Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Using 108" quilt backings to make a garment muslin

Muslin made with a white-on-white
108" wide quilt backing by Blank Quilting.
Blank Quilting. If you sew clothes or make wearable art pieces for yourself, chances are you make a toile or a muslin—a mock-up of the garment—from the pattern before cutting into your "good fabric." If you're going to spend the time and effort sewing a garment for yourself, you want it to fit your body properly, right?

I recently took the Sewing: the Art of Making workshop with Diane Hall, master seamstress and former pattern maker for Alabama Chanin. In the workshop, all the class participants made a sloper with their measurements and then made muslins of their projects to insure proper size and fit before committing to the fashion fabric.

Generally, inexpensive muslin or cotton calico is used for making a muslin (thus the name, "muslin"). However, have you thought about using a 108" wide quilt backing for this process?

I took a piece of 108" wide white-on-white quilt backing (about 1.5 yards) to the workshop. From this yardage, I made a sloper (top, skirt and a long sleeve), and muslins for a short sleeve blouse, pants and a long, paneled vest with princess seams. Working with a 108" width of fabric (vs. 44/45" width) was very efficient for laying out pattern pieces and there was very little waste. I got a lot of bang for my buck!
My muslin had white dragonflies on it.

Helpful tips for choosing fabric for a muslin:

  • Choose a light colored fabric. When you draw fitting marks, adjustment lines and notations on the fabric, the marks are easily seen.
  • The fabric for the muslin should be similar in weight to the fashion fabric. We used woven fabrics for the projects in the workshop, so a cotton 108" wide quilt backing worked well. You'd want to use a knit fabric for a muslin if your final garment was going to be in a knit fabric.
  • Make sure the muslin fabric is on grain when laying out the pattern pieces. Some quilt shops will tear wide quilt backing fabric to insure the cut piece is on grain. Because of the way this extra-wide 108" fabric is doubled and rolled and wrapped around a cardboard bolt core, the fabric can be slightly stretched on the bolt. (It's just the nature of the mechanical wrapping process.) 

So, the next time you get ready to make a garment from a new pattern, check your stash or visit your local quilt shop for a piece of wide quilt backing. It's a great option for making the all-important muslin. After all, you want your finished project to fit, right? 

For more info about making a muslin or a sloper, here are links to a few good resources.
From Tilly and the Buttons: How to make a muslin
From Threads magazine: The Merits of a Basic Fitting Pattern
From Burda Style: Toile Anyone?
From Craftsy: How to make a sloper

Sunday, June 26, 2016

ATCs: Three of a Kind

"3 of a Kind" by Marilyn League
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "Three of a Kind"?

A hand of cards?
A winning spin on a slot machine?
Matches for three missing shirt buttons?
Perhaps the story of Goldilocks and her furry friends?

The theme for the June FiberAntics Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap was "Three of a Kind." Here are the cards that ATC artists created for this theme.

"Three Little Pigs" by Cathy Dillon
"Three of a Kind... whooooo said that?"
by Dawn Spagna
"Three of a Kind" by Karen Downer
"3 of a Kind" by Debbie Joyner
"3 of a Kind Lottery Ticket"
by Sharon Joyner Griffith 
"Three of a Kind" by Diane Pineschi
"Mark Making" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega 
"Three Naturals" by Bonnie Stevens
"3 of a Kind" by Marilyn League 
"3 of a Kind" by Marilyn League
"3 of a Kind" by Marilyn League

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Point Taken: Peppered Cottons and FMQ ruler work—
Part Three

After quilting my Point Taken quilt, I knew this quilt would benefit from blocking. See Part One for the fabric selection and Part Two for the quilting and ruler work on this quilt.
Point Taken: back view.
After submerging the quilt into room temperature water, it sat for several minutes to let the water absorb into the fabric and batting. The quilt was then removed, squeezed and rolled in a terry towel. The damp piece was laid out on a cushioned board, measured and maneuvered, and pinned in place until dry.
Wet blocking.
You just have to wait for it...
Point Taken: blocked and bound.
The blocking evened out the surface of the quilt and made the trimming easy.

The backing fabric is a quilting cotton, Primitive Basics by Blank Quilting (color: forest). This tonal blender shows off the FMQ and ruler work and the olive green color complements the colors of the patchwork of the quilt top. The binding is also a Peppered Cotton (color: begonia leaf).
Point Taken: back view.
Below are detail views of the completed quilt.
Point Taken: detail. The dimension of the prairie points can be seen here.
Point Taken: detail.
Point Taken: detail.
The finished quilt is 26" x 25.5". I would have liked a better [evenly lit] full view photo, but I was finishing the binding in a hotel room and not in my studio. I had to drop the quilt off at Mountain Creek Quilt Shop and thought Terri would prefer a quilted and bound quilt sample—rather than just a quilted one. So it goes...
Point Taken
Finished size: 26" x 25.5"
So that is the story of my latest completion. As I am often asked, the Quilt Stats are listed below. They tell the "other" side of the story. I hope Point Taken gets you inspired to get out your pretty threads, drop the feed dogs, and let the colors dance upon your patchwork. Let the music begin...
Point Taken
Finished size: 26" x 25.5"

Quilt stats
Finished size: 26" x 25.5"

WonderFil Spaghetti, 12 wt. cotton
WonderFil 50 wt. cotton Tutti variegated and Konfetti solids
Aurifil 50 wt. cotton (solid colors)

Bobbin thread: 60 wt. Bottom Line #613 sage

13.75 hours free-motion quilting
3 bobbins

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