Style Arc Greta Cape

Facing/lining. To keep the layers from shifting the lining is tacked to the collar seam at the shoulders and center back. 
Undercollar – notice how it is lining rather than self fabric. More about that below.
Fur hook closure


The Greta cape is a cropped collared cape. It hits at about waist level and fastens at the center front with hooks and eyes. (I used white fur hooks from Cleaner’s Supply.) There’s a single facing piece seamed at the center back, which acts as both a front facing and collar.

You may have noticed in one of my photos that the undercollar is cut out of lining rather than self fabric. This was recommended by Style Arc in their instructions if you’re using fur. The collar rolls nicely, and the lining doesn’t show at all.

I’m wearing it with my Cleo dress. I love how the bulkiness of the cape contrasts with the slimness of the dress – it makes my waist seem tiny. Take note, fellow pears!

I made this to wear to a wedding I’m attending this weekend. It is being held at a farm, and the ceremony will be outside in a field, on a hill, during late afternoon. So far the forecast for Saturday is a high of 57F/14C. The invitation stated “wear sturdy shoes and bring layers” and “ceremony will be outdoors rain or shine!” That’s why I decided to pair this cape with a long-sleeve dress and boots. Could be a lot worse though. The bride’s sister got married on top of a mountain in Vermont. In January. It was -10F/-23C during the ceremony. Glad I wasn’t at that one!

The fabric I used was a faux Siberian husky fur from my stash, purchased a couple years ago from The quality is great – very soft, without that cheap look or plasticky feel that makes me shudder at most faux furs. There’s still a few yards in stock.

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I lined it with some off-white polyester lining from my stash. I think it was an old JoAnn’s purchase.

If you’re like me and have never worked with faux fur before, do not pick a long pile fur like this for your first fur sewing project.

Right after I cut each piece out (with my Gingher shears instead of my usual 28mm rotary cutter) I shook it outside to get rid of the worst of the loose fur. Despite vacuuming ASAP after cutting I’m still finding random chunks of fur here and there. And while my Janome 6500P went through all of the layers fairly easily, it was just really thick and shifty and bits of fur kept obstructing my view of the seam allowances. I used my walking foot to help with the unevenness, but as you can see below the needle was almost bottoming out. I used a long stitch length (about 4.5) and sewed at the slowest speed possible on my machine.

Since this fabric was impossible to press, I catchstitched the seam allowances of the side seams and facing in place to minimize bulk, finger-pressing them as I went along. This was the most time-consuming part of the project. I finished about 75% of this step at work during my lunch break (and more later on when I was stumped on a programming problem).

Of course I made a couple of mistakes:

  • When I was cutting the hemline, one of my cats distracted me and I chopped the upper layer of the fur instead of snipping just the “undercoat”. So I ended up cutting it all around so it would match. I am not the biggest fan of the choppiness of the hem.
  • I really should have allowed a turn of cloth allowance for the front facings. It is really supposed to be straight at the center front; in my case the sheer bulk of the fur fabric makes it turned slightly upward. Oops.

Fitting adjustments:

  • Raised the back neck 3/8″ (essentially a rounded back alteration)
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration

In other news…our baby girl (who is not so little anymore) turned two yesterday. She’s officially an “adult” Great Dane now. Happy birthday Sallie!

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans

My engagement – and relationship of six years – came to an end this month. While the first week was horrible, I am actually recovering more quickly than I thought I would. Getting rid of most of the old relationship gifts and mementos last weekend was extremely helpful, along with no longer having any contact with him. It was my first long-term relationship and I have many fond memories of our time together, but ultimately we just weren’t meant to be. (I’m not elaborating beyond that!) So now I’m working on moving onto the next chapter of my life. My friends and family, along with all my pets, have been a big source of comfort to me. I’ve been busy cooking up a storm for my parents, taking Sallie for long walks every day, and making plans with friends. I also indulged in some “retail therapy” by taking some of the money I was going to use for the wedding and buying myself a really nice new Canon lens that I had been admiring for the better part of a year. (I told my mom it was my “congratulations for not marrying the wrong person” gift to myself.) My two closest friends have been through similar situations, so they understand me completely and have been great about letting me lean on them. They know better than to keep saying stuff like “you’ll find somebody else!” (umm, unless you can somehow see into the future you don’t actually know that) and “better a broken engagement than divorce!” (ok, I actually do agree with that one.)

