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The couture cape: muslin adjustments

While I'm getting on terms with fitted dresses, I have made a decision regarding my first couture garment: it is going to be a cape!

More precisely, this cape:

Image from
I have already made a muslin, which I have fitted (on my own, with the camera!). Let me tell you how much longer this pattern is than that image - maybe 30cms or so? I cut the front pieces at pattern length, which was below my knees! I then cut along a "second" cutting line on the pattern (or at least that's what I think it was) - it's still too long, but I will shorten it further when hemming the finished product.

This is a picture of the wool I'm using - taken by phone, so not great. The fabric is lovely Italian wool I picked up in Romania over the Christmas break. I can't decide if it's green or brown. What do you think?

Regarding other materials, I'm using silk organza for underlining. Currently the plan is to line with Habotai silk, although I might change my mind. It might be that I decide to use something funkier.

I only fitted half of the pattern, and I expect I might need to take the side in a bit more - I'm going to hand baste the pieces and check.

Here are some phone pictures of the muslin. You will notice the first non-couture step I took, in that I did not use calico for the muslin. Alas, I had run out and this is actually a bit better as it is similar to my final fabric in terms of drape.

I took in quite a lot of most sections. The back section, which was cut on fold for the muslin, got the center back pinched out - about 2 cm at the bottom, tapering to nothing at the top. I managed to forget that the muslin was cut on fold (since I didn't mark it) and the final garment will have a center-back seam. It's not a bad thing I guess. I kept the grain straight when I cut my organza pieces.

The front actually looks decent enough, although a tailor's dummy is not the best place to showcase this, as the cape has room for arms and that makes it look weird on the dummy.

The sides had the most taken in. I took in both sides of the side back piece. I also took in the side front piece on the seam that it shares with the side back. I also moved the shoulder seam forward - I used quilting tape to mark where the new shoulder seam should be - that's what you can see in the picture below. I did use a French curve to transfer this, so it doesn't look quite as patchy!

The second non-couture thing I did was to transfer the marks back to the pattern. In "The Couture Dress" on Craftsy, Susan Khalje uses the muslin as a pattern piece, but obviously this wouldn't work here. Baby couture steps... I fully intend to keep a calico muslin for my dress, as that will be reused. Still, for the cape (which I will only make once), I didn't think that was necessary.

To cut the muslin pieces, I traced with a tracing wheel on the stitching line. I then cut generous seam allowances. I am doing the same with the underlining. Seam allowances are at least 1 inch wide, and more in places. They will be trimmed down once everything is stitched together

Next step: cutting the underlining and the fashion fabric.


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