Fitting is often a big nemesis for many garment sewers. Construction skills can be broken down into a series of smaller steps and practiced, but learning to master the perfect the fit on a real body requires skills, practice and a little art! Learn the steps to the moulage technique and be on your way to making beautiful garments that fit like a glove.
Custom fit: how to make a moulage
The moulage, or “mold”, fitting system was developed and used in couture houses to reduce client fitting times. Home sewers can also learn to create a moulage, which in turn can be used to draft personal slopers for a blouse, dress, jacket or an overcoat. The main difference between a moulage and a sloper is that the moulage has zero wearing ease added: It is a reflection of an individual’s actual body measurements. Slopers include minimal wearing ease and are used as the basis for creating new patterns with additional unique design lines.
To get started with the moulage process, you will need to collect the following tools and supplies:
- Large sheets of paper (30″ wide is ideal)
- Graphite pencils + colored pencils
- Measuring tape
- Straight edge ruler
- Drafting curve
- Several yards of elastic (1/2″ or so wide)
- Chain necklace
- Tracing paper
- Tracing wheel (dual tracing wheel preferable)
- Muslin fabric
- 30″ separating zipper
Craftsy instructor Suzy Furrer demonstrating a moulage measurement process
It is really necessary to have a “fitting” buddy to help you with this step; preferably someone you are comfortable with standing around “lightly dressed.”
Measurements should be taking in close-fitting but not constricting clothing. Lightweight yoga pants or tights can work for the lower body, a snug T-shirt for the upper body — also, a well-fitting bra is a must. One piece of elastic is tied around the waist, and a second piece is tied around the fullest area of the hips. Place the necklace so that the chain sits at the base of the front neck, about 3/4 ” below the hollow.
The person taking the measurements should pull the tape snugly around the body, keeping the forefinger under the tape and the thumb on top to hold the ends together. This helps increase accuracy and allows just a smidgen of ease in the final muslin. The measurements should be recorded on a moulage measurement chart to the nearest half or full inch (or half or full centimeter)
Once all the moulage measurements have been taken, it is time for a little math. Nothing too complicated is needed, just simple algebra. The calculations are recorded on a worksheet and this worksheet is then used as the basis for drafting the actual moulage.
Custom moulage drafted and constructed by Craftsy member LeahBoyan
3. Drafting the moulage
You will draft a moulage back and a moulage front using your body measurements and the calculation results from the moulage worksheet. To begin you will use the straight edge, square, and a pencil to draw reference lines on the large pieces of paper, and then start adding your personal information to create the paper pattern for your moulage.
Personal sloper drafted from a moulage by Craftsy member ConnieCreates
4. Constructing a muslin
Once your moulage draft is finished, you will then use this paper pattern to trace cutting and stitching lines for your moulage muslin. Like with any garment, you will need to staystitch curves, follow the correct construction order and insert a zipper in the back, allowing the moulage to be easily put on and taken off.
5. Fitting the muslin
Try on the completed moulage, and check for the correct fit. Remember that this garment should have basically zero ease, no gaps and no wrinkles across your body. It should “fit like a glove!” Make any necessary adjustments to the muslin garment,and then transfer those same adjustments to the paper pattern.
Craftsy instructor Suzy Furrer demonstrating drafting a bodice sloper in her class Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper
6. Drafting a bodice sloper
Now that you have all the precise measurements for your moulage, you will create a sloper with minimal wearing ease added. It is this sloper that you will now use as your foundation piece to create unlimited designs with a personalized fit.
To learn more about this interesting fitting system, be sure to take the online Crafty class taught by Suzy Furrer — Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper. This online class will teach you all the tips and tricks you need to succeed in making your own personal designs.
If you need some basis fitting skills first, try out the essential sewing skills course Fast-Track Fitting with Joi Mahon, to learn fitting fundamentals like how to take measurements and how to adjust a pattern.