As part of the whole “moving onto the next chapter in life” process I culled most of my wardrobe, removing any items that no longer looked or fit right, or just reminded me too much of the relationship. Now I have a lot of sewing to do…

For Work


I’m definitely a dress person. They’re just easier; no worrying about coordination, no tucking, no worrying about twisting during wear, and easy to wear under cropped cardigans and sweaters.

My all-time favorite sheath dress is the Style Arc Heather. It is perfect for wool suitings. I love the square neckline, detailing around the bust, and extended shoulder line. It gives good coverage when worn solo, but also layers very easily.


Since I live in a colder climate, I also want to make more dresses with sleeves. My preferred knit dress pattern is Burda 09/2006 #114/115.

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The skirt on this hangs so beautifully. I’ve made the collarless version (#115) at least three times. It is perfect for silk jersey, and goes together so quickly. I want to make the collared version (#114) this time around, and lengthen the sleeves to full length.

Burda 09/2015 #116 has beautiful classic lines, and I really like the shape of the skirt. If the sleeves have a deep enough facing they can be probably be turned back for a split cuff look.


For something more distinctive, I really like Marfy 2940:


and Marfy 2956. (This one uses a woven for the plaid part and knit for the upper bodice and sleeves.)


I also want to make another shirt dress, preferably out of silk, using the Style Arc Mara:



I made Kwik Sew 3494 around four or five years ago. While I was initially not crazy about that skirt (mostly due to the sedate fabric choice) I wore it quite a bit! I had to get rid of it last winter after I accidentally put it in the wash and it shrunk the wool. A replacement is definitely on my to-do list.

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Jackets and Cardigans

For my jacket needs I like the Style Arc Bronnie:


and Burda 10/2014 #122:


For my cardigan needs, Lekala 4211:


and Burda 03/2013 #107:



I have a pair of  Sewaholic Thurlows that I made several years ago from a heavier weight RPL from Gorgeous Fabrics.


They’ve held up beautifully and are one of my most comfortable pairs of pants. I want to make two more. I think last time I went down at least one size and used a stretch woven. The resulting look was sleeker and more flattering than my suggested size.

My stretch bengaline Style Arc Elle, Barb, and Linda pants have held up really well, so no plans to make more of those.


I really love the Style Arc Lolita top I made from a wool jersey. It gives the warmth of a turtleneck without the choking feeling! I also loved what the front draping did for my figure. I have a ton of wool jersey that can be used to make subsequent versions.


For Play

First up: a lot more Style Arc Jilly jeans! The Jilly jeans I made last time had significant progressive shrinkage, and are now at least 2″ too short and much tighter. I have no idea if I didn’t pretreat them properly, or if it was a flaw with the denim. In any case, I need to make more of them. They have a more relaxed fit than most jeans, which I find very practical for doing outside work. Less tugging and adjusting after moving around a lot. Tight jeans looks nice, but are more trouble than they are worth when it comes to doing stuff like stacking wood or working with the ponies.


Speaking of outdoor work, more flannel Safari Sams are in order. (Note: the line drawing shows it as being much more fitted than what it actually is.)


I continue to be very satisfied with my Lekala 4011 sweatshirt. It is a really good choice for bulky sweatshirt fabrics with minimal stretch.


I also want to use my Style Arc Elle pattern to make fleece pants. The narrow leg makes them more practical for tucking into boots, and they aren’t as skintight as leggings.



