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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 2M ago

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what best to sew for the momentous occasion that is both my husband’s 40th, AND the first weekend away without our daughter since she reluctantly allowed herself to be dragged into this world (at 42+1 weeks, I might add).

I definitely feel like my style has changed since then – certainly, I have changed – although I’d no better be able to describe what my style is now than before.

Lately I’ve been feeling adventurous – in my imagination at least – and there is definitely an itch building to try a new to me style, to make a new-to-me silhouette work. I suspect this has originated with the wide leg pants thing going on, this new style having long since entrenched itself in mainstream fashions (goodness knows I’m no early adopter in this space). Or perhaps it’s a newfound and not-at-all-unpleasant insouciant mindset towards my body.

The Named Pattern’s Keilo wrap dress I just made was a tentative dip in those waters, and one I’m really very pleased with. Another very recent moment was trying on Sarah’s Ogden Cami, a pattern that I had completed written off due to the expectation that those lines would just look ridiculous on me. But, I found myself REALLY liking it.

Problem is…

Back when Trent and I first started dating, we did one of those whirlwind trips away – last minute plane tickets with Tiger Air to Alice Springs, picking up two spots from cancellations in a cheep-n-cheerful backpacker-style tour that involved sleeping in swags under the stars, allowing us to take in the sights of the Red Centre (Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon) over three days, a trip which overall probably costed less than the fabric used to sew this dress. There are some pretty spectacular Aboriginal artworks up the Top End of the Northern Territory, but in the Red Centre, not so much. Our very passionate and knowledgeable tour guide (worth their weight in gold!) asked us to think about why that was so… It was a simple matter of resources. Food was plentiful and easy to come by up north so they were able to devote time to developing the creative and story-telling culture – expressed also via art. Not so much out in the desert.

Basically, I’m somewhat akin to a southern Aboriginal person in this sense – there isn’t enough resources (time, in my case) to really explore this to the extend I would like to do. And there are still so many gaps in my wardrobe that I would like to fill with me-made, before I get to the real creative freedom part.

So I’m making do with a small incremental change instead.

Enter, Vogue 8827:

I’ve always been drawn to fitted dresses, so this flowing and loose style is different but definitely low-risk. I’ll admit mostly this was inspired by the silk robe I made for our wedding – I wear this on the regular and feel amazing in it, so the thought of making something similar and outside-the-house appropriate was a very attractive concept! Not to mention it’s high credentials for being able to eat an epic banquet and still feel comfortable ;)

It is definitely in the secret pyjamas category – this dress is essentially a bathrobe with daywear appropriate sleeves.

PATTERN
It’s an amorphous kind of style, made even more so by the slippery charmeuse I made it from. A very simple pattern to pull together – the hardest part really is wrangling those blasted giant tissue paper pieces to get the darned thing traced out. And then dealing with long pieces of slippery fabric., Vogue’s size 14 always seems to fit across my shoulders and bust decently well, so that’s the size I went with. There isn’t really much to fit, considering it is just a shapeless rectangular wrap dress with a belt tie to hold it together and give it some form.

I did make a few minor changes though….

Like turning the gathering at the centre back into an inverted box pleat. Oh, and shortening it by 13cm.

The dress itself is held together with not much more than the tie at your waist. It has an ok-enough overlap between the front two pieces, and includes in the instructions a 1/4″ ribbon tie to secure the underlapping front piece to the opposite side seam.

Instead of using the suggested ribbon treatment for ties – I made some spaghetti straps out of some bias strips from the leftovers – the same as those I made for my bias cami (any opportunity to practice a new skill!) – and added in a loop at the waist on one side (worked into the French seam on the second pass), and corresponding two ties on the other side. This is hidden when wearing it as it’s underneath the overlapping front piece.

Thinking about how to attache the ties…

… I ended up deciding on sewing a little window, and pulling the ties through it to hide the ends.

And then I’ve topstitched in place (view from the back side)

And view from the front.

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Linen.

I’ve always admired this textile from afar, patting bolts in gorgeous natural and subdued colours in fabric shops, wistfully sighing whilst reading about other sewists’ linen creations (Ah, Morgan and Bella!). It’s a fabric that lasts (structurally sound), sustainable (the flax plant prospers in poor soil, AND pesticides are not required to separate fibres from the flax plant’s stem), is relatively inexpensive and breathable.

But, I’ve always liked to present as a neat person (I’m not actually neat in real life – ask my husband!!!) so the wrinkle crinkle factor I’ve struggled to get around. Sure sure, you have to go with the patina of the fabric, they say. To try and get the best of both worlds, I’ve been searching for (and continue to search for) Moygashel Linen (thanks to my resident Moygashel doyenne, Karen), but as that loom is now out of production, I have not yet come across any vintage pieces that take my fancy.

Perhaps its the getting older/having children thing that has pushed my style/fabric preferences in a slightly different direction, but I did just recently buy a linen knit top, which I’ve been wearing heaps (and un-ironed, too)…  I figured it was time to just do it.

You know, sew with Linen.

And just in the nic of time, what, with autumn truly in swing down in Melbourne, it was only an Easter trip up north that meant I could get any mileage out of this before it gets packed away at the back of the cupboard, to wait for next summer. Chris Hemsworth obviously missed the memo that I would be in Byron for the week, as unfortunately I was unable to spot him out and about this time around…

I think this is one hellava pattern for making the short-legged (me) appear to be proportioned otherwise!

…until I stick my knee out and you see that no, in fact, that is not the case. XD

Wasp brooch I’m in love with, picked up for a song from Jimmy’s Buttons during a trip earlier during the year

PATTERN
The Named Keilo Wrap Dress is a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a long time. There was an instagramer who made a Keilo in linen that I just loved the look of (however they will remain anonymous because I can no longer find them or recall their handle) and the aesthetic of their make just really stuck with me – it did look just gorgeous.

So obviously I muslined it – a pattern designed for fabric with 20% stretch does not just translate to woven without any teething issues! Especially not when you’ve got a bust bigger than what is typically drafted for, and broad shoulders. And I do recall my inspiration version to be rather ill fitting despite its fabulousness – the armscye was too small and it was also a wee bit tight across the upper bust/chest.

