In Favorite Posts/ Honestly

Musings on Wearable Muslins and Lady Turtles

luckylucille_muslin1

If there’s one thing I’m good at doing, it’s being brutally honest about myself on the internet. Whatever, no one can say anything hurtful about me that I haven’t already said to my own face, so at risk of publicly embarrassing myself, let me tell you a funny story about how naive I am. I don’t claim to be a super experienced seamstress, I’d say I’m intermediate at best, so quite often I find myself having these ridiculous moments of epiphany when I realize how much of an idiot I am. I don’t take anything in life too seriously, so I rather enjoy laughing at myself when I make these epic “discoveries”. See I used to think “wearable muslin” meant you could sew a pattern right out of the envelope, for the first time, in any fabric, in hopes it would turn out okay and you could actually wear it. In fact, if you asked me last month I’d tell you “Oh yeah, I have tons of wearable muslins!” …lies!! ALL LIES I tell you. No my friends, I have tons of me-made garments that don’t fit quite right, made up in fabric that I don’t quite love, sitting in a box in my closet. I don’t think those “muslins” count as “wearable” at all.

tova

No seriously, you can laugh at me because this is actually funny! In fact, a collective facepalm would also be entirely appropriate here. In an effort to mend my idiot ways and sew clothes that actually fit me, I bought a Craftsy class on sale called Custom Fitting: Back, Neck, and Shoulders. Since working through that class I’ve had two gigantic moments of enlightenment: 1.) Some people can sew a pattern right out of the envelope, in any fabric, and fit as they go, but for the rest of us who aren’t shaped like idealistic PGM dress forms, we need to trace our patterns and sew everything in muslin fabric first. Always. No exceptions (great, so much for being lazy) and 2.) Taking side profile photos of your shoulders and back to try to analyze potential fit issues is potentially depressing when you realize you have a serious S-curve to your spine, and not in a sexy Beyoncé kind of way. No, you might in fact be shaped like an emaciated lady turtle.

J202015LLTC

Exhibit A.) What I wish I looked like: A 1930s illustration by Carlos Masberger for Gente Menuda, and Exhibit B.) What I actually look like: A lady turtle.

I didn’t wallow in self pity for too long (even though the terms “Dowager’s Hump” and “Hollow Chest” were thrown around in the class and I may actually be 127 years old based on my physique, which I suppose is an accurate age for a Terrapin) before I realized the beauty of this enlightenment. I now know exactly why nothing ever fits me AND! thanks to Kathleen Cheetham I now know how to fix it. After all, there’s no reason why a Beyoncé Ninja Turtle love child can’t have nice clothes that fit well …after making adjustments for narrow shoulders, forward sloping shoulders, a rounded upper back, a hollow chest, and an epic sway back, of course.

luckylucille_muslin6

The last project I completed before the new year was a first attempt at the Wiksten Tova. This was the project that drove me to purchase the Craftsy class because my “wearable muslin” was actually a terrible muslin. Every time I try to sew a mandarin collar it funnels up off the back of my neck in the most unflattering way, causing my turtle shell back to look even more rounded, and my turtle neck to look even more slumped forward. I’m not even planning to re-sew this dress any time soon because I’m kind of over it and need a bit of a break from over analyzing it. So I moved on to a more simple design (New Look 6889) with a center back seam, which I hoped would make fitting adjustments easier. Much to my surprise, it did!

luckylucille_muslin2

With this new pattern I wouldn’t allow myself to cut corners even though I was tempted countless times. I almost didn’t trace anything and I almost used a printed cotton instead of the brand new bolt of muslin I bought. But, I brought my failed Tova muslin downstairs and left it in plain sight where it would be a haunting reminder: Dear Idiot Face, this is why nothing fits you and you never wear your handmade clothes!