I badly need new flannel pajamas for this winter. My go-to pattern for flannel pajamas is Burda 12/2006 #125. I always lengthen the pants to full length, and will raise the neckline a little this time around.

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Style Arc Skye Top

First photo shoot with my studio strobes!

I’m showing this top both tucked and untucked. I prefer wearing this top tucked.  It is too boxy untucked, and does nothing for my figure. I’m wearing it with my Candice skirt.

I swear my back is not crooked – I just forgot to straighten it out after tucking!

I turned off the fill light for this one.
All facings are topstitched in place.


The Style Arc Skye top has cut-on sleeves, two bust darts, and a center back seam. The neckline and curved hem are finished with topstitched facings. The length falls at around high hip level for most people.

This was a UFO project that was cut out sometime last summer, and I left it to “marinate” until last weekend, when I needed an easy project to distract myself. (September is turning out to be just as f*($’d up for me as July and August.)

I used this 4-ply silk crepe from Fabric Mart. Style Arc doesn’t recommend one particular fabric for this top.

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For the back closure I used an orphan button from my stash. While Style Arc includes a pattern piece for the back button loop, you can also use a hook and eye.

Fitting adjustments:

  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Moved the bust dart inward 1/2″

After making this I realized the bust darts are probably about 3/8″ too high. Judging from the other Skye tops I’ve seen the bust darts are drafted a little too high for most women. Definitely check the dart position before you sew this!

A couple of things to be aware of:

  • If you are a pear or hourglass, you’re probably going to be happiest tucking this into a high-waisted skirt. And if you do tuck it in, you should consider lengthening this top a couple of inches. I just barely got away without adding extra length, and that is only because the skirt I am wearing with it (the Style Arc Candice) has a 1.5″ waistband and the bottom of the waistband sits at my natural waist. I also have to be mindful during wear.
  • For the sleeves I just folded back and topstitched, as directed by the instructions, and IMO it is a little bit too “homemade” because the sleeve is short and not extremely fitted, so bits of the wrong side peek out at times. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with serged seam allowances, but at the same time I feel like they are best reserved for seams and hems that aren’t publicly displayed during wear.  If you think this will bother you, plan on cutting out some bias binding strips out of a lightweight fabric to finish them off.
  • The way this top is finished requires you to press the side and center back seam allowances apart. (You can finish the shoulder seam allowances together.)

This weekend I also fixed my Candice skirt. I ended up ripping out the invisible zipper and waistband (ugh), shortened the waistband 1.5″ (which essentially brought it back to the originally drafted length), and resewed the hip curve to match. I’m much happier with the skirt. I feel like it hits a more flattering point on my torso, and it brings the hem up to my originally intended length. Definitely worth the extra time it took to fix.

Photography Details

I shot these at f/8 or f/9, ISO 400, using my Canon 70-200 f/4L IS lens. Shutter speed varied – some were at 1/60, others at 1/80, and a couple at 1/125.

As I mentioned in my first sentence, this is my first project photoshoot with my new studio strobes.  I positioned two strobes at a 45″ angle from where I was standing. One strobe was set at a lower power than the other. The more powerful strobe was aimed into a 60″ silver umbrella. (That was my key light.) The other strobe was meant as a fill light, so it was set at a weaker power, and aimed into a much 36″ white umbrella. For some of my photos I forgot to turn off an incandescent lamp near the camera, so the definition isn’t as good as it could have been, and for others I had the fill light set too powerful.

My “secret” to the studio background look is good cropping and Savage seamless background paper. This paper comes in several widths and around 40 different colors. Since space is such a priority for me I stick to the 53″ width. I used Thunder Gray for this particular photoshoot. I love this stuff. It is fairly inexpensive and comes on a big roll, so if you stand on it with muddy shoes you can just cut that section off and unroll some more. Easy to handle, and unlike traditional muslin theres on need to steam out wrinkles. I got mine from B&H.

