Sunday, May 17, 2015

my moulage, sloper and sleeve project

I have gone quite a long time without sewing anything wearable, but I'm going through lots of muslin and paper! I took a couple of Suzy Furrer's craftsy classes: Patternmaking Basics - The Bodice Soper and Patternmaking + Design: Creative Sleeves. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to learn in my free time and for the price of a bus ticket to NYC. When I first got interested in patternmaking, it was way before craftsy existed and it would have required a fair bit of time and money to travel and take a class. So, yeah, HOORAY for craftsy.

Here is my current (second take) moulage:
The sleeve and necklines are stay-stitched, but after taking it off & on several times,
the armholes and neckline stretched out a bit.

There is probably still too much length in the back, above the waist,
but that is why you make multiples. It's an iterative process to nail down the fit.
Knowing this length issue is an easy fix,
I moved on to making a sloper - so that I could move on from that to the sleeve.

The sloper is created from the moulage by adding  bit of ease. I also rotated the darts out to princess seams for my sloper:

I wanted to get through sloper so I could commence work on the sleeve.
I just wasn't happy with the sleeves from my recent muslins.
For this sleeve, I cut it off just above the elbow to save on fabric during testing.
This is my second sleeve. I learned so much drafting the first one.
Concepts clicked and the second one is pretty much
the best sleeve I've ever had.
I.love.my.sleeve.
I'm.gonna.marry.my.sleeve.
And yes, I'll get around to addressing this fullness above my waist.
I can upload these photos to the craftsy platform to see what Suzy says.
So, yeah, another reason I am so high on Suzy's classes is the way she answers all the questions. People post all sorts of photos of their work and she gives them advice. I took another "fitting" class on patternreview a while back and the instructor didn't give individualized fitting advice. You'd have to pay more for individual consultations. Personally, I don't mind paying for personalized advice, but ... at the same time, it struck me odd that the class implied something that wasn't actually included in the fee.

Anyhoooooo, I have moved on since taking these photos and drafted my own version of Marfy 3408. I'll sew it up soon.
In addition, I am enjoying reading Make Your Own Dress patterns by Adele Margolis. Now that I have a sleeve sloper, I can make some creative sleeves.

Good times, people, good times!

Shall we daydream a bit? 




Gotta get out of the sewing room - we're headed down to Rockville for some sentimental enjoyment of the old neighborhood today. Hope your sewing is making you happy today!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

fine-tuning Marfy3408 and Lekala 5956

It was great to get constructive comments to my last post: The neckline would look better as a boatneck and the buttons can go. The sleeve length is neither short nor long - and that is a dowdy look. The torso and hips could fit more snugly.

I agree with the removal off buttons and enlarging neckline to a boatneck.
For shaping, I might add an armscye princess seam.
Based on wearing it, the shoulder seams are too wide and it's restrictive. I think one armscye is too low. I do yoga, so I notice my posture changes slightly from day to day. I better do a bunch of sun salutations on the day of my daughter's wedding so my clothes fit.

The waist and hips could be fitted more closely, and the sleeves could be longer. I'll alter the body and see how it looks before tackling the sleeve.


I had not lined the top yet, so I just took picked it apart. I removed the buttons and loops. And (not shown) I've moved the sleeves in and it is so much better.



I guess I got tired of working on Marfy 3408 because Lekala 5956 jumped into my shopping cart. And I got 30 cents off - it was $2.69! heh heh


And soon there was this:


Doesn't that look promising? I can't help myself - I need to muslin this. Don't worry little Marfy, I won't forget you.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Marfy 3408 - not ready for prime time

I sewed up another version of Marfy 3408 - and I [*am not sure I] like it.
I had enough of this fabric to sew this top twice - I needed to work out a few minor details.
So far, I am not sure this is all that great.

Here is what I did differently on this version:

  1. There was some fabric bunching under my armpits, so I lowered the armscyes/sleeves by 3/8".
  2. Added fusible interfacing in the neckline area to keep the points smooth.
  3. Used a firmer underlining - this time I used Siri which was new to me. It is the perfect weight with my loosely woven cotton fabric.
  4. Added a button closure to the back.
  5. Raised the front neckline by 5/8".
[*but it's still not right.]

