Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect Fit, First Bodice Muslin

Vogue 8766 line drawing
Vogue 8766 line drawing-I’m making version D, with sleeves from F

I  am taking Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect fitting class! This class uses Vogue 8766 as a fitting shell. The pattern isn’t one I would normally choose for myself- I think I look better in V-necks because they help balance out my figure, which is top-heavy.  But, I can see why the teacher, Lynda Maynard, chose it- the pattern is  nice and simple, without a lot of details to get in the way of fitting.  There are some options for fuller skirts, but I will be making the straight skirt option, probably with 3/4 sleeves.

The class emphasizes tracing or copying the pattern instead of cutting into the pattern itself.  This is a good habit that I need to start. It also emphasizes the importance of having vertical and horizontal balance lines on your project.  This helps you to figure out where the project is hanging correctly and where it is not. The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting  emphasizes this as well. Using extra-large seam allowances is important, so you have room to make changes on your muslin.

I recently asked for help fitting my last project (which I have now abandoned for good) on the blog and on Pattern Review, and got some great responses!  For one, I need to go up a size.  Yes, this is painful to admit- but size is just a number, and overly tight clothes never look good. Size 14, here I come.  I have been lying to myself- and for what reason? Because society wants women to weaken themselves through starvation?  Ugh. Why buy into that?  It is a bit annoying technically, because the difference in my upper and lower halves means I have to grade from a 14 up top to about a 10 at my hips, but I guess I’ll figure it out eventually.

The first adjustment I made was to add a shoulder pad on my right shoulder only.  Longtime readers know that I messed up my shoulder by sleeping on my side too much, so now my right shoulder is lower than my left.  Let this be a lesson to you!  Sleep on your back.  I have of course been ignoring this and hoping it would go away- but, sewing is about being honest with what you have to do to look your best. To look my best, I need to admit my problem, and fix it with a shoulder pad on one side only.  (Please note that for the muslin, the shoulder pad is not sewn in, just placed on my shoulder).

Craftsy First Muslin FrontCraftsy First Muslin Side Craftsy First Muslin Back



Going up a size does make a difference- the armholes are less tight, and there isn’t a huge amount of strain across my bust.

The first thing to do is assess the shoulder seems- they shouldn’t show up at shoulder level from either the front or the back- if they show, they need to be moved either forward or backward. I think mine are OK. There’s still some unevenness in the shoulder height, but the shoulder pad helps.

You can see from the horizontal line under my bust that the bodice is riding up a bit. The waist is a little high, especially in front. This also shows up from the side on the line above my bust.  There is bagginess on my torso under my bust, a diagonal drag line from my bust to my waist. There is too much fabric on my back, perhaps caused by excess length.

The first change I made was a full bust adjustment, cutting horizontally into the fabric above my bust, and angling the cut down at the sides. This allows the fabric to relax and spread apart.  I adjusted the lowered part of the bodice, letting it settle where it seemed to fit, and pinned in a piece of fabric to secure this more flattering fit. Full Bust Adjustment Front  This brings the waist, especially the front waist, lower down.  I added a little more length later, but didn’t get a picture.

I am not a fitting model, so one change isn’t going to do it for me.  Once I did the full bust adjustment, I worked on the baggy back.  I think my problem here is that my back is shorter than the fitting models, so I pulled the fabric down and  pinned out a horizontal wedge across my lower mid back.  This really helped!  My goal was to reduce the amount of horizontal fabric, without really changing where the back waist was hitting.

Once I was happier with the back, I needed to address the bagginess at my sides.  To to this, I simply pinched the sides in a bit and pinned. This was effective in adding shape and definition.   I may deepen the darts more in the next muslin if I need more shape.

After this, I realized the bodice is sitting a bit high on my shoulders.  To reduce length here, I pinched the shoulder seams up and pinned out the excess. Craftsy multiple adjustments frontCraftsty First muslin multiple adjustments sideCraftsy first muslin, multiple adjustments back One shoulder is pinned on the outside, one is pinned on the right side.

The muslin is much better now!  The waist is closer to  where it should be, the back is smoother and has less excess fabric, and the lower section is less baggy.   There are still some issues that I need to resolve in the second muslin: it is a bit loose on my upper bust, there is a diagonal drag line under my bust (that is much more horizontal than before, which I guess is good?), and some wrinkles on my back.  I need to assess if the shoulder seems need to be wider so that the outside shoulder seem hits where my arm hinges onto my side.  My breasts appear to be a different heights here- this is caused by the asymmetrical pinning in of fabric for the bust adjustment, and should resolve itself naturally when I make the second muslin.

