2017 Marfy Evergreen Catalog

For 2017 Marfy decided to do something a little different: rather than produce a catalog with 200+ completely new designs, they decided to republish a bunch of patterns from previous years along with some new designs. I thought this was a little odd. Then after I got the catalog I realized what was going on: for the 2017 Evergreen catalog they decided to place the focus on the sizing being more inclusive. Typically Marfy’s patterns come in Italian sizes 42 and 46, with the other sizes being less common. Now just about every single pattern in the catalog comes in Italian sizes 42-50. (This is roughly equivalent to Burda sizes 38-46, Style Arc sizes 8-16, or Big 4 sizes 12-20.) Some are also available in 52 or 54, and I even saw a few in 58. (You can see view the Marfy size chart here.)

So for example, in the 2012 catalog this vest was published as Marfy 2948 and the blouse as Marfy 2949. Both were available in sizes 42, 46, and 50. In the 2017 Evergreen catalog the vest is now Marfy 5167, the blouse now Marfy 5168, and both are available in sizes 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, and 54.

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Marfy 2453 was originally published in the 2011 catalog in sizes 42, 44, and 46.

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In the 2017 Evergreen catalog it is now available in sizes 42-54. (It looks like they also updated the artwork.)

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I did come across one exclusion to this rule: in 2011 they published this blouse as Marfy 2503 and made it available in sizes 42-52. (The 9024 pants were  available in sizes 42-54.)

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In 2017 they republished the blouse as Marfy 5159, keeping sizes 42-50 but dropping size 52. (The pants are now Marfy 5217 and are still available in sizes 42-54.)

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Something else different from previous years is that there’s hardly any dresses. Instead it is almost entirely separates: tops, blouses, tunics, skirts, and pants. The few jackets thrown in are mostly of the unstructured variety, and I don’t think I saw a single coat. Even the formal wear was mostly tops paired with long skirts or pants. Since I’m a dress person I found this a bit of a letdown, but I still didn’t let it stop me from placing an order ;). It looks like I’m in luck for next year: according to the Evergreen catalog description on their website the 2018 Evergreen catalog will be mostly dresses and jackets. I’m guessing it will also include coats and capes.

As usual there’s a few free patterns included with the catalog so you can test out the Marfy fit. All are available in sizes 42-54.

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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.

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Another dress that I’ve made before…but this time I used a different fabric and used the skirt pieces from the Sewaholic Lonsdale instead. I’m happier with this more traditional and less dramatic look. (I also find the pockets rather handy!)

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The fabric I used is a silk jacquard/charmeuse, purchased over four years ago from Fabric Mart. I used the matte side as the right side. As expected, this bodice has a softer feel to it than the linen dress bodice, and it definitely doesn’t stay in place as well (as you can see from my exposed bra strap in the back view).

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I should also mention that while my linen and cotton Sewaholic Lonsdale skirts didn’t require any special hemming treatment, this one was very, very uneven (after hanging for a day or so). After I evened out the hem I finished it with a narrow hem (instead of the 1″ hem included with the pattern).

Marfy Patterns: A Primer

I sometimes get questions from people about Marfy patterns, so I thought I would write a post that explained a little bit more about them.

Background

Marfy is an Italian pattern company. Their branding is described as “high fashion.” The aesthetic tends to be ladylike and refined, and the designs (especially in older catalogs) sometimes have a vintage details. They are often bold and very distinctive. They have tons of dresses, a good amount of jackets and tops, some skirts, and quite a few capes and coats for outerwear. Not a whole lot of pants patterns – I don’t think there was a single pants pattern in the 2016 catalog. IMO their biggest strength is formalwear.

Unlike most pattern companies, Marfy does not post most of their designs online. They also not not publish technical drawings, and photos are rare. Instead they publish the roughly 200 new designs they produce every year as fashion illustrations in an annual catalog. The catalog is usually available for pre-order sometime in December. (If you pre-order the catalog you usually get a special reduced shipping rate.) The catalog includes a limited selection of free patterns, of which you can preview in the catalog’s description on their website.

