If you're like me when starting a new project you just want to get to the end where you get to wear it. I'm so excited and thrilled to be putting this idea into action, I just want to finish it. So the idea of making a muslin, or a sort of practice garment, feels almost too much. It feels too tedious. Too much work. Too...pointless? I will be fully honest. I hate, yes hate, making muslin's. I never use to even bother doing it. But I started noticing my friend who often makes muslins came out with having better fitting garments. Then I started connecting how much fabric I was wasting on projects I didn't throwing away. So I'm here to tell you, it is indeed worthwhile and here is why.
You'll get the best fit
I have been so sure, so absolutely sure that I made the right size. So sure in fact that I sewed up my garment and didn't put it on till the next day when I was supposed to wear it...only to find out that it is indeed not the right fit. It's almost soul crushing. Or maybe you're starting with a new pattern designer you've never tried before, how do their patterns fit you? making a muslin is really important for getting that perfect fit for you. Maybe in one pattern company you fit perfectly in a straight size, but in a separate company you need to grade between sizes. Getting the "fit check wrinkles" out of the way making a practice item will help you get a garment you truly love. That's the whole point to sewing our own clothes right??
You'll get practice with new fabrics
I've seen it a lot before, people will make a muslin with the cheapest fabric they can find. It's nothing like their final fabric they want to use, it's just something easily expendable if it doesn't work out. And in theory that works great, but trust me, that's not the rout you want to take. Yes save your expensive fabric for your final garment, but when making a muslin you need to use something that is similar to your final fabric. You want to see how your garment will lay, how it will drape, how it will flow, how it's going to sew up. You won't be able to get the full potential out of your muslin if you're using something that's totally different. Also, this is a great time to try a new fabric you've been hoping to sew up, but have made been too afraid to. Make a muslin first, maybe you'll discover that you should take different techniques when sewing your final.
You'll be able to try new techniques
Want to try putting in darts to your more fitted items? Maybe you want to try pleats? How about lining a shirt? These are all really good opportunities to try making a muslin first. You may discover you are a total rock star at those skills, and you may discover you need a couple more muslins. But both learning experiences are important with developing your sewing skills. Making a muslin provides you the freedom to take chances and make mistakes without feeling in a panic cause your outfit didn't turn out.
You may end up saving time and money
Now I hear you asking, how does making another garment save me money and time? Aren't I doubling both of those? Technically, yes. But hear me out, taking a practice shot at it you can work out all the things you love and don't love about that pattern. Thus ensuring in the future when you go to make it again, it's guaranteed to fit. It's guaranteed to be one of your favorites. No more last minute changes cause your outfit didn't work out. No more scrapping projects cause it just isn't working again. I've made the practice version once, so now moving forward I know exactly if I love it or not.
You'll maybe even get two garments out of it
You may need to make multiple versions of your muslin. And that's perfectly fine! This happens to me a lot more when I'm doing woven's or more fitted garments. And there's no shame in that. You're not wasting fabric if you're learning something. But every so often, you win the lottery. Sometimes your muslin goes so well, so spectacularly, that you not only have a great pattern moving forward but you got a wearable muslin! I absolutely love when this happens. It's almost like when I was a kid and I would get not one prize in my cereal box but two! You don't necessarily expect it to happen, but you know it's a possibility that's out there. I'm still getting something awesome in the end, but sometimes you get the opportunity of only making one that's ready to go.