Fit can help a finished garment stand out and look professionally made, so it’s well worth it to invest time up front in fitting a pattern before you get to your fashion fabric. If you don’t have an accurate dress form or access to sewing friends who can help you out, you might find yourself often doing a fitting of a muslin by yourself.
Here are five top tips to keep in mind when learning how to take your own measurements.
1. Put in the closures.
One of the great things about a muslin is you don’t have to do a lot of the fixings that are required to finish the garment. But if you don’t have someone to pin you up in the back or side, you should go ahead and insert the zips or buttons or whatever else you’ll be using to close up your garment.
2. Use a self-timer.
I’ve taken many a selfie attempting to figure out what’s going on with my muslin, but taking a selfie requires you to turn in a way you wouldn’t normally while wearing the garment. Many phones have a built-in self-timer you can use, or you can download an app to do it. Or go the old-fashioned route and use an actual camera. These photos can help you see spots you can’t when your muslin is on, like your back, and can also be a way to study the muslin for additional changes you didn’t catch while you were wearing it.
3. Put markings on the right side of your garment.
Put pattern markings, style markings and even label pattern pieces on the outside so it will be easy for you to see what’s going on while you’re wearing the muslin.
4. Cut or clearly mark hem lines.
It’s so challenging trying to pin up a hem while you’re wearing it. I find the easiest thing to do is cut off the hem, and then check to see if the finished length will be too short or too long for where I want it to sit on me.
5. Write everything down.
This is true for fitting in general, but when you don’t have a buddy to remind you the things that need to change, you need to take extra care to write down all your changes. I also keep a Sharpie by my side so I can mark easier items on the pattern while I’m wearing it, like the bust apex or where my shoulder hits. I find I often have to move darts around and do a forward-shoulder adjustment, so I’m always on the look out for those changes.