It has really been a while since I have worn a top made from woven fabric like this. I remember wearing this type of thing back in the 90's - when I was still dressing more formally for work. While I am glad I am not required to wear a suit to work every day, I am also interested in exploring more woven fabrics. There is something so pleasing about the way a cotton top breathes. It is warm here today and very sunny, so I have enjoyed wearing it!



I am not digging the draglines. The sleeve has a seam in it - it is a two piece sleeve. It sure is easy to set in the sleeve because there isn't too much ease in the sleeve cap - and I was able to fit it around the bicep easily.


You know, the underlining really elevates this cotton fabric. Version #1 was pretty limp compared this version #2. It wasn't much extra work, either. Rather than going full-on couture with tracing the seam lines, and all that, I just cut everything with a 5/8" seam allowance and then serged all the pieces to the underlining. That kept the fraying under control and made the whole thing a fast sew.

I am wearing version #2. Notice the wrinkling on the neckline on version #1.
I added fusible interfacing to that area on version #2.
So I guess I can move ahead and sew up my brocade, huh? 


I guess so.  I don't sound too convinced, do I? Heh heh. I guess I just want my outfit to be PERFECT and this could still be better. Oh well, I am used to it. I have always been a perfectionist. 

Happy Sewing!

*Shortly after I clicked "publish" on this post, I looked at the photos and realized this is just not good enough. It's the fit. The construction is fine, but the fit is not. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Marfy 3408: Better Safe Than Sorry!

When I latched onto brocade as my fabric of choice, it meant letting go of the dress with a cowl neckline. The reason I want brocade so much is because it says Mother-Of-The-Bride to me in a way that no other fabric does. When you are sewing a cocktail dress, it can be a bit of an insult to say "it's looking rather MOB" but when you really ARE the mother of the bride ... you WANT it to look MOB. I do, anyway.

I am in the process of sewing up a wearable version of Marfy 3408:
I'll wear it the same way - with a pencil skirt.

So I did what all good girls do and I sewed a muslin. I went down the fitting rabbit hole and by the time I was "finished", I felt more confused than ever and realized I was probably starting to over-fit. If this were any other project, I'd have sewn it and worn it and made more fitting tweaks for future projects.
hmmm, is it right? not sure!!
In addition to fitting the bodice, I was also exploring sleeve variations. In order to get sufficient ease around my bicep, I was getting too much ease in the sleeve cap, so I created a 2-piece sleeve:

The sleeve seam goes from shoulder to hem.
I really like it on my odd little shoulders (see arrow), and it provides adequate
circumference around the bicep without creating too much ease in the sleeve cap.
At this point, I decided to get expert help and made an appointment with Kenneth King. That man can draft a sleeve from scratch in his sleep, so I figured he could help me - and he did!

I went up to NYC last Thursday and the weather was amazing! A sewing friend was in town, in a very lucky coincidence, and we were able to meet for a late lunch before I had to get myself back home.

Here is the muslin I brought back from New York. 

The approach I took was to sew up an un-altered version of Marfy 3408 straight out of the envelope to take with me to see Kenneth. It really fit pretty darn well as it was, but certainly not worthy of the brocade I had purchased from Mendel Goldberg.

Kenneth quickly pinned out a bunch of small fish-eye darts here and there. I watched him transfer these adjustments back to the paper pattern. He chatted as if we were lounging by the pool sipping margaritas - while his hands were a blur. The man is amazing. It had been a while since I had seen Kenneth and he actually looked younger, not older! He told me he is engaged, so I think he's sporting the look of happiness. While I was there I asked his advice on trim. Did I want to add something around the neckline? He advised piping and I love that idea, so piping it is.

