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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic
I’ve had a couple requests for a tutorial of sorts about how to transfer the fitting marks from a mockup (aka muslin or toile) to the paper sewing pattern. So since I’m in the process of making my Easter dress for this year and the pattern needed a lot of tweaking to be what I want, it was the perfect time to take some photo examples. =)
I’m currently working at The Dallas Opera (helping to build fun 19th century costumes!), so I was able to have my coworker Traci help me fit my mockup during part of a lunch break. Really convenient since the pattern needed more work than I could easily fit on myself alone! Thanks, Traci!
Behold, the truly flattering (*sarcasm*) before & after fitting photos:
Mockups aren’t meant to look pretty. They are meant to be drawn all over and pinched and pinned and then cut up. This is why my fabric choice was a cheapy bedsheet – nothing pretty because I knew I would be throwing it away in the end. I never plan to save or use a mockup once it has served its purpose. If the pieces are big enough, I might cut it up and use the fabric for another mockup later (this fabric was actually left over from Camille’s wedding dress mockup).
There was a pinch taken out of the neckline to eliminate a gap. Tucks were taken out of the side front pieces for a better fit at the bust. Some of the flare was removed from the skirt. The princess seams were moved inward a bit and the neckline was widened slightly at the edges for a more pleasing shape (these adjustments were mainly made to match a photo of the dress I’m copying).
And here’s how I transferred all those marks to my pattern:
First step was to cut right on the new line for the princess seams in the front, cut off the sleeve following drawn armseye, and rip the stitches out of the shoulder seam – all so the mockup could be opened up and traced onto the paper pattern.
The cut mockup was placed on the center front piece and aligned with the pattern’s top line of the bust dart, shoulder seam, and center front. The new lines were traced onto the paper following the mockup at the neck, armseye, and down to top of dart.
Then the mockup was shifted down to line up with the bottom line of the dart on the pattern and the rest of the new seam was traced.
To eliminate the gapping neck in the front, I measured from the top safety pin to the edge of dart.
I forgot to take one photo at this point (but finished alteration is seen in next couple of pictures). To remove that fabric from the pattern without changing the straight center front line (because it’s cut on a fold), I drew a line perpendicular to the neckline and down to a random point on the side seam.
Then the newly drawn line is cut almost all the way down to the side seam – only a tiny point is left attached. And the paper is overlapped the measured amount at the neck (in a V-shape) and taped.
To add the new seamlines on the side front pattern piece, I needed to extend the paper so scraps were taped down the length of pattern.
The mockup was lined up with the paper pattern and pinned down to the table (eventually, I plan to make my cutting table’s surface pinnable too!) and the front edge was traced.
I traced the new side seam (new because of the tuck taken out of the center of the piece) using a tracing wheel, but you can also use a pin to poke a line of holes through the seam and into the paper.
There were only a couple tiny tweaks to the back pattern pieces. I will adjust the center back seam in a final fitting and then insert my zipper accordingly. (It will probably be a bigger seam allowance.)
Altered patterns always look a little weird because they are no longer “standard”. Learn to trust your mockup markings and ignore the unusual look of the corrected pattern on paper and your real garment will fit properly in the end. (And you can always make a second mockup just to be sure!)
I hope this photo walk-through is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments of this post. =)
Now that my pattern is altered, my real Easter dress fabric (and underlining fabric) is cut and ready to assemble! (See the finished dress in this post.)
I can’t wait to see your dress!
Thanks! I know the pattern will look much better made in the linen than it does in the thin lightweight sheet used for the mockup. =)
I like the color of the material. I think the dress is going to be beautiful when you’re done with it.
Thanks! That was take six on dyeing my fabric a good shade of orange!
Thanks for the walk through! Looking forward to seeing your dress.
Glad you like seeing the process! =)
(So what’s with the no avatar? I almost didn’t know it was you, hehe.)
This is great information- thanks for sharing… I NEED to do this and appreciate the extra tips! 🙂 Can’t wait to SEE the dress! ~Laurie
Mockups are wonderful things! I’m so glad you found the information useful! =)
Great walkthrough! I use the actual muslin as my altered pattern pieces and have never tried to go back and make the changes to the paper pattern, so I’ve always wondered how it’s done.
I sometimes use the mockup pieces as my pattern too, but I also like to correct the paper, especially if I might use the pattern again in the future. In costume shops, paper patterns are usually corrected and stored, but the muslin mockups are usually trashed in the end.
I love the final color. It was worth all that work!
Thanks! Yes, I was lucky that one of my current coworkers is really good with dye mixing – she was able to tell me exactly which color (and how much) I needed to add to overdye what I already had! =)
you are so helpful. i am slapping myself for not putting your website on my rss feeds before now. total oversight! this was a very informative read. thank you for being you. AGAIN. 🙂
Aww, thanks and you’re welcome! Glad you added me to your feed reader. =)
Thank you for these pictures and tips! One thing I’ve always wondered about was how to accurately transfer corrections from a muslin to the pattern, and this helps me begin to get it.
You’re welcome! It’s all about measuring and marking – and just plain making stuff up! Lots of times there is estimating and splitting the difference between the two sides (because it’s hard to pin perfectly even). You’ll get better with each project. =)
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