Monday, December 2, 2019

Marfy Sew Along

My Thanksgiving holiday guests have departed. Normal eating, exercising and work schedules are back in place, and I have time to do blog updates.  I  participated in the SewtofitMarfySewAlong 2019 which finished up earlier this month.  The pattern everyone was sewing was Marfy dress pattern 6180.

The sew along was organized  and managed by Andrea at  She  provided YouTube videos on selecting the proper pattern size and fitting the pattern. Becki Chitwood, who had sewn the dress earlier this year, wrote comprehensive sewing instructions. And Roz from SewMuchFabric posted a video with fabric suggestion for three different looks; Weekend Glamour, Office Daywear and Special Occasion.
There were prizes (random drawing from all participants completing the dress)

$50 gift certificate from @sewmuchfabric
Marfy Catalogue
Pattern from Marfy
Bonus 1-hour Private Fitting consultation with @sewtofit ($55 value)

Back in August, anyone (around 30 people) who were interested in the sew along voted on the pattern. The pattern that was chosen, 6180, was not the pattern I voted for. I was surprised it won because it was not an easy to sew style or one that would look good on all body types.   But then I was assuming that  everyone who voted  actually planned  to sew the pattern.

I made a mock up in  cotton muslin.  I started with a Size 46 which matched my bust measurement.  I added significantly, 4 inches, at the waist and upper hip, tapering back to the original side seam at the hem.  I also added to the upper back beneath the yoke for my rounded back and 5/8 inch at the back shoulder seam to accommodate forward  shoulders.  I removed the high low hem, and lengthened the dress to below my knees.  Even with alterations and a decent fit, the muslin  was unflattering and I considered bailing on the project.

My competitive streak asserted itself and I kept going. Not wanting to waste precious fabric I dug through the deep stash fabrics in the attic and found slightly over a yard of dark green wool crepe. I decided to overlay the yoke with black lace and make the sleeves and flounce in unlined lace. This dress has a curved dart that starts at the hip and curves up to the bust resulting in a very fitted shape in the hip and waist area. I deliberately made the yoke and sleeves a contrasting color to the dress, to visually widen the shoulders and de-emphasis what is really the widest part of my body,  my  hips.

The wool crepe made such a difference to the look of the dress and it flowed smoothly over my curves, something the muslin did not. I actually like the dress a lot. I wore it to my nephew's evening wedding several weeks ago and felt suitably elegant.

   I think I would be perfect as one of the  well-dressed Italian matrons shown in the background of older Dolce and Gabbana advertisements.

 It turns out that many of the participants in the sew along fell by the wayside, for various reasons.  Only three people finished and sent in pictures by the deadline.   That made the odds of winning a prize very high. I won the $50 gift certificate from One can never have to much fabric! And Roz has many lovely ones to choose from.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Diamond Dress - Burda 8 2019 109

In the last year, Burdastyle magazine  has featured several variations of one piece dresses with V necklines and longer flared skirts. I don’t recall ever wearing a dress of this style,  but it looked like a good option for work dressing on a rushed morning.

 To test the water,  I chose  what I thought was the easiest to sew version, Dress 109 from the August 2019 issue.  This dress is in tall sizes 72-88. I am an inch shorter than Burda's tall height but I haven’t found this to be a problem.   The bodice is seamed to the skirt about 1.25 inches above the natural waist. I made an 82 on top 84 below waist.

Dress description:  “Exact cuffs, inlaid pleats along the shoulder ( not in the pattern I traced from magazine )and a moderate V-neckline … the cut of this dress with the bias skirt panel looks good on paper, though the real power of the style is in the wonderfully printed crêpe in electric blue and black.”

The fabric I chose for my wearable muslin was an inexpensive  polyester crepe.

  The little diamonds were printed on the diagonal. Because the  skirt is cut on the bias, the  diamonds end up in horizontal and vertical lines on the skirt.  Probably no one but a sewist would notice, but I didn’t care for it, especially over the tummy. Why didn’t I realize that would happen before cutting?  Because I was at a sewing retreat when I was cutting this dress out and was doing more talking that paying attention to what I was doing.

I like the style and fit on me, however my choice of fabrics resulted in a rather sober, dark dress.

The dress definitely needs a belt to accent the waist and breakup the expanse of black. For fun I purchased a coordinating belt bag to copy the styling in the magazine picture.  It actually proved to be quite useful as well as decorative.  During my normal work day, I attend many meetings in different parts of a very large building.  I always carry  my laptop, wireless mouse, phone, and a pen. Often juggling the last three items or putting them in various garment pockets.  The belt bag was great for neatly carrying them all in one place.

