I started my Hazel muslin for the Colette Sew Along today, and I just wanted to share a few photos of the process. I dug some old fabric out of my stash in hopes I’ll end up with a wearable muslin!
The first thing I do before laying out any of my pattern pieces, is open my fabric up and press it all out (no center fold). You’ll have to do this anyway after you launder your fabric, but I do this so I can re-form the center fold with the salvages matched as perfectly as possible. Fabric is rarely ever folded perfectly on the grain, so it’s important to take this extra step before cutting anything out.
By doing this, you can really tell that the fabric was cut before the salvaged edges were matched up. There’s a pretty big difference in where the cut edges line up now. Also note I’ve re-folded my fabric with right sides together! This makes it easier to transfer markings later.
Next, I make sure all of my directional arrows are as perfectly parallel to the salvage as I can get them. My rotary cutting mat makes this SO easy to do! This ensures that all of your fabric will be cut out on the straight of grain, and therefore, will hang properly once the garment is sewn together. I match my folded edge up with one of the yellow ruled lines of my mat, then use my giant transparent ruler to follow one of those yellow guide lines down the pattern piece. You can tell the above piece needs to be tweaked a bit before I can cut it.
Once your ruler is lined up parallel to the salvage, you just need to adjust your pattern piece to match. Now the piece is correctly aligned with the straight of grain, and ready to be cut out. I use the pattern weights/rotary cutter method to cut out my pieces. It took me a few months of practice before I could use a rotary cutter with out a ruler. It’s kind of scary to use one free-hand! Before that, I would trace my pattern pieces onto the fabric with tailors chalk, and then cut with regular scissors. I prefer both those methods over using pins.
I also find it really helpful to snip your notches IN to the seam allowance! Not only is it easier, but it’s much more accurate when matching up pieces. Unfortunately, this method wont work with smaller seam allowances.
I started tracing my darts like this because I’m lazy for one, and also because I seriously couldn’t make sense of the traditional way it’s supposed to be done. After the pattern piece is cut out, I just cut up one side of the dart, fold it open, and trace the inside lines with a pencil! Then when you go to sew your darts, you can use that pencil line as a guide. I’ll share more on that process, as well as some tips for invisible zippers, as I start sewing my muslin together.
I highly recommend attempting a “wearable” muslin. Not only will you get extra zipper practice, but you might just end up with TWO awesome Hazel dresses at the end of the month! How awesome would that be?