V1419 Sewalong: Making Your Muslin

Muslin made by the McCall Pattern Company for the #V1419 Sewalong. Ralph Rucci coat for Vogue Patterns.My sewalong co-host Lauren and I are as different as night and day, but on this we completely agree: You need to make a V1419 muslin before you cut into your fashion fabric. Here are three main reasons why:

  1. This coat style has a slim fit through the bust, waist and shoulders. You need to ensure the fit in these areas before you proceed to working with your actual fabric.
  2. This coat, while not very hard to make, does require time, especially with the interior finishings. You want to make sure you are 100% happy with the way this style looks on you. Sewing a muslin gives you a chance to try before you buy.
  3. This coat has a slightly tricky area to sew, and making a muslin gives you a chance to practice first. Then you’ll put less stress on your fashion fabric by not having to rip seams and re-stitch it excessively, because you’ll get it right on the first try.

Bottom line about sewing muslins in general: You’ll never regret making a muslin, but you’ll always regret not making a muslin.

Laying out my muslin for V1419 sewalong using cotton duck. Ralph Rucci coat pattern for Vogue Patterns
Laying out my muslin for V1419 using cotton duck.

Ok, enough preaching, let’s talk about sewing this muslin (“toile” in other parts of the world). Here are 10 tips:

  1. Use a muslin fabric that mimics your fashion fabric. I made my two muslins out of cotton duck, which is stiff and substantial. Use solid fabric if you can: At the McCall Pattern Company we sew all our muslins out of solid fabric so we can easily make notes on them.
  2. Transfer all the pattern markings to each muslin piece. This is really important. Indicate every single grain line and every single dot that’s there to help you line up pattern pieces when you stitch. You will not regret this. Also, on the side piece (#3), write on your muslin that the seam with the point that juts out is the back seam. On the gusset (#4), write on your muslin that the seam with the two dots (bottom of triangle) is the part that gets stitched to the top of the side piece (#3).
  3. Choose your size first by bust size on the pattern envelope, then by looking at the bust and waist measurements on the tissue pieces. The tissue measurements are the actual circumferences of the finished garment as though it were buttoned up ready for wear. I confess I made my first muslin of this pattern by using solely the tissue measurements, and I had a hunch it was going to be too small but I went ahead anyway. Yup, too small. I cut the size up for my next muslin and it’s 95% there, just needs one small tweak near the front shoulder, and I’m going to make the sleeves straight instead of belled.
  4. Stitch your muslin by machine basting, and use an easily visible contrasting thread.
  5. Stitch following the instructions but omit the parts about any interior finishing. You’re just sewing to ensure you like the fit and the style on you. Add the belt and welt pockets but don’t worry about stitching these pieces. I just baste them on more or less to make sure I like the way they look and that the placement works for my body.
  6. As I said above, this coat has a slightly tricky area to sew. That would be around step #18, where you attach the side piece with gusset to the front and back pieces of the coat. This is where you will be so happy you marked the pattern dots on the muslin piece. Match the dots and then ease the pieces to fit, pinning where necessary to ease-in fullness. If you have ever sewn a sleeve where you had to ease in fullness on the sleeve cap, then this is the same principle and you’ll be fine with this step. Take your time.
  7. Press open seams and clip every place we tell you to. Don’t feel you can skip these two steps just because you’re sewing a muslin. You won’t be able to truly assess the fit unless you press and clip. Trust us on this.
  8. When you’re finished, hopefully you’ve gotten lucky as Lauren did and your muslin fits just like you want it to. If not and you’re not quite sure what kind of adjustments you should make, then please feel free to post a photo of you wearing your muslin to the V1419 Sewalong group we just created on Flickr and ask for opinions. (Please join and follow this Flickr group so we can share, support and encourage each another!)
  9. If you do have to make another muslin, save the side piece and gusset stitched together, plus the lower sleeve piece. These do not change per size and you can save time by reusing them. Just cut a new front, back and upper sleeve as needed. You also don’t need to cut new belts, pockets or welts.
  10. Once you are happy with the size of your muslin, rip it apart, press it flat, and use these pieces to cut your fashion fabric. Remember to transfer all the markings on your muslin, like the dots, to your fashion fabric.
Mark pertinent information, like grain lines and name of piece on your muslin. V1419 sewalong for Ralph Rucci Vogue Patterns coat.
Mark pertinent information, like grain lines and name of piece on your muslin.

You’re gonna be surprised at how quickly this muslin stitches up. It’s actually not that hard a pattern to sew, and when you’re just machine-basting it will make up fast.

Tip: Keep everything for this pattern sewalong organized by using a clear jumbo bag like this one. I swear by these Ziploc Big Bags you can get at your local grocery store.
Tip: Keep everything for this pattern sewalong organized by using a clear jumbo bag like this one. I swear by these Ziploc Big Bags you can get at your local grocery store.

Next week on her blog Lauren will talk about prep work, cutting your fabric, underlining and more. Don’t worry if you are behind us or ahead: This is a go-at-your-own-pace sewalong. No pressure, people! Just relax and enjoy sewing a couture coat with your friends. Leave me a comment here and let us know how you’re doing, sewalong-wise.