My left shoulder is about 3/8" lower than my right shoulder, so now I have more pattern pieces. It takes more time to cut, but laying out a single layer has its advantages. You use less fabric and pattern matching is easier, too.
In my magic closet, I found the perfect fabric for a test run. There is even enough for a matching skirt:
You can't see it, but there is lightweight cotton batiste underlining.
Two piece sleeve.
I bought this at G Street a few years ago to make a summer jacket.
It is cotton but I don't recall what this is called.
The weave is loose enough that underlining is required.
It's really quite lovely and perfect for my Test Run garment.
So that's it for me right now! I must admit, I am a little exhausted. All this running around can be a bit tiring, so I am looking forward to spending quiet time in my little sewing nook.

And I am quite excited about the possibilities of using this sleeve in future projects. I can picture a trim inserted in the seam, going from the neckline all the way to the hem of the sleeve. And I would like to try a more rounded sleeve, like this:

available at Saks for only $565 :)

So yep, I've got plenty to keep me happily occupied here. Maybe I'll have something to show you next time that ISN'T sewn from muslin!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Part 2: Skills and criticism


Let's talk about shoes skills. Skills! Let's get 'em! I mentioned skills in this post about changes in the online sewing community. I happen to love SKILLS and I want them. I want them, even if they are expensive, and by expensive, I mean the cost in time & effort. 

There are a few things that go into skill, so let's break it down:

Book Learning - anyone can get this necessary knowledge without getting near a sewing machine. Lots of sewing enthusiasts gather knowledge by reading blogs, discussion forums and websites.
  • Fabric - properties of various kinds of fabric
  • Terms - understanding common vocabulary 
  • Best Practices - ex. sew a sample seam on a fabric scrap to test stitching
  • Machines - learning different features and why you might want them
  • Notions - which ones save time, or give a better result?

Manual dexterity - just because you know what to do, doesn't mean you can. Sewing a beautiful bound buttonhole is a great example of this. A more general aspect of manual dexterity is the ability to handle fabric. The secret to difficult sewing is manual dexterity. If the fabric is slippery, with well-developed physical skills, you can control it. If there is a pivot point in the seam, you can navigate it. If the spaghetti straps are thin, or if the collar point is sharp - you can make it happen. This one takes 10,000 hours to achieve. Innate talent could make it happen faster, but there are no shortcuts to development of physical skills.

Experience - There is a big difference between learning from doing and learning from reading. Someone could read every FBA article under the sun, repeating what they have read, and possibly help someone else. But, someone with experience in the alteration can provide real insight and tell you WHY you should take one approach over another. Of course, doing something a million times doesn't mean you're good at it. This is the tricky and mysterious part of experience. I guess it is related to talent. Some will master the craft and build massive amounts of skill that is revealed in their work. Even when they sew something quite simple - the experience shows. Their work is gorgeous.

Another thing about experience is that it changes what you see.

I have this anecdote about book learning, dexterity and experience:
Several years ago, I took my first class with Susan Khalje, and my project used a loosely woven novelty wool in black & white plaid. When I basted the seam together, my plaids didn't match. At that time, I had decades of sewing under my belt, so the problem wasn't with my lack of manual dexterity. I sighed, took it apart and sewed it again - with the same results. I mean, it got a little better, but it still didn't match perfectly. Finally I decided, well, I did it 3 times, it is good enough! But when I showed it to Susan, she felt it could be better. Fast forward to more recent times, I sewed a double-faced wool plaid fabric and the plaids didn't match. Once again, I sewed it more than once and I picked it out more than once. But then, I did something different: I basted the seam with greater precision. On every little stripe, I sewed a tiny back-stitch. It held those plaids in alignment when I used the sewing machine to finish the seam. This was not a technique that was taught to me by anyone. It was a combination of book learning, manual dexterity and experience. 

What stands out to me, from that anecdote, is not that I finally matched a plaid. What stands out is that I saw the problem. My eyes were smarter and my attitude had shifted ever so slightly over a period of years. It's not like I was harder on myself - I was more patient and open-minded. In that frame of mind, the solution came very easily, and matching those plaids was a piece of cake. I have to wonder what I will see ten years from now? This will continue to evolve.