After I mounted it on my backdrop stand (which is stabilized with the help of some sandbags) I untaped the edges, pulled them down, clamped the top of it once I had pulled enough off the roll, and secured the bottom edge with a small floor mat. With the exception of resizing and converting from a RAW to JPG file, this photo is straight out of my camera. Kind of crazy how, with the help of some cropping, it transforms an ordinary living room into a “studio”.

Colored Silks from Dharma Trading

Just a FYI – in addition to the PFD (Prepared For Dyeing) white silks, Dharma Trading now offers silk charmeuse, chiffon, and habotai in 31 different colors. The prices are very good. For the 45″ widths the 8mm chiffon is $7.25/yard, 12mm charmeuse $11.09/yard, and 8mm habotai $7.99/yard (with further discounts if you buy more than 10 yards). If you are concerned about color accuracy they sell swatch sample packs too. Shipping for three yards to the lower 48 states would be around $5, if not less.

All these fabrics come in 55″ widths as well, but only in natural white. You’ll have to dye it yourself if you want a different color.

I’ve ordered silk from Dharma before. For quality I would give it a B. I found some of the silks, like the georgette, not quite as refined in texture as the silks I’ve bought from Apple Annie Fabrics, Gorgeous Fabrics, or Sawyer Brook. 12mm silk charmeuse is also on the thin side, so the lighter colors may be a little sheer. If you’re fussy about that sort of thing, order a swatch!

First week of September 2015 on Net-A-Porter

I look at the newest collections on Net-A-Porter on a fairly regular basis. I like comparing the styles to sewing patterns and taking note of the fabrics they use. (If there’s one thing I’ve learned after a decade of sewing, it is that fabric choice can make or break the finished garment.)

Anyway, I saw these three items on Net-A-Porter today and couldn’t resist sharing.

First up: the $1995 Tamara Mellon Sweet Revenge stretch-suede legging boots.


Tight suede leggings with built-in boots. I guess it is nice that the inseam can be tailored to fit your calf. But how would you clean them?? Skintight suede pants that can never be washed don’t seem like the…freshest idea to me. I guess you wear pantyhose under them?

Next up is the $4200 Delpozo Mouflon wool and mohair-blend coat:


Aside from overwhelming the 5’9″ size 36 model with fabric…can you imagine going about your daily business with those sleeves? They’re like elbow panniers. I would be trying to cart groceries inside the house and be getting them caught on the door latch. (Then again, if you can afford a $4200 coat you’re probably not hauling in your own groceries.) I am also not sure about how much range of motion the sleeves even offer in the first place, since the model has her arms straight down by her side in every single photo. I do admit that the top of those sleeves are a good design detail if you want to strengthen your shoulder line.

Finally, the $1,935 mostly polyester Merchant Archive Duchesse-satin jumpsuit:


I think this is the most extreme example of culottes I’ve ever seen.

Style Arc Candice skirt (and Diana top)

ETA, 9/22/15: I ended up taking in the waistband of this skirt, and I’m much happier with it now. You can view the updated photos of it here.

Better view of the pleats
Invisible zip closure


The Style Arc Candice skirt has a 1.5″ wide waistband and box pleats that extend about 5″ below the waist. There’s a side seam pocket at the right side seam, and the invisible zipper is inserted into the left side seam. The waistband is a single piece of fabric folded over.

I found the actual skirt was more refined than the pattern illustration indicated. It is actually quite flattering if you are pear shaped, as it is slim from waist to about mid-hip but full over the lower hips and thighs.

I used this cotton/lycra sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics. Screen Shot 2015-08-11

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My waistband was stabilized with Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. I also used it to stabilize the section of the skirt where I inserted the invisible zipper.