BurdaStyle 8 2019 109

I am thinking of making this dress again but in a lovely print wool challis.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Transition Sewing Vogue 1644

My late summer sewing plans got derailed by the arrival of my new Vogue fall patterns.
Specifically Vogue 1644 described as "Fitted jacket is unlined and has buttoned trim with snap closures. B: Slightly flared pants have fly closure with zipper, waistband hook and bars, side slant pockets and back patch pockets with top stitching detail.  Recommended Fabrics: Embroidered Fabrics, Novelty Suiting, Crepe.

 One of the fashion Vlogger's I follow talks about a personal work uniform. The outfit you can easily assemble from your closet. That  makes you feel confident.  The one you would choose for a big presentation or to make a good impression.  My uniform is dark slacks or skirt, a bright solid color blouse and a black and white patterned jacket.  In its simplest form it looks like this.

My Work uniform

But  I amp it up a bit by  sewing the jackets  using black and white fabrics of different types of  tweeds, jacquard weaves,  prints, etc.  For this jacket my fabric was a cotton/poly Ecru /Navy/Black Jacketing.

 The jacket is unlined and the instructions have you bind the facing and hem edges with bias binding.  I had hoped this might become a Tried and True (TNT) pattern I could use to whip up an unlined jacket in an interesting fabric when inspiration hit.  For various reasons, this was not to be.

 Normally I have no problem with the sleeve lengths of Vogue jacket patterns. So I didn’t bother to check the length of the sleeves on this pattern. That was a big mistake.  The sleeves were too short. 2 inches too short.  What?? Was it a coincidence that the hem allowance was supposed to be 2 inches.  Any chance the pattern drafter forgot the step in the pattern drafting software to add the additional length for the  hem to the sleeve. There is no mention of sleeve length in the description and  they look full length on the model in the  envelope cover picture. Oh well, my solution was to cut off 2 inches, and used two more inches as a hem resulting in a  3/4 length sleeve.

Raw edge look?

Even before I discovered the sleeve length issue, I thought  the bottom sleeve diameter was wider than normal for  a two piece, shaped sleeve.  To confirm this,  I measured several RTW and Burda and Vogue sewn blazers.  They all had sleeve wrist circumferences between 10 and 11".  This pattern had a sleeve hem circumference of  12.5".   I  reshaped the sleeves along the seam lines, removing 2 inches of the original wrist circumference.

In case you are thinking I am being a bit of a nit picker about my sleeves...  I feel it is so important to have space between the body and a sleeve in a jacket to look slimmer. especially a shorter boxy jacket like this one. (I don't agree with the "fitted" pattern description)

I used purchased fabric covered snaps to actually hold the jacket closed.

Fabric Covered Snap Fastener
I think these look so much better than any fabric covered snap I could make with the home sewer method of covering snaps with fabric. You know the "cut circles of fabric slightly bigger than your snaps, work a running stitch around the edge of the circle, gather  etc.". Both the top and bottom of these snaps have two pieces, which are put together like a  covered button. I have never seen  uncovered snaps (just the metal bits)  of this configuration for sale.  I ordered these  through Amazon from a Chinese vendor. Low price, but three week delivery time.

Bias trimmed seams and covered snaps

The pants included in this pattern are the new wide leg style that seems to be in every new Vogue wardrobe pattern that has come out recently.  I am on the fence on this style. For the purposes of photographing the jacketing I wore it with a similar wide leg (24")  pair of Eileen Fisher silk pants and  I like the look. However I have come close to falling down the stairs, when the wide legs of the pant I was wearing caught on the heel of my shoe, so I am a bit leery about wearing wide leg pants in certain places.

Vogue 1644 Jacket

Vogue 1644  Jacket

Sunday, August 11, 2019


Hubby and I celebrated a wedding anniversary recently. One of those landmark ones  where the number ends in a zero.  A great reason to sew a special dress.

On a sewing related  Facebook group, there was a post from a woman making a dress with an embroidered lace fabric she had purchased at JoAnn's. The embroidered flowers were described as Dahlias, but did not look like any I grow in my garden.

  I instantly recognized it as the fabric used to make Vogue  9372,  Hmm, a bit much for me.

 and  the  April 2019  Burdastyle style 118. This one I like.

The Burda dress is a great special occasion style. Fitted through the body, with an  off the shoulder neckline and asymmetrical collar. There was a couple yards of the fabric available at my local store and it was on sale.   In short order it was on my sewing table.