What does any of this have to do with the online sewing community? For several years there, no one criticized anyone else. Now there is plenty of criticism online. I believe much of the online dynamic is no different from what happens in real life. Oh, there are critical voices online? There are critical voices in real life, too. As a youngster, my local 4H club had a reputation for being too demanding, too critical - they were just a bunch of meanies! For that reason, I avoided 4H and preferred my own brand of rogue sewing. I didn't want anyone else telling me if something wasn't good enough for their lofty standards. I wanted nothing to do with criticism, because I knew what was good enough for me.

Nowadays, when I read some (certainly not all) beginner/intermediate perspectives, I consider that my eyes may see something different than what they can see. Even if I articulated myself perfectly, they might not get what I am saying. This keeps me from saying every single thing that crosses my mind. Why bother? It's all good. I remember how happy I was to sew imperfect garments and wear them at various points along my journey, so I'm not gonna burst anyone's bubble if their plaid-matching isn't the best.

I think most of you are pretty highly skilled. What goes through your mind when you see or read things that just don't add up? When is it OK to say something?

I'll go first - when someone is selling something, but they really aren't skilled enough to see how crappy their product is, I will criticize it. If the seller gets annoyed that their product is criticized, I think well honey you ought to put on your big girl panties because this is not about you sharing your passion for sewing. This is a product review. Let other buyers beware. That is true for a brand new start-up or a company that has been in business for a long time. Commerce has its own set of rules.

But if someone is sharing their projects ... no I'm not gonna remark on whether I think their skills are bad or their choices are weird. I can't see the point in criticizing someone else's skills, nor do I think it helps anything. Honestly, I think that is just mean. Of course they think it is awesome! How can I not relate? I thought my first dress (sewn from a pillow case stolen from the laundry basket; I cut out holes for neck and arms and put that bad boy on) was awesome. My mom didn't tell me what a shitty dress that was, and she didn't yell at me for taking the pillowcase, although she did tell me not to take any more. 

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

a new era for sewing bloggers?

Soon I'll be setting up a blog roll on the side-bar so I have one easy place to keep up with those who share my current interests. It won't be the longest list in the world, because *my interests are somewhat narrow right now. In the past, my blogroll would have included my sewing blogger friends, all the popular bloggers and small bloggers I wanted to encourage by sending traffic their way. My new blogroll marks a change in my approach.

Isn't it interesting to be a sewing blogger /sewing blog reader?! Ten years isn't really that long of a time, but in internet years, ten years is forever.


From my vantage point, here is how the last decade has played out:

  • 2005  What is a blog?
  • 2006  I accidentally set up an account on LiveJournal when I was trying to leave a comment on my daughter's blog. Well, I may as well post something on my blog, why not a sewing project? OH MY GOD - SOMEONE COMMENTED ON MY PROJECT!
  • 2007 - 2012 The Golden Years 
    • The more I blog, the more I sew; they feed each other and I like it!
    • We all seem to know of each other - we post links to one another and we comment on each others blogs.
    • I am also active on sewing discussion forums, where I can include a link in my profile. Folks come to my blog and we all sorta know each other
    • Online friendships are flourishing - I love the support and comradery
    • My interest in blog-related stuff grows
      • photography could be better, I buy a DSLR
      • try different blogging platforms, get my own domain
      • improve illustration skills
    • My passion for sewing is fueled
      • ask questions in the forums and learn from experienced women 
      • classes & lessons from Sarah Veblen (she lives near me)
      • online classes at patternreview
      • classes & lessons from Kenneth King (start going to NYC)
      • classes & lessons from Susan Khalje (she lives near me)
      • Craftsy arrives - love that platform! take more classes
    • My blog might not be the biggest or the best or the most popular, but it's pretty solid, it reflects me and I am proud of it.
    • Opportunities find me through my blog, including very unusual and unexpected options.
  • 2013 - 2014 Recalibration
    • Recognition and opportunities are nice, but ... it can be hard if things don't work out. Lean on your loved ones. 
    • Keep blogging but the initial passion and joy are hard to find.
    • Take a break when it turns into a chore.
  • 2015
    • Look around - who ARE all these new bloggers? This is interesting!
In a decade, it seemed as though there was a whole life cycle for sewing blogs. It was born, it grew, it matured and now it is ... different.

