The Moulage Technique Is the Best Way to Understand Your Personal Fit

Fitting can be a challenge for even the most seasoned garment sewers. But that’s where a moulage, or “mold,” fitting system comes in. It was developed and used in couture houses to reduce client fitting times, yet home sewers can use the technique to draft personal slopers for a blouse, dress, jacket or an overcoat.

Good to Know: A moulage is not a sloper. The moulage doesn’t have any wearing ease added, so it’s a reflection of an individual’s actual body measurements. A sloper, however, includes minimal wearing ease and is used as the basis for creating new patterns with additional unique design lines.

How to Make a Moulage

Level: Advanced

What You Need

  • Large sheet of paper (30″ wide is ideal)
  • Graphite pencil
  • Colored pencils
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Square template
  • Tape
  • Drafting curve
  • Several feet of elastic, ½” wide
  • Tracing paper
  • Tracing wheel (a dual tracing wheel is preferable)
  • Muslin fabric
  • 30″ separating zipper
  • Good to Know: For a more detailed walk-through on making a moulage, check out Suzy Furrer’s class Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper.

    Instructions

    1. Take Measurements

    It’s important to do two things while gathering your measurements: be “lightly dressed” — we’re talking undergarments and nothing else — and find a fitting buddy, AKA someone you’re comfortable being in front of in your underwear.

    To begin, tie a piece of elastic around your waist. There are a number of measurements you need to take:

  • Around the neck, placing the measuring tape so the ends line up at the base of the front neck, about ¾” below the hollow and right in between the collar bones.
  • The length of each shoulder, starting at the base of the neck slope.
  • The base of the neck to the waist elastic, on both the front and back (note that the back will usually be longer than the front).
  • From arm crease to arm crease, across the front and back.
  • From the base of the neck to the center of each breast.
  • From the center of one breast to the center of the other.
  • Around the body at the widest point of the chest.
  • Around the body right underneath the bust.
  • Around the waist.
  • Around the high hip.
  • Around the widest part of your hips.
  • From the armpit to the waist elastic.
  • Around the armpit, so the ends are together on top of the shoulder.
  • Record each measurement meticulously to the nearest half or full inch.

    Pro Tip: The person taking your measurements should pull the measuring tape snugly around the body, keeping the forefinger underneath the tape and a thumb on top to hold the ends together. This helps increase accuracy and allows just a smidgen of ease for when you make the final muslin.

    2. Make Your Calculations

    Once all the moulage measurements are taken, it’s time for some simple algebra. We have the detailed calculations you need to make, plus a worksheet to make it easy, in our class Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper.

    3. Draft the Moulage

    Draft a moulage back and front using your body measurements and calculations. You’ll need the straight edge, square template and a pencil to draw reference lines on the large piece of paper to create your personalized pattern.

    4. Construct a Muslin

    Once your moulage is drafted, use the paper pattern to trace cutting and stitching lines for your moulage muslin. Like with any garment, you’ll need to staystitch curves, follow the correct construction order and insert a zipper in the back to allow the moulage to be easily put on and taken off.

    5. Fit the Muslin

    Try on the completed moulage muslin and check for the correct fit. Remember, 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, then transfer those same adjustments to the paper pattern.

    6. Draft a Bodice Sloper

    Now that you have all the precise measurements for your moulage, create a sloper with minimal wearing ease added. You’ll use this as your foundation piece to create unlimited designs with a personalized fit.

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