Muslin puzzlins

How do you muslin? Yes, I verbed that noun. I know muslins are important for achieving the proper fit, so I finally made one for the seventies blouse/tunic I’m working on. Specifically, I’m curious about what happens once you finish adjusting the muslin to fit. How do you transfer your alterations to the paper pattern? There’s a ton of fantastic tutorials around the sewing blogosphere on how to fix specific problems, but I don’t think I’ve seen a basic overview like the one I’m going to post here. Maybe because it’s that elementary. So here it is: My super simple you-probably-already-know-this guide on how transfer markings on a blouse muslin that needs to be made smaller. I’m only posting this in hope that someday a beginner sewer happens to type in the right combination of words into a Google search and happens to stumble across this post and happens to find it useful.

So as a reminder, here’s the pattern:

And here’s my muslin:

No, I did not make the sleeves. I’m proud that I even bothered to finish the collar!

Too big! Too blousy! (Why am I always trying to make blouses less blousy? Maybe I should be making something other than blouses.) So I sewed some new side seams, curving in at the waist, and I added some darts in back. Then I turned my muslin inside out. Here it is, with my seam ripper pointing to the new side seam (hard to see, I know). Notice I didn’t trim the excess off the seam allowance.

Next, I used a red pen to trace over my new stitching line.

Now Tasia, who does excellent tutorials, recommends thread tracing all your muslin pieces before sewing everything together. I’m not going to nay-say her – she makes professional, excellent stuff. But if you want to play it fast and loose, I think tracing over your seams with a pen after you’ve sewn them is a valid alternative.

I did this for the back piece too, and I also traced over the darts. Then, I seam ripped everything apart. Well, actually, I only seam ripped what was necessary to get half the front piece and half the back piece separated and lying flat once more. I did have to give them a quick press with the iron. Here is the back:

Next, I laid my pattern pieces down over my muslin pieces. The red marker showed through, but not enough to show up well in this picture. I traced it in Photoshop to show you.

Thus, I was able to neatly transfer my muslin markings directly and accurately onto my paper pattern pieces. See my new dart lines:

And the new side seam lines…

Now since I am marking the new seam or stitching lines, I still have to add in the new seam allowance to the pattern pieces. So I got out my clear ruler and measured 5/8″ away from my dotted line. In the photo below, the blue arrow is pointing to the new stitching line, the red arrow is pointing to the cutting line, and the green arrow is pointing to the old stitching line.

Now, connect the dots on your cutting line with your handy hip curve ruler… 

And voila! you’ve transferred your muslin markings to your paper pattern!

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