Why I Never Sew a Muslin

I never sew a muslin because I tissue fit my sewing patterns.  I talk a lot about tissue fitting because it takes the guesswork out of fitting for me.  I know, as I create the garment, that it will fit.  I don’t sew, sew, sew… and end up disappointed because the finished garment doesn’t fit.  I love the Palmer/Pletsch Tissue Fitting Method because…it works!  The tissue becomes my muslin.

I have never even liked making a ‘wearable muslin’ out of a less-than-fabulous fabric because I want to sew with only fabrics that rock my sewing world.  I want them to look, feel and sew beautifully.  I don’t want to spend hours making something that I’m not going to love and wear.  And quite frankly, after you’ve sewn up something that doesn’t fit, then what?  How do you get it to A) fit and B) translate into a usable pattern?

I had to do this in college and I hated it.  I ended up with a muslin something that needed deeper darts here, length there, more fabric here, less fabric there and by the time I was done making in “fit” (and I say that with sarcasm and a sneer, ‘cuz it looked like crap) I found it a major pain to then un-stitch it, flatten it out and make it work as a pattern. Let’s not even mention loss of grain. Even more difficult to translate what I had done to the paper pattern.  And yes, I did study pattern drafting.  I’d much rather spend my time sewing!

Enter tissue fitting.  Back in 2006, I was dreaming of having a sewing something and exploring all the ways I could fold sewing into my professional life without doing alterations (meh) or sewing commissioned garments.  I so admire the artists who do this.  They are genuinely gifted.  It just ain’t for me.  I stumbled upon the Palmer/Pletsch website and discovered the 4-day Fit workshops right next door to me in Portland, Oregon.  I took the course and it was life-changing, in many ways that I will share in another story, but for now-sewing life changing.  It validated my attitude about not caring to sew a muslin and it gave me a logical formula with which to perform my tissue alterations.  I absolutely love the method, it’s creators-Pati Palmer and Marta Alto (yep, I really love them!) and all of the adventures and successful sewing I’ve done since learning the art of fit.

By fitting the pattern tissue, altering it, cutting from fabric and pin-fitting the garment, then fitting as you sew-you never have a total fit disaster.  As you progress, what you see is what you get.  You have a chance to correct anything that doesn’t look right before you move on the the next part.  It’s magical.  It’s ingenious.  I heart it so hard.

Now, like anything worth doing and getting good at, there is some learning, practicing, reading, finding your way out of some confusion.  It’s a study.  It’s and art.  You must try, practice, etc., just like with any new skill.  I can help you out with my Pattern Fitting classes.  It is worth it?  Heck, yeah.  If you like sewing clothes that fit!

Hugs & stitches,


PS Friends!  The new Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Pattern Fitting IS AT THE PRESSES now.  Get the latest news on it’s release here!

Let me clarify.  Pattern companies, and I mean all pattern companies, just want us to sew and make cool stuff.  I love and admire each and every one of them.  I avoid rating or criticizing them because art and instructions for art are subjective.  I think we just need two sets of difficulty ratings to be realistic: sewing difficulty and fitting difficulty. A very fitted top or sheath dress may be easy to sew with very few seams, but getting that close fit to match your very own real human body is a whole other thang.  An experienced sewer can be brought to her wit’s end with fitting issues and I know that beginners (who are seeing the big EASY printed on the pattern envelope) are just plain baffled.  They try so hard only to make a garment that just doesn’t fit.  A great beginner pattern combines ease of sewing with ease of fit.  These are some favorite patterns for beginners.

If you are a beginner, look for designs that are not close-fitting to begin with.  After you have a few seams under your belt, seek out some pattern fitting education.  I have dedicated my heart, soul and career to the Palmer/Pletsch Tissue Fitting Method because it works and I never have to sew a muslin!  This, combined with sewing in my undies, ‘cuz it’s quicker to fit as I sew, makes for great fit and much  sewing happiness.  Treat yourself to a pattern fitting class and get good.  Your sewing heart will thank you.  And don’t worry, I teach fully-clothed!