Based on my measurements – the size chart says I should cut the Size 44 at the bust, and 40 at the hips. Due to working with the woven – I chose to size up, and cut the Size 46, grading down to the 42 at the hip mark. This appeared to work ridiculously well.

Positives – the pattern has markings for both hips, waist and bust. Negatives – the pattern’s largest size is a 46. I know enough about size grading to know that size ranges are typically split into two to ‘try’ to account for the proportion changes between shapes and sizes at either extreme, but I do think it a bit ridiculous that the 46 is the upper echelon in size for a pattern that is shapeless and so ridiculously simple to construct that I can sew together the muslin whilst half-cut (ok, maybe three quarters cut…) on sangria and champagne at 9pm on a Saturday night, then start cutting out and sewing together the real thing at 8am on Sunday morning with a hangover, and basically have it finished. (I spent the weekend at Sewjourn, and it was FAAAAABULOUS).

Seriously, this pattern is the most easiest of sews!

I shortened it by 13cm (which required the back split also to be raised by the same amount), and when muslined with the 1cm seam allowances, decided that this additional width at the shoulders was perfect for me, so technically I added new seam allowances to this area also.

I also removed a large wedge (about 5cm, tapering down to nothing at the side seams) from the back pattern piece, at the waist.

I was very quick and dirty with the construction of it, with nary a french seam in sight. There is probably more overlocking than regular machine stitching in this. As the dress has nada in the way of fasteners or openings, that really steps up the easy-ness factor.

I was nearly finished sewing it up when I realised a part of me inside was dying with the knowledge there is nothing inherently fabulous or covertly couture regarding this garment’s construction. So I whacked in some silk organza selvedge strips at the seam that finishes under the arm (I’d already noticed the Linen fibres at this point were pulling apart from being hoiked in opposite directions) and handstitched down the self-fabric bias binding around the neckline and armholes. There is also a wee bit of organza selvege at the back split, which I’ve done a zig-zag stitch over the top of, to help support that split.

And I immediately felt better.

Quick and dirty construction resulting in wonky tie insertion…

…offset by some lovely hand-sewn in bias binding.

A little bar tack at the top of the split…

… reinforced with a bit of extra support at the back.

Some of my stay-stitching is kinda visible there, but mostly it’s well hidden by the weave of the linen. I’ve listened to a few of the Love-To-Sew podcasts, and was really quite taken aback about the number of people getting hung up on sewing perfection. It rather surprised me as it’s not something I’ve ever put much energy into thinking about. Nothing is more soul killing than the pursuit of perfection! Embrace those imperfections, focus your energy where it counts the most (highly visible stuff – this is the reason I always avoid topstitching, ha!) and care less about the bits that need only be functional (like overlocking the armscye seam of a set in sleeve, in an otherwise ‘couture’ top, because I really hate dealing with fancy finishing’s here!). I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I try to keep my eye on the big picture – this dress is a great example of that.

FABRIC
This linen is from the Cloth Shop. I was particularly taken with the chambray effect of the two coloured fibres that make it up, and as is always with Linen, I immediately find myself wanting to incorporate the selvedge somehow. Is that just me?

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Continuing on from 2017 being the year of the shirt, perhaps 2018 will be the year of the shirt dress?

There’s always been a gap in my wardrobe for a work appropriate dress suitable for really hot days. This gap has now been filled, and very much in the nick of time too – as it’s been a warm summer.

PATTERN
I cut a size 14 to muslin, just over a year ago. But I couldn’t get the front button plackets to even meet across the front (let along overlap!) – quick was the realisation that I’d need to wait until I finished breastfeeding before I tackled this… Seriously, boobage volume whilst breastfeeding is insane. Sure enough when I tried my year old muslin on just before Christmas in 2017, it fit.

Well, sort of.

My muslin showed I needed to drop the waist a good 5cm and the skirt length raised about 2 cm.  It does appear to be very short-torso in the bodice. And if I was really honest – it possibly needed a full bust adjustment. Enough significant changes to warrant a second muslin, rather than just tweaking with the fit on this one.

Except when I went back to look at the pattern pieces – it actually has the waist marked 4cm below the waist seam – so this high waist was intentional, and I left that change off, just altering the hem length accordingly (although since wearing it a few times, I now wish I hadn’t messed with the hem length!).

I ended up not doing an FBA (even after partially making my way through the instructions by Cennetta from Mahogany Stylist, which are excellent – btw – especially as I find such fitting alterations to be beyond my mental capacity since becoming a parent, so having her pictures was pure gold). After spending a few hours wearing my muslin around the house, I decided it would do. It obviously doesn’t have the ease across the bust that is evident in other people’s makes, but I can live with it.

I love the hidden button placket – my buttons are from Buttonmania. Another-post-them-in-a-sample-of-fabric-to-match-buttons too job. I’m really pleased with the match, even though they’re for the main part hidden from view!

The buttons perfectly match the print’s background blue-grey, although every photo I took makes them look like a completely different shade!

That neckline is a lovely detail, with pleats emanating from the centre back seam, and sitting around the front of your neck in a similar fashion to a shawl collar. I found that the bit of fabric folded under really needed to be tacked down to the underside as far up as you can possible go, to maintain a nice shape at the front. The three pleats are tricky to seam match – I figured 2 out of 3 was perfectly reasonable!

FABRIC
I had originally intended on sewing this up with a Liberty cotton tana lawn in the yellow floral Claire-Aude ‘D’ print. Coming from a revolving wardrobe palette of blues and greys, this felt risky, and not in a good way. I justified the risk by wanting to use up a stash fabric and this was the only thing both suitable and lengthy enough for this pattern. Which takes up some 3 meters of fabric!

I rather wish I had had the ‘C’ variation of this in my stash instead – this is far more in my comfort zone than the yellow. I reckon I pull off the yellow ok-ish, but it’s not amazing. And certainly when it comes to getting photos – the light has to be perfect to actually convey that. Otherwise it does have the tendancy to wash me out a wee bit.

But just before cutting, nerves got the better of me, and I ditched the yellow, and bought a different Liberty – June’s Meadow, in the grey colourway. Which was frustrating because it meant having to wait for it to arrive in the post! I at least managed to start on a muslin for my next project…. This fabric is far more in the comfort zone, and highly unlikely to make me look washed out.

