A-Line Skirt SAL Week 2: make your muslin!

so, how did the patternmaking go? any trouble? questions? i’m guessing it went pretty smoothly because i haven’t heard much from the peanut gallery, just a peep or two here and there. i know many of you had already done this step, so you may have taken the week off. remember, if you have any questions or comments as we go, you can post them in the discussion section of the flickr group. there were a few photos of patterns posted this week (such as Tamika’s lovely one above) and i’d love to see more!

on to Week 2’s project: sewing and fitting your muslin. this is a step often skipped, but immensely valuable. i mean, we have no way of really knowing how your lovingly drafted pattern is going to fit until we test it, do we? it’s always possible your measurements or your math were a bit off, and you wouldn’t want to find that out by jumping right into that Liberty print you’ve been hoarding, only to find out the skirt is too small…

a few notes about muslin-making:

— i tend to prefer the term “fit sample,” because it’s a little more apt. you can make your fit sample out of the fabric called muslin, though i’m a fan of using some inexpensive fabric that i actually like, so if the fit sample works out, i can just finish it and i have another skirt to wear. this is known as a “wearable muslin”.

— when you are sewing up your sample, all you need to stitch are the darts and side seams. it won’t take long at all! be sure to leave one side seam open from the hip line to the waist (where the zipper will go in the final skirt), or you won’t be able to pull the skirt on.

— it’s a good idea to give it a quick press with the iron before trying it one, so the seams and darts lie flat. try it on, pin the zipper opening shut, and give yourself a good once-over in a full-length mirror. what do you think? take a look at the waistline and how it fits (noting that it will sit 1/2″ lower when the skirt is finished), the darts (especially in back: are they nipping in enough, so the skirt lies snugly against your back?), the hemline (you’ll lose an inch in hemming), and the amount of flare.

— if you want to make some adjustments, i suggest taking your sample off and putting it back on inside out. this way, your seam and dart allowances will all be easy to grab and pin and play with. you can take in darts or seams with pins, raise the hem or lower the waistline by folding and pinning, or marking with chalk or pencil. if you need to add more fabric at the waist or seams, pin on a scrap of muslin to extend it. then take the muslin off, and if you’ve made changes, mark with chalk or pencil where you’ve pinned, and unstitch the darts and seams. lay the muslin pieces on top of your pattern pieces and transfer the changes to the pattern. if you’ve made drastic changes, you might want to make a second fit sample, but usually you can move right on to your real skirt…

should you have any questions, i’m right here. generally in my classes, the muslins need only minor tweaking if any at all. so don’t be nervous.

have fun and report back!



  1. Lisa Richards

    My “fit sample” šŸ˜‰ actually fits. Neato. Thanks so much for the tips and guidance!

  2. I’m going to work on my pattern today!!!!! I don’t have any kind of pattern paper, so I’m hoping some brown paper grocery store bags will work =P

  3. YAY sasha! any kind of paper works. i never use *real* pattern paper. grocery bags work fine, or taped together printer paper, or a large sketchpad (what i use)…

  4. I’m almost done with my muslin fitting, but run into a little trouble. According to a fitting book that I have, I need to cut the front piece of the skirt a bit lower (for me it’s about 1″) because my waist falls about that much lower on the front. So I redrafted my pattern to accommodate this change, but now I don’t have a 90 degree angle where the waist seam meets the side seam. Would you say in this case it is okay not to have 90 degree angle on this one corner, or do I have to find a way somehow? Thank you so much for you help!!:) This is my first time fitting anything and it seems a bit more difficult that I thought..but maybe that’s because I’m curvy bellow the belt.

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