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Emery dress - I Made A Muslin

So I thought I'd update you with my progress so far with the Emery Dress.

Progress has admittedly been slow on sewing this dress as I have been doing a lot of reading in my spare time. I recently got addicted to the novels of Robin Hobb and have been working my way through them. Her books are amazing, if you enjoy fantasy novels I would definitely recommend reading them.

On other news, I am still following my diet and I have lost just over a stone in total now.  Still about half a stone to go but really pleased with myself.  I got a fitbit for my birthday last week too so I am finding it really interesting to see how active I am (or not as the case maybe).

Anyway, I decided to make a muslin for this dress as I have learnt from experience that this is a very important step not to skip if you want to have a wearable dress.

The material I am going to use for this dress was more expensive than I would normally buy, as I bought in John Lewis, and I really didn't want to spoil it. There is a sew-along on  Christine Haynes's website, and she also advocates making a muslin. I include a link to her blog post if you are interested.

This time I thought I would try making the whole thing, including setting in the sleeves and adding a zip so that I could get a proper idea of fit. It was a surprisingly fast process.

The muslin is made from an old duvet cover.  I cut a straight size 8 based on my measurements (36 bust).  This not a UK size 8 by the way, I think Christine has her own sizing or maybe it's an American size?

So what is the verdict? The fit is pretty good actually.  The bust darts seem to be in the right place and I don't need to do a FBA.   I am going to shorten the waist slightly as it the bodice is not quite hitting my natural waist, although I'm nervous about doing this as I don't want to shorten it too much! The only other change I need to make is sort out the dreaded back neck gape which I always seem to suffer from. Having searched the internet there seems to be loads of different ways to tackle this but as this dress already has neck darts, I am simply going to deepen them. This post here explains more about adding neck darts.

If you suffer from this problem too, check out this tutorial by By Hand London or this one by Lauren Guthrie as these look like useful methods too.

Emery dress - Christine Haynes - a muslin

I will make my changes to my paper pattern and then hopefully cut out this weekend, so sewing can begin!

So do you always make a muslin or do you just go for it? I'd love to know.

Catherine x


  1. Hi Catherine, I never used to make a toile but made so many things that either didn't fit or didn't suit me that I always do now, at least of the bodice anyway. Saves many hours and fabric wasted in the long run!

    1. I agree, I 'm definitely converted to making a muslin - it seems like an extra step, but I think it's so worthwhile.

  2. Well done on the weight loss. I have never made a muslin but to be honest, my sewing would definitely benefit from it.

    1. Thank you, I seem a bit stuck now but I am going to try and up my exercise now that spring is here!


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