Style Arc Stella Coat

It is a little too late in the season, but I decided to fill the fall coat gap in my wardrobe with a new Style Arc Stella wrap coat. I had a very good experience with this coat before and wanted to make another one.

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The Stella is a true wrap coat, held in place entirely by the belt. There’s no side seams. Instead the side front panel wraps around to meet the side back panel, 1-2″ away from where a side seam would normally be. (When I added room for my hips I added it to this seam.) This offset also makes the front pockets less bulky and puts them in a more comfortable location.

At 2.25″ Mandarin style collar is quite tall—if you have a short neck, you’ll probably want to chop down the height a little.

Style Arc suggests topstitching the back yoke, pockets, belt loops, belt, and along the front edges.

I think this coat is Style Arc’s version of the Burberry wool wrap coat. Burberry seems to do a slightly different version of this coat every year. (I’m not sure when the Style Arc Stella pattern came out, but since it is one of their earlier patterns I would guess sometime in 2011/12.) It looks like this year it is a more oversized fit, with a much smaller collar. I prefer the sharper and more fitted look of the Stella.

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As far as patterns go, this one is very complete with what is included. There’s separately drafted lining pieces, along with pieces for sleeve hem and sleeve head interfacing. There’s also pocket facing pieces. One thing I should add is that the line drawing is slightly incorrect. There’s actually two center back panels, not one, so a seamline goes down the center back as well as on the sides. I also feel like the shape isn’t quite as A-line as depicted in the line drawing.

The fabric I used is a fluorescent pink wool/poly blend I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last January. (When I showed my dad the coat he asked if I was going hunting!) The description refers to it as a suiting, but IMO it is too heavy for a dress, pants, or most skirts. It is a great fabric for a jacket or lighter weight coat though.

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I lined it with a deep pink silk twill from Fabric Mart that’s been sitting in my stash for almost five years now. Silk keeps it lightweight and breathable while being a little bit more insulating than a rayon Bemberg lining.

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.57.42 PM.pngI added a hanging loop using some 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon.

I had a hard time finding thread that was a matching color, so instead of my normal Gutermann Mara 100 for construction and Mara 30 (or Mara 70) for topstitching I used “Pink Pink Pink” Magnifico, which is a thin but strong high-luster polyester thread. One spool was more than enough to complete the entire coat and lining. When I needed to topstitch I used a 5mm long triple stretch stitch (which is Mode 2, #20 on my Janome 6500P). It is painfully slow compared to topstitching on my industrial machine, but I think it is an attractive finish.

I didn’t want to wind up an additional bobbin for such a small amount of stitching, so to finish the edges of the belt loops and pocket facings I decided to use the faux overlock stitch on my Janome.

For interfacing I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor fusible canvas for the collar and Fashion Sewing Supply’s lightweight Pro-Weft for everything else. In addition to the sleeve head, sleeve hems, back yoke facing, and front facing recommended by the Style Arc instructions, I also interfaced the entire center front piece, armholes, and hems per Kathleen Fasanella’s lined jacket fusing map. I added a 1/8″ turn of cloth allowance for the collar, which encouraged it to wrap more smoothly around my neck.

Since my silk twill was such a shifty fabric I block fused some iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the fabric prior to cutting out the pocket pieces. Since the bias was in effect neutralized it made a big difference when it came to sewing on the pocket facings and sewing the pocket bags together – no ripples or stretching! I think I’ll be doing this much more often for pocket bags made out of silk and rayon lining fabrics. It seems like if I don’t do this everything gets stretched out of shape the moment I lift it up from the cutting table.

Fitting alterations:

  • Added 6″ to the hips
  • Added a total of 1″ width across the upper back. Rather than dart out the excess at the shoulder, I chose to ease it in with the help of some steam. Fortunately this fabric was incredibly malleable and cooperative.
  • Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist, and 2.5″ between crotch and knee
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration (on the sleeve only)
  • Added 3/8″ to the bottom of the yoke as a rounded back alteration

After trying it on I made a couple of additional tweaks:

  • Took in each side back/side front panel seam 3/4″ at the hip
  • Took in each side back/center back panel seam 1.25″ at the waist
  • Shortened the sleeves 1/2″. This required ripping apart part of the sleeve seams and adding more interfacing. (Interfacing for hems should extend 1/2″ beyond the fold.)

I didn’t make any style alterations, but due to a lack of foresight while cutting I ended up having to seam the belt at the center back. I added a belt loop to the center back to help cover it up. (It also helps keep the belt in place better.)

