Here’s one of those “I’m glad I made a muslin” stories.
Last winter, I planned to make a cross-country ski jacket. I bought a pattern – the Fairbanks Pullover from Green Pepper Patterns, an indie pattern company for high-quality outdoor gear . They’ve been around since the 1970s, and I sewed a similar anorak from a Green Pepper pattern back in the 80s.
OK, enough for the Memory Lane detour.
At the same time I bought the pattern, I also bought some PolarTec Power Shield fabric – pricey but since it’s a sandwich of a fleecy insulating layer and a water-resistant and wind-resistant outer layer, I figured it would be worth it in the end, and certainly easier than working with those two textiles separately. I bought zippers. I bought drawstring cord and cord stoppers. I read up on waterproof seam tape.
And then I thought – better make a muslin.
This pattern ticked several “yes” boxes in my “Make a Muslin or Wing It” checklist:
While I am familiar with Green Pepper patterns and admire their quality and attention to detail, it had been a loooong time since I sewed that anorak. So I am not really familiar.
Another “make a muslin” clue was that I could find no reviews of this pattern online – nothing on PatternReview.com, no blogs, no photos even. So I’d have no one’s advice to rely on.
Finally, there was the expense question. The PolarTec Power Shield – plus shipping – was $65, not to mention the trims and hardware.
Make a muslin, dammit!
I am glad I mocked up the jacket out of an old bedsheet. It was disappointing. The fit – although for a woman’s shape – was very boxy and too tight in the hips. It also was a little small in the shoulders and arms – OK for a casual jacket but not for skiing. Finally, the style with the big front pocket was awkward – I could imagine it flapping around with my phone and keys inside while I was skiing.
I gave it a pass and remained on the lookout for something else to try. I considered the Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak, which looks like a high-quality and well-reviewed pattern.
But, it seemed too dressy and close-fitting for my purposes, and it used a lot of fabric – I’d be out at least another $30 for supplies. So I put it out of my mind.
This winter, I tried again, this time with the newly issued Simplicity 8843. I made a muslin this time, too, because I was not sure that the drop shoulder would work well.
It does! I’ve decided to lengthen it an inch at the waist and an inch at the hem. Also at the sleeves. And I did a high round back adjustment so the collar sits better.
I’m glad I took the time to plan this out.
Do you make muslins?