Thanks, Tova. Good pep talk.

luckylucille_muslin3

First I traced the original tissue pattern and then made one muslin at half length to check the fit of the back, neck, and shoulders. It actually wasn’t too bad, but I had some serious gaping at the back of the neck, and some tightness under the arms at both the front and back of the arm scythe. Trying to follow the Golden Rule of ONE CHANGE AT A TIME, I traced a new curve at the upper back along the center seam, basted it in, and then tried it on. Nearly fixed! I did this one more time and found it to be a pretty great non-gape-y fit, so then I moved on to address the arm holes. After using a pen to trace what I thought would be a more comfortable opening, I cut along that line and tried the muslin on again. Much better! I was really starting to understand why this whole muslin fit thing is all the rage in sewing. Um, it works. (insert another facepalm, here)

luckylucille_muslin4

So after I got my first half-length muslin to a good point, I traced those changes and cut another muslin at full dress length. Once I tried that on and decided my changes actually worked and improved the fit, then I decided to attempt the wearable muslin in a floral print cotton, including a self-drafted neck facing in lieu of bias tape. Why am I calling this floral version a wearable muslin and not a finished garment? Well, after wearing it all weekend I feel like the quilting cotton is a bit too bulky, especially paired with winter sweaters and leggings. I’m also not 100% in love with the print for this particular pattern. The dress has a seam down the center front and back that flares out to the hem, making pattern matching a nightmare. It would be much better suited for a solid fabric or a true scatter print with no directional/linear qualities. I’m so guilty of picking the wrong fabric for the wrong project which makes it hard to tell if I truly don’t like a particular pattern because of the pattern, or if I don’t like it because of the material.

luckylucille_muslin5

The only thing to do is make this dress up one more time in a scatter print fabric with much more drape and see if I love it as much as I think I do. After all, I think this mirror selfie proves it’s pretty darn cute with some real TNT potential.

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I’ve tried making real muslins before but I think because of my lack of patience and lack of knowledge to actually fit them, they never worked and I decided why bother doing that every single time. I used to just give up after one bad muslin and try a different pattern company instead, thinking maybe they’d be drafted to fit my shape. Well, unless a pattern company starts drafting patterns for lady turtles, I’m pretty much guaranteed to make three muslins each time I sew anything. But that’s okay because that’s the kind of sewing that separates the naive intermediates (with a box full of unwearable handmade clothes), from the people who can make it through Me Made May (and the rest of the year) with confidence.

I’m making progress, though. One embarrassing turtle shaped epiphany at a time.

xo
Rochelle

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  • liisa

    thanks for this post. my body is built the exact same way as yours. i made 4 unmodified wiksten tanks before i realized, like just now, that the reason i never wear them is they just don’t fit my upper body straight off the envelope. after each one i just thought i must have mistraced the pattern or something, and i should just try again. i’m literally taking out some scrap fabric right now to start muslining the fook out of the tiny pocket tank. thanks so much!!

  • I loathe the phrase ‘wearable muslin’ because if I’ve sewn something in serious fabric without a care for fitting then, like you say, I’ve been naive!

  • Janine Helligar

    If you absolutely fall in love with the print on a quilting cotton and want to make a dress or skirt, I have two words: Underlining or Lining.

  • Elinor Janvrin

    I adore this print and it looks so good on you. Maybe you should cut off the bottom and keep it as a top. I made a dress with quilting cotton. I think I’m going to do that. The top was fine, but when I wore it with tights, I wanted to kill. The dress stuck to the tights when I walked. I had to keep pulling it straight. Quilting cotton just really isn’t a good choice for clothes, or dresses at least. But the darn prints are irresistible!

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  • jannapyj

    Do you think you’ll wear it this Summer when you don’t have all the layers to add bulk? It’s so cute!

    JJ
    http://www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

  • Bethm

    A terrapin with awesome writing skills that makes me chuckle (great word) no matter the type of day! If I was teaching English anymore I would totally use some of your writing to launch the class into narrative. Not only for the lesson in writing, but also for the ability to laugh at yourself. Then you’re never far away from a good source of humor 🙂 and we are all just part of a menagerie. Giraffe neck over there, elephant ears two rows down, and wonderful pelican chin on the teacher. Haha!

