Marfy 3995


Marfy 3995 is one of the new designs in the 2016 Marfy catalog. It is a color blocked dress with three-quarter length sleeves, a curved skirt design line with an integrated slit, and keyhole neckline. The red belt in the fashion illustration covers up a waist seam.

Marfy’s fashion illustration is slightly inaccurate. The sleeves are actually three-quarter length, not elbow length as shown. Also, the left side of the dress that wraps below the bust does not have a dart.

I don’t normally like keyhole necklines, but I think Marfy did a great job making this look both natural and intentional. The curves of the design lines are also super flattering, and I love what they do for my figure. This is also one of the few dresses I’ve seen look better with sleeves.

The deep pink fabric I used is a rayon/polyester/lycra ponte I purchased three years ago from Fabric Mart. It is quite structured in feel and drape, even after being washed.

Picture 2

The navy fabric is a viscose ponte/double knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. It is softer and less structured than the mild cherry ponte. I needed about a yard of this fabric.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.07.44 AM

Originally I was thinking about using a black ponte I already had in my stash, but then thought navy might be a better choice because the contrast would be less harsh. I brought all three fabrics to my dad for a second opinion (since he has a good sense of color and aesthetics), and he voted for navy. So navy it was!

Before inserting the zipper I fused the center back seam with some regular weight Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. I also fused the placket I made for the front vent with Pro-Sheer Elegance, making sure the interfacing extended 1/2″ beyond the fold.

Marfy just marks the slit on the pattern, and doesn’t include a facing/placket extension. I added a 1.5″ wide extension to match my 1.5″ hem, and mitered the corner:

As you can see I  also cover stitched the hem in place. I had started off doing a blind hem on my Janome 6500P, but since my mild cherry fabric had a rather hard finish the stitches were obvious and puckered rather than disappearing into the fabric. I ended up tacking the facings for the vent by hand with a catch stitch.

At first I finished the neckline and keyhole of this dress by zig zagging some clear elastic to the seam allowances, which I then topstitched in place with a regular straight stitch. I wasn’t happy with this finish; it pulled and looked lumpy. I ended up ripping it out, pressed the edges back into shape, and then fused some Design Plus Superfine Straight Stay Tape to just outside the seam allowance of both the neckline and keyhole. Then I carefully pressed the seam allowances over the stay tape and topstitched them in place 1/4″ away from the edge. I am much happier with this finish! It is less bulky and stays perfectly flat, yet the stay tape ensures that the edges won’t stretch out during wear.

I’m thinking of going back and doing this treatment for the armholes and neck of Marfy 3879, since I wasn’t happy with how much bulk the self fabric facing added. The Design Plus stay tape is definitely one of my favorite notions, and a great alternative for those of you that don’t like the stickiness/fussiness of clear elastic.

Fitting adjustments:

  • Lengthened between bust and waist 1/2″
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • Added 6″ to the hip/upper thighs
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • Lowered the bust darts 1/2″. (I have no idea why Marfy princess seams are never too high for me, but I always need to lower their vertical bust darts.)
  • Added 1/2″ width to the front waist
  • Added 3/4″ width to the bicep
  • Shortened the sleeves 6″ to make them elbow length

After trying on this dress I found out I needed to take in the side seams. (I’m making great use of my Janome 2000CPX’s chain stitch function.) The mild cherry ponte is quite hefty, so for this particular fabric less ease was necessary so that the darts were supported properly against my body.

I ended up taking in the side seams a total of:

  • Sleeves: 1/2″
  • Armholes:  1.5″
  • Bust: 2″
  • Waist and high hip: 2.5″
  • Mid-to-lower hip: 1.5″
  • Upper thighs: 1″

I then tapered from upper thighs to the original seamline about 5″ above the hem.

41 thoughts on “Marfy 3995

  1. You always make such lovely things but, for me anyway, this is right up there with the best of them. It looks fabulous on you too.


    1. You would need to order directly from Marfy. They ship worldwide. If they don’t have it listed on their website you need to send them an email letting them know the pattern number and size you want, along with your name, address, and shipping preference. They’ll then send you a Paypal invoice for the amount.


  2. This is such a striking dress. At first glance I thought it was made as two separate parts. It’s nice to see an unusual and interesting design, I bet it gets lots of compliments


  3. Wow, this dress is absolutely stunning on you! Elegant and spohisticated but also with a touch of sexiness. I have been a quiet reader of your blog and love all of your work, but this one is really outstanding to me!


  4. You did such a beautiful job with this dress! The finish is so professional and the fit is just stunning. I do love the commentary on what changes you make and what does and doesn’t work while constructing your garments. Thanks so much for sharing.


    1. I think the reason why I don’t like using pattern instructions (aside from figuring out tricky construction) is that it is such a one-size-fits-all approach. When I don’t use instructions I am forced to look at it from the standpoint of “what does it actually need? What is the fabric telling me?” rather than “ok, now it says I need to do this next” and not stopping to think about whether it actually makes sense or not.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been sewing for many years, but don’t feel confident enough to go without directions. Any suggestions on how to start, or what kind of pattern to use? Your choice of pattern and your execution are phenomenal. Inspirational to us all. Congratulations.


        1. When I was first learning how to drive, my dad would purposely get me a little “lost”, then tell me I needed to figure out how to make my way home without his help. I had no smartphone or GPS, so I had to depend on street signs and logic. It was good training! That’s the same approach you want to take when you sew without directions. Most people just default to the directions because at first it is harder and more frustrating to go without, but then they are never forced to really think about why things are done a certain way. The best way to start is to not look at them during your next project, and don’t let yourself give into impatience and frustration. Instead let the photo/fashion illustration/technical drawing be your guide. If it is too overwhelming to do it for an entire project, then start off by not looking at them for one section. What’s the worst that can happen – you ruin some fabric?


  5. You look great! Beautiful color block combination. The fit is impeccable. A very nice dress for the office work environment. I miss seeing nice classy dresses like this at work these days due to a more casual dress code.


    1. I hesitated a little wearing this dress to work, as I thought it might be a little too scandalous, with the cutout and all…but instead I got a ton of compliments from both men and women! My workplace has a ton of people that dress more casually, but I often prefer dressing more formal and feminine because it boosts my confidence and helps me feel better about myself.


  6. Love this dress fantastic job. I have just purchased the pattern and have sewn for quite a few years, but am a little worried about sewing without instructions. I was just wondering how you faced the neck line. Did you just turn in the seam allowance and top stitch in place? Would love any hints or tips you my have. Thanks.


    1. Same as for the keyhole – stabilized with the fusible stay tape, then folded over the allowance and topstitched. It is much flatter than a facing would have been, and since it is ponte no need to worry about fraying.


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