Funny thing with this fabric – IRL I don’t see the pattern repeat of it, but every time I see it in a photo, the repeat really jumps out at me! Funny how photos can change what our eyes are immediately drawn to.

The tana lawn has been underlined with organza, because I think this is a pattern that really benefits from a fabric with body to really highlight the shaping – hence why I suppose the recommended fabrics are broadcloth and linen. Organza underlining obviously delivers that in spades.

Interestingly, Susan mentioned to me during January’s-just-past-class that Australian organza is really smooth – too smooth – which isn’t ideal for underlining as it’s not ‘grippy’ enough. Since then I’ve worked with both types and I’d agreed – but it sure does work well for underlining if you’re not planning to line your garment – and no way was I intending to bother with that for this. I’d also just gone halvies in a bolt of organza with Sarah, so I’ll be using it up regardless!

The pattern lists only 150cm wide fabric as the option (requiring a 2.7m length), presumably so you can cut the belt in a continuous piece. Liberty is around the 136cm mark, and I managed this pattern with bang on 3m. My belt is cut in 3 pieces – intentionally, so that the two seams in the belt line up with the side seams of the dress, keeping the illusion of a continuous length. Probably not something that really matters in a busy print such as this, but in my mind’s eye whilst I was dreaming it up, it mattered. It’s a huuuuuge belt though… and in my mind definitely requires’ wrapping it around 1.5 times (which is how you see it on me in this post) – the mid-point of the tie is lined up with my centre front.

The belt is 2.4m long – so thank goodness it’s wide enough to fit your hand in to turn it around!

The location of the pockets in this dress are just fabulous – bang on – but the pocket bag definitely needed additional room so I could have my whole hand in there. Even after adding additional length, I wish I had also added additional width. But, I do love that they just melt into the shape of the dress without detracting from the silhouette. And their angling makes it super easy to get your hands in.

Which is the main reason I’ve had this pattern floating around the top of my to-sew list for several years now – it achieves great shape, without being form fitting. There’s plenty of room to move, but it’s not a sack dress.

I also just LOVE the hem facing. Such a lovely way to finish things off. And that the hem is ever-so slightly curved into a hi-lo, but not that you’d notice when it’s on.

Two problems with the design though – it 100% needs to be worn with a skirt slip. I wear it with the last two buttons undone (because I like to stride – and quickly! – and this means it doesn’t strain much when I’m sitting, as the skirt is pegged) – but it means everyone is going to get a significant view of your underwear when you sit. So after wearing it once, I also made a slip skirt (that sounds a little more modern and less fuddy-duddy than a petticoat, doesn’t it?) in a pale grey silk. One Problem solved.

The other problem – I suspect I ballsed the instructions for the sleeve – the way I read them, it had you fold the sleeve cuffs over, meaning the wrong side of your fabric is on display…. no thanks! But no other review mentions this so perhaps I just messed up interpreting the instructions. So I sort of did a wierd origami thing to make that not the case. If I had my time over again, I’d sew separate cuffs I think.

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The 2018 Marfy Catalogue appears to be the counterpart to the 2017 Evergreen catalogue – covering dresses, outerwear (jackets and coats) and evening dresses. After being really very taken with the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue (aka – The Separates Bible), I was looking forward to seeing it.

The first things that stood out for me – is Marfy 6048!

I was absolutely thrilled to see this pattern in there because it’s almost a carbon copy of Marfy 2005 (below), from the 2009 catalogue. I emailed Marfy to try and buy this pattern sometime in 2012 or 2013 – and they no longer had any left in my size. So I don’t even have to really think – I’ll absolutely be getting this pattern!

The other standout pattern for me, is this dress – Marfy 6179. A really next level evening dress, IMPO. “Dress with loose rayed draping on the back and panel originating from it.  See through effect on yoke and bodice”. Wow.

I recognised quite a few patterns throughout the catalogue – a quick tally up, and I actually have 11 patterns from this catalogue already! Some with slight differences, like Marfy 6080 – almost identical to my Marfy 9814 jacket from this years Couture Sewing School (which is finished all but for the lining, which I’ve yet to start work on!), minus the flounce at the sleeve, and this time with a button placket, rather than joining with hooks and eyes like mine does. I do really like that standup collar though :)

Another similar-but-different pattern is Marfy 6038, which has a shawl collar instead of the stepped collar that Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue:

   

My guess is that as a point of difference – this Evergreen catalogue has what looks like new-to-me patterns as well as many of their past popular patterns, which have been graded into a larger range of sizes. This hypothesis is further supported when I came across Marfy 6175 (which I also already have) – as it’s also been Marfy 9921, as pictured in the back of the catalogues for as long as I can remember:

    

But moving on, here are some of my favourites!

Marfy 6107 – ‘Semi fitted coat with wide collar to be worn fastened in a funnel-style or opened, to be made with or without a belt. Recommended in velour or boiled wool”. Between this beauty and 6048 above, I’m really feeling the want-to-sew-a-coat thing…

Marfy 6123 (and 6029, the dress next to it) is one of the free patterns that comes with the catalogue, and I really like it! “This single breasted, semi-fitted jacket has a loose collar that is turned up at the back, redingote cuts, it can be made with or without triangular lace inserts”. It has a very similar collar to the jacket I made as part of my Vogue Suit, which I really like wearing:

I saw Marfy 6096 and immediately thought of Solange’s wedding dress, even though there are some pretty significant difference (dress, coat, eh), and there is that fabulous standup collar again!

Lets be completely impractial and skip to my favourite evening gowns, hey?

Marfy 6268 totally makes me swoon. This dress has a “lifted up waist and its skirt is wide, cut on the bias and without seams on the side”. Dreamy. Somebody please invite me to a ball, asap.

As for Marfy 6380, I love the train at the back, and the lace placement. It’s also the kind of dress I’d be very keen to take an inside peak at – I’d imagine some kind of supporting structure would be worked into this beauty:

There is also a few beautiful cheongsam inspired dresses, like Marfy 6231. “This dress has an oriental flare. It has a strip collar, skirt with side slit and short cap sleeves. Suggested fabrics are printed silk and shantung”.

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Continuing on from 2017 being the year of the shirt, perhaps 2018 will be the year of the shirt dress?