    • Wow, thank you! That’s a really fantastic compliment. My mom is an English teacher and I always enjoyed writing in school, so it’s nice to know I haven’t forgotten what I’ve be taught haha! Now math on the other hand… the only math I hold onto is measured in yards of fabric and fractions of seam allowances 😉

      p.s. I’m enjoying your menagerie reference very much. Heh, pelican chin!

      • Beth Arcuri

        Woops! I did another one of my withdrawals from my email and look what happens! My favorite celebrity of 2015 answered me and I almost missed it. I really need to learn how to embrace and keep up with all this newfangled technology better 🙂 I agree with you wholeheartedly on the Math thing. However, in an ironic twist from Cupid, I married a Math PhD. Yep, from Oxford. For reals. I always thought Math people were inscrutable aliens from another planet! After 3+ years of marriage I now know this isn’t true. They are inscrutable humans just like the rest of us, farts and all 🙂 I always have kind of a middle range on standardized testing. I knock it out of the ballpark when it comes to English, which is a good thing because my math scores were always in the basement. Therefore, average the two together and get middle of the median, ha! Well, happy sewing! Beth

  • Abbi

    Ok, ok! I mean, you wrote that looking at me, right? 😉 I couldn’t even tell you what my fit issues are, because…I’venevermadeasuccessfulmuslin. I have some handmade items in my closet, but most of them don’t fit quite as I pictured it (I told myself it was because of my weight issues, which don’t help). SO, a month into the new year, here is my resolution! No cutting main fabric before I have a “perfect” muslin.

    • It’s taken me forever to get the the point of “successful” muslin making, as in, justnowwanderingintothatterritory! It’s so hard when you’re just learning what a good fit actually looks like and you have no one with that kind of knowledge at home to help to address any changes to be made. It’s even more difficult when all of your store bought clothes don’t fit quite right but you’ve never been able to put your finger on why that is, either. It’s a process! Each failure just brings you one step closer to getting it right the next time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if those “perfect” muslins don’t come along so easily 🙂 You’ll get there. …at least that’s what I keep telling myself lol

  • I too am a turtle lady! I’m pedantic about fit which has led to many muslins, but now I’ve decided to go forward with drafting from my block instead of reinventing the wheel by muslining every garment I make! But listen, I hope you’re not judging your body. I know you’re laughing about it but I hope you don’t feel misshapen. The truth is MOST people don’t fit stuff from the packet. I went through a phase of feeling a bit freakish but then I realised I am the right shape for me, and just because I don’t fit some “standard” doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me (or anyone else who’s not standard)! Enjoy going forward with your new epiphanies! 🙂

    • Hooray for another Lady Turtle! Aside from a wonky back, I was born with a rather serious skin disorder so my Lady Turtle-ness is the least of my body issues haha! Seriously though, if I was actually unhappy with the way I looked, I wouldn’t smile nearly as much as I do. It’s all in good fun, making light of the “non-standard” things we can’t change 🙂 🙂

      • Good to hear you have a positive attitude! I struggled with finding mine but I got there in the end 🙂

      • Good to hear you have a positive attitude! I struggled with finding mine but I got there in the end 🙂

  • Christine Griffin

    Reading fit books has made a drastic change in how I view patterns! I’ve thrown out almost everything from my first year of sewing due to fit issues. It was liberating!

  • As yet another turtle-backed sewist, I’m so happy to welcome you to the “better FIT that thing first!” club!

    I haven’t taken that Craftsy class, (though it’s on my watch list), so I don’t know if Kathleen covers this (no doubt she does), but here’s the most important light-bulb moment I’ve had about turtle-backedness, and that’s that it’s typically not enough to just reshape the back and reposition the neckline (which is what I’ve always done with shirt yokes for myself, curving the back seam going into the yoke, but starting by placing the yoke forward so it snugs up against the back of my neck). There’s ALSO the issue of how much longer waist to neck a turtle back is compared to the front, which is a problem that affects the entire garment all around, often in the form of diagonal stress lines across the side seams, and always by some tilting of the horizontal grain at the hem so it isn’t horizontal any more. It’s often aggravated by a simultaneous lengthening of the lower front, as the hips shift forward to balance out the rounded back, in what I think of as the James Dean/Marlon Brando-meets-lamp-post maneuver (and I blame them for it, too).