Now comes the hard part- transferring my changes to the pattern.  The Craftsy class is excellent at showing you how to do this.  I am not overly impressed with the class in terms of it showing you what the problem areas are and how to fix them.  I guess this is inevitable thought, because there are endless figure variations, so logistcally speaking, one class simply won’t be able to deal with all of them.  You’ll still need  a book or a teacher to point out what your particular problems are and what adjustments you make to correct them.

7 thoughts on “Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect Fit, First Bodice Muslin”

  1. Hello – I am thinking about doing the same course (and found you by searching it!). I have been in a battle with a bodice muslin for three (count them!) months now myself. You seem to have a lot of the same body concerns that I do – very low right shoulder and you seem short waisted like me too. If fact – your photos before the fba look a lot like mine of me and my muslin! I was going to say – don’t feel bad about having to go up a size. In RTW (here in Australia) I take size 10-12 – in patterns a (shocking – tell no-one) a 14-16. Some of the Burda I am Plus Size. I am NOT plus sized! I have wanted to purchase ” The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting ” for some time but when I saw this course I thought that might be helpful too. I have other fitting books and I can’t see that they address my issues… What I can’t work out is why the Crafty site seem to be working on a different set of numbers than what Vogue is when it comes to sizing. When you sign up for the class the pattern information on Crafty says a chest of 35.5” = 8. You go to the Vogue site and it tells you that a chest of 35.5” = 14- 16. Maybe there is something I am missing. But I tell you – there is NO way I am a size 8! I am waiting to get some clarification from Craftsy. Any way – glad to have found your Blog and I’ll keep an eye on your progress! x

    1. Hi- thanks for the size support- you’re right, it’s counterproductive to get hung up on a number! I looked at the talk section of the class, and at least one other person has the same size question as you, so I think Craftsy might have made a mistake when figuring out the sizes- I’d go with Vogue’s size chart over Craftsy’s. Crafty’s size guide looks crazy.

      I think this class is good for showing you the process of fitting, but is not good for identifying many fitting issues. If you want another book, I’ve heard good things about “Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern”. Everyone says it’s great, but I don’t have it because it isn’t available as an ebook, which is all I have room for.

      I’m still playing with my bodice- hopefully I’ll have enough progress for another blog entry soon. Good luck with your fitting issues!

      1. Thanks for your suggestion re the book. Yes – I think there must be a mistake with the sizing Craftys has up on their site – I got an email back from them saying use the Vogue sizing as a guide. However, by the time they got back to me I now see the course has changed back to full price! I think I may be buying that book after all! All the best with your fitting and I look forward to updates! x

        1. Hi again – I just checked Craftsy again and the price is back to the discount… weird! Anyhoo – I’ve signed up – for $20.00 how can I go wrong? It’s been nice to chat with you my fellow “class mate” and I can’t wait to see how you get on! x

  2. Uneven Shoulders: I have a 3/4 inch difference in my shoulders. A shoulder pad does not always help. Here are some things that may be helpful. Diagonal folds often mean the problem is two-fold: A width and length problem. Understand the difference between making alterations inside and outside the seam line. It can be helpful to manipulate dart intake by using shoulder and waist darts both front and back. (Slash and pivot to move a dart to the shoulder.) That way you are working straight up and down. On my final muslin, measurements on one side were 3/4″ different than the other. Waist to shoulder tip, waist to neck edge, center to side seam (under the arm) and dart intake. The darts on my HIGH side were 3/4″ deeper and longer than the LOW side. So, if you get one side looking good, make the same corrections to the other side using the amount of your shoulder difference as a guide. Add room for a shoulder pad after you’re satisfied without one. Unevenness can make sewing with patterned fabric a challenge. If you proceed to making a torso muslin, the hips can add another twist. Again, watch for the side seam at the hip to be different side to side, based again on the shoulder height difference. I gave up on the commercial fitting patterns ages ago and used the book Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong. At the time it was a textbook used by the Fashion Institute of Technology.

    1. I looked to see if there were any replies to my post. I want to clarify something in my prior comment. Although the actual body may measure the same side to side, the fabric was cut fuller on my high side (or less on the low side, however you want to look at it). Inserting sleeves can be a phase II challenge. Look for the mid-cap to be less on the high side (or more on the low side).

      1. Thanks, Susan! You’ve got some great tips. I’m still trying to figure out basic fitting, but will incorporate your suggestions soon.

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