Fitting The Muslin Model
Guides Save Material and Insure Perfect-Fitting Garments
Fashion Service magazine, Spring 1925 pg. 42
If you are perfect in proportions and your measurements agree with the
measurements of a pattern, which of necessity must be based on a formula
of correct proportions, you are indeed fortunate. But if you are one
with a short waist, over-erect shoulders, or other irregularity, you
will find it wisest first to cut a muslin-model guide from the pattern
and then to fit it perfectly before cutting into your material.
One of the
real advantages of individual dressmaking is the correct fitting that it
makes possible. Once the art of muslin-model making is understood, the
work will prove interesting rather than tedious, and your safety in
cutting from a pattern made from a fitted muslin model will repay you
generously for the time and effort required.
When Bust Measurement Varies from Standard. –
Often, the bust measurement is large in proportion
to the rest of the figure. For instance, Fig. 1, view (a),
an erect figure with pattern too narrow across the bust. Your first
impulse in fitting would be, perhaps, to put a dart at the under arm of
the armhole. But if you open the shoulder seam, you will see that the
front of the model really needs to be lifted a little and its upper
portion shifted toward the center front. Bring it over as far as it
seems to need to come so that a dart is formed from the shoulder line
down to the bust line, as at a. This will make the front shoulder
too short, so piece it out, as at b. Pin a new shoulder line, and
then trim the armhole neatly.
For a figure with a small bust and medium-small
arms, the method of alteration is shown in view (b), Fig. 1. In
this case, the dart is made from a point just below the shoulder line,
down diagonally over the bust, as at a, with an insert, as at
b, to make up for the material used in the dart. Sometimes, for such
figures, a new short shoulder line is desirable.
When Shoulders Require Fitting. –
How to fit for the erect, full-bust figure is shown
in view (c). We see first where the fitting is needed, and then
how to accomplish it. In this case, alteration is made in three places;
at the under-arm seam, as at a; at the arm hole, as at b;
and at the neck, as at c. At the right is shown a back that sags
down, a thing that often occurs with the erect figure. This is corrected
by lifting up the material and making a small tuck or dart across the
back and then reshaping the armhole line as the line of dashes shows.
View (d), Fig. 1, shows a figure with thin chest, narrow
shoulders, and very slender arms. The front shoulder is lifted and a
tuck is made in the sleeve the full length, just enough being taken out
in the sleeve to equalize that taken up in the shoulder.
Small-boned women are often narrow in the shoulders, a 34-bust pattern
fitting them except across the bust, where they really require a size
36. View (e) shows a size 36 pattern fitted to such a figure. In
making a shoulder alteration like this, it is usually necessary to take
a tuck in the sleeve, as in (d).
When Both Shoulders and Bust Are Out of Proportion.-
The alterations required for the wide-shouldered,
well-rounded figure are shown in view (f). The original pattern
calls for two darts at the under-arm seams and has a revers neck line.
First, open the shoulder and pull the front over toward the center
front. Lay a dart, as at a, and then piece out the armhole, as at
b. This is usually necessary where a dart is taken that has not
been previously provided for (the rare exception coming with very narrow
After the shoulder fitting, you may find that
another tiny dart will aid at the under arm. In such event, pin it in,
as at c.
Full arms sometimes go with full busts, as in this
case, a condition that makes necessary an extension on the top of the
sleeve. To correct this, merely add a piece of muslin to the top and fit
it to the armhole correctly so that the new sleeve, when cut, will be
sure to fit in the armhole perfectly.
The method of fitting a shaped collar to the muslin
model is shown at d. The collar should be fitted when revers are
used; then the desired width of revers and collar can be determined.
Also, for a collar of this kind, it is well to make sure that the
pattern for the back is long enough at the neck. If it is too short, it
will cause the collar to stand away from the neck in the back, a most
undesirable condition when a trim-fitting collar is wanted.
In fitting the sleeves, first make sure that they
fit at the armhole; then determine the length as nearly as you can in
the model and thus save your material in cutting.
How to Plan an Epaulet Shoulder.-
To develop an epaulet shoulder from a plain pattern
and to allow fullness across the front to be gathered into the shoulder
line, see view (g). The fullness is gained by slashing the
pattern lengthwise and separating it the desired amount.
For the epaulet shoulder, first fit the sleeve in
position. Then attach a lengthwise strip, 3 inches wide, at the neck,
bring it out on the sleeve, and pin it securely in place, so that the
surplus shoulder seam of the blouse can be cut away and the strip remain
attached to the sleeve as a definite part of it. In cutting away the
material under the strip, remember to allow for seams on both the blouse
portions, front and back, and the strip.
Special Points About Sleeves. –
If you are 40 or 42 bust and must buy a pattern to
fit you, you may find the sleeves larger than you want or fashion
demands. In such an event, long, lengthwise darts can be used to fit out
the surplus fullness. A slightly bias line, as shown in view (h),
is often more effective than a straight-line fitting, as it adapts its
line more perfectly to the arm that has a shape all its own.
In fitting sleeves in muslin models, mark the
sleeve and the armhole with corresponding notches placed 2 to 3 inches
apart. Then mark the sleeve and armhole of the dress in the same may.
This will insure perfection when the sleeve is permanently in place, and
possibly save the time of a dress fitting.
Cutting a Permanent Pattern. –
Each of the alterations described in Fig. 1 is
matched in Fig. 2 by a corresponding view, Fig. 2 showing the muslin
models as they will look when removed from the figure, ripped apart, and
laid out smooth and flat for cutting a permanent pattern. The sleeves
shown separately as view (h) in Fig. 1 correspond to the sleeve
alterations indicated in views (b) and (c), Fig. 2.
In observing the alterations shown in Fig. 1, one
might question whether or not a satisfactory pattern could result from
them. But when they are carefully made in the muslin and then the muslin
is laid out as smoothly as possible, an almost perfect pattern can be
If there is a considerable amount of fitting at the
shoulder for a very full-bust figure, for instance, use the dart at the
shoulder, for otherwise, in order to lay the pattern flat on your
material for cutting, you would need to throw more fullness at the waist
line than is desirable for a full figure.
Take the necessary time to get a correct-fitting
foundation pattern; then buy tissue-paper patterns as style guides for
fullness and for effect, and check them by your fitted pattern