    Recently I learned that tailors call this whole front vs. back length thing “balance”, and they have a quite cool trick for dealing with it, one that custom shirtmakers also employ. It’s so simple: To lengthen the upper back and lower front simultaneously, just open the side seams and shift the entire back upwards against the front, often quite a bit, like 1 or 1.5 inches, averaging out the curves at the bottom of the armholes so they remain unchanged overall (hems, too, of course). To lengthen the upper front and the lower back simultaneously (the puffer-pigeon thing), do the opposite. If the side seams are quite shaped, it’d be wise to straighten them first, then add the shape back in after the shift, pinning to match the actual body shape. (This doesn’t necessarily fix the hem/grain angle, but it helps.) I now do this to ALL my shirt and jacket patterns (with a muslin test of course!) and am ashamed I didn’t know enough to put it in my own book years ago.

    • Kathleen does touch base on the fact that your back measurement will be skewed due to the roundness at the top, and she has a lot of really fantastic tips for correcting that, similar to what you mentioned. Changing the center back seam on my dress was the easiest fix since the back neckline scoops down a bit, but on my collared shirts I now know how to raise that back neckline and add neck darts and the such. The class has been extremely enlightening! “Balance” is definitely what I was missing from most of my handmade garments, as well as practically all my RTW clothing, and now I know why. You’re right, you better fit that thing first haha! Now I can see how that one rounded back adjustment changes how the garment hangs, if the side seams are straight, how the neck line looks, and the list goes on and on. It’s kind of amazing.

      Thanks again for all of your super helpful (and professional) suggestions, David!

  • Does it make you feel any better that THIS is what informed me? Although, it does explain a lot.

    • I’m glad I could help you see the light lol! I bought that fitting class because I thought all my issues were at the front neck and shoulder, so I had a similar surprise when I started working through the chapters and realized …wait a minute, is THAT what my actual issue is?! The BACK?! So yes, it does indeed explain a lot haha! 🙂

  • Rochelle, you are fantastic! What a brilliant post. “Beyonce Ninja Turtle love child” made me laugh out loud. Seriously, your sewing always looks completely flawless. Once you’ve combined your attention to sewing detail with all your custom fitting you’ll be a force to be reckoned with!

    Although I don’t think I’m a lady turtle I’m also currently trying to figure out my back/shoulder/armhole issues so share your frustration. Let’s hope 2015 is the year we nail our fitting issues!

    • Hahah aww thanks, Jo! It’s funny how a poor fit can really cheapen the look of your clothes, so that’s definitely something I want to work on, aside from being able to wear the clothes comfortably (which is obviously the main goal!). Here’s to 2015 and fabulous fits 🙂 🙂

  • Lessles

    Ah Rochelle, I love your blog – true confessions. I’ve resolved to really try not to expect much from muslins (toiles in Oz) and instead force myself to make them from calico, lest I be tempted to wear them, hate the experience and then never make the REAL thing! Kathleen Cheatham has the loveliest voice and she’s a good friend in the sewing dungeon too! This dress looks great on you.

    • I wish I could fit as I go and head straight for the calico, but every time I’ve tried that has been a complete failure and a waste of money, so I had to keep working backwards. Toiles for me I guess! Though, once I get this one completely nailed down, I’ll never have to make the muslin again! So at least there’s some relief in that 😉

      I do rather enjoy Kathleen’s voice, too! I bet she’s so sweet in real life.

  • Your turtle lady comments made me giggle and think of my grandma. As she aged she got osteoporosis and developed a bit of a dowager’s hump. She used to tell me that with that, and her aging skin, she felt like a turkey and then she would turn to the side and gobble. It was hilarious! She and I always had a good laugh.
    Anyway, I am so glad that you are learning more about fitting so that you are happier with your makes. It’s nice to have a-ha moments and then have things come into place. I’m still learning about fitting, but every time I figure something out, I feel really great! Good luck!

    • Haha! Your Grandma sounds amazing! I hope I have her sense of humor in my old age.