I started with a size 8. After measuring the waistband I discovered that there’s slight negative ease (about 1cm). I don’t like tight waistbands so I adjusted the waistband so the final measurement was about 1.25″ larger than my actual waist measurement. I also added 4″ to the side seams. When I tried on the skirt it was a little bit too big though the waist. I think it was a combination of overestimating how much I would need and the fact that the fabric stretched out a little. I didn’t want to unpick the invisible zip and waistband and cut it down to size, so I found some 1.5″ elastic and cut it to my actual waist measurement. Then I encased it within the waistband before stitching in the ditch to secure it.

Hopefully this photo explains it a bit better.

When I was done sewing the waistband in place I hand stitched the elastic to the inside of the waistband, and then slipstitched the inner waistband seam allowance to the zipper tape. When it is on the hanger it is slightly gathered, but when worn it is almost completely smooth. I think Sandra Betzina calls this the “Hollywood waistband.” I love it for skirts because the elastic helps keep blouses and tops tucked in more securely than a normally interfaced waistband, but at the same time you don’t have to deal with the feel of a waistband cutting in. That being said, I didn’t do as good of a job as I should have securing it on one side, so it ended up slipping and thus the waistband ended up being slightly larger than I originally planned. Which makes it ride a little lower than I planned. Darn! I’ll wear and wash it a few times before deciding whether it is worth going back to fix or not. I have had elastic shrink in the wash before, so it may end up taking care of itself…

In addition to adding to the waist and hips I omitted the pocket and lengthened the skirt 2.5″. (At least I think that’s how much I lengthened it; I sewed it a month ago, so the details are a little fuzzy.)

My top is the Style Arc Diana tank.


I consider this top a wearable muslin. I used a beefy cotton/lycra jersey from Dharma Trading. While I like this cotton/lycra jersey for things like yoga pants, I’m not so crazy about it anymore for regular tops. It is fairly thick and the drape is stiff, so I’m constantly trying to find a balance between not being skintight but not having too much ease either. Plus, when I tuck this in the natural blousing from things like raising my hands over my head throws off the waist shaping, making my waist look higher than normal. But at the same time I like how the beefiness makes this a nice opaque top.

I finished the neckline with some 1/4″ loop edged elastic.

As you can see the neckline on this plunges rather low; it is pretty much even with the armholes. If you are busty you may want to consider raising it at least one inch. Or not! :) If I made this again I would finish the neckline with a narrow band.  My elastic is cute but it loves to curl after being washed!

For the armholes followed the directions and just turned them over and coverstitched in place. I’m not happy with this finish; it looks ok for the first few hours, but then they tend to stretch out a bit (despite the lycra content). As soon as I find my clear elastic I plan on unpicking the coverstitching and refinishing the armholes with the clear elastic. Even though it is just a wearable muslin I find it very useful as a wardrobe staple.

I made this top several months ago (and now cannot locate the pattern pieces) so I don’t remember exactly what fitting adjustments I did, aside from adding a center back seam and taking in the waist quite a bit. Out of the envelope the fit is definitely a lot more relaxed through the waist.

In case if you were curious about my photography setup…

Style Arc Candice skirt photoshoot complete!

A photo posted by @clothingengineer on

For the full length photos I stood in more or less direct sunlight in the early evening. (By the time I got to the detail shots it was indirect.) In order to to soften the light I used something called a scrim. The scrim I used is the “core” of my 5-in-1 reflector. You can see below how the scrim is translucent, allowing some light to filter through.

If you’ve ever watched a beach wedding being photographed on a bright, sunny day, you’ve probably seen at least one assistant running around holding one of these during the formal portrait session. I usually do my photo shoots alone, so instead of using a person (which would be much easier!) I used a reflector holder mounted on a sturdy stand, which was further stabilized with a sandbag.

I shot from fairly far away (probably around 20 feet or so), using about 100mm as my focal length. In addition to natural light and the scrim I used my flash, mounted on my camera, to help fill out the shadows. The distance plus bright available light prevented me from being washed out by the flash.