The dress is underlined, except for the sleeves.  I hand basted the rayon underlining to all the lace pieces, then treated these basted pieces of fabric as one for further sewing. My serger and sewing machine were able to handle the  layer of underlining and the random heavily embroidered areas of  the lace, but they both sounded like an all terrain vehicle traveling on rough ground.

hand basted underlining

I made a size 42 from the waist up and a size 44 below. I have smaller, squarish, forward shoulders and I wanted the shoulder area to fit well so I did a lot of fitting in that area and customized the darts on the RHS sleeve  and collar. I  applied twill tape to the shoulder seam of the unlined lace sleeve to stabilize that part of the neckline  during fitting, and sewing on the collar.

Twill tape on neckline seam 

 Since all garment sections are underlined (except for sleeves) there is no lining, and the neckline is supposed to be finished by a facing. The facing  pattern was a rather odd shape.

 Since I had custom fit the neckline, I didn't want to transfer those changes to the facing pattern and add even more layers of fabric to the neckline seam,  I chose to face the neckline with a 1.5" grosgrain ribbon that I shaped to the neckline.  
Burda 4 2019 dress 118 side

Burda 4 2019 dress 118 front

Burda 4 2019 Dress 118

Dahlia flowers on my dress, to celebrate 40 years of marriage (and no dalliances).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Marfy Blouse Trio

Over the years I have purchased many  Marfy patterns, but I have only sewn 2, a blouse and an unblogged pair of pants.  Motivated by a recent Marfy Challenge sponsored by online fabric retailer Sew Much Fabric Marfy Challenge  and a Facebook group that was having a Marfy blouse sew along, I decided to sew several Marfy blouse  patterns.  Sort of like an intensive self directed study of Marfy blouse sizing, drafting and ease for by body.  And to document it in writing for future reverence, something I don’t usually do

Marfy  patterns are described as offering a “high-fashion, sophisticated home sewing experience for expert-level sewers”. They  are available from McCall's Pattern site McCall's Marfy and Marfy's own site. 
Marfy Patterns:
  • Do not have cutting layouts
  • Do not have seam allowances
  • Do not have hem allowances
  • Do not have instructions for assembly
  • Are expensive...…..But they have such unique styles.
First sewn was Marfy 5187 

  Description: “This shirt has a little collar, front placket, yoke and sleeves with low-cut armhole. To be made of various colors, or even in a crew-neck version with box pleat and hidden fastening. I made the collared version. The fabrics are sand washed rayon’s and silk ( dark blue).   My Marfy size for blouses, based on my bust measurement, is 46. For reference I make a size 42 in Burda and a Size 14 in Vogue for tops.  For some reason I had purchased this pattern in a size 48.  So I made a muslin.  It had loads of wearing ease, and the cross-back width and shoulders were too wide for my body. I reduced the shoulder width 1/2 inch and took out some of the upper side width allocated for side bust tissue, where the side seam curved out.  I essentially moved the armhole in ½ inch on each side.  I like the look of the extended shoulder seam of this blouse, but will  have to play around at styling  the blouse since I do not usually wear loose blouses like this.

Marfy 5187 front
Marfy 5187 back
Marfy 5187

The second blouse was Marfy 8509.

 This was purchased from the 2002/3 catalog and is not available either in the current catalog or on either website. This pattern too was  a size 48 . I did not make a muslin. Again the shoulders/back width were way too wide. I decided in my confidence to reduced the width in the  hips as well as the shoulder. This was before reading the description  ” tight-fitting single-breasted tunic has a shirt like collar. It has 2 pleats at the back which are closed at the waist and open into a slit at the bottom. It is closed by cross strings as are the flared cuffs.” I should have double checked the hip width before cutting.  The hip area is too tight, even using  ¼" seam allowances on side and front princess seams. The fabric is a thrift store find. I am guessing rayon/cotton.  Wrinkles like crazy. So this one is a wearable muslin. Love the style.  I plan to make this one again in a firmer fabric with more room in the hips.

Marfy 8509

Marfy 8509  Side

Marfy 8509 back

The third blouse is Marfy 5209 described as “Sculpted blouse and shirt-style stand-up collar forming a bow.”