      Thanks for the luck. I’m sure I’ll need it 😉

  • Debra Ward

    Before I read this I googled “what is a wearable muslin” and Gertie explained it quite nicely in a 2009 post. Before yesterday I considered this statement a bit of a oxymoron. Why on earth would anyone wear your muslin but then… between you and her it all made sense. After years and years of pattern buying and sewing it wasn’t till 2 years ago when I began researching how to make my handmade clothes fit properly.( that’s like 30 years of bad fits) None of this was taught in highschool. You bought the pattern cut to your so called size and sewed, followed by chucking it into a pile of never to be worn clothing. It wasn’t until 2 months ago when taking the Craftsy Bra class that I realized why my jackets never fit right in my shoulders. Thank heavens I sewed for my girls when they were little or I may have let my sewing days slide away. I wish these lightbulb moments would have happened sooner but I’ll take them when I get them.

    • I agree it is a bit of an oxymoron! I had a very similar “pick a pattern in your size and just sew it” type of introduction to sewing, and it wasn’t until recently when I noticed none of my RTW clothing fits quite right either. Then I thought okay, I’m ready to accept the fact that there’s obviously something about MY shape that is different than the standard. 30 years of bad fits makes me feel for you (I thought three years was bad enough!!) but it’s never ever too late to start making a change 🙂 Hooray for light bulb moments and excellent fits!

  • sallieforrer

    Lol!! From one lady turtle to another, YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!!!
    I love the wearable muslin – the dress is super cute, and definitely worth all the effort of muslin-ing to get it right. I think fit is something we all struggle with in sewing, so good on you for taking steps to conquer it! One day I’ll be brave enough to take a profile picture to see what’s going on with my back and neck … *shudders* … it’s scary back there!!

    • Hell yeah, #ladyturtlesewingclub!! Well thank you, your fantastic compliment is very much appreciated 🙂 🙂

      I honestly can’t believe, with allllll the photos of me on the internet, that I never noticed what my spine is shaped like lol!! It was honestly a bit of a shock. I mean, I know I don’t have a Quasimodo hunch goin’ on, but I took enough Anatomy in college to know I’m not exactly a model skeleton either haha! Whatever. Lady Turtle Knowledge is Power!!

  • This is such an awesome post to read. I think as a blogging ‘community,’ there’s often a really big focus on discussing the finished garments, without really discussing all of the steps it took before that to fit it. I have a lot of trouble with fitting into RTW stuff and most patterns straight out of the envelope, and it’s always great reading that I’m not the only one. I’m excited to see the next iteration of your dress, and to follow your journey to getting wearable handmade clothes.

    • Thank you, I try to always be honest about my sewing, but sometimes it feels good to be REALLY honest lol! Sewing is definitely a process, and I’m sure people that have been sewing for decades still have similar struggles. You’re definitely not alone 🙂

  • Sara @ Sew Sweetness

    I totally hear you! Before I made a promise to myself in December to try to sew more clothes, I had never made a muslin. Now I make several sets. I draw on them, pinch them, then transfer my changes, one at a time, to Easy Pattern. Life changing! I feel like such an idiot that I never put in the work before. I am so glad I did because now I have beautiful pattern pieces that I can remake the pattern at any time and know it will fit perfect.

    • I’ve been a really bad blog reader lately, but I have been keeping up with your progress on instagram and I’m so impressed!! All of your hard work is really paying off and it’s obvious that you’re putting in the time. You should be really proud of all those beautiful pattern pieces 🙂

      • Sara @ Sew Sweetness

        Awww thanks, love all the Cotton + Steel/quilting cottons you’ve been using!

  • Janey Beasley

    I”m always making things at the last minute so don’t have time for muslins but you are close to persuading me it is a good idea!

    • Trying to plan ahead is almost harder that making muslins! I’m so guilty of wanting new sewing projects done RIGHT NOW but every time I do that I’m always disappointed. What is it they say about patience and virtues? 😉

  • Elena Knits

    I’m glad that you are finally happy with the fit of your clothes. I also feel lazy most of the time to make muslins but it’s necessary if we want to have nice fitted clothes. I’ll be here to witness your new clothes.