As I mentioned before, by the time I got around to doing the close-up photos the sunlight became indirect in the spot where I was working, so I no longer needed the scrim.

PDF pattern tip from Sigrid

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the post Sigrid wrote last week about tracing PDF patterns. No taping or trimming needed! While I don’t mind assembling PDF patterns, I absolutely hate storing them, as I use the bare minimum of tape during assembly and the edges of the pieces often get caught in the non-taped areas. Sigrid’s method also gives you the option of allowing more space around pattern pieces than the PDF might allow for – very useful for when you’re working with a single size pattern, or if you want to use more generous seam allowances. Thanks for posting, Sigrid!

Some hosting issues

Some of you may have noticed most of my previous posts aren’t visible.

Here’s what happened: when I contacted my web host about a billing question today, they informed me that there was a mistake on my account. The $10/month I was paying for what I thought was a shared server was actually supposed to be $50/month for a VPS! That explained why the performance was so good…but there was NO WAY was I going to pay that amount of money for a personal website. I made a backup of my site, cancelled the hosting service, and decided to move to the far more affordable I’m not thrilled about losing the control I had when I was with an independent host, but I also don’t want to pour that amount of money into a website that’s not generating income or serving as a business marketing tool.

After importing my old posts I realized that the photos on my previous posts aren’t properly linked anymore. So rather than half-ass things and have a bunch of blog posts with dead photo links (which would probably result in a million emails notifying me of such), I made most of them private. (Some of them could use better photos or writing revisions anyway.) I want to go back and republish at least the tutorials, but considering that I haven’t had the time to sew for weeks I’m not sure when that’s going to happen…

If you are subscribed to new posts via email and got notified of this post, let me know in the comments. I’m not sure if that piece that carried over correctly or not. I had to get out of that hosting plan ASAP and didn’t have a lot of time to properly research first.

Style Arc Anita Top

I’ve taken a break from my Game of Thrones marathon to sew a blouse. It was perfect for this hot, muggy July day.






The Style Arc Anita is a looser-fitting peasant blouse. The cuffs of the three-quarter raglan sleeves are gathered with elastic, and a self fabric tie gathers the neckline. The front split is finished with a facing. It is a quick make. I was able to cut, sew, and finish the entire blouse in one evening.

This is an older Style Arc pattern. Back then their pattern illustrations weren’t always accurate. (They’ve gotten a lot better.) In this case the waist is not nearly as shaped as the depicted. The actual shaping is quite minimal – maybe 1″ smaller than the bust.

Fabric: hot pink silk crepe de chine, a Sue’s Daily Pick purchased from Fabric Mart a few years ago:

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As you can see from my photos, this is a looser fitting top, so choose something lightweight that has excellent drape. Rayon challis, lightweight jersey, and silk or poly georgette, twill, crepe de chine, and charmeuse are all suitable.

The fabric recommendations on the Style Arc website are wrong, at least for the 44″/110cm width. After prewashing my fabric the width shrank from 44″ to just over 42″, and I needed most of the 2.5 yards I had bought.

You’ll need 1/4″ (6mm) wide elastic to finish the cuffs. Style Arc doesn’t mention the width in their pattern instructions. I did see an awkwardly worded reference on the website though:

ELASTIC: Finished measurements 6mm or ¼ inch width

Fitting adjustments:

  • Lengthened body 1″
  • Increased the waist shaping, removing 1.5-2″ width, using my Style Arc Katherine blouse pattern as a guide.
  • Added 2″ width at the hem
  • Shaped the hem to be like a shirttail rather than straight across, once again using the Katherine blouse as my guide. I find shirttail hems more flattering than blouses that are cut straight across.
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder adjustment
  • Added a total of 1.5″ width to the bust
  • Added 3/4″ width to the back
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves (bicep/elbow)

Overall I prefer the Katherine to the Anita. It feels like a more distinctive blouse than the Anita, with the deep scoop neckline and the placket front. However I prefer the narrower sleeve width of the Anita, and plan on transferring this width to my Katherine blouse sleeve.