There’s always been a gap in my wardrobe for a work appropriate dress suitable for really hot days. This gap has now been filled, and very much in the nick of time too – as it’s been a warm summer.

PATTERN
I cut a size 14 to muslin, just over a year ago. But I couldn’t get the front button plackets to even meet across the front (let along overlap!) – quick was the realisation that I’d need to wait until I finished breastfeeding before I tackled this… Seriously, boobage volume whilst breastfeeding is insane. Sure enough when I tried my year old muslin on just before Christmas in 2017, it fit.

Well, sort of.

My muslin showed I needed to drop the waist a good 5cm and the skirt length raised about 2 cm.  It does appear to be very short-torso in the bodice. And if I was really honest – it possibly needed a full bust adjustment. Enough significant changes to warrant a second muslin, rather than just tweaking with the fit on this one.

Except when I went back to look at the pattern pieces – it actually has the waist marked 4cm below the waist seam – so this high waist was intentional, and I left that change off, just altering the hem length accordingly (although since wearing it a few times, I now wish I hadn’t messed with the hem length!).

I ended up not doing an FBA (even after partially making my way through the instructions by Cennetta from Mahogany Stylist, which are excellent – btw – especially as I find such fitting alterations to be beyond my mental capacity since becoming a parent, so having her pictures was pure gold). After spending a few hours wearing my muslin around the house, I decided it would do. It obviously doesn’t have the ease across the bust that is evident in other people’s makes, but I can live with it.

I love the hidden button placket – my buttons are from Buttonmania. Another-post-them-in-a-sample-of-fabric-to-match-buttons too job. I’m really pleased with the match, even though they’re for the main part hidden from view!

The buttons perfectly match the print’s background blue-grey, although every photo I took makes them look like a completely different shade!

That neckline is a lovely detail, with pleats emanating from the centre back seam, and sitting around the front of your neck in a similar fashion to a shawl collar. I found that the bit of fabric folded under really needed to be tacked down to the underside as far up as you can possible go, to maintain a nice shape at the front. The three pleats are tricky to seam match – I figured 2 out of 3 was perfectly reasonable!

FABRIC
I had originally intended on sewing this up with a Liberty cotton tana lawn in the yellow floral Claire-Aude ‘D’ print. Coming from a revolving wardrobe palette of blues and greys, this felt risky, and not in a good way. I justified the risk by wanting to use up a stash fabric and this was the only thing both suitable and lengthy enough for this pattern. Which takes up some 3 meters of fabric!

I rather wish I had had the ‘C’ variation of this in my stash instead – this is far more in my comfort zone than the yellow. I reckon I pull off the yellow ok-ish, but it’s not amazing. And certainly when it comes to getting photos – the light has to be perfect to actually convey that. Otherwise it does have the tendancy to wash me out a wee bit.

But just before cutting, nerves got the better of me, and I ditched the yellow, and bought a different Liberty – June’s Meadow, in the grey colourway. Which was frustrating because it meant having to wait for it to arrive in the post! I at least managed to start on a muslin for my next project…. This fabric is far more in the comfort zone, and highly unlikely to make me look washed out.

Funny thing with this fabric – IRL I don’t see the pattern repeat of it, but every time I see it in a photo, the repeat really jumps out at me! Funny how photos can change what our eyes are immediately drawn to.

The tana lawn has been underlined with organza, because I think this is a pattern that really benefits from a fabric with body to really highlight the shaping – hence why I suppose the recommended fabrics are broadcloth and linen. Organza underlining obviously delivers that in spades.

Interestingly, Susan mentioned to me during January’s-just-past-class that Australian organza is really smooth – too smooth – which isn’t ideal for underlining as it’s not ‘grippy’ enough. Since then I’ve worked with both types and I’d agreed – but it sure does work well for underlining if you’re not planning to line your garment – and no way was I intending to bother with that for this. I’d also just gone halvies in a bolt of organza with Sarah, so I’ll be using it up regardless!

The pattern lists only 150cm wide fabric as the option (requiring a 2.7m length), presumably so you can cut the belt in a continuous piece. Liberty is around the 136cm mark, and I managed this pattern with bang on 3m. My belt is cut in 3 pieces – intentionally, so that the two seams in the belt line up with the side seams of the dress, keeping the illusion of a continuous length. Probably not something that really matters in a busy print such as this, but in my mind’s eye whilst I was dreaming it up, it mattered. It’s a huuuuuge belt though… and in my mind definitely requires’ wrapping it around 1.5 times (which is how you see it on me in this post) – the mid-point of the tie is lined up with my centre front.

The belt is 2.4m long – so thank goodness it’s wide enough to fit your hand in to turn it around!

The location of the pockets in this dress are just fabulous – bang on – but the pocket bag definitely needed additional room so I could have my whole hand in there. Even after adding additional length, I wish I had also added additional width. But, I do love that they just melt into the shape of the dress without detracting from the silhouette. And their angling makes it super easy to get your hands in.

Which is the main reason I’ve had this pattern floating around the top of my to-sew list for several years now – it achieves great shape, without being form fitting. There’s plenty of room to move, but it’s not a sack dress.

I also just LOVE the hem facing. Such a lovely way to finish things off. And that the hem is ever-so slightly curved into a hi-lo, but not that you’d notice when it’s on.

Two problems with the design though – it 100% needs to be worn with a skirt slip. I wear it with the last two buttons undone (because I like to stride – and quickly! – and this means it doesn’t strain much when I’m sitting, as the skirt is pegged) – but it means everyone is going to get a significant view of your underwear when you sit. So after wearing it once, I also made a slip skirt (that sounds a little more modern and less fuddy-duddy than a petticoat, doesn’t it?) in a pale grey silk. One Problem solved.

The other problem – I suspect I ballsed the instructions for the sleeve – the way I read them, it had you fold the sleeve cuffs over, meaning the wrong side of your fabric is on display…. no thanks! But no other review mentions this so perhaps I just messed up interpreting the instructions. So I sort of did a wierd origami thing to make that not the case. If I had my time over again, I’d sew separate cuffs I think.

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The 2018 Marfy Catalogue appears to be the counterpart to the 2017 Evergreen catalogue – covering dresses, outerwear (jackets and coats) and evening dresses. After being really very taken with the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue (aka – The Separates Bible), I was looking forward to seeing it.

