Sunday, February 28, 2016

Marfy Make - Blouse 3888

I pre-ordered the spring summer 2016  Marfy pattern catalog back in Jan. and it arrived in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. I have about 7 issues of this catalog, some purchased as far back as 2002  Each issue comes with a couple of  "free" traceable patterns on an insert,  in sizes 42 to 50  ( US equivalent 6-14).   The insert patterns are usually simple tops, blouses and the occasional pants and jackets. While browsing through my latest issue, I realized l have never made one of the 'free' Marfy patterns.

Free Patterns Marfy Spring Summer 2016

 And that became my next sewing project.  I have been seeing lots of black blouses lately, in BurdaSyle, on the Internet fashion sites, and this one caught my eye. Blouse pattern 3888, with a stand collar, shaped lapel,  3/4 sleeves with contrast trim on the cuffs and center front, and armhole princess seams in both the back and front.

Marfy 3888

Near the top of the fabric piles that threaten to topple onto my work space, were a couple of fabrics that were perfect for the blouse. A light weight black, machine washed, silk dupioni, and for the trim a burgundy and black, cross woven, linen metallic. My measurements matched Marfy size 48 in the bust and a size 50 in the waist and hips. I checked the finished garment measurements and there was plenty of ease in the waist and hips of the size 48, so that is the size I chose. I did check the pattern against my sloper. I had to make the same upper back and shoulder alterations I make on any other commercial pattern. I am 5’ 8” tall which is usually a couple inches taller than pattern companies draft patterns for. When I used the patterns in the Italian Mia Boutique magazine I had to do significant length changes. Surprisingly I did not have to lengthen any of the body or sleeve pieces of this Marfy pattern.

 There are no directions with Marfy patterns. This slows me down because I have to think about and plan for next steps while sewing. I gave a lot of thought to the contrast trim. Cutting off the seam allowance and using bias binding seemed the logical choice until I realized that would be difficult to do neatly on a cuff that had to be seamed to a gathered sleeve bottom with a placket. I also had to figure out the width of the trim I wanted. My original choice of 1/2 inch was to wide for the narrow cuff and the front extension ( distance between center front and front edge). I ended up using a version of the "Mystery Bias Binding" described in Roberta Carr's book  "Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing" and attributed to Chanel. Contrast bias binding is attached to the top layer of cuff and lapel. Bottom cuff and lapel facing is cut from same contrast fabric and when sewn together looks like under cuff/facing wraps around to upper piece. Except I didn't use the contrast fabric for the lapel or cuff facings.
Marfy blouse 3888

Neckline Marfy 3888
Cuff Marfy 3888
 Marfy supplies an upper collar, lower collar and  front facing pattern pieces, but no back facing pattern. So I drafted one myself. I like back facings because they nicely cover the neckline seaming and provide a great place to attach a label.

  I am very happy with the fit of the finished blouse and am considering sewing  some of the other free blouse patterns.

After spending so much time on the blouse, it was fun to whip up a TNT( tried and true) skirt  from Pamela's Pattern The Magic Pencil Skirt  in little over an hour. The fabric is a stretch suiting from Vogue. One side is a tweed, the other is a tweed with blotches of a black shiny substance. I don't know what the black coating is,but I pressed it with the iron on high heat with no change or melting. Cool looking fabric.



Marfy 3888

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Keeping Warm - Wool Tunic Vogue 1456

I spent 3 wonderful days at a sewing retreat a couple weeks ago.  One of my project was Vogue 1456, a Sandra Betzina tunic, semi fitted top with front princess seams, zipper closure and artful draping with hidden pockets at the side hip. There is a vest and a tunic in the pattern. The front of the vest has different draping than the tunic.  For some reason, the line drawing does not include the 4 darts in the tunic lower back hem. 

I am a big Sandra fan , and always attend her workshops or seminars when they are offered locally. I was saddened to learn that she is retiring and will not be traveling after next year.  But given her age 70’s ( which surprised me)  I totally understand. I also hope I look as good, and dress as creatively as she does,  as I get older. 

The fabric used for the tunic on the front the pattern was a wool challis, mentioned by Sandra in a video (link below) , but not listed as a recommended fabric on the pattern envelope.  I just happened to have the same wool challis print in my stash, in two color ways; gray and black and green and black. Vogue Fabrics had the blue and black version for a while, but it is sold out.

My green challis print was a bright Kelly green, a “Yikes!  Not what I expected.”  online fabric purchase (FMF) surprise.   I had never dyed wool fabric before, always concerned that the required hot dye bath and slight agitation would change the texture (felt)  of the wool fabric .  But with this fabric I  had nothing to lose,  so  I simmered the fabric in a pot of  grey blue dye.  It successfully darkened the Kelly green somewhat and did not affect the fabric feel and drape.  The pattern calls for a 24 inch separating zipper.  Because only heavy jacket zippers were available locally, I  had to ordered a  light weight separating zipper from SewTrue
 The tunic was a fun sew, in that there is some unique seaming and the  draping is different and not something I had done before.  The directions are fine, but I did refer to the illustrations a lot.  I also practiced the pleats on the pattern paper before doing it in the fabric.  There is a 2.5 minute preview of the tunic pattern available on Sandra’s Power Sewing site.  And a link to a full length  tunic construction video which is available to watch free for a limited time. Power Sewing Tunic Vogue 1456  She emphasizes interfacing the center front opening  to support the zipper and give tips on how to place the drapes if more room is needed in the hip area. Well worth watching.

Many of the retreat attendees that wandered by to see what I was working on expressed concern on the location of the drapes in the hip area, and that the silhouette would be unflattering.  The informal consensus at the ‘what do you think” modeling session; the semi fitted top nicely offsets the flare below the bust.  Drapey fabric is key to a successful version of this garment. Unless you are slim hipped, then you have the option to use fabric with more body.  The style is a bit too “different “for my casual business work environment, but is perfect  for wearing around the house on a weekend or for a outing with  kindred "creatives". It is fricken cold outside and very windy so unfortunately the photos were taken inside.

Vogue 1456

Vogue 1456 side

Vogue 1456 hidden pocket