Wearable Muslin? Ummm…

You know what?  I don’t use the big pattern companies’ patterns much.  It isn’t that I don’t like them.  They’re fine.  It’s just that they do that despicable thing where they split the patterns up into size groups. Take this pattern: Butterick 4132. Super cute, right?  I’ve never met a cowl neck I didn’t like…  The thing is split into three size groups. I used my measurements to decide which one to get.  I would have preferred to use the finished measurements to make a decision but those weren’t available on the pattern envelope. So my measurements put me in between a 16 and 18.  So I got the envelope that has sizes 14, 16, and 18.  Sensible, right?  I ended up making a 14 after measuring the pattern pieces. I used cotton jersey, which is one of the suggested fabrics.


Does that look like it fits right?  Do you spot that gaping under the arms?

And here.


Do you see how the back neckline is also gaping?

You can see it better on the dress form. (Note: I haven’t padded the dress form so it’s thinner than me but upper chest, back and chest are pretty much the same as me.)



I thought I could wear it anyway but looking at the pictures, I’m not sure anymore…  I can still take it in at the side seams and add some darts to the back neck for a better fit.  A pain because I’ll have topstitching and understitching to undo but whatevs.

I suspect going down a size would help, maybe not enough but it would be a starting point. But.  I would have to buy another copy of the pattern.  And look, my kids won’t go hungry if I buy that pattern, even at full price.  I just don’t feel like I should have to buy it twice to get the right size!  And that’s why I tend to stick to pattern companies that include the full size range in their patterns.

Wow, I didn’t mean to turn this into a huge rant!  I’m still debating whether I want to fix the top in order to create a functional version for me, buy the smaller size range, or just scrap it and look for another pattern.  I think it may be a combo of 1 and 3, depending on the amount of time I have for it.  Anyone have any thoughts?  Pattern suggestions?

Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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12 comments on “Wearable Muslin? Ummm…
  1. Herve LELIEVRE says:

    ” le décolleté est superbe et la couleur ravissante c’est très sympa. Tu es Magnifaïque comme dirait Cristina Cordula!!!!!

    > Message du 10/04/15 14:04 > De : “Deux souriceaux” > A : herve.lelievre46@orange.fr > Copie à : > Objet : [New post] Wearable Muslin? Ummm… > >WordPress.com

    deuxsouriceaux posted: “You know what? I don’t use the big pattern companies’ patterns much. It isn’t that I don’t like them. They’re fine. It’s just that they do that despicable thing where they split the patterns up into size groups. Take this pattern: Butterick 4132. Supe”


  2. Charity says:

    I think that it looks good on you in spite of the odd gaping… I love the fabric! I’d probably try to fix it, then find another pattern that works better. I’m guessing that just going down a size would still leave you with gaping in the back neckline. Unfortunately I don’t have any pattern suggestions. =(


    • Thank you! The fabric is from Girl Charlee. I’ve made stuff for the girls with it and I had just enough left to squeeze this top out. The facing had to be cut out of plain white fabric.

      I’m leaning towards trying to fix it too and then looking for another pattern. I might try to make another muslin out of a woven. The pattern is also supposed to work with wovens (cut on the bias) and I’m curious to see if that would resolve some fit issues. Or not. But I need to satisfy my curiosity!


  3. How annoying! It is crazy, they always say to choose the bigger size, but I feel like sewing patterns are always HUGE when I do that. I’ve learned my lesson to actually go for the smaller one… Did you measure your bust or your upper bust? I ALWAYS measure my upper bust. I only put my actual bust into the equation when I’m doing a FBA..
    The only cowl neck thing I’ve sewn is that Colette cowl dress (I forget the name right now) and it is GIGANTIC and completely indecent. I thought about taking it in, at least only at the shoulder seams, but since it is all lined, that would be a complete pain in the tush, so there it hangs, unworn in the closet..


    • I measured my bust because I only have two inches (fine, it’s actually 2.5) of difference between my upper bust and full bust. So normally, that means I shouldn’t need an FBA, right? I may have to go the upper bust route anyway. I also like to look at the finished measurements before selecting a size, just in case the pattern was designed with more (or less) ease than I like.

      Oh, yeah, my Mabel has some issues on top too. The armholes are too big, I think. I want to make it up again but change the skirt to a pencil skirt and make the top a size smaller. The Colette patterns say to make a size bigger if you’re between sizes (which I am) and I’ve done as told but I always end up thinking I should have sized down. At least now I know to go one size down with Colette?


      • My bust to upper bust measurement is 2 inches off and it makes a HUGE difference.. It is an entire inch of fabric on the pattern piece! And man.. Between the clovers and that Mabel, I think I’ve learned to just avoid Colette patterns all together, lol


      • Wow, really? But you look so much bustier than me! You have that pretty pin up look!

        I just checked my measurements again and even using my upper bust measurement, the envelope I bought was the right one. My upper bust puts me between the size I made and the one above so I actually went with smaller. I just wish pattern companies would put complete final measurements (upper bust, full bust, waist, hip) on the envelopes so we could make a smart decision, you know?

        As for Colette, I’ve had just enough successes to keep trying, you know? I made the Junipers and they were great. The Mabel skirt was good too (just realized that dress we were talking about was actually the Myrtle; all the knit pattern names start with an M!). I’ll make it a size smaller next time but the ones I made work well as is. Oh, and the second Moneta I made is perfect! My Crepe dress is pretty good too but I think there may be a fit issue in there somewhere. And then there’s Peony that was so hard to figure out and still isn’t perfect. So yeah, I’m in that zone where I do have some issues with the patterns but enough successes for me to keep trying…


      • Yeah, my under bust measurement is small, I wear a 32FF bra… So making sure I use the upper bust measurement means I usually won’t have gaping armpits and droopy shoulders.. My bust is 39 and upper bust is 37 (when I exhale it is closer to 36.5, but we all need room to breath lol!) I knew Mabel sounded wrong haha!


  4. […] cowl neck top I made that wasn’t working so […]


  5. Michelle Thompson says:

    i had the same problem. i have long hair so I just put a small dart in the back, and no one will know it’s there—-poor way of solving the problem, I know.


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