't lost on them in the day!

And they knew you were sewing with fur - and leather (each of which has its own chapter).

I mean, there's a whole chapter on aligning your (brown) plaids:

And tons of great tailoring advice (that's almost starting to look familiar):

See this excellent section on fabrics - which includes all kinds of fabrics I've never actually heard of?!

"The muslin" does not get short shrift in this book:

And, finally: apparently, body-typing methodology is timeless...

This book has actually provided me with my next step in the seemingly endless muslin process for the Starlet Suit Jacket.

(Note: I do intend to document the following with photos or more instruction - but only if it works...)

I mashed up the princess seam FBA method from Singer Fashion Tailoring (above) with this one from A Perfect Fit (generously provided by Taran):

I've decided to call it the Targeted Bust Adjustment (TBA).

In short, I added 5/8" at each side front piece (at the apex of the bust tapering to nothing at about 5 inches down and up from that point). Note: You don't want to alter the waist or shoulder / armpit curves so taper before you get to either of those spots. The Singer book cautions against doing this for alterations of more than 2 inches. I lived on the edge and added an extra half an inch (ish). A Perfect Fit suggests that you alter the front piece length too. But something tells me, since I'm not adding a lot of extra width, I can ease the length in. If not, I can always fix it on the next draft.

The interesting thing about this is that I used the FBA-altered front and side front pieces from muslin 2 (I'm running out of practice fabric, people!) to cut out these new TBA pieces. Natch, the new, muslin 3 pieces fit within those from muslin 2 because they are smaller everywhere but in the full bust - where they are exactly the same size. Furthermore, I got a fabulous sense of EXACTLY how the FBA'ed pieces differ from the TBA'ed pieces in cutting muslin 3 out of muslin 2.

The side front pieces are fairly similar - there's a bit of difference in the armscye and in overall width. It's in the front pieces that things seemed to be going in two very different directions.

On the front piece, the TBA is much narrower all around (except at the apex of the full bust point). The shoulder top is a good inch narrower (like the original size 6).

Look, I have no idea of whether muslin 3 is going to work and, frankly, tonight I'm too afraid to put it all together to see.

What I can say is that, if this doesn't fly, my next plan of attack is to cut the 8 and see how that fits.

So, what do you think? Have you ever done this alteration? Do you own the Singer Fashion Tailoring book? Let's talk.


  1. I think i've done a similar adjustment to that on princess seams before, and from memory it worked quite well. I hope it's worked out for you.

  2. OK - I have to admit I only skimmed the last 2 posts because, let's face it, there's no way I will ever be doing a FBA. But your '70s book grabbed me: WANT! And this TBA looks like a good solution. I hope it works too; I'm thinking you should get an award for your perseverence!

    1. It's truly excellent - you have got to get it! I want an award. One that includes cake. :-)

  3. Oh, you're right there in muslin hell with me. My fingers are crossed that your TBA works!

  4. Crossing fingers, toes, legs, arms and eyes hoping it works for you. 8-))

  5. OK, I am so hoping this works for you---you deserve success! And if not, there's always the size 8.

    I would probably try to skip adding the extra length on the front piece, too. Hope it works! ;)

    1. T: Can you even imagine the bitching in my next post if it doesn't?? :-)

  6. Oh, also---I obviously haven't needed this exact alteration, but I have done its reverse, shaving down the princes curve, many times, and that works just fine.

  7. What a great book. You can never have enough sewing and tailoring books in my opinion! Fingers crossed for the muslin today!

  8. Oh I feel your woes - I'm trouser fitting at the moment...
    I think if you keep in mind that for a full bust you need to add a) width (from the side seam to CF) and b) length (from the shoulder to waist, at the CF and princess seam but not at the side seam), you'll get there!

    1. Sherry: I can barely understand that sentence much less reproduce it in fabric :-)

  9. Thank you for visiting my blog! I remember ages ago seeing your Pendrell blouse featured on Sewaholic and being impressed! Looks like you've moved onto some extra intense projects- good luck with your tailoring! I'm sure you'll end up with a fabulous finished project :)

    1. We can only hope :-) Can't wait to see what you make next.