Marfy 3662

At the beginning of summer each year I like to make a frivolous and impractical sundress. This year I chose Marfy 3662.



Marfy 3662 is a one-shoulder dress with a handkerchief skirt. The bodice is cut on the bias, and the front shoulder is pleated and gathered. The zipper is set into the left side seam. Marfy mentions in the pattern description that this dress can be made as separates as well as a dress.

Pattern measurements for size 42:

  • 34.75″ bust (0″ ease)
  • 27.5″ waist (3/4″ ease)
  • Around 72″ hip ease (measured at the notch, 7.5″ below the waist).
  • 21″ skirt side seam length
  • 32″ center back skirt length (waist to lowest point of the hem)
  • 23″ center front skirt length
  • 33″ from the waist to the lowest point of the front skirt hem
  • 7.5″ from armhole to waist (bodice side seam)

Between the wind, sand, and water, I decided to forgo the tripod and let Tom be my photographer. First time I let him use my camera! It was nice not having to deal with a remote, but at the same time I lost most of my control over art direction and never knew when the photo was actually being taken…

Below are photos taken of it with the belt (which is how I will normally wear it). It was REALLY windy, and high tide was coming in full force.

Trying not to have a Marilyn moment
Ocean water wasn’t too bad today!
This photo really shows the difference between the highest and lowest points of the skirt.
Despite the wind blowing it around, here you can see where the lowest point of the skirt hits my back leg.

Here it is without the belt. These photos were taken the previous day at a different beach. The overcast skies made the light very soft and diffused. It was slightly less windy.  (And the dress wasn’t rumpled yet from a days wear yet!)




My preference is with the belt; it helps emphasize my waist and acts as a waist stay for the big skirt.

Marfy didn’t include fabric recommendations. I used this lightweight linen from Apple Annie Fabrics. I thought the minimal seaming of Marfy 3662 made it a good match for this large scale print.


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The fuller body of the linen combined with the very full skirt made this an even bigger and more dramatic skirt than I anticipated. I am about 5’9″ tall; I think this skirt could be overwhelming on a more petite woman, especially if she doesn’t have proportionally long and slim legs. The long points of the skirt are midi length, which I think is a difficult length for most people to carry off. I inherited rather stout legs from my Polish ancestors, so despite my height I always wear it with heels. Except when I’m walking on the beach, of course ;).

If your fabric is less than 54/55″ wide (for size 42) you will need to cut the skirt pieces on the cross grain or add a center front seam. I wanted to do everything I could to avoid a seam, so I took Marfy’s advice (“if short on fabric cut with weft”) and cut the skirt pieces on the cross grain.

I finished the armhole with a self bias strip and did a simple narrow hem on the machine. I didn’t add a lining because it is just a quick summer dress, and I wanted to make it as easy to care for as possible. The front facing stays in place relatively well, but I topstitched the back neck facing down in place because I could tell that it would flip out during movement. (This won’t be an issue if you line the bodice.) The bodice is on the bias, but the facings are completely parallel to the straight grain, which makes them very stable. No need to interface.

Fitting alterations were done to mostly the bodice:

  • Added 2″ width to the front waist, tapering to nothing at the bust
  • Removed 1″ width from the back waist
  • 1″ swayback tuck. Normally I would do just 1/2″, but the bias made the center back dip down even more than usual.
  • Took in the upper section of the right side seam 1/2″.

This is not a hard pattern to sew; however, the heavy, uneven skirt combined with the bias cut bodice make fitting tricky because it pulls down on the bodice, making it get longer and longer during wear! As I mentioned before, wearing an elasticized belt with it helps stabilize it. I think that’s why Marfy styled it that way in the pattern illustration. If you want to get it perfect, I recommend basting the bodice to the skirt and wearing it around for a while, then shortening it as needed.