Saturday, September 22, 2007

8. Cutting the Muslin - Take Two

Susan, (like most of us!), fits in a smaller size above the waist than below the waist. After some deliberation, I decided to cut out all of the pieces in the largest size called for across all of her measurements and adjust around the bodice and waist by using larger seam allowances.

Given that this is a practice dress, I also decided to at least TRY each of the steps that I know will be important with the real fabric. At this stage, that basically means making sure that your fabric is "grained" correctly before cutting out any of your pieces. This ensures that the dress will drape beautifully. :)

First, you need to make sure that your width-wise edge is on the grain. (I guess the odds are good that the finished [length-wise] edge [the selvedge] is on the grain...)

There seem to be two main ways to do this. If the fabric rips easily, you can take a small snip near the cut end and then rip down the entire width of the fabric. This rip should be along the grain.

Luckily, this worked fine with my muslin.

Apparently the second method (for fabric that doesn't rip so nicely) is to literally pull a single thread out of the weave the entire width of the fabric, and then carefully cut along the gap it left. I think this is called thread tracing. All I can say is, "Yikes!"

Unfortunately, you are not done yet. Next, you have to make sure that your length-wise edges are perpendicular to your width-wise edges. Having a cutting board marked with a grid is helpful for this.

This picture shows what it is SUPPOSED to look like.

It actually looked more like this:

You can see how far off grain the muslin was... :(

I guess if you steam the fabric (with your iron) and pull / stretch it, you can often get it on grain. Truthfully, given that this was just the muslin, I worked with it even though it was a bit off grain.

Finally, you are supposed to let your cut pieces hang for a day or so, allowing the weight of the fabric to help bring the grain into alignment. (I learned these things in the 2 classes I took on PatternReview and am trying to incorporate them into my routine sewing practices...)

It took me the good part of a day to mess around with the muslin's grain and get all of the pieces cut out, so I went ahead and let my pieces hang overnight before starting the next step.

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