Having completed my first Marfy dress, I now have the pleasure of reflecting upon its creation. Unlike my “Ghost Dress” which caused me so much angst (but turned out okay in the end), this ‘60s-inspired design went together without a hitch, although it definitely took some “figuring it out” along the way.
First I’ll cover the four changes I made to the dress, based on my muslin (toile). Initially I had to lower the apex of the bust darts, an alteration I am now used to making. Second, I decided to lengthen the sleeves by about 2 inches. I did this mostly to make the dress more comfortable to wear in the cold winter months. Even covering bare upper arms just a little bit more is helpful. I was hoping this would not detract from the lines of the dress otherwise. I made a tracing to try it out on paper first:
Somehow, the longer sleeves did not look good with the very distinct A-line silhouette of the dress. I thought they would look better with more of a straight skirt. I knew from the muslin that the front detailing had a built-in kick pleat, so narrowing the skirt was entirely doable. I would still be able to walk in it!
Alteration number four was the neckline. I widened it a bit, as I think that looks better on me. Then I widened it again later in the process (I’ll get to that in a bit.)
With no written and illustrated instructions to follow, I relied on my sewing knowledge and experience to execute the seaming on the front left of the dress. I was able to sew the seam by machine from the sleeve down to the lower angle of the point. From there down to about 8” from the hemline, I sewed the seam by hand.
There is a pleat hidden beneath the dress here, and sewing by hand seemed to be the only solution.
When it came to the sleeves, they are shown in the illustration with a contrasting band. However, no band was included with the pattern. I did a muslin mock-up to test the visual appearance of the width of the band.
Because I had cut the sleeves with a slight curve to the lower edge, I had to make a muslin guide for the bands, which included the same curve.
With sleeves, hand-picked zipper and all seams complete, I turned my attention to the lining. Instead of cutting the lining with the same angled detail as in the dress, I chose to cut a symmetrical front, thus reducing bulk at that critical waist area. However, I needed to add a kick pleat to the front lining to coincide with the built-in kick pleat of the dress. Here is how I did that:
Back to the final part of the dress: the neckline. I still wasn’t sure I had a pleasing neckline, so I got out my French rule and re-chalked one with a little wider stance and depth.
For the top-stitching around the neck and around the angled detail on the front, I did what I did with my jacket out of the same fabric: I hand-picked it. I am so happy with how it looks. It’s very subtle, but adds just the right emphasis. The buttons are smaller versions of the (concealed) buttons on my jacket.
I set the lining in by hand, under-stitched the neck-edge by hand, and finally the dress was complete.
It is probably unfair to do an assessment of Marfy patterns after just one make, but I’m going to anyway! The things I really like, so far, about using a Marfy pattern are 1) its preciseness, 2) the individually sized patterns, 3) the pattern pieces without seam allowance added. And is there anything I dislike about Marfy so far? Yes, one big thing! I really miss having a pattern envelope with an illustration, variant views and back views. I am so accustomed to vintage patterns, most of which sport envelopes which are like small works of art. There is so much pertinent information on them (fabric suggestions, zipper sizes, garment descriptions, thumbnail pattern piece diagrams, etc.) and even wearing suggestions. The illustrations show outfit styling suggestions (hats, handbags, shoes, etc.). I love studying them. So, yes, it’s true – I feel like something is lost without a pattern envelope for this dress which I like so much.
I won’t be waiting long to wear this dress. Our American holiday of Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and Marfy will be one of my dining companions. To my fellow citizens, may the day be as meaningful and blessed for you as it always is for our family. To all my readers around the globe, my thanks to you for sharing your love of sewing with me!
37 responses to “Figuring It Out”
Simply stunning! Impeccable work too! Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks, Cissie! This dress was definitely fun to make.
What a super suit! And what patience you have when it comes to seeing things through to the finish. Great dress, great coat, great together!
Thank you! Now I just need navy blue stockings and navy blue gloves! Will this project ever end??
What an amazing dress. You have sewn it beautifully. Thanks for writing your,alway interesting, blog. Happy Thanksgiving from the UK.
Thank you, Trish! I so appreciate your lovely comment!
This is gorgeous! I am speachless! What a fabulous dress! I love it. You look so special in it! Enjoy wearing it!
Thank you so much! Now I am looking forward to your next Marfy make!
I am slowly making a time to pick up on this project.
So, so beautiful! You must not be the Thanksgiving chef to wear that gorgeous dress!
How did you guess? Although I guess there are always aprons, right? Thanks so much!
What a beautiful dress and coat!
Thank you, Bernice! i think I’ll really enjoy wearing them, especially together!
I love how you made the pattern yours! The dress is absolutely perfect with your wonderful coat! And as always, such beautiful handwork and details!
I miss the envelopes with Marfy patterns too. I print out the sketches and charts from their website and tape them to small manilla envelopes for storing the patterns. Still not the same, but easier to flip through along with my other patterns.
Glad you like the finished dress, Brooke! I think if I make more Marfy designs, I’ll have to do that as well. Otherwise, I’ll never know what Marfy pattern I’m looking at!
This is so lovely!! Nevermind how it looks paired with the coat.
Such nice work, and the shape looks so good on you.
Thank you! I do love a sheath style dress…
Beautiful dress and coat! You have convinced me to try a Marfy pattern!
Oh, do, Gail! It was much less intimidating than I thought it might be.
Fabulous, and inspiring for this intermediate sewist.
Thank you, Mary! I get inspired almost every day by some of the beautiful creations I see on sewing blogs. It makes it fun, doesn’t it?
Totally fabulous! More than wonderful. And marvellous an an ensemble. Enjoy thanks giving. And thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us.
Thank you! Both of these pieces were very rewarding to make and finish successfully…
Perfect! I just adore the dress with the coat. “Watching” you sew is a true inspiration.
Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
Ah, thanks, Lizzie! What a heart-warming comment!
I do so envy your sewing skills! Your outfit it amazing!
Thank you, Jackie! Both the jacket and the dress were good learning experiences, too, which makes all the hours spent on them even more worthwhile.
Gorgeous on both counts. I look forward to your blogs. Happy Thanksgiving! You will be stunning.
Beautiful job and I LOVE the way you did the color blocking. What a fabulous ensemble. I enjoy working with Marfy patterns but know what you mean about no illustrations. I write the number on all pieces as soon as I open the packet. I print a color pic of the design from the website and store it and the pattern in a large clear plastic envelope. Happy Thanksgiving.
Loved reading about your changes and the process! And it looks amazing with your matching coat – just fabulous. The same things annoyed me about Marfy patterns to start with… until I got organised and scanned/printed a copy of the sketch, and wrote on it the recommended fabric types. I keep all the originals in a plastic sleeve with their sketch in a folder, and traced/adjusted pattern pieces in a different binder. Hope you get lots of wear from this combo – they look great!
Thanks, Mel! Yes, I’ve decided that if I sew more from Marfy patterns (which I suspect will be the case), I’ll have to make my own illustrated envelopes for the patterns. Not as much fun as a mid-century pattern envelope, however!
This is so sharp and classy- great post!
Thanks so much! I suspect I’ll wear this dress quite a lot!
So classy! What a beautiful example of your talent…and patience!
Thank you, Marguerite! What a lovely compliment!
I love love love your outfit! The dress is beautiful and I can’t get over how perfectly the coat and dress match. You look amazing.
Thank you so much, Anelisen. I have really enjoyed wearing this outfit so far this Winter – and it is nice and warm, too.