Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Little Black Marfy Dress

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A little black dress, yes I've sewn a pretty plain looking black dress, but the construction of this little dress was more than simple.  Well that's what it felt like while I was in the middle of it.

This is Marfy 3358, one of the free patterns in the 2014/15 catalogue - I see that these patterns are now available for PDF download.  I was drawn to the pattern by the style lines - the empire line taking on a chevron rather than being parallel to the ground under the bust; the bodice princess seams and the high neckline.

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I started by making a muslin of a straight size 46, which required the following alterations:
  • removed 1/8" from the side front at high bust and 3/8" from centre front at the high bust - this was to account for my hollow chest, which I recently learned is such a thing and not uncommon.
  • 1/4" added to the centre back at the neckline, tappered into the bottom of the bodice at centre back.  Apparently need a little more room for my shoulders.
  • added 1/8" to each skirt front piece at hip and 1/4" to each skirt back pieces at the hip.  This gave me that little bit extra I need to get my hips in!
  • added 1" to the skirt length
The Marfy pattern itself was perfect, all the pattern markings are in exactly the right place and make absolute sense.  They help you see exactly where the garment is meant to fall on your body, and when you make the alterations you can see exactly where on the pattern you're making them.

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With all those changes made I thought the fit was about as good as I was going to get, and whipped out the real fabric. I picked up this cotton pique from Global Fabrics, now The Fabric Store, but creases terribly, as you can see from these picture.

To add some stability to the bodice I interlined it with silk organza.  I kinda wish I had also interlined the skirt to reduce the creasing, but I didn't!

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Anyway, I got the shell of the dress put together, I'd even catch stitched down the seam allowance!  Then came the 'in progress' fitting, only to discover that I had too much excess fabric on the bodice side seam under the arm.  Buggar!!!  Out came the trusty seam ripper and I removed 1/4" from each side seam at the under arm graded into the existing seamline where the bodice meets the skirt.

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Yay, no more flappy wings!  Although in hindsight I wish I had also removed some fabric from the side front armseye - or maybe I just need to get those shoulders pulled back and improve my posture!

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To finish the dress I fully lined it with some DKN acetate, also picked up from The Fabric Store.  The lining was fully inserted by hand-stitching and under-stitched around the neckline.

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To add a bit of interest I hand stitched some lizard sequin trim around the chevron empire line.  This is the first little black dress that I've made for myself - a nice fit for my work wardrobe which I can mix and match with jackets and shoes.

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More photos on my Flickr -->

7 comments:

  1. So interesting to see the difference the underlining makes! I tried out underlining but was too cheap, and bought a thin cotton instead of silk organza. I think I regret it! This is a lovely dress. I'm wondering how you removed from the centre front at the high bust only, didn't that mess up cutting on the fold?

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    1. It depends on why you are using an underlying. Silk organza is good for keeping it's shape and reducing wrinkles but a thin cotton could also work for underlining if you wanted to add a little bit more structure to your garment. Silk organza in NZ is soooo expensive, I ordered about 10m online for about $60 (may have been a little with shipping) which was so worth the initial outlay. Sorry my babble may have been a bit too babblie, hehe ... on the centre front piece I removed excess from the high bust at the princess seam, does that make more sense?

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  2. It's a great pattern. There's a bolt of dark red wool crepe in the Fabric Store that sorely tempted me, now I am thinking how fab this dress would look on you in it. Such luxury! :)
    Mind you, an LBD is the ultimate wardrobe enhancer!

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    1. Oooo dark red wool crepe ... now I might have to make a wee trip to town to check that out. I am tempted to make this again so I can try and tweak those little things that are still bugging me :-) but I have another Marfy pattern that would also suit the wool crepe. More hours in my day please!!!

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  3. I am really loving shift dresses at the moment. I am yet to find the perfect pattern. I really like the interesting seaming on yours! Ahh the fabric store...I am counting down till it returns to Chch!

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    1. I know, the seam lines on this one really caught my eye. The Fabric Store is definitely my fav. I feel I'm always at their door when there's a sale - such beautiful fabrics. Although The Fabric Warehouse in Wellington is always a good shop as well. You might need to take a trip north?!

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  4. I love the simple elegance of this dress and the interesting empire line

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