If at 1st you don’t succeed…

My daughter has a beautiful hourglass figure which I have absolutely no clue how to fit since I have no figure (or if you’re being kind) am more of a rectangle!  I sew so much for my other children, but recently decided it was time to get it right on fit for my oldest child.


First I had my daughter try on several shirts I sewed for myself to gauge the fit of the sewing patterns I was planning to use.  The shirts didn’t fit her right, but gave me a chance to figure out where to begin, and how different fabrics worked for the same pattern.

Next I grabbed some fabric from my stash.  If you don’t have a stash as large as mine, or everything is too good of quality to use for multiple muslins, you should grab some value interlock knit.  At $1.99 per yard, you can stock up and test fit repeatedly!  This fabric won’t hold up to wearing very long, so don’t plan on a wearable muslin, but for testing and tweaking fit, it’s a great option.

The first thing I tried was to sew a muslin (of an unnamed peplum pattern) in a size that matched my daughter’s bust and hips measurements.  It worked okay in those areas, but was way too wide in the neck and shoulders and the her lovely nipped in waist was totally lost in the result.  (That muslin is not pictured…it was horrible, and I couldn’t get her to try it on after the 1st attempt!)


Next I remembered that one of my favorite patterns, the Lane Raglan, has pattern pieces were included for the front piece with a full bust adjustment.  After measuring my daughter again, I decided this was the proper approach.  Grabbing some more fabric (and since I felt I was getting closer to a wearable garment, I’d used something of better quality like this charcoal rayon jersey) the next muslin was sewed up.  This one turned out very, very much closer to the ideal fit!


My daughter was so pleased, it’s been years since I’ve successfully sewn her a top that she liked and could wear.  From this muslin (which she’s been wearing steadily) we decided that the waist could be raised about an inch, and we could grade out in the hips to a larger size if we used a fabric with any less stretch.  So it was onto the best fabric!

Floral Lane 1

For the next Lane Raglan shirt, I grabbed some double brushed poly (this specific one is sold out, but grab this one to obtain the same look) and got to work.

Floral Lane 2

Since double brushed poly has great stretch and recovery, no changes were necessary from muslin #2.

Floral Lane 3

My daughter is so delighted with the fit of this shirt, and has gotten compliments on it every time she wears it.  She also loves how soft the fabric feels next to her skin.

Velvet Lane 1

I was rather giddy that I could now sew at least one pattern that my daughter loved, and got some black stretch velvet from CaliFabrics to make her a peplum top for her birthday.  As Tami showed us earlier, velvet tees are all the rage right now.  Black velvet is easy to sew, but not easy to photograph, and in person it’s the loveliest thing ever!  Here’s a close up to try to capture the shimmer on the curves:

Velvet Lane Closeup

Using the Lane Raglan pattern which I had nailed for fit now, I ended it at the waist and added a peplum skirt part from another pattern.  It ended up needing 2 fit corrections, but my daughter says she will wear it for special occasions.  The 1st correction was that I forgot to add seam allowance to the top at the waist line.  It really needs about 1/2” more to be comfortable.  Just standing it’s okay, but with movement, she says it creeps up annoyingly.  The 2nd correction was that the peplum was just too full, but that was easy to adjust by taking in the side seams.  The peplum shape is so lovely on her hourglass figure, I’ll definitely be trying this one again!

Velvet Lane 2

All in all, I’m really really glad I stuck with the process long enough to be able to get the fit right for my oldest daughter.  And she’s intrigued at the prospect of custom fitting clothing…ready to wear clothes are a joke for her lovely figure.  It’s about time I sewed her some nice things to make up for all the horribly fitting garments I made her try on!

Audrey from Skirt Fixation

Audrey, a mom of 8, sews and blogs at Skirt Fixation, your home for everything skirt related! There's lots of other sewing goodness too...after all can't leave the boys out of sewing adventures! She also designs and sells pattern through Savvy Patterns.

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