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Fabric for A-Line Skirt

I went back to Jo-Ann Fabrics with 40% and 50% off coupons to buy fabric for my first A-line skirt and for the muslin, or prototype, skirt. I’m so indecisive and unsure of what I’m doing with patternmaking and sewing that I spent about two hours looking at fabrics.

I went back to the denim section and looked through it again. This time, I found white denim on the shelf, which is what I originally wanted. Unfortunately, I noticed a few small red threads running through the bright white denim, and I really didn’t want to get fabric that was so noticeably imperfect. I knew I’d be unhappy with the skirt and wouldn’t wear it. Not really the point of making my own clothes.

After comparing the white denim to all of the other denims, I decided that maybe I could pull out the red threads. I knew I’d wear white denim a lot more often than the gold speckled dark denim I’d picked out a couple of weeks before. When I went to the counter to get the fabric cut, the employee helping me said that pulling out the red threads would probably leave obvious holes in the fabric. But, when she found out I only needed a yard, she said she’d cut it from the other end. Perfect!

white denim

White Denim

Searching for fabric to use as a muslin posed an entirely different problem. In the patternmaking book I’m using, the author said she finds fabric for $1/yard to use for her muslins. Even on the clearance rack, I couldn’t find any fabric for that cheap. When I looked through the actual muslin fabric, there wasn’t any thick enough to approximate the weight of denim. Then I thought maybe I could get a wearable fabric to use as my muslin, and possibly end up with two skirts I liked. I didn’t want any of the other denim choices, but next to that section I picked out a gorgeous turquoise corduroy. (It actually looks closer to this color, but darker.)

turquoise corduroy

Turquoise Corduroy

A week has gone by since I bought those fabrics, and I’ve been learning a lot from sewing blogs that I’ve been reading. Since I’m the newest of newbies at patternmaking, I think I’m going to first cut the pattern out of an old sheet or something and baste the skirt just to make sure I have a basic clue about what I’m doing. I like the turquoise corduroy far too much now to use it as a muslin, so I’m going to make the denim skirt first. Hopefully the “old sheet” muslin will give me enough of an idea about how the skirt will fit before I cut the heavier denim. Maybe I’ll also leave some extra seam allowance so I can adjust the fit if I need to.

I’m so excited to start sewing! I have to solve a pattern drafting problem first, though, and figure out if my sewing machine is broken or if I just don’t know how to use it. Luckily, when I left Jo-Ann fabrics, one of my friends was on her way in, and she told me where I can take the sewing machine. I’m going to go and dig through my fabric stash and try to find something to use as a muslin.

Do you have a preferred fabric that you use for muslins? Or do you use any fabric you have on hand?