Hugs & stitches,


Just like junk stashed around that jabs at your subconscious from behind closet doors and underneath beds, unfinished objects (UFO’s) are one of the worst kinds of clutter.  They effect us negatively in a few ways:

  1.  Every time we physically or mentally come across them in our storage areas, a twinge of remorse says, “Ugh.  I really need to finish that.”  If we would grab it and do that, it would be over.  But instead it just sorts of lingers and the mantra repeats –‘I should. I should.  I should…”.  Sometimes for years.  Ask me how I know.
  2. They cast a shadow of guilt over new, fresh ideas and projects.  The UFO’s take some or all of the pleasure out of current projects because thoughts  loop around our brains about how it would really be best if we just finished the old one first. Even buying a new piece of fabric can start the guilt feelings.  Ask me how I know.
  3. The tendency or habit of not finishing sewing and craft items seems to bleed over into other areas of life, leaving bits and things undone.  Ask me how I know.

Not finishing a sewing project can happen for lots of reasons.  A new skill was required to do a step and it seemed too difficult.  Put it away ’til later.  You needed a:  finding, zipper, something and just never got around to sourcing it.  Ont to something else. Halfway through the project you just don’t like the fit, or the way it’s turning out or…you get the idea.

I have a few items that fall in this category.  Today I’m asking myself why I still have them around.  They really are just clutter.  Here are mine.  A pair of leggings that are huge and need a ton altering. I just cut out too big of a size and after lots of stitching (serging, pressing and coverstitching) I became overwhelmed with trying to fix them and just hung them in the closet.  A pair of pants that only needs the waistband attached. A really cute jacket that needs the sleeves hemmed.  Why?  The hard part is done.  Jeez.

Okay, enough bad self talk!  The point of my story is this:  finish them or get rid of them!  FO’ REAL!  They collect low-level energy and they bring you down.  Don’t feel too terrible about throwing them away.  If you think about it, they are already in the landfill. They’re not being used and the landfill is your closet.  If you want to finish something and need help or  just the time set aside, consider an Open Sew and Fit Review session at the Lounge.  Here’s our call to action, friends:  let’s either finish them or toss them and cut our losses, today.

Hugs & stitches,


Personal Sewing Plans for 2018 – All inspiration from Instagram

Yep, you read it right!  I’ve launched my  “All Me-Made by the End of 2018” campaign and you can join all-in, a little, or just watch the progress. I’ll be posting my stories here starting with 1 1/2 Socks.

These are my rules.  My game, my rules, right?  Everything that I wear will be handmade-by me-by the end of the year with the following exceptions. I’m keeping: my snow clothes, as they are mostly vintage and in great shape; the few pairs of hiking & athletic socks that I love and that are not trashed; hosery-this is not an exercise in suffering and I can’t knit my own tights, nor do I want to.  Any new clothing that I bring into my life in 2018 will be me-made.  This adventure is simultaneously an exercise in careful consumption.  No stash building!  Fabric purchases will have a specific purpose.

I can throw this dream out to the Universe and not worry too much because I’m not much of a clothes horse and, if push came to shove, I could toss my worn out ready-to-wear items next December and pretty much make my goal.  But that’s no fun, so let’s talk about the gaps in my wardrobe.  They are wide!  Teetering on extinction in my closet:

  1. A warm but casual coat with hood.  I’m planning the Tosti coat from Waffle Patterns.
  2. A good-fitting bra.  Looking to the Orange Lingerie Marlboro Bra.
  3. Socks that don’t strangle my ankles.  I have a tough time finding socks that are comfy! Right now I’m knitting socks with the help of the Winwick Mum!

I love and wear jeans and tee-shirts in the winter and skirts and dresses in the summer.  I buy fabrics on a whim and there is little theme to my style other than it has to be comfortable and washable. Never mind that my first make of 2018 is a the ultimate little black dress made from an exquisite black Armani wool and lined in rayon.  Dry clean only, and don’t sit down, you’ll wrinkle your skirt!  Ahhh, life is steeped in irony, isn’t it?

Most exciting is the fact that I must learn some new skills to meet my goal.  I need to learn how to make bras, underwear, socks.  Gonna have to take a class and watch some videos and join some sew alongs!  I have some ideas hatching and I’ll share them with you throughout the year.

Soooooo, if learning to sew or improving your sewing are goals of yours for 2018, I’d sure love to help out.  I teach sewing classes from beginning to advanced pattern fitting to mastering your serger.  Making feels so good.

Hugs & stitches,