  • pootleandmake.wordpress.com

    Glad to see you are making progress with getting the fit right. Your description of your upper body sounds like an accurate description of mine. Working at a computer all day does nothing for your posture. I get the gape at the back neckline too.

    • I shudder to think how much my poor posture is not helping me! My mom also said she has a similar shape, but doesn’t work at the computer, so I might be in double trouble as far as genetics and lifestyle. It’s never too late to make a change though, right? 🙂 …maybe I should look into yoga or something.

  • Issabella The Cat

    As a big busted lady turtle I feel I need to join your Lady Turtle sewing group. Wiksten patterns had my life last summer so I gave in and all 3 failed (because I’m an idiot) muslins now hang on the hanging rail of shame in my sewing room and get given the evil eye every time I walk past them. I’m now seriously considering that fitting class!

    • Welcome to the #ladyturtlesewingclub lol! I really should give the Tova another go because the fit was actually great under the arms and across the chest, so I think just fixing the upper back would make it super wearable. Until then, it is banished to the Idiot Face Wall of Shame. Maybe our failed Wiksten muslins can keep each other company 😉

  • Ami Lowden

    I have to draw the back neck in on everything I make too! Two tiny little neck darts appear on nearly everything I make that doesn’t have a cb seam! I also have to do the forward thrusting shoulder adjustment, a square shoulder adjustment a long upper torso and a shallow armscye adjustment!! What creature does that make me do you reckon? 😉 hehe.
    Life is much better when you know what works tho isn’t it! 🙂

    • Yeah I learned how to make an adjustment to add neck darts through that Craftsy class which was suuuuuppper helpful! It really does make a huge difference! You can be an honorary member of the Lady Turtle Sewing Club. Sounds like you have many characteristic fitting issues 😉

  • This is why I kind of hate the term “wearable muslin” now – it’s not a muslin if you can’t draw on it, cut it apart, etc. Then you can make a TEST garment to wear around and see if it’s still comfortable (calico sits differently to garment fabrics, and sometimes you need to move a lot in something to realise that an aspect of it is really annoying). It also allows you to figure out if a style will actually suit you!

    I’m at the stage now (has taken me a while) where I try to make a muslin for each new pattern, but once the major changes are made I’m happy to make it in a garment and tweak the minor things from there.

    But yeah, I definitely have those “woah, maybe I should have known that ages ago” moments. Hope this one leads to more successful sewing for you!

    • I agree! That was also a big part of my epiphany. Just jumping straight into a “wearable muslin” completely and utterly defeats the point of making a muslin to begin with! Test Garment I’m sure is a much better word for my floral dress, because that’s exactly what it is 🙂

  • Lady turtle, awesome. I think I’ve got a bit of a hunchback, but it almost sounds elegant to refer to my shape as a lady turtle. Lol. Love the neckline and shoulders on that pattern; I hope we get to see you make it up again! Also, you’ve been pinning some awesome patterns. In particular, the factory dress pattern. Any plans to make that up soon? I really like it. Wondering if you’ve found anywhere to buy it in the US?

    • Haha! Glad you approve of Lady Turtle Sewing 😉 I have the Factory Dress all traced (it’s next on my list!) but I’m kind of stalling on putting it together because of the bodice construction. It has a center front seam and an interesting facing that’s built in, so I’m kind of stumped on how to finish the edges on a serger with a right angle directly into the seam. I’ll probably end up retracing it so I can cut it on the fold with a separate facing but we’ll see. I searched FOREVER for a place where you can buy online in the US and I finally found one! Purl Soho! http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/9407-Merchant-Mills-The-Factory-Dress

      It’s definitely not cheap, but still cheaper than shipping costs from the UK.

      • I knew you’d have the answer! Thank you 🙂 if you disengage the blade, do you think you could get into the corner with the serger and pivot? I’ve had that problem when serging around pocket bags at side seams (probably shoulda serged before attaching), but I can’t say I’ve made the cleanest edge finishing choices in such cases. I bet you’ll come up with a tidy solution!