This is one of the patterns sewn in the challenge.  I was intrigued by the bias-cut side panels used to shape the blouse. Darting is built into both the back and front side panels. To emphasize the bias, I chose a blue check silk from my stash.  Only problem was the check was very uneven. They were not square and there is a faint white line woven in on one side of the check.   So matching was difficult but IMHO, still better than RTW.  This pattern was a size 46. Surprisingly the shoulder seams were still too wide.  I removed width from the back and shoulders, and after checking the hip width, added some extra in this area.  I love the fit through the bust. The length is a bit to long for my preferences.
Marfy 5209 Front

Marfy 5209 Back

Marfy 5209
This was a fun exercise,  I feel more confident,  and incented to sew  some of  my  Marfy dress patterns. Especially since I have received  "Save the Day"  cards for two winter weddings. One for the palindrome date of 02/22/20. Isn't that cute,  and easy to remember?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Blue Mix

The inspiration for my latest sewn garments is this picture. I liked the combination of the crisp blue striped jacket and the floral print top.  I had similar fabrics in my stash. A medium weight blue stripe cotton chambray fabric and a blue and white silk  scarf print.

For the shawl collar jacket I considered  a recent  BurdaStyle magazine jacket and Kwik Sew 4223

 I chose Kwik Sew thinking it would be the easier sew.  In hind sight I would have been much more satisfied with the Burda pattern fit. I had forgotten how much ease  Kwik Sew patterns have. My measurements put me in a Large size. I chose to make a size Medium based on the finished garments measurement for that size,  which still had 3-4 " wearing ease over my measurements. The shoulder and back widths are also wider than other patterns I use. I  reduced both of those areas which was easy enough to do by moving  the armholes in about an inch on each side.  I changed the front  lapel,  which was double breasted, to single breasted and adding elbow darts to shape the sleeves. To make the chambray fabric a bit more robust and reduce wrinkles,  I underlined all the pieces with a white silk jacquard fabric. Another piece from the box of fabrics gifted to me by my aunt.

The fabric for the top was a "remnant" or "by the piece".  I am a sucker for these types of bargains.  Buyer beware. Below is the website description.

When the fabric arrived, the colors coordinated beautifully with my jacket fabric and the silk was a lovely weight. But the new guy must  have been running the printing machine because this is what the print looked like.

The pattern and style of top I had planned to make required two full square scarf panels. Sigh! The project stalled until one day I was  sitting in my car, at a very long red light, with a  bag of "to be donated" sewing patterns on the passenger seat beside me.  I grabbed a few off the top to confirm they were no longer need.  One was Simplicity 2570.

I noticed the top was designed for wovens and had gathering at the center front, sort of like a scarf might be gathered if worn under a jacket.  I decided to play around with the pattern pieces on my weirdly printed fabric.  With some creative pattern layout I was able to get a top I liked.

Simplicity 2570 top in scarf print

Simplicity 2570 top back  in scarf print

Kwik Sew 4223 jacket, Simplicity 2570 top

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Blending In

Ah, the quick trip to the sewing store to find some buttons for the current project. But the buttons are located way in the back of the store, probably on purpose. Does anyone study the meandering of customers in JoAnn's Fabrics?  I stay in the main aisle, eyes forward, reach the button section and amazingly find buttons in the perfect shape, size and quantity. I turn to retrace my steps. Just a quick glance in the direction of  the discounted fabric table.  And what do I see, a print in the same colors as my current project, in a natural fiber, and on sale.  How can I resist.

A soft cotton  pin wale corduroy with the name "Red Watercolor".  It had many shades of red and purple in it. I love red. It is my favorite color.  

Red Watercolor
Did I decide what I will make with it before purchasing.  Heck no, what fun is that? It is only later that I ponder what corduroy garments I need in my wardrobe, and nothing comes to mind. So I research what designers make from printed corduroy. Just about anything really.

Designer Printed Corduroy Garments

In the end I decided a top or shirt would be the best for me.  Something that would not to be tucked in as even the softest cotton corduroy has a bit of  rigidity due to the raised wales. I chose  Burda 10 2018 #117.

It is described as a classic white blouse with a modern wrap style. With the promise that the” full dip of the V-neckline and a tying waistband make it an incredibly figure flattering look.” The few I could find online, one at Patternreview and several on the Russian Burda site, were made in solid shirting fabrics like the inspiration picture.  All looked very nice.

 Both my fabric and the design were easy to sew. No issues of any kind.  Of course because I had not planned my project when I purchased my fabric, I did not have enough fabric for the tie belt. 

When I was looking for spots in the yard to take photos, I discovered that my yard was going through a red/purple phase. If I am anything, I am consistent in my color preferences, even for garden shrubs and flowers.

Loropetalum,- Chinese fringe bush and top

one button on cuff

Crab Apple tree and me