Burda 04/2016 #122 Dress

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In a previous post about Burda 04/2016 #122 I mentioned that the lining pattern could easily be used to create a simple sheath dress. That’s what I’ve done here.

The fabric I used is a stretchy viscose/lycra crepe I bought from Sawyer Brook last June. It is a mid-weight suiting with a very luxurious drape, not unlike 4-ply silk crepe. If you do a Google image search for “milly paint splatter” you can see the skirt and crop top the designer used it for.

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I stabilized the armholes and neckline with Design Plus straight stay tape, and the center back where the zipper is sewn with Design Plus superfine straight tape. The neck/armhole facing was interfaced with lightweight Pro-Tricot Deluxe from Fashion Sewing Supply. The back vent was stabilized with the lightweight Pro-Sheer Elegance, also from Fashion Sewing Supply. I was going to line this with a stretch silk, but during fitting I found that it wasn’t necessary.

When I traced the pattern for this I omitted the swayback alteration I did last time – I suspect I don’t need it with Burda patterns, though it is hard to tell with this print! Since I omitted the swayback alteration I also removed the 1/2″ of extra length I added at the center back hem.

At first I added a back vent, with a 1 5/8″ hem. Then after I tried it on I realized that I had forgotten to deepen the hem allowance on the pattern – oops! I ended up undoing the 1 5/8″ blind hem in favor of a 1/2″ stitched hem. Since I mitered the hem at the vent I had to piece in a scrap of fabric at the center back. Fortunately this fabric is so busy that the small pieced-in section is practically invisible. Since the new hem was much narrower than the original one I also ended up omitting the center back vent completely. This fabric is so stretchy that it turns out I didn’t need it at all.

Marfy Pattern FAQs

It seems like lately I’ve been getting emails about Marfy patterns, so I thought that rather than reply the same questions over and over again I would just publish it in a post. This is meant to piggy-back off of my Marfy primer post. If you have any other questions, please post them as a comment and I’ll respond there. I just feel it is more helpful and efficient for everyone this way!

I see a Marfy pattern I like, but it isn’t listed on their website. How do I get it?

Use the contact form on Marfy’s website. In your message tell them “I would like to buy the following pattern(s)” and indicate the pattern number(s) and size(s) you want. Also include your full mailing address (including country), your preferred shipping method, and your email address. Marfy will calculate the total and send a Paypal money request (in Euros) to the email address you provide.

If you are in the United States you can also order them through Nancy Erickson. Nancy offers shipping specials about once a quarter, so if you want to order a bunch of patterns (and aren’t in a rush) this will help you save on shipping. (Karen just informed me in the comments that Nancy is now retired, and will no longer be shipping Marfy patterns.)

Why should I buy the catalog?

Marfy is primarily a paper-based pattern company. They publish only a small selection of patterns online. If you want to view the entire collection you need to buy the catalog. The catalog gives you big, beautiful pattern illustrations with lots of detail. Since Marfy patterns do not include instructions (or a pattern envelope) you will need this illustration to help you figure out construction.

The catalog includes free patterns in multiple sizes. If you are new to Marfy, buying the catalog will allow you to experiment with sizing (and find out what kinds of alterations you may need) before you commit to buying patterns.

How do I get a Marfy catalog?

Marfy publishes an annual Spring/Fall catalog which usually ships out in January. I’m not sure what the publishing schedule is for the bridal catalogs, but those are updated on a far less frequent basis (I’m guessing around once a decade). You can get the catalogs from Vogue or directly from Marfy.

Marfy allows you to pre-order the newest catalog sometime in December. The advantage to pre-ordering is that they usually offer a limited time reduced shipping rate.

I am a size XYZ in the Big Four/RTW. What size Marfy pattern should I buy?

Refer to the Marfy size chart. Keep in mind that Marfy is a lot like Burda and Style Arc in that the ease is slim, so for the best accuracy I recommend taking your measurements in centimeters instead of inches. To give you an idea of how the Italian sizes match up to other brands I am a dress size 42 in Marfy, 38 in Burda and Ottobre, and 8 in Style Arc.

If you are the less adventurous type then definitely order one of their catalogs and experiment with the free patterns first. Many of their styles have design lines that can make alterations very tricky, so again, it is very important to use the free patterns to find out what kinds of alterations you may need before you start buying patterns.

Something else to keep in mind is that not all Marfy patterns come in all sizes. (I suspect it has something to do with the fact that they are a small company and produce a catalog with about 200 new styles a year.) I’m extremely fortunate in that as a size 42, just about every Marfy pattern comes in my size. I think 46 is the other most common size.