It is highly unlikely that I will ever own a couture gown. Maybe if I won the lotto, although those chances are not great since I do not even play/enter/whatever you call it.
But I can make my own (well, maybe not as incredible as something from a couture atelier, but something special, just the same)!
One of my favorite styles is the "New Look" silhouette from Dior, and when I came across the vintage Advance pattern, I thought of the gorgeous black beaded work of art from Galliano's Fall/Winter 2007-08 Haute Couture Collection.
Step 1: The Muslin
The Benefits of Making a Muslin
This adventure started with a muslin - there is no sense spending hours and hours on embellishments if the darn thing will not fit! And I generally learn a few things during the process. This time around, the sleeves were impossibly long, so I cut off the excess, along with some skirt length. Saving that fabric made it possible to add cuffs later on.
Although they may not be the most glamorous of projects, there are quite a few reasons for making a muslin of your pattern.
If your fabric is expensive, or irreplaceable, and you are terrified to cut into it, making a muslin version can take some of the scary factor away.
And obviously, getting a proper fit is better accomplished by a test run.
Try as you may, visualizing how pieces of a pattern are put together may be next to impossible, but get those shapes in your hands and things suddenly become crystal clear. Sometimes I have an idea of how something is going to go together, but a test run changes all of that.
If there are techniques that are unfamiliar or you want to practice, a muslin is perfect.
A muslin will actually save on fabric (which seems counterintuitive, I know). But if a skirt or arm length is too long, you can cut away the excess on your muslin and save on your expensive fabric.
Sometimes I cannot be bothered to baste a zipper into a muslin, but they really can make all the difference when testing fit. And it helps to avoid being stabbed by pins holding opening edges in place!
If you are in a rush, consider that edges do not need to be finished, facings are usually unnecessary, and in the long run, a practice garment can save a whole bunch of time and even tears. Consider all of the time saved in seam ripping to achieve a good fit on an untested garment, or mistakes make that cause frustration or even make something unwearable.