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!