This particular word seems to sum up my experience – so far – with my new project of the month. I have had to “scrap” three complete muslins – as in “throw away” and “discard.” I rather like one of the other definitions for this particular word to sum up my past week of sewing – “a fight or quarrel.”   Yes, it’s been a battle, but I believe I am winning! It all started with this fabric – a soft, lovely, light-weight wool and silk blend – from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics.


Here it is draped over my dress form.

Here it is draped over my dress form.

Although I knew I wanted to make a dress with a slim profile – to minimize the fabric’s horizontal design – it took me a while to find the right pattern. I started with one that had curved lines in its bodice and “scraped” that idea after my muslin (toile) revealed many fitting issues. I took that as a sign that the pattern wasn’t the best one to use anyway (which I suspected all along. It’s really important to listen to one’s intuition in things like this!) After another search in my pattern collection, I settled on this dress.

Gray painterly dress - Lanvin pattern

However, I want below-elbow length sleeves so I did a little sketch to try out the look:

Gray painterly dress - sketchAfter finding a sleeve pattern from another dress which sports two elbow darts, I figured I was in business. Ah, the battle was just beginning. The first muslin I made revealed bust darts that were two inches (two!!) too high. And although I wanted a slim profile, I do have to be able to move in the dress!  I figured I needed to add two inches in total width from the lower armscye down.  Here is a diagram of the pattern pieces. The angle of the bust darts is vital to the fit of the dress so I could not just pivot the apex of the bust. I had to reposition the entire dart, which was getting it awfully close to the pocket.

Gray painterly dress - pattern diagram

Making changes in that first muslin was just a study in frustration, so I scraped it and made a new one. My second one was better, but still had some kinks in it. The armscye seemed to be off kilter, the reason for which I could not figure out. I’m telling you these are the things that keep me up at night. At this point I went to JoAnn’s and bought more muslin. I was determined to win this fight! A whole new muslin and finally I had one that fit. I was even happy with my mish-mash sleeve (after making a few minor adjustments.)



I have now progressed to the silk-organza underlining stage of construction.   Matching the horizontal design of the fabric across the various components of the pattern will take concentration, but that’s a task that always intrigues me.


A decision about those two buttons, such an important focal point of the dress, is still to be made. The wrong side of the fabric is plain gray, so I might end up using that side for covered buttons. Suggestions, anyone??


Other than these challenges, I am feeling fairly confident that my next post will not have to be entitled “Scrap – Continued.”


Filed under Buttons - choosing the right ones, Uncategorized, underlinings, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, woolens

20 responses to “Scrap

  1. Super, super fabric. I am sure I saw a very similar one being used on the catwalks last season – maybe Prada, or Chanel. And yes the plain buttons would be best, I think.

  2. Thank you for sharing! So I am not the only one that feels compelled to do more than one muslin. I fully understand cutting into a gorgeous Mendel goldberg fabric! They certainly don’t have patterns like this anymore. I so miss the Vogue Designer Originals.

    • Sometimes it’s just easier to start with a new muslin! And you are correct – I don’t want any mistakes with expensive fabric! I continue to be enchanted with Vogue Designer patterns and I’m so glad that we can still find them on the net.

  3. Pretty fabric! I am sure you won’t have another “scrap” post, although we have had them all!

  4. Mery

    Lovely fabric. Lovely choices. You invited suggestions. That’s a stand-up dress (as opposed to be seen upright briefly, then sit all day for meetings). So if you have a particularly comfortable pair of cute shoes that you’ll wear the most with it, I’d factor them into my button choice. Another suggestion is removeable buttons: one neutral set but the option of changing for a color that makes you smile.

    • I hadn’t thought about coordinating the buttons with the shoes. Thanks for giving me one more reason to look for shoes (as if I need any more reasons!) I appreciate your comment!

  5. Marianne

    My first thought when I saw the pattern was how challenging it would be to find the right colour for the buttons. The grey is perfect! Your dress will be a true work of art. Lanvin has always been one of my favourite designers. I can’t stop looking at the picture of the deux piece. So brilliant to use the same buttons to keep the jacket in place!

    • I almost wish I had enough fabric to make the jacket, too (on the plain gray side.) I love that look – and it is so clever to make the buttons do double duty. I love Lanvin, too – and hope I do this design justice!

  6. Lovely fabric and design. Well worth the time spent fine tuning the muslin. I see what you mean about lowering the bust darts. The pocket extension looks like it extends well past the pocket top and bottom; probably to stabilize the pocket but looks like your lowered dart will clear it. I like the idea of using the gray side for self covered buttons; also do the dickey with the gray side?

    • You know, I thought about using the plain gray side for the dickey, but have probably decided against it. Although – I will “audition” it when I get to that point in the construction. Thanks for your thoughts, Mary!

  7. Rebecca

    I like this fabric which was also used for a dress in the “A Challenging Sew” blog. Why not just leave the buttons off? I think that the buttons will make it look dated; It will look fresher without them.

    • You are right – Leisa made a dress out of this same fabric. About the buttons – I love buttons (in general) and they are one of the reasons I am attracted to this pattern! Also, they serve a function by holding the dickey in place, so I don’t really want to do away with them. But I certainly appreciate hearing your take on them!

  8. Love the gray buttons to match the background….they will sort of fade away, but not, if that makes sense. Then you can highlight any of the bright colors of the fabric if you so choose.

  9. I have serious fabric envy! I remember seeing a couple things made from a very similar print last year and was wishing I could just find some of the fabric.

    I feel your frustration – I think I’ve had to trash the last 3 mockups I’ve made for myself! Glad you seem to be winning with your project! It’s going to be a wonderful dress!

  10. Darts two inches too high! Wow, was this from the bullet bra era?
    So glad you got your hands on some of this fabulous fabric – it looks like an absolute dream to work with. I still have ‘working with sleeve darts’ on my must sew one-day list – they really do look that good.
    It really does pay to get a great line at the armscye – for me this really makes or breaks a garment. The number of times I’ve over fitted in this area though = criminal. Such a fine balance – glad you got it right on number 3!

    • This pattern is from the time when “foundation” garments were still the norm, but the 2″ discrepancy probably has something to do with my 60+ age figure, too! This is a beautiful fabric – lovely hand to it, and just the right weight.

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