Scarlett Top – a Question of Fit

One of my next projects is the Scarlett dress and I have big plans for it. But, before cutting into my selected fabric, I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to make a muslin for the bodice. After talking to Claire (the founder of SimpleSew Patterns) and noticing that their sizing changed I felt that making a muslin was in order, even though I already knew I have to make a FBA (full bust adjustment).

I will not delve into the importance of making a muslin or discuss major fitting issues. There are plenty of online resources about this and I don’t see the point of trying to reinvent the wheel nor do I feel I have enough experience with this to give advice. This is more a review and my personal findings on the subject.

For this project I used fabric that was already in my stash and some fabric I got at the SewUpNorth meet-up exchange (Thank you to whomever put it in the swap) and the Scarlett dress pattern.

 With the first patterns from SimpleSew Patterns I got from the first issues of Love Sewing, I found that on top of the FBA I also needed to lower the bust dart by 2 cm (which never happens with other patterns). However SimpleSew Patterns decided to make their sizing better and since the Dress edit collection they have a better sizing on their patterns. Here is the new sizing:

 Of course I did not think about it too much at the time. So, I made the first top assuming that the block used to make the new patterns was the same. Therefore, I did lengthen the bodice by adding 2,5 cm above the bust and then I did an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) and made my little top.

Then I tried it on, and found it a bit too long. As you can notice in the front there are some drag lines. Which are also in the back. Also I found the top sliding of my shoulders. So I concluded that the bodice is too long for me. Darn, I love the fabric.

It was at this point that I realised that maybe, since the sizing on SimpleSew Patterns changed maybe that I no longer need to lower the bust. I was so disappointed, as I made the top with some cool fabric and I wanted to wear it. I took care to make it so that it’s a wearable muslin. I even planned for contrasting waist band and exposed zip. I can still wear it, but not sure if I’ll ever wear it on it’s own without a cardigan or jacket.

I had to go back and start again: I re-traced my bodice pieces and only did a FBA on the front bodice. For my second top I used fabric I got in the SewUP North meet up from Leeds last autumn. The second top fits like a glove. I love it! It also feels a lot more comfortable than the other one.

 I also found that the proportions on the second top are more balanced. The first one feels a bit too long, even though the difference is only 2.5 cm in length.

 The lesson I got from this is that sometimes it’s a very good idea to do a muslin just to make sure everything fits as you expect it to. The more I sew and want to make garments that fit me, I learn that on some makes I have to take the time to make a muslin and my desire to cut corners does not always pay off, just the opposite.

Hope that this will inspire you to make a muslin to check the fit on new to you patterns. Happy Sewing!



  1. I love the Leopard Print, well worth doing and if I was you, I’d be wearing that to the death too! I definitely skip this step too often and should so more, especially as I have to FBA all the time too!

    • The print is lovely. I am pretty lazy when it comes to changes. I’ve learnt the hard way. I still prefer to make the changes on paper as I don’t really like to make muslins.

  2. Great post! The 2nd one looks fab! I make muslins 90% of the time and see it as a way of practising new techniques as well as checking the fit. I often use old sheets or cheap fabric and don’t intend to make them wearable, that way I can draw the changes the muslin, such as busy points, and only add one sleeve and other short cuts to reduce the time spent on it. For years though I just thought they were a waste of time, but I’m a true convert now. 😃

    • I am terrible with muslins. However, your view is good (trying out new techniques as well as checking the fit) I’ll try thinking about muslins from that point of view.

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