Another thing I should mention is that this is not a pattern company for people that are budget-minded. Nowadays the patterns are roughly $20 each. (That’s why I’ve been making a conscious effort to sew more of them lately!) The pricing is in euros, so the current exchange rate has a lot to do with how much I ultimately end up paying for them.

Sizing

Marfy size information

Marfy patterns often to have a limited size range, which IMO is their biggest weakness. Fortunately for me, every design they offer comes in size 42 (which is similar to a Style Arc 8 or Burda 38). I also think everything comes in a 46. As you can see from the size filter on their website, selections start to get reduced for size 44, sizes 48 and 50 have even less options, and pickings are slim for sizes 52, 54, and 50.

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I suspect the limited size range is due to the fact that Marfy is a small team, and designing and drafting around 200 fairly complex patterns every year must be a considerable undertaking.

Ordering Marfy

As far as I know, Marfy patterns are not sold in stores. If you want to buy one, you have three options:

  1. Directly from Marfy: the people at Marfy speak Italian and English. I believe they also speak Spanish and French. 

    1. If the pattern is listed on Marfy’s website: Marfy lists their most popular styles on their website. Just add it to your shopping cart and check out like you would with any other e-commerce website. Be aware that pattern prices are in euros.
    2. If the pattern isn’t listed: if you go to Marfy’s website and click on the Contact Us navigation item, you can fill out the form and enter the number and size of the pattern(s) you want to buy, and also indicate the shipping method you prefer. I also add my full mailing address and email address. Marfy then creates a Paypal invoice/money request for the full amount (in euros), I pay it, and a week or so later my patterns arrive in the mail.
  2. Nancy Erickson (US customers only): Nancy Erickson from Fashion Sewing Group offers special deals on Marfy patterns in the form of postage amnesty days. There’s usually four of them a year. If you’re not in a rush this is your cheapest option. Be aware that before placing your order you’ll need to contact Nancy and give her your payment information, which she then keeps on file. For more information view the Marfy pattern page on Nancy’s website.
  3. Vogue’s website: Vogue offers a selection of Marfy patterns on their website. (This is actually how I first found out about Marfy patterns.) The main disadvantage to ordering through Vogue is that you’re limited to just the patterns shown on their website.

The Fashion Illustrations

When you order a Marfy pattern, you get a small packet of pre-cut pattern pieces. You don’t get a pattern envelope or instructions (more on that in the next section). I always scan the catalog fashion illustration, print it out on card stock, then place it with the pattern pieces in a high-capacity sheet protector.

The fashion illustrations really throw a lot of people…it seems like people either love them or hate them! The exaggerated proportions seem to throw off/confuse a lot of people, as they’re used to patterns having photographs and technical drawings. Personally I see Marfy’s fashion illustrations as more of an expressive/artistic framework rather than literal representation of a design. It is meant to convey an idea that isn’t “real” yet. Something about the abstractness of them taps into my creative side and really gets the gears in my brain going.

When I look at a Marfy fashion illustration I pay attention to things like “How is the general fit? Is it snug around her waist, or is it a little looser? Does the hemline fall below her knees or a couple of inches above?” I’ve made both of the dresses shown below, and I can tell you that the black and white dress on the left was definitely snugger and longer out-of-the-envelope than the black and leopard print one on the right.

Another thing I look for is overall flow and fabric characteristics. You can see that the black and white dress is suited for a more structured fabric, and the orange, blue, and purple dress is meant for a fabric with more drape and flow. (A more structured fabric, during movement, wouldn’t have the fabric folds and flippy hem shown on the skirt of the orange dress.)

I also pay attention to the general details – seams, darts, proportions, etc. This is where exaggerated proportions come in handy. From the fashion illustration below I see an outerwear-style jacket with a zip front, two-piece sleeves with zippers, a dart and princess seam in the front and princess seam in the back, a belt that looks to be about 1.5-2″ in width, a subtle peplum that will hit at around the mid-to-low hip level, patch pockets with flaps, and a double collar with fur trim. The overall vibe I get is part sporty jacket, part trench coat. Marfy suggests gabardine, but I would consider any medium weight woven wool coating.