V1419 Sewalong: Random Stuff

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Ralph Rucci Coat.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Ralph Rucci Coat. This coat magically looks flattering on anyone who puts it on. These are some of my coworkers.

Hello, fellow V1419 sewalongers (and those who are just going along for the ride). This weekend I cut out my muslin (using cotton duck) and will start sewing it tonight as I watch the new season TV shows (yay for TV and sewing!). Fingers crossed that I won’t have to make any major fit adjustments because, bleh, fit is my weak spot. I know many of you are wondering about what kind of fabric to buy. Sewalong co-host Lauren’s post next week will go into more detail about this, but in the meantime think STIFF DRAPE and FIRM HAND. You need a fabric with those qualities if you want a coat that has the unique shape of the designer original. The fabric Ralph Rucci created is a heavy, water-repellent gabardine backed with some kind of wool flannel. The result is a substantial fabric. More photos of this coat, including exterior and interior detail shots, can be found on this Pinterest board we created: V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat Sewalong. Also take a look at the collections on Chado Ralph Rucci for fabric inspiration. You’ll see that the funnel neck and rounded shoulders of this coat are trademark Rucci elements. A couple of social media things:

  • Please use the hashtag #V1419Sewalong if you’re tweeting about it (which we hope you do!).
  • Here’s a sewalong blog badge to use (below) if you’d like
  • Please feel free to post your progress photos and completed coat photos on this Pinterest board.
  • Lauren and I want to set up a way for participants to chat with us and each other as we sew this coat together. You can comment on our respective blogs and we can talk with each other there (and commenters are welcome to talk among themselves on our blogs). But we also want to set up either a Facebook or Flickr group for active discussion, questions, and sharing of photos. Please leave a comment here and let me know which you prefer: Facebook group or Flickr group?
  • UPDATED: I just finished my muslin and holy smokes this pattern is fitted! I made my usual Vogue Patterns size and I’d need to buy industrial-strength Spanx to make it work on me. Make a muslin first, people! I’m altering mine to fit now….

That’s all I can think of for now. Be sure to follow Lauren/Lladybird too each week as we’re sharing posting responsibilities. Leave a comment with the answer to the question above, and let us know what you’re thinking about for fabric. V1419-sewalong-bade-125px Paste this code into your blog sidebar: <div align=”center”><a href=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-bade-125px.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-663″ src=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-bade-125px.jpg” alt=”V1419-sewalong-bade-125px” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a></div> V1419-sewalong-badge-175px Paste this code into your blog sidebar: <div align=”center”><a href=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-badge-175px.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-664″ src=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-badge-175px.jpg” alt=”V1419-sewalong-badge-175px” width=”175″ height=”175″ /></a></div>

V1419-sewalong-badge-250pxPaste this code into your blog sidebar: <div align=”center”><a href=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-badge-250px.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-665″ src=”http://blog.mccall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/V1419-sewalong-badge-250px.jpg” alt=”V1419-sewalong-badge-250px” width=”250″ height=”250″ /></a></div>

The V1419 Sewalong

Vogue Patterns V1419 Ralph Rucci coat pattern sewalong
Announcing our first sewalong!

We’re going to use V1419, the gorgeous Ralph Rucci coat, as our first sewalong. You asked for something a little more challenging, and this pattern was the one most suggested by you as a sewalong candidate. It’s also one of our current bestselling patterns.

Co-hosting this sewalong with us is blogger Lauren of Lladybird. The minute I found out she was planning on making this coat I coerced her into sharing the sewalong duties with me. (Having co-hosted a sewalong and participated in sewalongs myself, I know they’re a lot of work to organize and post about. It’s nice to have someone to split the postings with.)

First things first: The pattern V1419 is on sale today for $5.99 (9/17 through Friday 9/19), so orders yours now. Then start thinking about fabric: We’ll go into more detail soon about what types of fabric to look for, but I’d send for swatches now if you can. The original Rucci fabric is a heavy gabardine that’s bonded to something like a wool flannel—a techno fabric, in essence. You want a fabric with a stiff drape, firm weave, and one that doesn’t need to be lined. Visit Lauren’s blog for info on a fabric discount she scored for sewalong participants.

Next week I’ll post more info about blogger badges, Pinterest boards, Flickr groups, hashtags, etc. Here’s a projected timeline for the sewalong:

9/17/2014   Announce sewalong; buy patterns.
9/22/2014   Social media: hashtags, Flickr, Pinterest, blogger badges
9/29/2014   Buying your fabric
10/6/2014   Making the muslin
10/13/2014  Prep work: cutting your fabric; marking your pattern pieces; underlining (if applicable); creating bias binding; reinforcing and staystitching (Steps 1-3 and step 35)
10/20/2014   Attaching gusset, binding, belt & side seams (steps 4-22)
10/27/2014   Sleeves & Back (steps 23-50)
11/3/2014   Pockets (steps 51-63)
11/10/2014  Facing, button holes, buttons, and hem (steps 64-86)
11/17/2014  Parade of coats!

We are so excited to host this sewalong! Leave us a comment here and let us know if you’ll be joining us. Thanks!