The first things that stood out for me – is Marfy 6048!

I was absolutely thrilled to see this pattern in there because it’s almost a carbon copy of Marfy 2005 (below), from the 2009 catalogue. I emailed Marfy to try and buy this pattern sometime in 2012 or 2013 – and they no longer had any left in my size. So I don’t even have to really think – I’ll absolutely be getting this pattern!

The other standout pattern for me, is this dress – Marfy 6179. A really next level evening dress, IMPO. “Dress with loose rayed draping on the back and panel originating from it.  See through effect on yoke and bodice”. Wow.

I recognised quite a few patterns throughout the catalogue – a quick tally up, and I actually have 11 patterns from this catalogue already! Some with slight differences, like Marfy 6080 – almost identical to my Marfy 9814 jacket from this years Couture Sewing School (which is finished all but for the lining, which I’ve yet to start work on!), minus the flounce at the sleeve, and this time with a button placket, rather than joining with hooks and eyes like mine does. I do really like that standup collar though :)

Another similar-but-different pattern is Marfy 6038, which has a shawl collar instead of the stepped collar that Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue:

   

My guess is that as a point of difference – this Evergreen catalogue has what looks like new-to-me patterns as well as many of their past popular patterns, which have been graded into a larger range of sizes. This hypothesis is further supported when I came across Marfy 6175 (which I also already have) – as it’s also been Marfy 9921, as pictured in the back of the catalogues for as long as I can remember:

    

But moving on, here are some of my favourites!

Marfy 6107 – ‘Semi fitted coat with wide collar to be worn fastened in a funnel-style or opened, to be made with or without a belt. Recommended in velour or boiled wool”. Between this beauty and 6048 above, I’m really feeling the want-to-sew-a-coat thing…

Marfy 6123 (and 6029, the dress next to it) is one of the free patterns that comes with the catalogue, and I really like it! “This single breasted, semi-fitted jacket has a loose collar that is turned up at the back, redingote cuts, it can be made with or without triangular lace inserts”. It has a very similar collar to the jacket I made as part of my Vogue Suit, which I really like wearing:

I saw Marfy 6096 and immediately thought of Solange’s wedding dress, even though there are some pretty significant difference (dress, coat, eh), and there is that fabulous standup collar again!

Lets be completely impractial and skip to my favourite evening gowns, hey?

Marfy 6268 totally makes me swoon. This dress has a “lifted up waist and its skirt is wide, cut on the bias and without seams on the side”. Dreamy. Somebody please invite me to a ball, asap.

As for Marfy 6380, I love the train at the back, and the lace placement. It’s also the kind of dress I’d be very keen to take an inside peak at – I’d imagine some kind of supporting structure would be worked into this beauty:

There is also a few beautiful cheongsam inspired dresses, like Marfy 6231. “This dress has an oriental flare. It has a strip collar, skirt with side slit and short cap sleeves. Suggested fabrics are printed silk and shantung”.

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 4M ago

And another one.

The process of making this one was a nightmare. The fabric I chose was determined to be incredibly badly behaved, making the tasks of, cutting, sewing and pressing so very arduous.

I made two right sleeves and only realised when everything was finished except for setting the sleeves in. And I did not have enough fabric to recut another one, because the fabric had some pretty bad flaws (in the form of large blue ink splotches in and around the selvedge – I’m guessing it was digitally printed) that I had to cut around. Actually, I did cut one left and one right sleeve, but somehow managed to flip the underlining piece around the wrong way against my fabric when I pinned them together. It now makes total sense why it was so impossible to see the traced markings for that particular piece. *head desk*.

I choose to blame all of this on my toddler’s new molars.

But, I got through it and I’m really quite pleased with the end result:

PATTERN
It’s from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, and described as “Blouse with drop-shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks. Suggested fabrics: two-coloured organdy, it can also be made with lace applications”.

From looking at the sketch, I just loved that it gives an excuse to make a practical and everyday wearable use for lace. I will definitely be making another version of this with lace at some point in the future!

Looking at this image after the fact, I do prefer the sleeves at that lovely 3/4 mark, compared to the full length sleeve the pattern actually is. I’ll remember to shorten them next time!

In my experience to date, Marfy’s have typically been quite low cut – which doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind a bit of decolletage – but this blouse is really very modest. The neckline sits above where my clavicles stick out at the bottom of your neck, the teardrop shape is quite high up, and the top button in the button placket gives no hint of boobage whatsoever. For Marfy, it’s practically Mormon approved.

The front seaming is a combination of a princess seam and a dart (I have just recently learned this is called a Dior dart, as opposed to a French dart, which emanates from a side seam), which surprisingly didn’t give me much shaping at all, but fit well across the bust. As I’m a size larger for the bust and shoulders than I am at the waist and hips, it’s difficult for me to determine whether the fit is loose because of me or it being the style of the pattern. Probably the latter.

I always feel a wee bit self-conscious in shirts with a lot of gathering at the top of the sleeve cap – it’s not an area that I like to draw attention too – my shoulders are broad enough as it is :) The sleeve cap is higher than your usual, combined with all of the ease being concentrated within a short distance of the shoulder seam – in the muslin photo below I distributed the ease over a larger area, and for the final version you see here, I shaved it down quite a bit.

There is also a lot of gathering at the cuff – which is offset and slightly hidden with a gently peaked French Cuff. I didn’t like it so much once I pulled it off the sewing machine, but then once I put it on – found I quite liked the drama of it all. After sewing the French Cuff on here and on my Wiltshire Shirt, I do wonder if I should be shortening the arm length? I think the eI’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

So in the finished version – I’ve kept the cuff gathering, and quite considerably paired back the sleeve cap ease. Here is the unadjusted muslin, which you can see sits nicely across the shoulders and bust, has a significant amount of space around the torso, and a very floofy sleeve cap, especially at the back:

  

I think perhaps this sleeve would work better in a fabric with a bit more structure than my drapey silk. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

But If you’re into dramatic sleeves, this pattern delivers in spades. I can appreciate the volume and proportions of it in the calico, even if I wasn’t going to follow through! Obviously I’ve left the pattern’s collar option off this time around.