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The Infamous Lack of Instructions

I don’t wish to be discouraging…but I have to say that this is not the pattern company for you if you like having your hand held, and need everything laid out for you. Beginners could be easily frustrated, as you’re expected to already have a solid understanding of sewing concepts (or be willing to do the research), be able to determine proper seam finishes, draft linings (and sometimes facings), etc. With no formal instructions you’re forced to think more about what you’re doing and be more strategic in your approach. At this point I find the lack of structure and guidance freeing and exciting rather than frustrating. (It must be my love of puzzles and INTJ personality – my mental wiring is a little different from most!) As Marfy says on their website:

Consider Marfy patterns an opportunity to let your creativity pour and make the garment with the details you prefer.

I think I had been sewing for around five years when I made up my first Marfy pattern. If you’re at an intermediate sewing level you should be able to tackle some of them. For example, Marfy 3399 is a pretty simple blouse. Just use a fabric with decent drape, and draft a facing or do a binding to finish off the neckline.

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Some people like do a muslin because it helps them work out the construction, but unless I’m worried about fit/proportion, working with an expensive fabric, or the project is potentially very labor-intensive (like a coat) I usually skip on the muslin. (That’s actually the same approach I take to muslins of when it comes to any pattern brand.) Instead I prefer to do flat pattern measurements, compare the pattern pieces to those of other patterns I’ve made up (and know that fit), and include more generous seam allowances at the side seams. If I’m not sure about how to finish off or do certain things I just think about it for a while, and maybe play with the pattern pieces until the answer comes to me. I often have a general plan in mind and figure out the specifics as I go along. I pay attention to what the fabric is “telling” me, and if it is becoming obvious that Plan A isn’t the best approach, I move on to Plan B. Or Plan C.

As I mentioned before, the Marfy patterns arrive pre-cut and are folded into a little rectangle with the pattern number and size listed on the outside.

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No sleeve or hem allowances are included. I use the SACurve ruler (available at The Wooly Thread) to add seam allowances after I trace them. Even though they arrive pre-cut I always trace them because like with any other pattern line, I always do a lot of fitting alterations first.

When I first get a Marfy pattern I open up the packet and lay them out on a flat surface. I keep my printed fashion illustration handy and start matching up the pieces according to the letters stamped on the pattern pieces, which are usually by corners and notches.

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The front pieces laid out for Marfy 4009

The pieces are not labeled (e.g. “sleeve”, “front bodice”, etc.) However, after you line them up you can kind of figure out what they are. The pattern pieces shown below are from Marfy 4009.

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One thing I should note is that Marfy usually includes two pieces for collars: an upper collar (the section that shows on the outside) and an undercollar. The pieces include a turn of cloth allowances. The turn of cloth allowance is for medium weight fabrics. You’ll need to add to it for heavier fabrics and remove a little for lighter weight fabrics.

One thing I don’t like about their sleeves is how they notch both the front and back sleeve cap with a single notch. I usually add a second notch in the back so I can easily distinguish between the two when I’m at the sewing machine.

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Marfy will often include little instructions on the pieces, such as:

  • “Fully lined”
  • “Easing” – fabric is meant to be eased in that section. You’ll normally see it on sleeve caps.
  • “Stuffing” – shoulder pads are required.
  • “Pleat” – usually means gather. Actual pleats are usually marked.
  • “Uplifted” – means that section is not sewn down, ie it is more of an overlay. An example of this is the twist detail of Marfy 3784.
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Notice how the pattern pieces indicate that the zipper should be inserted into the left side seam, and to cut just a single layer of the pattern piece right side up.

Fit

Marfy patterns are cut quite slim. If you are between sizes, size up rather than down.

