An important part of creating a wedding gown (or any article of couture or fitted clothing) is to make a muslin. The muslin is a copy of the dress where you make alterations and customize the pattern before cutting into the dress material. It is especially important to make a muslin when resizing a dress to ensure that it fits correctly. You wouldn’t want to cut out your pattern on expensive fabric just to find out that it doesn’t fit and have to start out all over again. This is why making a muslin is important.
For my muslin I used white cotton muslin. A muslin doesn’t necessarily have to be muslin, per se, but muslin is inexpensive and easy to work with, thus the reason why it’s widely used.
The first step is to lay out your material and cut it, just as you would with any fabric. This muslin is for the underdress of my wedding gown, which is an a-line strapless dress pattern which I’m modifying (Butterick 5325).
When you take the tissue paper off the pattern pieces, ensure that you write on each piece the pattern number and what it is as these pieces will be your pattern once you are done with the alterations. Most people write with fabric chalk, but I use a sharpie as I don’t want to worry about the markings coming off as I work on the dress.
I had to assemble and reassemble my muslin twice as my pattern is slim-fitting and I wanted it a little looser. I also raised the bodice as it’s a little lower than I want. I’ll be adding straps as well and omitting the boning as I want it more flowy and the straps will be taking care of holding the bodice up.
This is my completed muslin. I know you can’t see the real shape of it on a hanger, but it’s a little too see-through for me to model and I don’t have a dressform as of yet. I’ve tried my muslin on with my wedding shoes (more on those later) to ensure that the length is right and it fits very well. I was having fun wearing it around my house and waving the train around. I can’t wait to see my muslin transformed into a peau de soie satin dress.
This gown by Claire Pettibone is my inspiration for the underdress of my gown.
The next step is taking my muslin apart and cutting into my bridal satin. 🙂