Marfy 3784 is a dress with a v-shaped neckline with tucks, a twisted front bodice detail, 3/4 length sleeves, and a four-section, knee-length flared skirt that’s about 25″ from waist to hem. It isn’t clear from the fashion illustration, but the front twist detail is an overlay rather than something that’s sewn directly to the skirt.
The fashion illustration is slightly incorrect in that it doesn’t show how the tucks in the front actually extend to create a collar in the back. This is unusual for Marfy – when it comes to showing detail, normally their fashion drawings are spot-on.
Marfy suggests “jersey” or “crepe” for this dress. More often than not, when Marfy lists “jersey” as a fabric suggestion you’ll get the best fit and highest comfort level if you use a stretch woven or stable 2-way stretch knit. (Think silk jersey or ponte rather than a rayon/lycra jersey.) I’ve compared the back bodices of Marfy patterns in my collection that listed “jersey” as a fabric suggestion (like this one) to patterns that listed something like linen (Marfy 3879). The ones that suggested jersey were definitely cut slimmer. If Marfy doesn’t list a fabric recommendation, most of the time you’ll be fine using a non-stretch woven. But if the style is slim and they list jersey as a recommended fabric, take that suggestion seriously. I have a pretty narrow back waist and didn’t need to take in the back on this dress at all. And I am always taking in the back waist of my garments!
So for the bodice on this dress you want to use something that’s thin with two “good” sides and a fairly firm stretch. I suggest using silk jersey, a thin wool knit, or a lightweight ITY. (If you’re self-conscious about your back view, just underline the back with something like a lightweight stretch mesh or powernet.) The skirt is much more forgiving – anything that drapes well on the bias will work.
For the bodice and sleeves I used a burgundy silk knit purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club nearly four years ago. (I’ve noticed the silk jersey fabrics back then were a little thicker than what I’ve been able to get more recently.) I needed about 1.5 yards of this fabric.
For the skirt I used an eggplant Italian wool gabardine, purchased from Emma One Sock around 3.5 years ago. I had 1.75 yards of this fabric, and found that yardage amount let me lay out the pieces comfortably, without having excessive fabric left over.
You can see that I was going for an analogous color scheme. I’m trying to push myself a little more this year when it comes to color blocking and combining different fabrics.
I interfaced the neck facing with the lightweight Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. When I made the interfacing pieces for the neck facing I extended the interfacing 1/2″ beyond the fold line, just like you would for a jacket hem. I also interfaced the center back seam where the invisible zipper is inserted with Pro-Sheer Elegance.
I did not line this dress. The bodice can’t be lined due to the twist detail in the front. Adding a skirt lining – at least by machine – would have been very challenging due to the way the front bodice attaches to the front skirt. Underlining the skirt isn’t a good idea either, because an underlining will interfere with the drape of the bias.
- Lengthened sleeves 3/4″ between shoulder and elbow and another 3/4″ between elbow and wrist, for a total of 1.5″. After I tried on the dress I realized it was unnecessary, and ended up removing all of this extra length. I also think they are a little wide, and I may go back and narrow them.
- Added 1″ width to the sleeves from the bicep down
- Added 1/4″ to the front sleeve cap. (Marfy tends to have high and narrow sleeve caps.)
- 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
- 3/8″ rounded back alteration
- 1/2″ swayback tuck
- Added a 3/4″ dart to the back shoulder
- Added 1/2″ width to the front waist
- Added a total of 2″ to the hips (measured at the hip notch). This resulted in the skirt being about 8″ fuller at the hem.
- Added 3/8″ length to the center back hem
I wish I had lengthened the bodice 1/2″, as the proportions are just a tad higher than I wanted. I thought the jersey would be pulled down more by the weight of the skirt, but it wasn’t as significant as I anticipated.
The construction of this dress was more challenging than that of my last Marfy dress. There’s a couple of things you have going on here: the front twist (obvious) and also the tucked neck detail (not so obvious).
The front twist detail is a little different from the Jalie twist top in that it is actually forms an overlay. It is really good in that unlike the Jalie top there’s no “peeking” around the twist detail…but it does make construction more complicated. Which, of course, is par for the course when it comes to most Marfy patterns.
So here’s how I did it:
First I transferred the letters on the pattern to the fabric by using those little 3/4″ “dot” stickers. I sewed the front bodices together at the center front, from the facing to the notch marked on the pattern. Then I pressed the seam allowances apart.
Next you’re going to want to finish off the seam between D and O, and K to the center front. I did a narrow double-folded hem so that it would still be attractive if the wrong side happened to flip up during wear.
I gathered up the seam between K and O.
Then I folded over the bodice so the gathered section O met the side seam O. The pattern says to “buttonhole” at a marking about 3/4″ away from D. What this means is you need to tack down that seam at this position. I used a small, narrow zigzag stitch. You can also see how I stabilized this section with a scrap bit of interfacing.
Now I had a loop to pull the gathered K-O of the opposite side of the bodice through.
After I pulled the gathered section through, I pinned it to the side seam, matching up O with O. Then I tacked the section marked “buttonhole” on the other side.
Finally I attached the front bodice to the front skirt. I started sewing from each side seam and ended at the center front. The second pass was more difficult; the knot is in that section, and it is hard getting the sewing machine presser foot close enough to make the seam allowance the correct width. The nice thing is the knot will covers up any slightly imperfect finish :).
The neckline tucks are a little difficult not so much in concept as execution. First you sew and those tucks as marked on the pattern. (This is the easy part.) Then you sew the front and back bodices together at the shoulder seam, then turn and pivot to continue sewing the back bodice neckline to the front bodice collar detail. It is very similar to how the Style Arc Abby cardigan is constructed, only on this Marfy pattern you have the bulk of those tucks making things more challenging.
Aside from those two steps the dress is pretty easy. My one irritation is that the facing doesn’t stay in place very well. It looks like I will need to tack it down in place by hand to the shoulder and back neck seams.