Saturday, July 13, 2013

This Man is Muslin'd Out!

I'm not sure that what I have to report today is really progress. A month ago I left off wondering if I should go ahead and do a sloped shoulder adjustment. The general concensus was that I should man-up and go for it. Since I don't have the contrasting fabric for the reverse of the jacket fronts (which I've convinced myself that I really want) there doesn't seem to be a good excuse not to. So, off with the sleeves!

Ripping up a muslin is like dismembering a whole chicken. Not my idea of fun.

Thankfully, some parts need no adjusting. So I get to keep the wings, drumsticks and gizzard.

For those of you new to the sloped shoulder adjustment, here's a very generalized overview.

The line of the shoulder is redrawn at a steeper angle starting from the neck edge which remains unchanged. This sets off a cascade of additional adjustments. I decided that the armscye end of the shoulder seam needed to be dropped 1/2".

The armscye can stay the same, but it needs to be dropped down 1/2". So I place my tracing paper pattern back over the printed pattern allowing for the new shoulder point and redraw the armscye line for my size. You can see how the notch is now lower and a crescent is trimmed out of the lower armscye. (Note to self: next time don't use a Sharpie which blobs and bleeds out all over the place!)

The side seams are now shorter by 1/2", so I've tacked on a strip of tracing paper and redrawn the bottom edge, tapering back to the original line at the center front. A hip rule helps, but one could also just freehand a slight curve here.

The sloped shoulder adjustment is something of a paradox. By lowering all the various points, shoulder, armscye and side seam, the final effect is that the fabric is pulled up onto the chest. The upshot of all this? Frequently the neck edge is uncomfortably high.

That was the case here, so I trimmed 1/2" off the front neck edge at the center. The "X" (not the smudge) is where the edge of the collar will hopefully align. The back neck also gets raised, but in my case it actually made the collar fit better.

So here is muslin #3 worn with a thin shoulder pad. I ran out of the red tablecloth material so forgive the clown costume look. Is it really any better? I'm quite honestly not sure. There may be just a bit too much wearing ease across the upper chest, so I may shave off a 1/4". But then again, a little drape isn't such a bad thing. The shoulder is a little dropped, which wasn't as noticeable when it was a solid color. I don't find it offensive, so I'm not going to start fiddling around with it. After awhile there seems to be a point of diminishing returns with all this fitting. At this stage it's comfortable and wearable. Another muslin and I run the risk of losing interest in the project altogether. That's a sure sign to just move on.

The back... ??? I never know what's going on here. Any smaller across the back and it would be a real struggle to put on. And once on, I wouldn't be able to move. I keep telling myself that in the end it will be velvet, and those folds will catch the light, just adding more richness. Right?

Just for the heck of it, here it is without any shoulder pads. I'm thinking it could totally work this way too. It's much more shirt-like this way. Trying it this way has also raised the possibility of making my own very minimal shoulder pads. Since they come late in the construction process, I'm just going to leave all my options open at this stage of the game.

Sorry kids, but I'm fitted and muslin'd out!

To kick start my enthusiasm I went out and picked up some silk thread for basting and some silk pins.

I'm ready to start cutting this jacket out, which considering my limited yardage, may prove to be a challenge. I've read that cutting with the nap up gives richer color. Dear readers, please weigh in with your velvet expertise! Nap up or nap down? I don't want to mess this up.

Obligatory boat progress pic!


  1. Nap up means it LOOKS really good, but nap down means it FEELS really good when you touch it which is normally with a downward stroke. You just have to try it out and decide. Just be very careful to cut it ALL the same way.

  2. So true! I love stroking my velvet clothes so I always cut with the pile facing down. Purr
    purr. It looks great. I like it better reading like a shirt, I think the ambiguty of a velvet version will make it very wearable. Like a denim shirt only WAAAY classier!

  3. Another vote for nap down. It would annoy me no end if the nap went up. I guess for me it's better to feel good than to look good. 8-)

  4. Nap up would be weird, and not in a good way.

  5. Just for future reference (I understand muslin'd out completely) back wrinkle issues were addressed here a couple of weeks ago:

  6. It looking great! When I sew with velvet I sew with nap running down.

  7. Hello , It looks goos from the front but the back ?? I couldnt live with those folds . I am wondering if undoing the shoulder seam and the taking more outof the back would do the trick .Its almost as if its too big at the back but good at the front . The other thing I wonderered is taking something out of the back princess seam . When I have these fitting dramas I generally sew down the fold as I figure that fabric doesnt want to be there and then pull the surrounding seams ie the back sleeve in this case apart and adjust them so it all looks good again and can be sewn up and then use the pieces to draft up the pattern pieces . I have used this on a few wedding dresses with good results .

  8. Ps I just wanted to tell you that I have made the duffle coat and number 5 out of the Japanese Pattern book . Your posts helped . I will be posting about them soon . Thanks

    1. I'm so glad my silly blog has been helpful. Looking forward to seeing your coats.

  9. nap up deeper color, nap down not as rich but has shine

  10. I learned that the nap should go up. This is to prevent marks on the back and bum when you sit. The friction of sliding against the back of the chair will make unattractive marks in the pile.

  11. Late but: 1) I have made no-bulk shoulder pads for my husband's jacket with a few layers of hair canvas basted together. I was surprised how well that worked actually. 2) I know you're muslined out, but I wonder if lowering the armscye under the arm wouldn't help with those folds---it's a simple and easy adjustment to try, no recutting necessary.