The Bodice Sloper Saga: Craftsy and Muslins


So in my last post I went through drafting a bodice sloper and now I want to show you how I’ve been altering it to get the fit right. Are you ready for unflattering muslin pictures? You know you are!

First thing first, I bought a Craftsy course called Sew the Perfect Fit. This is an excellent video course for those of you that haven’t tried it. Lynda Maynard uses three models with various different fitting issues and she shows how to manipulate a muslin to get the right shape before taking you through applying these changes to the paper pattern.  The class comes with dress pattern Vogue #8766, which Lynda uses for all her fitting. I was told it could take 5 weeks to arrive in the post to the UK, but it actually arrived in about a week; they even sent me both size ranges because I ordered the wrong one and they didn’t charge me any extra!

Edit: Since posting this I have become an affiliate of Craftsy and have included affiliate links on this page. The views in this post remain my own, but clicking on these links will help support my blog.

I haven’t tried out the vogue dress yet, but Lynda’s happy to help you out with any other patterns you’ve got on the go so this is where my bodice sloper muslins come in! She has been extremely helpful, usually replies within a day and her advice has been bang on so far. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to have another go at a sloper without having someone on hand who could help me fix the fitting issues.

So, I took my bodice sloper and added grain lines (both horizontal and vertical) and a 2cm seam allowance so that I had a bit of fabric I could take out of the seams if necessary. I then cut out my muslin pieces and transferred grain lines and stitch lines and stay stitched the neckline. Next, I set my machine to a basting stitch and sewed up the bodice, leaving the back open so I could get into it. As you can see, it covered up all the important parts and did up at the back, which is always nice :)

This is the first time I’ve invested time in making a proper muslin rather than a quick mock-up in the lining material to check the fit and I’m really enjoying it. It’s like a little laboratory that I can chop into and draw on and pin and tuck as much as I like without ruining any of my precious fashion fabric. Although letting my boyfriend help out did result in rather more graffiti on my back than I’d bargained for. Fitting a bodice on your own is definitely do-able, but I would say it’s a lot easier if you can sweet-talk a friend into helping you out.


Unfortunately, as with all sewing projects, there are some fitting issues here! Lucky that I’d anticipated this with the Craftsy course, eh? One problem I ALWAYS seem to have is gaping at the front of the armhole, does anyone else get that? It never seems to be mentioned as a common fitting complaint. You can also see that the shoulders seams are way too long and the drag lines from the bust suggested an FBA was called for. For muslin number two I’ve made the following alterations to the paper pattern:

  • Take the fabric from the front of the armhole and transfer it to the front darts using the tip of the dart as the hinge point
  • Full bust adjustment of 1cm
  • Shortened the shoulder seam (already drawn on in the picture above)
  • Shortened the darts by 3 cm because they’re right on my apex in muslin 1.


If you’re wondering about the ribbon, it’s to mark my waist. I managed to go out half the day still wearing that ribbon under my dress the other day… Oops!

Muslin 2 fitted a lot better at the top, the armholes (I just had this spell-checked to ‘assholes’ :-/) had less gaping and sat on my shoulder point. There was some bagginess between the bust and waist, so I tried cutting the fabric above the breasts and pulling it down, but this made it even worse, so I sent off some more photos to Lynda. She suggested that I put the length back into the darts and then pull down the fabric again and see if it worked better. So for muslin 2.2 I changed these:

  • Added the 3cm back onto the darts
  • Inserted about 3cm of fabric above the gap

As always, Lynda was completely right, this looks miles better! I’m going to make these changes on the paper pattern and sew up a third muslin, which I’ll show you in a post very soon!

Have you made a bodice sloper? What issues did you have? Have you tried this method of cutting and manipulating the muslin before? It’s not something I knew about before, but it makes so much sense!