The keyhole is finished with a facing, which I extended past the shoulder seam to have each side meet at the centre back. The facing meets the front placket, which is folded in on itself:

To make this a more form fitting blouse on me, I added my now de-rigeur diamond darts to the back, brought the side seams in slightly at the waist, and moved the princess seam inwards (keeping the side panel the same, just adjusting the centre front piece). As a result of the latter adjustment, the hem also needed adjustment, but of course I forgot to draw it on the muslin, which caused a few headaches when it came to actually hemming the thing…

Probably the best representation of the Dior dart, as this is all but completely invisible in photos of the final shirt.

The hem is, as you can see, straight. It sits higher than the hems of other Marfy blouses I’ve sewn up recently. I’ve left this as is in the final version.

FABRIC
I used a lightweight silk – I’m unsure of what type – from The Fabric Store, which has lots of tiny blue, grey and taupe blotches. It’s relatively loosely woven, but is very soft to the touch (any easy to catch!) with a really subtle satin sheen to it, and quite a lot of bouyancy as well. It does drape beautifully, but it was a horrible fabric to work with. It curled up when pressed, shifted and slipped around the placed (even once underlined) – and at one point I even did a burn test because I was so unfamiliar with the way it was behaving I was convinced it wasn’t 100% silk. Nope, it definitely was. I took a looooong time to finish this one because I was so completely uninspired to work with it!

It had quite a number of ink spills on it, mainly at the selvedge, and the person who cut it said in response to me asking for a little extra “oh, you can just cut around that, surely?”. It was the second slightly rude experience I’ve had at The Fabric Store during 2017, and considering it’s already quite a way out of my way geographically, I think I’ll not be bothering to go back any time soon. Unless I want Liberty that Shaukat doesn’t stock. That’s the exception. Or maybe some merino, too. Eh. I’ll probably go back. Begrudgingly.

It was opaque and light weight, so I cut it out after choosing not to underline – but then my Blue Blotch blouse (in a lightweight voile) ripped at the back next to the sleeve and side seam line (nooooooooooooo!!!!! I’ve still got it hanging up in my cupboard because I’m not ready to throw it out just yet) and I went back and underlined it just so that it would have the added strength to withstand my shoulder/arm movements. Ignoring the fact that Marfy patterns accommodate my shoulders way better than a McCalls ever did, of course. Ah well.

One thing I’m particularly pleased at myself for thinking of, was how to tame the facing for such a slippery, tricksy fabric. I underlined the facing with silk organza only, cutting the organza seam allowance away very closely to the basted seam line once sewn in place (the red thread in the above pic). The organza made it super dooper easer to just fold the misbehaving silk underneath to be stitched onto the white CDC underlining. It worked like a charm – the finishing here looks so much nicer than the inside hem, which is crazy wonky despite excessive pinning and fiddling.

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 4M ago

It’s been a long while since I did a post like this – mostly because there was a huuuuge gap of not buying any patterns!

I’ve still bought the Marfy catalogues each year for a bit of eye candy – so when I got back into sewing this time a year ago – I went on a big of a pattern buying rampage!

I picked this years catalogue up from the post office 2 days ago, so I’m still digesting that one – this post covers my favourites from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, the 2016/17 Catalogue AND the 2015/16 Catalogue. Because, pregnant + #newbornlyf.

I’ll admit to particularly indulging in what is now last years catalogue – the first Evergreen one – because the catalogue is all separates – so there was a bazillion tops in there that I can see myself making again and again over the years to come.

So unlike in previous catalogues where I’ve bought mainly dresses I’m unlikely to make but they’ve just been so awesome I’ve wanted to acquire them for the sake of prosperity – and jackets and coats that I would really love to get around to making but am still lacking in confidence somewhat – I feel like the purchases I’ve made this time are really going to be money well spent.

And that’s already showing – I’ve made up quite a few from this haul already!

Here’s what I bought.

EVERGREEN CATALOGUE PURCHASES
5117: “Crew neck blouse with drop motif and ribbon, short puff sleeves”. I’ll admit I bought this one because it reminds me somewhat of Leisa’s F1882 blouse from way back in the day, but with a slightly more practical non-wrap front! This pattern was on the blinker between my purchase ‘wishlist’ and the sidelines, because as much as I love the design, I’m unsure it will work well on me. We shall see :)

5156: “Blouse with drop shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks”. Easily one of my favourites – I adore lace but find it a bit overwhelming to wear when it encompasses the whole garment – I love how this blouse pattern allows a smattering of it as a focal point down the front. Depending on the kind of lace, this could either be really subtle or take centre stage. I already know I’m going to have fun searching for fabrics for a lace version of this.

I’ve finished a ‘plain’ version of this one, which you can see here :)

5159: “This refined semi-fitted blouse has an original origami-effect collar that frames the neckline. The sleeves are gathered at the cuffs”. There’s not much I don’t like about this one.

5172: “This classic, somewhat loose-fitting shirt has a shirt collar and yoke”. I had hopes that this would become my go-to work shirt, and I think with a few more tweaks it will absolutely be there. See – Wiltshire Shirt.

5187: “This shirt has a little collar, front placket and sleeves with low-cut armholes. To be made in constrasting colours, or even in a crew-neck version with box-pleat and hidden fastening”. The colour-blocked version doesn’t hold me at all, but I do love the smaller version next it. A bit less 80’s, in my mind. I’m super curious to see how that princess seam into armscye works out.

5200: “This semi-fitted blouse has a crossover V-neckline fastening loose darts”. This is easily the pattern that caught my eye immediately on my first flip through of this catalogue – just gorgeous. It was the first one I tried when I received my patterns – but it has unfortunately taken the title of ‘first Marfy pattern that hasn’t worked for me’. The sleeve however, is utterly gorgeous, and you’ve already seen this in action, transposed onto my most recent make of Marfy 3449 – The Floral.

5205: “This sheath skirt has inset pockets. Suggested fabric: satin or crepe”. Another pattern that was on the fence for me – but did make it across into the purchase wishlist. I love the concept of the pleats at the front, but I think choice of fabric could make or break this.

5212: “This shaped skirt is made of six diagonal panels that open at the bottom giving the skirt volume”. This one was love at first sight. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a fabric hog (1.7m!) – the lines of this are just gorgeous, and the shape is universally flattering, IMO. Because of the amount of fabric required – I’ve got nothing in my stash long enough and in the right bottom weight. and I’ m really going to have to go fabric shopping for this one soon because I’m dying to sew it.

