Making a Muslin

Let’s make a muslin!

I know that this is a step that a lot of people dread or even skip altogether, but making a muslin is the single best thing you can do to achieve dependable results when sewing.

It seems tedious, but with a garment like Sorbetto, which you will want to make time and time again, making a muslin will be an hour well spent.

That being said, this will seriously be the fastest test garment you have ever made.

Sewing Your Muslin

Staystitch the neckline on all versions, and the armholes for versions 1 and 2. This prevents stretching and gives you a sense of proportion of the bias binding.

  1. Start by cutting your muslin. Make sure to transfer all markings, including the notches, darts, and center front pleat.
  2. Stitch along the raw edge of the armhole with a 1/4″ seam allowance. We will skip the bias binding at this stage, but the stitching will give us an idea of the proportions.

  3. Next, sew the darts and center front pleat, per the pattern instructions. Press the darts down and the pleat flat. You can also stitch the pleat in place along the neckline and hemline to keep everything flat.

  4. Sew the shoulder and side seams. There is no need to finish the seam allowance, but you should press all seams for an accurate fit.

  5. If you are making version 3, insert the sleeve. This is not a place were we strive for sleeve perfection. If your sleeve cap isn’t perfectly eased, don’t sweat it.

  6. Staystitch the neckline, and the armholes (versions 1 and 2).

Fitting Your Muslin

Now we can try our muslins on and begin fitting.

Take a look at the fit. Does the garment seem to be tight anywhere? Is it bulging, or producing loose wrinkles and folds of fabric?

If it seems too big in any one spot, pinch out the excess fullness and pin it. Use a seam gauge or ruler to measure how much you need to remove from the pattern in that area, and transfer those markings to your pattern.

If it seems too small in any particular area, slash the muslin! Pin some extra fabric behind the slash, and once you have it the way you want, measure the gap you’ve created.

Now, once you have your muslin pinned to perfection, you can transfer your markings to your pattern.


This week we will wrap up fit adjustments, with shoulder and sleeve adjustments on Wednesday. Then on Friday we will cover abdomen adjustments and moving the dart.

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The Sorbetto Sewalong

  1. Welcome to the Sorbetto Sewalong (22 Comments)
  2. Gather Fabric and Supplies (22 Comments)
  3. Basic Fit Adjustments (11 Comments)
  4. Bust Adjustments (15 Comments)
  5. Making a Muslin (16 Comments)
  6. Shoulder and Sleeve Adjustments
  7. Front Bodice Adjustments
  8. Cutting and Prep
  9. Assemble Bodice
  10. Sleeves and Bias Finishing
  11. Hems
  12. Your Sorbettos!



When making a muslin do you need to choose a fabric that’s similar to what you will be using for the finished garment? I’ve been avoiding muslins because I’m not sure what fabric to choose and I’d rather not pay 2x for expensive fabric…


I beat you to it and made a muslin over the weekend for this pattern. So worth the effort! I found that the size I’d thought best was too big all over, and even the next size down left me with too much armhole. I also goofed on the muslin and sewed the pleat backward (which I know is a variation, but not what I wanted) and as a result won’t have to learn that lesson on my chosen fabric. And as long as I was under the hood I gave the top a little waist line, and now I have a pattern I know I’ll use for at least three or four tops.

Haley Glenn

Yay! Making a muslin is always worth the effort. I look forward to seeing your Sorbettos!


Could you please help me understand what you mean by “Finish your seam allowance”?
I see this on the instructions too. I understand we don’t need to do this step for the muslin but I’m confused what the step is, I’ve only ever pressed the seam allowance open.

Haley Glenn

Hi Rebecca, a seam finish secures the raw edges of a seam to prevent fraying. The most common seam finishes in home sewing include a zigzag stitch, a serged edge, and a pinked edge. You can check out this guide for more examples.


Hi there! I made my muslin in a size 6, already 1 size down from what my measurements would’ve gotten me into. It still appeared sacklike so I just started taking in side seams and ended up at 8cm less, which is a three-size difference.

Now I know I like my tops not to be too loose and to be honest I went with size 6 just because I was not sure whether I’d still able to put it over my head. I have now traced a size 2 (the amount I took in would have gotten me into size 0 but again I wanted to be sure).