        • I’ve never attempted to disengage the blade. That might fix the problem easily enough, but I don’t exactly have the greatest finesse when maneuvering around things like that, so it might make more sense for me to avoid it all together! I’ll give it a whirl on my muslin (because I’m making those now if you haven’t heard haha!) and see how easy it is to finish the edges 🙂

  • This is adorable! I love the final product!

  • See it up buttercup

    i am also a turtle lady with similar fitting problems. I need to do that course too.

    • Lady Turtles Unite!! Looks like we need to start an official sewing club. There seem to be a lot of us.

  • Evie

    A. That dress/fabric are super cute! B. This post made me laugh out loud, which doesn’t happen often. I’ve been sewing for years and am comfortable with some techniques that are definitely more advanced, but I’ve never really considered myself an “advanced” seamstress because I have ZERO (ok almost zero) patience for making muslins and doing all that fitting nonsense before I start sewing. Usually I’m lucky, and my math is super spot on, but not always. Congratulations to you on making yourself take the time to do it properly!

    • Yes! SO happy to hear you were amused with my idiotness 😉 I have a feeling I’ll be sitting comfortably in this intermediate seamstress status for quite a long time based on my laziness and penchant for slow moving when it comes to doing things “the proper way”. …but then again, doesn’t that sound like the makings of a true Lady Turtle? Slow and steady wins the race, right? 😉 😉

  • Carolyn

    Haha, Rochelle, you are too funny! It’s great that you can laugh at yourself. 🙂

    Like you, I’ve realized over time that sewing clothes *that fit* is neither quick nor easy. I think one of the many reasons that I don’t churn out a lot of finished garments is that I make multiple muslins of every new pattern and work out the fit before cutting into real fabric. It takes forever, but I have some beautiful, well-fitting, handmade garments as a result!

    Take your time and enjoy the process. I actually find fitting to be a great learning experience with each new pattern I try.

    • Laughing at myself is the only way to not get discouraged when making these kinds of discoveries and having to take so many extra steps just to sew one super simple dress lol! Hopefully in the future I can be more like you and have some beautiful, well-fitting garments with a bit more patience 🙂

  • Oh my! Yes! Someone else who has naive moments! I just started going the extra mile and making the fitting changes I need and the muslins instead of wearing stuff that’s just ok.
    That pattern is SUPER CUTE on you and you do need to make it up in a fabric you love!

    • Oh good, I’m not the only one! 😉 Hopefully this time I’ll finally have the patience to stick with it and really commit to muslins and fitting. I’ll definitely make the dress again. I already have a fabric in mind…

  • Rochelle, you are awesome! My favorite lady turtle of all time. I’d love to see your new make in the Cotton and Steel rayon or a cotton voile.

    • Haha thanks, Sarah! You know, I think you may have read my mind about fabric choice 😉 😉

  • Inspiring tale, Lady Turtle – I truly love how you aim to look on the sunny side of life and keep striving to better your skills (which, to a non-sewer like me, have always seemed pretty awesome, I promise you).

    ♥ Jessica

  • “Beyoncé Ninja Turtle love child” hahahahhhah!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing about what’s going on in your fitting and muslin life! I’m very curious about that Craftsy class and want to buy it when it goes on sale 🙂

    I hope you get some wear out of that dress. The fabric is super cute and the fit looks really good!

  • What a great post Rochelle! Proof that the most important tool in successful sewing is patience.

    • Now there is a truth if I’ve ever heard one! Patience is most definitely the key ingredient 🙂

  • Sew Little Time

    Once you get to grips with your probable fitting adjustments you’ll find it so easy to fit yourself. If you write the list down of all the adjustments you make it always looks really long. Good luck!

    • I think you’re right, I just need to get familiar with my key adjustments and then everything will seem much more fluid and routine. Good point 🙂

  • rachlovespenguins

    I’m a much larger turtle, but I can totally relate.

  • I, too, am a lady turtle….methinks I need to take said class……

    • I truly learned a lot with that class, more than I thought I would!

  • @ladyeightmade

    From one lady turtle to another, HURRAH!