For a Marfy size 42, the waist is cut slimmer and the bust/cup size is a cut a little bit more generously than a Burda 38 or Style Arc 8. The hips are cut about the same as a Style Arc 8, and slightly less generously than for a Burda 38. The waist-to-hip measurement is only around 7.5″, whereas it is at least 8″ for both Burda and Style Arc. The sleeves usually have high and narrow sleeve caps, especially when compared to Style Arc. I find that my fitting adjustments are very consistent, though in order to work on my body some styles need more/less adjustments than others.

One thing to watch out for is that Marfy cuts the upper back narrower than most. If I’m working with a woven, particularly a non-stretch woven, I always add at least 3/8″ width to each back armhole. If I don’t it makes reaching forward rather uncomfortable.

Marfy 4009

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Marfy 4009 is one of the designs from the 2016-17 Marfy catalog. It is described in the catalog as “slimming dress with sculpted seams. To be made in soft cotton or jersey.” As you can see from the fashion illustration there’s cap sleeve and three-quarter length sleeve options.

The blue fabric is a royal blue rayon matte jersey I bought from Mood a couple of years ago. It wasn’t stretchy enough for what I originally bought it for, but it worked out well for this particular project.

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The black fabric a matte jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.

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Originally I had planned on lining this dress using a 40 denier nylon tricot. That didn’t work out too well. The matte jersey has a very heavy drape with a slight 4-way stretch, and the nylon tricot is extremely lightweight with just a 2-way mechanical stretch. After I attached the lining and tried on the dress I realized that this difference in drape and stretch resulted in the seams of the lining not lining up with the seams of the dress. I ended up removing the lining.

I had planned on finishing the neckline with facings. That also didn’t work out as I expected. Since the facings were interfaced (ie non-stretch) and the dress was not, the facings ended up rolling out despite understitching and pressing. I ended up taking them out and finished the neckline by fusing some Design Plus straight superfine stay tape around the neckline just outside of the seam allowance. Then I folded over pressed  the seam allowances in place before topstitching with a straight stitch 1/4″ away from the edge.

I ended up removing the zipper I added to the center back seam for two reasons. The first is because it turns out it wasn’t necessary – I could wiggle in and out of this dress without it. The second reason is because it interfered with the drape of my fabric. Remember how I said my matte jersey has a very heavy drape, with a slight 4-way stretch? Well, what happened was the fabric was slightly stretching lengthwise everywhere except where the zipper was inserted. It ended up making diagonal wrinkles from the center back to the side seams. The wrinkles all but went away after I removed the zipper.

Fitting alterations:

  • Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • Added 6″ to the lower hip/thigh
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeve bicep
  • Took in the back darts a total of 1.5″ just below the waist
  • Took in the center back seam 1″ just below the waist
  • Took in the side seams a total of:
    • 2.5″ bust and waist
    • 1.75″ high hip
    • 1.25″ hip
    • 1″ upper thigh
    • 1″ at the armhole
    • 1/2″ at the bicep, tapering to nothing at the sleeve hem

I didn’t want to get too crazy taking in the waist of this dress, as the matte jersey fabric is not nearly as forgiving as ponte.

Marfy 3995

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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.

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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.

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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.

Marfy 3784

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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.

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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.

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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.

Fitting adjustments:

  • 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.

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The design lines in the front made this dress a lot of fun to photograph!

My version is 2″ longer than out-of-the-envelope.

There’s slight shaping at the bust
The back curves in nicely, thanks to the darts I added.
The back is extremely ordinary
The design line starts right at the shoulder, right at the edge of the neckline.

I really nailed that corner!
Clyde decided to stop by and see what was going on!

Marfy 3879 is a “trendy dress with curved-seam bodice emphasized by animal print on plain fabric.” This is one of the patterns in Marfy’s new 2016-17 catalog.

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I found the fashion illustration provided by Marfy was accurate, with the exception of the front neck being higher than what the fashion illustration depicts.

For my dress I used a beefy wool double-knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. It is reversible, with a textured houndstooth print on one side and a dark gray jersey on the other. It was too heavy for the project I originally planned for it, but as soon as I saw this Marfy pattern I knew exactly what I was going to do with it! Since it has hardly any stretch I was able to get away with treating it like a woven.

