Save Money on Sewing Projects: Test Your Pattern with Inexpensive Fabric

Muslin Test Sample for Beginner Sewists

What is a Muslin Test Sample?

If you’re new to the world of sewing, you may have heard the term “muslin test sample” thrown around. But what exactly is a muslin test sample, and why is it important?

Muslin is a versatile fabric that has been used in the fashion industry for decades as a material for test garments. A muslin test sample, also known as a muslin mock-up or a toile, is a preliminary version of a garment that is made from muslin fabric or a similar inexpensive material. 

Muslin test samples are an essential part of the garment-making process, as they allow designers and seamstresses to test the fit and design of a garment before creating the final version in the desired fabric.

When to Use Muslin Fabric for Sampling

The term “muslin sample” originated when woven fabrics were more commonly used in fashion. However, when creating a garment, it is necessary to make a test sample in the same type of fabric as the pattern specifies. For patterns that require a woven fabric, a test sample should be made from a muslin fabric, or something very similar. However, if the pattern is for a stretch, knit, or jersey fabric, a less expensive version of that fabric can be used for the test sample.  


Why Muslin is Ideal for Woven Test Samples

Muslin is a plain-woven cotton fabric that is lightweight and breathable. It is an excellent choice for creating test garments, as it closely mimics the drape and weight of many other fabrics, such as poplin, broadcloth, pima cotton, lawn, silk, linen and linen blends, and wool/blends. Muslin is also easy to work with, making it a popular choice for both professionals and hobbyists in the fashion industry.

Keep in mind a good quality muslin will also be durable enough to rip out stitches and try plastic zippers and adjust darts.

Sourcing Muslin Fabric

You can find muslin fabric on sale at discount fabric stores.  If one of these stores is located near you, it is worth it to utilize a coupon or sale price and go in person to get the best discount.  If you can not drive easily then look for muslin on sale from companies like Wholesale Fabrics or the Fabric Hut and similar where they often have sales in bulk.

You will do well to buy a minimum of 6 yards and a good average price is $5-6 / yard in the US.   

Also, check on the sale page of the online store to see if they are having a closeout on a similar type fabric instead of muslin.

Tip: Use an old ripped bed sheet as an alternative.

Creating a Muslin Test Sample

Creating a muslin test sample involves creating a basic pattern for the garment and cutting it out of muslin fabric. The muslin pieces are then sewn together to create a rough version of the garment. At this point, the garment can be tried on and adjusted as needed. Designers and seamstresses may make notes on the muslin test sample, such as alterations that need to be made to the pattern or changes to the design.

Muslin Test Sampler

Our Muslin Testing

The featured image in this blog is an example of our muslin test sample of the January pattern of the month, The Holiday Shrug. One of the many steps we take in this process is creating a muslin test sample of each pattern. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article on testing our patterns. This article will include information on our use of 3D software, multiple tests and samples, and the vigorous proofreading involved in our creations.  Our designers are excellently trained and experienced, and we boast long tenures working with us. We like to think that our approach to garment design is just as flexible, creative, fun and simple as we’d like your sewing experience to be.  

Above is an image of a blouse we are currently testing for women sizes 6-14. This blouse will be made in crepe fabric with darts, short sleeve or no sleeve option, V-neck or crew neck option, and a slit on the side. It features a simple design in a woven poly crepe or a woven with up to 5% elastine.

The Importance of Muslin Test Samples

Once any necessary adjustments have been made to the muslin test sample, a final pattern can be created based on the muslin version. The final garment can then be made in the desired fabric. This process helps ensure that the final garment will fit properly and look the way the designer intended.

Muslin test samples are particularly important in the haute couture industry, where garments are often custom-made for individual clients. In this context, a muslin test sample can help ensure that the final garment will fit perfectly and meet the client’s expectations.

A Creative Opportunity Both in Design and Income Stream

In addition to being a useful tool for garment-making, muslin test samples can also be a creative opportunity. Designers and seamstresses can experiment with different design elements and techniques on a muslin test sample before committing to them in the final garment.   

If you are looking for an opportunity with us, please write us at

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Marjorie Vaudreuil

HI. I'M MARGIE I love creating and creations of all kinds! I love Jesus, I love my family and I love to teach! That's what makes life exciting for me and that is why I have so much to share with you. I am founder and owner of SewingPatternSecrets LLC, based in Boston, MA. I am a writer and an avid sewist with a background in fine art and design from New England School of Art and Design, Boston. Sewing Patterns Secrets was conceived with my husband (my #1 supporter), inspired partly from my grandmother, but largely inspired by my mother, who passed in 2017. She supported many decades of my artistry, including, but not limited to, sewing. Whilst my mother was indeed, an important benefactor, my husband has unfailingly supported all of my endeavours and is the Director of Sales. As the Product and Project Director, I conceptualized, developed, produced, tested, and edited all of the 125+ curated sewing patterns, instructions and ebooks, using my decades of experience. I managed a team of fashion designers to help me with the 3D software and production. I and three other master seamstresses, vector artists, graphic designers, and one amazing fashion illustrator. Production took two solid years of detail and hard work and another six months of sales funnel creation. I give thanks to: Fer, Rima, Oksana, Debbie, Kathreen, Suanne, Elizabeth, Jacki, Bronwen, Kimberly, and the many others who contributed. As such, I am gifted with the ability to share with you my expertise and everything that I have learned along the way, as relates not only sewing, but to project and product creation and all areas of design: web, graphic, fashion, pattern and product creation. This would include 10s of software, marketing and SEO tools, affiliate marketing and so much more. All you have to do is ask! In addition to writing all of the ebooks for Sewing Pattern Secrets, I am also the main writer of this blog, but looking for other (Human) sewing bloggers who would like to partner with us. We welcome guest bloggers, vloggers, influencers and also an invitation to blog for you as well. We always want your advice and we also want to hear from you regarding ideas and improvements to our blog, product, or advertising. PLEASE COMMENT. Please do write me at Blessings, Margie "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you." 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (coming soon)

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