This is part of a group of posts about making a cut-on sleeve top.
If you have worked through the first post, you now have your pattern.

The next posts are about making a test garment and improving the fit and look.
Many people think you have to change a pattern by taking measurements, and using those to get the pattern ‘right’ before you ever make anything from it.
I’ve found it suits me much better to make my fit adjustments on a mock-up garment, rather than trying to alter the pattern before I ever cut out.
Of course there are some things which I now know well, so I may want to copy from a previous pattern rather than doing them again. For me that means depth of front neckline, and slope of shoulders.

So these posts suggest how to do this alternative method – make a test garment and try it out on your body to find what sort of changes you want to make.

This became a very long post, so I have divided it in several sections :
A. reasons for making a test garment.
B. how to make a test garment, and check the : neckline, size – how wide it is, shoulder slope, lengths.
C. an example of making changes, plus revising the pattern to include the changes.

The third and final post in this group on cut-on sleeve tops is about sewing your top.

– – –

Reasons to make a test garment

When you make your own pattern it’s a very good idea to make a test garment! (may be called a ‘muslin’ because often made from US muslin/UK calico fabric, or a ‘toile’, pronounced twaal, the French word for a test garment).

Well, you could try all this out to improve a commercial pattern too 😀
Many people get ‘hung up’ on the belief that something terrible will happen if they deviate from the pattern. Think instead of the first version of a pattern as a starting point on the way to getting a version of the pattern which is best for you. A pattern is not untouchable, it’s just a tool to use on the way to getting a garment you want to wear. You can change it in any way you like, and making a test garment is the best way of finding if you want to make changes.

Of course if you feel you may want to go back to the original, it’s best to work from a tracing of the pattern, not the original. Making a tracing is one of the things beginners think is a waste of time. Most of us find that we have complete freedom to do what we like with a tracing, and we can learn so much from playing around, so it’s well worthwhile to make one. Each of us has different preferences about how we spend our sewing time. I’m one of many who find that making tracings and test garments takes most of the project time, and actually making the final garment is only a small portion of our investment of effort. And that distribution of effort is worthwhile because the improvement to the final project can be huge.

If you’d like to watch 30min. of chat about making a test garment here’s a YouTube from Sew Essential. She uses making a test garment as a way of learning about the pattern and garment – how it fits, how it’s made, how well it suits you, how to alter it so it’s better for your body and your style. So you know what you’re letting yourself in for when making it up – reduces the uncertainties before you do any ‘serious’ sewing with expensive materials! May seem a lot of extra work, but the pay-off is no nasty surprises with fit or shape, no big disappointment when you put a lot of effort into making something only to find you don’t want to wear it, perhaps even that you can’t wear it. (I once made a cut-on sleeve top direct from the pattern in a special fabric without bothering to check anything, “it’s very easy so no problems”, only to find I couldn’t get my arms into the armholes.)
The Sew Essential video includes sections on how to make a test garment, how to alter it, and how to adapt your main pattern (see time line sections). (UK ‘calico’ = US ‘muslin’).

Here’s a pdf on making a test garment for a rather more advanced pattern than the one in this post, from The Thrifty Stitcher.

Here’s an article from Seamwork summarising reasons why makes can be un-worn. Making a muslin is first on their list of cures !

Some people think that making a muslin is ‘bad for the planet’ as you’re making something that is not used. But actually making one is a very responsible move, as it protects you from making a throw-away garment from good fabric !

Different reasons for making a test garment affect how much trouble you take :
For fit and proportions testing : you only need a minimal make with no added style elements, as described in this post.
For sewing practice : use something like the proper materials, and follow all the instructions. You might find you’ve made a ‘wearable muslin’ 😀

– – – – –

The posts in this group on cut-on sleeve tops are :

1. The pattern.

2A. Reasons to make a test garment.
2B. Making a test garment, and adjusting for fit and preferences.
2C. An example of a changed pattern, plus how to revise your pattern.

3. Making a cut-on sleeve top.

The third post initially included a section making variations. Then that section was separated off. That too became very long so has now been divided in three sections. And the suggestions are no longer limited just to changing cut-on sleeve tops.
Variations A. Change style elements.
Variations B. Pullover top to jacket/ shirt.
Variations C. Using textile skills.

= = = = =