5276: “Form-fitting corset with lingerie-like cuts, to be made in brocade or wild silk”. After my success with my last Marfy Bustier (as the foundation of my wedding dress), I was super excited to see this one here. Regardless of whether or not I get around to sewing this one, it’s one to have for prosperity!

5285: “Trousers with raised waistband that forms a waistband in the back”. I recall when I got my first and second Marfy catalogues being surprised as how few pants patterns there was. But after sewing my own – I think I understand the reasons why. That it’s really easy to pick and choose your features and add them into any pattern once you’ve got one that works for you. I really like the waistband treatment.

2016-17 CATALOGUE PICKS
3861: “Top with loose ring collar featuring pleats, slightly drop-shoulder sleeve and curved hem. Suggested fabric: voile, viscose or jersey”. With summer coming, and me having spent the last two summers in maternity/breastfeeding-friendly clothing, my options for tops is severely limited right now. I can see myself pulling this together very quickly in a lovely merino knit, and being able to wear it with work and weekend separates.

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I can’t think of a better way to start the year than with a class with Susan Khalje. Apart from already being part way through 2 dresses and 2 toiles thanks to a bit of sewing time over the Christmas break…

After last years French Jacket and pants output, I really wanted to work on a blazer with a stepped collar. Of all the things I feel lacking in confidence in, it’s a tailored collar – I watched 3 ladies in last years class sew up Vogue 8333 with amazing results. Getting back into tailoring is something I’d really like to do, once the basics of my work wardrobe (skirts/shirts… maybe some more pants) is filled in. And not just because I have a plastic tub full of gorgeous, gorgeous wools I’m dying to work with!

I’ve actually got two jacket UFO’s lurking in a box somewhere – both of which have stalled at the collar. It used to be sleeves and collars that I struggled with – but I feel that between the couture method of sewing with the seam lines and the French Jacket classes I’ve done, that this is not something I stumble over anymore. Practice really does build that confidence.

The last jacket I finished – my GGQB blazer – has various ‘flaws’ that I now know I could prevent from occurring thanks to being further down the learning curve, but the collar is one that still stares unrelenting at me every time I pull it out of the cupboard. And that raw silk it’s made out of is starting to discolour, unfortunately, so I don’t know how much longer it will be in rotation for. The other jacket that still gets a lot of wear is my Vogue Suit jacket, but that’s a total cheats collar in a lovely drape-y wool, so no issues there!

I’ve spent most of 2017 convinced I would work with Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue (also on their website, here):

Basically a ‘Classic fitted single breasted jacket with lapel collar and insert pockets with pocket flaps’. Sandra has sewn this up just recently and it looks as you would expect – pretty darn good! I was super pleased to finally meet Sandra (who flew over from NZ for the course) after following her on Insta for forever, as she’s also a regular sewist of Marfy’s :)

I figured if I went in at the deep end with a wool suiting that leaves no-where to hide, then coming back and sewing some blazers on my own in more forgiving fabrics won’t seem so intimidating.

And I have this Ermenegildo Zegna wool suiting (from Joel and Sons), in a taupe and blue-grey large check that I would really love to see realised:

I was totally thinking it would look kinda like this.

But over the last few months with all the shirt sewing I’ve been doing… thinking about my personal style… and how Susan’s softer approach to tailoring works, I’ve decided to go a different route at the last minute, saving that for later on when I can perhaps learn more about traditional tailoring, rather than the soft tailoring that couture leans towards. I’m talking the whole horsehair interfacing, pad stitching and everything.

And to be honest, I probably need to do some ‘wearable muslin’ tailored jacket work just so I can practice and – build up the confidence.

So, rifling through my pattern stash, I found myself still holding F9814, which was a pattern I received as part of the very first Marfy order I placed (from the BMV website, as this was before Marfy had an english website and well before I ever had a catalogue!). A quick search in my email tells me this was back in early 2012!

This is the pattern I hacked the sleeve from to make last years French Jacket (my Octopus’ Garden Jacket):

It has a really cool standup collar that is cut as part of the front bodice, which should aid in simplifying the construction process/time – handy as I’d really like to also sew up a matching pencil skirt to make it a skirt suit. It’s highly unlikely I’ll get both items done, but I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to have the skirt fitted…

It’s a very fitted jacket (which I like) and I swear I bought it in my usual size 46 (I keep meaning to check, but haven’t yet got around to it), but the muslin is definitely too small!! I can’t get it to meet at the front.

I’ve then spent a week mulling over three different fabric options I had in my stash – narrowing it down to a really cool 3D cotton-rayon-and-something-else tweed from my stash – in pale peachy pink and cream. It has something small and reflective included in the weave, which is woven into a mini hexagon pattern:

It’s from iTessile on Etsy – she carries a ridiculous amount of fabric that I want to own!

The other two options was a cream wool with bright bursts of colourful wool highlights that reminds me a bit of the 100’s & 1000’s on fairy bread, and a blue and grey wool check with a matching solid wool, both from Stitches to Style. I’m thinking I’ll make another version of F9814 in one of these wools this coming winter, but with a long sleeve to differentiate it a little.

I’ve said it before probably several times… but watching Susan fit everyone is just fascinating viewing. You learn so much.

Here are a few things the others are working on! There were some really ambitious projects this year which were fascinating to watch come together – with Ros working on replicating a Roland Mouret dress in a three-way scuba crepe knit – for which we are all pretty convinced she found the actual fabric the real thing was made from – here is her daughter in the almost complete version at the end of the 6 Days:

With a couple of pieces of scrap lace tacked on for perspective. Ros is planning to embroider these panels herself later on.

And Tatyana re-creating Dior’s ‘Abandon’ Dress in black silk taffeta. This dress is from the Fall 1948-1949 collection. After being able to see the Dior Exhibition at the NGV last year, I’m so in love with all things Dior right now – how well does it translate, 3/4 of a century later?!? Tatyana said she’s been wanting to recreate this dress for many years, so it was wonderful to see her bring it to fruition:

Most of the time was spent working on drafting the collar to get the proportions right… it was a tough job from where I was sitting!

