Muslin for the StyleArc Brenda

After a rather lengthy hiatus, my sewing mojo has returned with a vengeance. Even the McCalls Shorts Debacle hasn’t stopped me. I have lots of ideas of clothes that I want to sew, and I’ve been really inspired by this online subscription I took out to a magazine aggregator. Suddenly I get to read all sorts of fashion magazines on my iPad before I go to sleep: Vogue, Bazaar, InStyle, W, More, Lucky, Allure, Self… The list goes on (and it also includes Entertainment Weekly and People, among others, for my guilty pleasure reading). It provides plenty of inspiration. It has also rekindled my desire to sew with wovens. I’ve been sewing tons of knits lately, because I love them and they are what I live in. At work, my uniform is usually jeans, a knit top, a jacket, and either sneakers or high heels, depending on what I’m doing that day. I love my uniform, but I want to add a little diversity. So for the late summer/early fall, I hope to sew up some blouses. The first one I’m working on is the StyleArc Brenda.

The Brenda is a long sleeved, darted blouse with gathering at the bustline. There are some doppelgängers out there in pattern land, but I really like StyleArc for their shoulder and upper-chest draft. So I pulled out my copy of the pattern (size 10, my usual) and cut out a muslin.

Since I’ve been working mostly with knits recently, it’s crucial to make a muslin of any garment that is made of woven fabric and reasonably closely fitted. And boy, I’m glad I did. I know that at my age, I will need to make changes to just about any pattern to get the fit I want. And this is no exception. I made the muslin straight from the pattern and discovered a few things that needed to be changed. First off, even though every StyleArc pattern I’ve made in size 10 fits me perfectly across the shoulders and upper chest/back, they don’t all fit the same elsewhere. Brenda is drafted for a much smaller person than I through the front ribcage. Here’s a picture of the original muslin on Shelley.

Fits Shelley great.

Shelley is a Wolf Size 6 dressform. Much as I wish I looked like Shelley, two kids, yumpty yump years and one bout of breast cancer later, I’m more like a Wolf size 10. As a side note, this December is (touch wood) my 5-year diagnosis anniversary. And my birthday is in December. Maybe I’ll save up and treat myself to a custom Wolf form. But I digress…

So I’m about two sizes bigger than Shelley. You can see that the muslin fits her pretty well, with not a lot of extra ease. On me, it sits more like this:

On me? Mmmmm, not so much

It fits perfectly through the back, and the side seams are in exactly the right place. It’s just the front that needs fixing. I’m not going to subject you to a picture of it on me in this iteration. That would be too embarrassing. One other thing to notice is that the bust darts come up WAY too high. They are at bust apex level, even on Shelley, who doesn’t have to worry about gravity.

Even before I had kids, they weren’t that high!

Also, If you look at the original muslin, the dart was positioned about 2 inches outside of where my bust apex (the little x’s) points are. So I decided to slice and dice. When I was a kid I used to think I wanted to be a surgeon – well, this is surgery, minus the blood and need to learn organic chemistry, right? Here’s the pattern after I made my initial incisions, but before I did all the resectioning:


Here it is once I got done with it:

And after, sigh…

Here’s the revised muslin on Shelley: much better fit for my real body.

That’s better!

There is still a little work that needs to be done. I need to add just a wee bit more room at the bust, but that’s easy now. I’ll also add the sleeves to the muslin tomorrow to check them out. Once I do that, hopefully I’ll be able to whip this up in my fashion fabric (a daisy print cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics) quickly and have a new blouse.

Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the construction methods that I use when I make muslins in general. But that’s enough for tonight. DH just put a Quentin Tarantino movie on.

Happy sewing!

8 thoughts on “Muslin for the StyleArc Brenda”

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for this very helpful review. And I enjoyed reading the word doppelgänger in context. I have this pattern, but I’ve been afraid of it. Still am…

  2. Sid says:

    Thank you for the great photos of the adjustment you made to the pattern. Looks like a fun pattern, and while I have never tried any of the Style Arc patterns, I am tempted by this one. I have a funny question, about what type of tape do you use. I see your handy tape dispenser, and it seems I have read somewhere about a tape that is less likely to be warped and melt when ironed. What type do you use, and does it become melted to your iron!? Thank you for answering my question.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Thanks Sid! I just use good ol’ Scotch tape. I haven’t had any problems when I iron over it. I also have used blue painter’s tape in the past. It’s great for when you might want to reposition your slice and dice. The only downside (and the reason I prefer Scotch tape) is that it isn’t transparent.

  3. Mandykatt says:

    Thank you for showing your fit adjustment! I need to invest in a well fitted blouse pattern and have been eyeing this one. It seems to me that you and I have similar body shapes, so I love to read about your pattern adjustments. I can’t wait to see the finished garment!

  4. Sid says:

    Thank You! It does help me out.

  5. Urbanite says:

    Many thanks for demystifying the fitting process! There just seem to be so many methods, it’s hard to settle on one. To watch this garment’s transformation is invaluable. Thank you!

  6. Bunny says:

    Thank you so much for bringing our attention to the importance of dart placement in relation to the bust apex. Darts at the apex are the biggest sign of bad home fitting and do nothing to flatter anyone. Bringing attention to this will hopefully stop the tide of “dart tits” being seen throughout blogland. Thanks, Anne.

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