{On my cutting table} Elisalex Dress @By Hand London. Muslin 1 & 2 *Updated

Hello lovely readers,

For those that follow me on twitter, you may already know that in the last few days I have a terrible cold and all I want to do it’s to snuggle on the sofa under the duvet. However, only with a exciting incentive as those goodies arriving on the post to make me get up and start sewing! Thanks Annie, you know how to cheer a girl up!
You can get the pattern and this fabric at The Village Haberdashery.  Annie kindly gave me those and offered 2 of my readers a chance to win one pattern each in a giveaway. I will get that organised for next week so it runs while I spend “Thanks Giving” with my family in NY.
What I would normally do is get my closest design ‘fitting block’ and just overlay on top of a pattern, and adjust the differences. That gives me a great start by solving quickly my mostly common adjustments. However since this is a new pattern company and uncharted territory I thought to follow what most sewist at home would need to do, so my experience can help others out.  See what I do for my faithful readers… make my life harder for myself !
With my latest measurements in hand, I looked at the pattern size. They only give the Bust and Waist size. Looking at the skirt, I don’t think it’s a problem for me as the pattern design has larger hips and I have very narrow hips but I can sympathise with my pear shape readers where that measurement is quite important. Best option is to measure it flat! Once I cut the charlotte skirt I can compare both and let you know if they correlate.
Based on measurement my size went to a US12/UK 16 for the bust and Size US10/UK14 on the waist.
For reference, I normally cut a size UK12 on the big 4 and size 10/8 on Colette.
I had a suspicion it would be big because my bust size not proportional to the rest of my body size making everything big but the point of this exercise is a trial to see if the pattern measurement its “true to size”.
Here it’s what happened:

During the tissue fit process I needed to lengthen the pattern. For reference,  I left the hight of the shoulder seam a size US16/UK20 and added 1,5 cm  more for the muslin. I also added 1,5 cm on the bodice by slashing and spreading. 

Here is my 1st muslin and adjustments I need to make:

  • Move the princess seam inwards to fall on apex
  • Narrow shoulders adjustment
  • Sway back adjustment
  • Add hight on the neckline
  • On this photo I already moved the princess seam waist inwards by 1 cm each side of the front pattern to make the waist smaller.
I think the best way forward is to cut my trusted size 12 and do an FBA.
Now the skirt, I didn’t cut in fabric yet. I like work in segments and make sure the waist from the top will align to the waist of the skirt. Since every change you make you will affect other areas, I work in stages.
One funny thing that I found out its the huge difference between the front and back pattern.
I pinned the pleat and measured the front and back against my measurements. To my surprise they varied hugely.  On my back skirt pattern I hit size 10 on the waist and much smaller than size 6 on the hips.
On the front skirt with the pleat pinned I hit size 18 on the waist. The hips were the same size 6.
Cold fever’s delirium? Decided to leave it for another day…
Thanks to my friend Chris that came over to check on my heath and pinned the back of my muslin.


So, where did we left it yesterday? Oh yes… a huge list of adjustments…  With my cold still taking most of my energy away I decided to bin muslin #1 and started again bringing the drafting rulers BIG GUNS!

I cut a size UK12 and did a FBA, using my fitting block to fix the sway back and lengthen the pattern.

What a difference it makes! I have to say, drafting your own  fitting block its the BEST fitting advice I can give you. Or even better, if you got a TNT pattern, use it as reference!

On the right side it’s the pattern used muslin #1 and on left my muslin #2 with FBA.

It’s not 100% perfect but the few adjustments needed can be done direct on the fashion fabric…

Now I’m intrigued to start on that skirt! I am thinking it’s fairly long!

** Updated…

I just heard the issues I spotted on the pattern meant the pattern got some printing mistakes and they are sorting it out,you can know more here... So don’t cut yours yet!

Because I have spotted and fixed I am moving forward!

  • It’s fascinating to see what another person does to adjust a pattern. I make quite a few (and I’m luck that I’m in the minority who [so far] only have to tweak Colette a bit) due to my unique shape (FBA, Broad Back, Sway Back) on pretty much every pattern I’ve ever gone near.
    I tend to also choose my size based on the finished items measurements rather than the body measurements!
    Well done for persisting with all these changes when you’d rather be hibernating. I appreciate the extra work. It’d be interesting to see what the final result looks like compared to your block too; see if all those tweaks mean that you get close to it or not.

  • No hip measurements? Jeez… That’s a BIG down for me, since I usually have to go at least one size up from the waist…

  • Rachel, you are my fitting hero! Nothing seems to scare you or put you off and the end result always looks amazing on you! I too have the Elisalex pattern and I was a little bit scared to see that no hip measurements were given, as I’m a totally pear shape. But for the muslin I’m just going to go up a size on the bottom and hope for the best! I might come back to this post if I hit any major problems though ;o)

  • You can do it!!! And I agree with Marie, you are also my fitting hero!

  • you are such an inspiration.. Your fitting ideas really help.. thanks for sharing.

  • I hope your health gets better soon, yes you are such an inspiration I always get something from your posts. Great to see your fitting process…

  • Happy to see you are up off the couch and feeling a bit better… Looking forward to seeing the finished garment and appreciate seeing the steps to how you are adjusting the pattern. Very informative!

  • I hope you are feeling better soon 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing the finished dress.

  • I love this dress pattern! Really excited to see how yours turns out 🙂 And feel better soon!

  • Sorry to hear that u feeling ill. Great fitting progress, by the way. And I agree, fitting in stages makes so much sense and saves time at the end. Looking forward to seeing you in NY

  • Oh this is lovely already ! I can’t wait to see more!

  • I hope you’re feeling better by now my lovely – that’s sterling work you’re doing on the fitting, I’m very excited to see the finished dress!

  • Oooh, I’m excited to see your dress! chevron stripes seem perfect for this design. i’m still waiting for my pattern to come in the mail.

  • Wow! I agree with Marie — you are my fitting hero Rachel! Your persistence is really inspiring. 🙂 OK, so question: when you say you use your fitting block to help with the adjustment, what does that mean? Could you elaborate on that process? Thanks a bunch in advance! xo

    • I mean using to overlay and adjust. When I’m back from NY I can write a post on it on details…

  • Hola me gusta mucho tu blog teneis cosas estupendas no como hay en España que no encuentras nada y yo vivo en un publo pequeños que no hay ni telas
    un saludo