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Making and Fitting Jenn’s First Mockup

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love the mockup process! A mockup (often called a muslin or a toile) is a test garment that you construct in a way that allows you to easily deconstruct it. 

The magic of a mockup garment is that it is specifically designed for making discoveries and improvements to fit, design, and proportion. You can’t mess up a temporary garment made of temporary stitches, so there’s no risk and no expectation for perfection!

And since is impossible to mess up a mockup, it can be super fun to play around with during the mockup fitting. You can cut, rip open, pin, and draw all over it. Don’t like the changes you made? You can easily go back to where you were or try a new idea. It’s your laboratory and learning time (and possibly my favorite part of the custom process)!

You start off with a bunch of questions/ideas/guesses/unknowns and then you learn so much while figuring out the answers. With questions answered, it’s a joy to move confidently on to the real thing- knowing there will be very few surprises and very little unpicking.

Mocking things up for Jenn

At this point in the journey of Jenn’s mom’s wedding dress being transformed into a top, I had no measurements (!) and we had not even brainstormed the design! I only had the vintage dress. So, the upcoming mockup experiments would begin with trying a copy of Lydia’s dress on Jenn- knowing that it would not fit her or resemble the final design. 

This is NOT how I work with my clientsJenn is a friend)- but this means our first fitting will be all about PLAY! YAY!

To start making the mockup, I used the paper patterns that I “ghosted” from the original vintage dress to mark some inexpensive muslin fabric. With a regular pencil, I traced the edges of my pattern pieces (which represent the fit lines of the garment) and a 1″ border for allowances. 

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

With the lines that represent the fit of the garment marked, there’s no need to carefully cut the edges. Cutting is one of my favorite sewing tasks because (unlike when following a home sewing pattern) the precision of the cut line is not important! 

Here are the bodice pieces marked and cut…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…and here are the skirt-turned-peplum pieces marked and cut.

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Next step: Threadmarking! 

Threadmarking is a quick temporary stitch to visually transfer information from one side of the fabric to the other via a removable line of thread.

Why thread mark? I’ve got a lot of helpful pencil markings on the inside! Some I’ll use for pinning and stitching- which are tasks that happen from the inside, so those don’t need to be threadmarked. But there are other lines and markings that I want to observe temporarily during my fitting- like the line down the Center Front, which you see me threadmarking by hand in the photo below. Also- Mockups don’t include finishing pieces like facings, so I wanted to thread mark the edges of the garment.

While thread marking, I also start pondering my plans for putting things together. I love how the steps of the custom process includes slower tasks offering time to think!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Then, while keeping everything as flat as possible for as long as possible, I pinned all the future seams I could, line to line,…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…then I replaced the pins with machine stitches- using a long temporary basting stitch length. This will make ripping seams open really easy (and really fun.)

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Then, I gathered the peplum onto the bodice via more basting stitches and pins…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…and it quickly started looking (kinda) like a top!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Since I knew that the collar on the vintage dress would be too small to reuse, I improvised my own pattern to play around with. Instead of cutting a curved shape, I folded a straight piece of fabric that was cut on the bias…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…and used the curved pattern piece to press the shape to match. Pretty neat, huh?

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Next, I basted the shoulder seams and the collar piece in place…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…and basted a long zipper in the back.

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

After using my threadmarking to clip and baste back the allowances around the armholes, the mockup top was ready for play in a no-risk way! I was so excited that my friend Jenn would be in town for her first mockup fitting soon….

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Jenn and Lydia visit the Studio!

Two years after their last visit to the studio, Jenn and her mom Lydia returned for our Design Consultation and the first Mockup Fitting!

Together, we looked at inspiration images and brainstormed ideas for what the rehearsal dinner top would become…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…and also looked at inspiration images and brainstormed ideas for what her wedding day veil would become. Here’s the millinery mockup!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

After playing around some more, we decided to try Lydia’s 1970 wedding dress back on Jenn.

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper
(Behind Jenn, you can also peep a wedding dress mockup I was making for another bride at the same time. Andy's bridal blog series will follow Jenn's!)

Looks kinda good from the front…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…but the back immediately revealed how much it didn’t fit.

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

While wearing the vintage dress, we played around a little with design by adding a belt…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…but then worked with the mockup to determine a better fit. 

I had no measurements when I made this mockup, but I was able to allow the fabric to tell me more about Jenn’s shape without needing numbers. 

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

I also worked on fine-tuning the front fit…

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

…until we had basically ripped the mockup to shreds. Busting through seams like a Hulk can feel Incredible! Mockups are so fun to fit!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Friends have fun together!

Jenn is a good friend, so the process I usually follow for my custom brides got shook up quite a bit. But that was also part of the fun!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

With all the information I needed from Jenn’s brain and body to confidently move forward with our bridalwear projects, my handsome husband Charles showed up and we all spent the rest of the day giggling together!

Making and Fitting Jenn's Mockup by Brooks Ann Camper

Do you love playing with mockups too? Does working with your friends ever inspire you to work a little differently?

 

NEXT POST: I’ll ponder our design ideas to create custom sketches, and use the data from the first mockup to make a new-and-improved second mockup! 

Wanna know more about the unconventional way I sew?

The final 2021 session of my Intro to Custom Sewing eCourse SKIRT SKILLS starts online July 28, with registration opening on July 10! 

Learn more on LearnWithBrooksAnn.com! I’d love to work with you! 

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

Stay in Touch!

Sign Up for my FREE Newsletter!

You’ll get blog posts right in your inbox, plus extra goodies in your roughly twice a month. Plus, “Peek Inside My Sewing Library” in the first email!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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