Sew Colette - Measurements and Muslin for the Meringue skirt


Hi everyone! I'm so excited to start sewing for the Meringue sew-along, but first we need to get some prep work done before we get out our machines.

First off you will need to take your measurements. The best way to do this is in the underwear/bra that you plan on wearing in your outfit. I can speak from experience, correct measurements are important! When I first started sewing I thought that since my bra size was a 34 I would use that number for my bust measurement. WRONG! That number is actually for the under bust. I have made the following images to help out with where you should measure.

Use a flexible measuring tape and measure across the fullest part. This can be tricky to do yourself, so you may have to ask for help.

Sarah posted a helpful video about finding your measurements.

Write down your measurements as soon as you are done. I wrote mine on a post it note and stuck it inside my Colette Patterns book for future reference. We won't need the bust measurement for the skirt (obviously), but I thought it would be good to do all the measuring at one time.

Once you know your measurements you will turn to the back of your book to see what size you are. Ladies, don't get bummed out by sizing and numbers. I used to work in a clothing store and women would come in and complain about sizing. "REAL women couldn't fit into this." "I'm a true size ___ and this doesn't fit." Every clothing company has different standards for sizing and guess what, everyone has different bodies. Don't stress!

Some people trace onto a thin paper to preserve their original pattern. This is ideal for people like me that are new to sewing, not 100% certain on sizing, and will need to make sizing adjustments.

Do any of you ever make photocopies of the patterns instead of tracing? I don't know if this is correct sewing etiquette, but I have been curious since I don't hear anything about it.

I have been storing all my cut out pattern pieces for the Meringue in this folder.

Once your size is determined you can cut out your pattern and get ready to make your muslin.

I wrote yesterday about how great it was to make a muslin and I was very excited to make one for the Meringue skirt. To those of you that don't know, a muslin is basically a way to test the fit of the pattern. It is important to make one, as you will feel confident on the fit and size before cutting into your nice fabric.

First, I ironed my muslin and folded it in half, selvage to selvage. I put my pattern pieces on top, put weights on the pieces, traced an outline, and then carefully cut out along the lines. I only did this for the skirt front and back and not for the facings. 

Red Sharpie shows up well, no question about where I should be cutting!

That's it for today! Please check out Sarah's post for additional information on measurements and muslins. Oh, and have you joined the Flickr group for Sew Colette? You should!

I know that I am not an expert and we all can learn something new, so please do not hesitate to give me some of your tips, tricks, and opinions. That goes for this post and all future posts. There are a lot of talented sewists out there and I would love to hear what you have to say! :)


  1. Hehe - I thought the same thing about my bust measurement when I first started seeing too! I also remember being freaked out by the differences between pattern sizes & RTW sizes then also. But now I'm just all about the numbers. It should be about what fits best, yes?

  2. Ugh - seeing = sewing! Gotta get a hold on the iPhone auto correct thing!

  3. I LOVE LOVE this post! What fab photos - great idea to include ones that actually show where you measure!

    Well done, sewing buddy!

  4. This is great! I am actually scheduled to sew my skirt next week :)

  5. Thank you Sarah, sewing buddy! xoxo

    Brandy - I can't wait to see your skirt! Are you going to make the other garments from the book as well?

  6. This is all great info! I joined Sarah's site too, but I love getting more info from both of your blogs! This will be my first attempt at sewing with a pattern, so I'm super excited about it!

  7. Sarah - Thanks for the feedback! That is SO exciting that you are sewing your first pattern!!!! If you have any questions at all please let me or Sarah know :)

  8. Hi! I'm so excited to be part of this sewalong, even though technically I'm already finished my meringue *blushes*

    This was the first pattern I ever sewed a muslin for and I was glad I did because I graded between sizes (also the first pattern I ever did that for) I thought I was being silly making a muslin for a simple garment but I'm glad I'm not the only one! :) Cheers!

    I too just made the muslin out of Pieces A and B - skipped all the facings. I did, however, baste my zipper into my muslin because I couldn't tell if it would fit in the waist without it, so that might be something to consider for anyone who is unsure. It worked a charm, and I felt much more confident going into my 'real' fabric after that :)

    1. Hi Symon!!! How does your finished Meringue look? You will have to show it off at the end of the month for the Meringue Parade!

      Good tip about the zipper!!

  9. I have it on my to-do list to shoot my lil' Meringue and post it to the appropriate venues, so you shall see it very soon! I showed it to my very experienced seamstress mum yesterday, and she inspected all my seams and gave it the approval to wear, so I can happily do so as soon as I get a chance :)