However, this makes me fear another fit issue I often deal with (and was already showing when I made the size 6): front armholes being too tight. At the back I usually have some excess fabric and I know how to deal with that (take it out and transfer it to be a shoulder dart). On the front, however, I have the opposite problem nowhere to get the extra fabric from (in other words: no shoulder dart to close). For some patterns scooping out a bit of the arm hole helps, but not always: sometimes it just ends up looking funny. I have been looking for info on this but it appears to be quite a rare fitting issue as all sources I ever find only speak of the opposite problem. Do you have any light to shine on that?


I’m no expert but it sounds like you have a narrow ribcage/back and full bust. Would an FBA in order? If that results in too much fabric maybe look at a narrow shoulder adjustment. It took me a while to figure out that I often need both for sleeveless top to work.


My muslin fits almost perfectly if I pinch & pin the shoulder seams by ~1.5″. I’m a novice sewist & 1.5″ seems like a lot. Is this a common adjustment for petites or do you recommend another area to adjust (on the verge of needing an SBA)? Any favorite resources for petite adjustments? Thanks for teaching me how to sew!


I cut the shoulder seams down by about that much, too. They were huge for me. Just keep messing with it until you like the fit. I made a second muslin once I’d made all the adjustments and redone the paper pattern (just to be extra sure before I started cutting good fabric), then used it as a lining for another sheer fabric Sorbetto.

Emm NLee

I made my muslin (sleeveless version) and it is huge. Falling off the shoulders, and so, so big the whole way down from there. I followed the measurements. I looked at ease. I checked the measurements against a similar top that fits. I am baffled, but here is my question — do I ditch this muslin and go for a smaller size (which appears to be two sizes down, except for the hips which will have to be graded up), or stick with this and fix it? I would need to take the shoulders up an inch, take 4″ in from the sides or front, and move the dart. The smaller size is on the other pattern, which I didn’t print, so I’d rather fix this one. Will you be covering the types of adjustments I’d need to make in order to make this top work for me? Thank you.


I had the exact same problem but I thought I had messed something up even though I double checked everything. This is my first sewing project in a long time so I figured I was doing something wrong. According to my body measurements I am exactly a size 16, even though this is supposed to be a loose fitting garment the muslin I sewed is huge. I was thinking I would take the muslin apart and re-cut it for a smaller size and sew it up again?

Haley Glenn

Because of the pullover design, Sorbetto has ample ease. If your personal preference is a more fitted look, I would recommend cutting the smaller size and grading up in the hips. I will be covering moving the dart on Friday so stay tuned for that adjustment.


Thank you Haley. It wasn’t even close to fitting –that’s how big it was. But I am happy to say that I printed the smaller size range pattern, and cut out size 16 (two down from where the charts say I should be). I did add 5/8″ at the lower hip, and graded it out. Well — it’s PERFECT. Except the dart is a little long and pointy, so I have to make it shorter. But even the dart is in the right place. Doing a happy dance here!

Haley Glenn

Doing a happy dance for you! Nailing fit is always worth celebrating!


Well I’ve made my muslin of vs 3 in size 0, interestingly it gives approx the same fit as a muslin for Hayden in size 4, is this because of the new blocks? (it’s adding to my uncertainty of size choice).

It is still a tad too wide in the upper body. I’m going to make and add the binding to the neck tomorrow to see if it makes a difference either way to the neckline, it is borderline too wide as is. The body fit is OK though. I sewed in both sleeves.

In the sample photos the darts seem to be high, but with a bra on, the darts are below my bust (I’m almost 60 so this was a surprise!). The darts seem to be too long and low on me. My high bust is 30″ and bust 33″, I can’t go down a size so wondering if I need a SBA??

Is the latest Seamworks dress, (is it Sonya?) drafted with the new blocks?

Haley Glenn

Hi Lynda, the differences you see between Hayden and Sorbetto can be attributed to two things: Hayden is designed with less ease than Sorbetto and the new block offers a different fit. Sonya is drafted using the update block also.

It sounds like a size 0 without a bust adjustment was the correct choice. I am covering shoulder adjustments in today’s post, so that might be helpful. I will also cover raising and lowering the dart on Friday.

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