Good Muslin Versus Bad

If you fit your garments, you are probably in the habit of sewing test garments known as “muslins.” Many people make these test garments out of a sturdy plain weave cotton fabric known as muslin. Thus the name “muslin” for the test garment. In the U.S., muslin is generally undyed, though one could use any plain weave fabric, such as quilting fabric, for this purpose.

I have tried a few types of muslin. As a cost savings, I used to use the cheapest muslin available at Joann’s. However, that didn’t turn out to be very satisfactory. That cheap muslin was very thin (almost tissue weight) and usually off grain. Since it is a good idea to test-drive your garment using (1) a fabric of similar weight to the fashion fabric and (2) a fabric with a straight grain, my muslins have been limp and a bit catty-wumpus.

Recently, I discovered that Emma One Sock sells a medium weight muslin. (I’m sure that other companies sell this muslin. I just haven’t looked yet.) This muslin is a dream to work with. It has a good hand and sufficient body. I love how it feels. The grain is always straight and I can easily tell if my test garment is hanging correctly. The selvedge (a.k.a., selvage or selvege) of this muslin are tightly woven, which I just plain enjoy.

Woven Seledge Of Mulin

Woven Selvedge Of Muslin

Tip: Good quality selvedges make terrific twill tape. To make the twill tape, tear the selvedges off of the large/long muslin scraps, put them in a lingerie bag and then pre-shrink them by machine washing and drying. If you give the selvedge strips a good press and then wind them around a card or spool, then the twill tape will be ready to go when you need it.

This good quality muslin is easy to tear and tears cleanly, so that you have crisp, straight on-grain edges for aligning the fabric on the cross-grain.

Aligning The Torn Edges

Aligning The Torn Edges

I like that this muslin makes a crisp fold when finger-pressed.  Making a crisp fold can be useful when laying out a pattern (see below).

Laying Out A Pattern For Fitting With Muslin Fabric

Laying Out A Pattern For Fitting With Muslin Fabric

Since I can go through several fittings, I use a lot of muslin. I am contemplating buying a bolt of this muslin. Maybe I can get a bit of a price break.

BTW, did you notice how the fabric is not hanging off the end of my table? Allowing the fabric to do that would make it pull and mess up the fitting. So, instead of letting the fabric hang off of the end of the table, I prefer to fold the fabric so that it is out of my way. It is fine to do this after you have pinned the pattern to the fabric.

Search