I haven’t got around to posting the pictures of the muslin for New Look 3618 gown yet. Here they are.
For those of you who aren’t used to sewing garments, a muslin (toile in French) is a test garment cut in an inexpensive fabric (originally, muslin), so that you don’t ruin the expensive fabric in case the pattern doesn’t work well at first. You make all the alterations on the muslin. When the muslin fits, you usually cut it apart along the seams and use that as a pattern for the good fabric.
In my case, the cheapest fabric I found was still pretty, so I decided to make a wearable muslin. That means I won’t be taking it apart; but I took a lot notes while making the alterations so that I can change the original paper pattern and use that to cut the “real” dress.
I cut the muslin in a shorter length: the parts requiring fitting are the bodice and waist, not lower. This had two advantages: it allowed me to save on fabric (I can make another dress with the rest of this cute fabric); and this way, the muslin can become a cocktail length dress for my little sister.
The first muslin was much too big, which surprised me, as this is a New Look pattern and I’m used to them. I did my usual alterations but the back and waist needed a lot more taking in. This is surprising – I thought patterns made by a given company had a consistent sizing.
(I forgot to take pictures of the first muslin – sorry.)
I originally made a size 10 for the bust and a size 8 for the back and back side panels (I always do that because my back is apparently narrower than is usual). The bust fit, but I had to take out 3 cm from each side in the middle back, and resewed the side panels in a size 6. (Another note to my non-sewing readers: this bears no relation to the present American RTW sizing.)
Now, it fits well. Snug, but not tight, which is good because the dupioni will “give” less than this test fabric: it is stiffer.
I didn’t add any straps, because I haven’t redrafted them yet. I want them wider and tapered, not simple spaghetti straps. The dress is not supposed to be hanging by the straps anyway, and I realized this allowed me to see the issues better.
Now that the fitting alterations are done, I am very happy with the look of the dress. This is exactly what I wanted, and apart from the straps, I don’t need to redraft anything. I was afraid the back might be a bit too low for my personal preference, but it wasn’t. The front bodice in particular is very well drafted, with the centre bottom forming a point rather than being straight. This has a flattering and graceful effect.