I was also really thrilled to be able to meet Sandra (from New Zealand) who I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time – as she’s also a lover of Marfy patterns. She worked on Marfy 3507 – a coat dress – I think you’ll agree it looks bloody great:

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 4M ago

And another one.

The process of making this one was a nightmare. The fabric I chose was determined to be incredibly badly behaved, making the tasks of, cutting, sewing and pressing so very arduous.

I made two right sleeves and only realised when everything was finished except for setting the sleeves in. And I did not have enough fabric to recut another one, because the fabric had some pretty bad flaws (in the form of large blue ink splotches in and around the selvedge – I’m guessing it was digitally printed) that I had to cut around. Actually, I did cut one left and one right sleeve, but somehow managed to flip the underlining piece around the wrong way against my fabric when I pinned them together. It now makes total sense why it was so impossible to see the traced markings for that particular piece. *head desk*.

I choose to blame all of this on my toddler’s new molars.

But, I got through it and I’m really quite pleased with the end result:

PATTERN
It’s from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, and described as “Blouse with drop-shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks. Suggested fabrics: two-coloured organdy, it can also be made with lace applications”.

From looking at the sketch, I just loved that it gives an excuse to make a practical and everyday wearable use for lace. I will definitely be making another version of this with lace at some point in the future!

Looking at this image after the fact, I do prefer the sleeves at that lovely 3/4 mark, compared to the full length sleeve the pattern actually is. I’ll remember to shorten them next time!

In my experience to date, Marfy’s have typically been quite low cut – which doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind a bit of decolletage – but this blouse is really very modest. The neckline sits above where my clavicles stick out at the bottom of your neck, the teardrop shape is quite high up, and the top button in the button placket gives no hint of boobage whatsoever. For Marfy, it’s practically Mormon approved.

The front seaming is a combination of a princess seam and a dart (I have just recently learned this is called a Dior dart, as opposed to a French dart, which emanates from a side seam), which surprisingly didn’t give me much shaping at all, but fit well across the bust. As I’m a size larger for the bust and shoulders than I am at the waist and hips, it’s difficult for me to determine whether the fit is loose because of me or it being the style of the pattern. Probably the latter.

I always feel a wee bit self-conscious in shirts with a lot of gathering at the top of the sleeve cap – it’s not an area that I like to draw attention too – my shoulders are broad enough as it is :) The sleeve cap is higher than your usual, combined with all of the ease being concentrated within a short distance of the shoulder seam – in the muslin photo below I distributed the ease over a larger area, and for the final version you see here, I shaved it down quite a bit.

There is also a lot of gathering at the cuff – which is offset and slightly hidden with a gently peaked French Cuff. I didn’t like it so much once I pulled it off the sewing machine, but then once I put it on – found I quite liked the drama of it all. After sewing the French Cuff on here and on my Wiltshire Shirt, I do wonder if I should be shortening the arm length? I think the eI’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

So in the finished version – I’ve kept the cuff gathering, and quite considerably paired back the sleeve cap ease. Here is the unadjusted muslin, which you can see sits nicely across the shoulders and bust, has a significant amount of space around the torso, and a very floofy sleeve cap, especially at the back:

  

I think perhaps this sleeve would work better in a fabric with a bit more structure than my drapey silk. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

But If you’re into dramatic sleeves, this pattern delivers in spades. I can appreciate the volume and proportions of it in the calico, even if I wasn’t going to follow through! Obviously I’ve left the pattern’s collar option off this time around.

The keyhole is finished with a facing, which I extended past the shoulder seam to have each side meet at the centre back. The facing meets the front placket, which is folded in on itself:

To make this a more form fitting blouse on me, I added my now de-rigeur diamond darts to the back, brought the side seams in slightly at the waist, and moved the princess seam inwards (keeping the side panel the same, just adjusting the centre front piece). As a result of the latter adjustment, the hem also needed adjustment, but of course I forgot to draw it on the muslin, which caused a few headaches when it came to actually hemming the thing…

Probably the best representation of the Dior dart, as this is all but completely invisible in photos of the final shirt.

The hem is, as you can see, straight. It sits higher than the hems of other Marfy blouses I’ve sewn up recently. I’ve left this as is in the final version.

FABRIC
I used a lightweight silk – I’m unsure of what type – from The Fabric Store, which has lots of tiny blue, grey and taupe blotches. It’s relatively loosely woven, but is very soft to the touch (any easy to catch!) with a really subtle satin sheen to it, and quite a lot of bouyancy as well. It does drape beautifully, but it was a horrible fabric to work with. It curled up when pressed, shifted and slipped around the placed (even once underlined) – and at one point I even did a burn test because I was so unfamiliar with the way it was behaving I was convinced it wasn’t 100% silk. Nope, it definitely was. I took a looooong time to finish this one because I was so completely uninspired to work with it!

It had quite a number of ink spills on it, mainly at the selvedge, and the person who cut it said in response to me asking for a little extra “oh, you can just cut around that, surely?”. It was the second slightly rude experience I’ve had at The Fabric Store during 2017, and considering it’s already quite a way out of my way geographically, I think I’ll not be bothering to go back any time soon. Unless I want Liberty that Shaukat doesn’t stock. That’s the exception. Or maybe some merino, too. Eh. I’ll probably go back. Begrudgingly.

It was opaque and light weight, so I cut it out after choosing not to underline – but then my Blue Blotch blouse (in a lightweight voile) ripped at the back next to the sleeve and side seam line (nooooooooooooo!!!!! I’ve still got it hanging up in my cupboard because I’m not ready to throw it out just yet) and I went back and underlined it just so that it would have the added strength to withstand my shoulder/arm movements. Ignoring the fact that Marfy patterns accommodate my shoulders way better than a McCalls ever did, of course. Ah well.

One thing I’m particularly pleased at myself for thinking of, was how to tame the facing for such a slippery, tricksy fabric. I underlined the facing with silk organza only, cutting the organza seam allowance away very closely to the basted seam line once sewn in place (the red thread in the above pic). The organza made it super dooper easer to just fold the misbehaving silk underneath to be stitched onto the white CDC underlining. It worked like a charm – the finishing here looks so much nicer than the inside hem, which is crazy wonky despite excessive pinning and fiddling.

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