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As I mentioned, this knit is quite beefy. It is bulky at the shoulder and neck, despite my best efforts to smash the seam down with steam and my wooden clapper. I may end up replacing the facings with bias bindings made out of a lighter weight fabric.

The most technically challenging part of this dress is sewing the inset corner. (If you’ve never sewn on before you can check out the tutorial I wrote. Since my fabric was very stable I didn’t need to apply stabilizer prior to sewing that corner.) I used 5/8″ for the side seams and 3/8″ seams everywhere else. Sticking to 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowances for the front design line will make sewing those curves a lot easier. The 3/8″ seam allowances, along with the flexibility of my fabric, also allowed me to avoid having to clip the seam allowances.

There is some shaping built into that front seam over the bust, but if you’re full-busted fitting this dress has the potential to be challenging. A muslin will definitely be in order!

One issue I had with this dress was the front neck facing. It seemed a little large across the lower edge, and I’m pretty sure that’s what is causing the lumpiness around the neckline.

Fitting adjustments:

  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • 1/2″ swayback alteration
  • Added back waist darts (I think they removed a total of around 3″)
  • Added 6″ to the hip
  • Lengthened between hip and hem 1″
  • Added an additional 1″ length to the hem
  • Added 1/2″ across the front waist
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • Removed a total of 1/2″ at the center back from neck to just below the shoulder blade
  • Added 1/2″ length to the center back hem

Aside from adding a little bit of extra length to the hem and some darts to help facilitate shaping, I made no style adjustments. Originally I was going to add sleeves to this dress. Then last week my department moved into new office space, and due to the location of some steam pipes my new office is MUCH warmer than my old office was. I went from having the coldest office to the warmest! So instead of adding sleeves I decided that I’m going to make a coordinating jacket for this dress. I suspect that’s the direction my wardrobe is going to take from now on – lots of sleeveless dresses with jackets and cardigans.

Marfy 2016-17 Catalog Sneak Peak

The latest Marfy catalog arrived yesterday. (For those of you in the US that preordered: it arrived via USPS and was in my mailbox after I got home from work. I didn’t need to sign for it.)

Some thoughts about this catalog:

  • The designs are a little simpler and less dramatic than in previous years. I am not sure if this is reflecting current trends or based upon customer feedback.
  • As usual, many dresses (especially semi-formal dresses) and a few skirt patterns. It seemed like more tops and less jackets this year. I don’t think there were any pants patterns.
  • Most of the dresses had the visual interest in the front, not the back.
  • The tops are mostly mid-hip or longer. Some of what they referred to as mini-dresses were styled with simple straight-leg pants.
  • Tons of patterns that provide opportunities for color blocking, along with combining sheers with regular fabrics.
  • Like last year, they are showing more alternate views for the patterns – necklines with and without lace-up detailing, cap vs long sleeves, with and without drapes and sleeves, solid vs color blocked, etc.
  • Quite a few oversized/boxy tops and cardigans with very deep sleeves, very similar to the Style Arc Alegra jacket/coat and Hedy dress. Obviously not for me, but someone that can carry these styles off well – like Thornberry – might be interested!
  • Prices seem to have gone up. The average dress pattern is now €19 instead of €16.
  • I noticed they’ve started to sell coordinates. So instead of selling just a jacket or just a top, they’ll sell a skirt along with it. (Perhaps this is to help justify the higher prices.)
  • Capes made up nearly half the outerwear. Most of the outerwear had fur trim.

I already placed my order with Marfy. They told me that I was the very first person to order their catalog back in December!

Below is a selection of 15 different styles from it that I posted to Instagram. Some of what I ordered is shown, and some of it is not!

Marfy 3662

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

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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.

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Trying not to have a Marilyn moment
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Ocean water wasn’t too bad today!
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This photo really shows the difference between the highest and lowest points of the skirt.
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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!)

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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.