There are a couple significant differences between my cohort and the new wave of sewing bloggers:
  • Skills
  • Aesthetic
  • Monetization

I'll ponder what I want to say about this and write more in upcoming posts. Hey, it looks like I just started a series!

I am very interested in your point of view. Please comment freely. What are your observations? You don't have to agree with me - a spirited debate is more interesting than 80 comments that say the same thing, "oh that's so cute on you!" 
Although, to be honest, you can give me 80 compliments if you must. 
Ha!!

***************************

*Current interests (subject to change when the wind blows): 
  • working with exquisite fabrics 
  • developing TNT patterns suitable for exquisite fabrics
  • exploring Fashion, with a capital F 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Marfy Catalog Free Patterns 2014/15

I always thought of Marfy as a little bit out of reach - they have a reputation as being advanced because they come without instructions - and they are a bit pricier than most other patterns (plus you'll pay for postage from Italy). I figured now is a good time to investigate and I am so glad I did.

First of all, Marfy just isn't that difficult! If you start with a simple design, you can see there are letters marked on the pattern and they tell you where to join the seams. The patterns are already cut for you, so if you are used to working without seam allowances, it is very fast to get started. I use a rotary cutter with a little arm on it to add seam allowances during the cutting stage. (Here is a link - scroll down to check out Kathryn's excellent-as-usual-explanation.)

The wonderful thing about buying a catalog is that it comes with free patterns in a good variety of sizes (for Marfy anyway, more on that) and you can trace off whatever you like. I bought this one for only $26.24 from the McCall website and it came very fast. That works out to ~$1 per pattern? I'M IN.

Here are the 20 free patterns that came with the 2014/15 catalog:
0303 dress and 3303 cardigan
I plan to use that neckline detail on a knit top.
0348 blouse, 3348 jacket, 3349 skirt
Are you kidding me? an entire suit?! - Marfy, you got my attention - what a deal!

3355 tunic
I've been wanting to try this type of sleeve.
3365 dress
It is clear they didn't skimp on the free patterns - this is really lovely.
3367 dress
If I'd had this catalog before I ordered 3619, I could have sewn this up to check fit.
Marfy has a reputation for consistent drafting, so once you get one garment to fit,
you have a good idea if this pattern company will work for you or not.
3370 long sleeveless tunic, 3371 culottes, 3372 crossover blouse
I welcome the return of culottes - they give me happy memories of
sewing projects when I was in my early teens.
3379 tunic
I'd try this with the idea it could showcase a spectacular silk charmeuse.
I'd add a sleeve though. Momma is wearing sleeves nowadays,
when temperatures are under 100F (30C) anyway.
The higher the temperature, the less I care.
3398 tunic
3399 halter dress and 3400 tunic
3403 tunic and 3404 blouse
This could be another pattern good for showcasing a special fabric.
And finally, a real contender for Mother-of-the-Bride sewing:
3408 tunic
Building Patterns - The Architecture of Women's Clothing by Suzy Furrer
The image all the way to the left is the one I like. I can picture the brocade looking really pretty in this pattern and I'd wear it as shown, with a pencil skirt. The skirt could be sewn from the same brocade or a coordinating heavy silk. It just happens that the brocade matches very nicely with silk I own, so it is calling me a bit.

Another consideration is the comfort of the garment. When I was dressing more formally for work, I wore this type of thing often and found it very comfortable. There is something about the range of motion provided by a top and a skirt that is very appealing. I don't wear dresses often because most styles feel too constricting to me. As much as I like 3619, when I sewed up the 2nd muslin yesterday, it did feel constricting. Sorry, I have no pics of that - I was too engrossed in it to remember and I'm headed out to celebrate Easter with my family today.

So what is next? Well ... fitting that simple little tunic will be no small feat. It consists of two darts what meet at or above the bust apex. Increasing each dart by the right amount could give me a few more gray hairs and I think it would ruin the look to add side darts. I plan to give it a go, and see if it is viable. I have a couple books that will guide the way - one is pictured above, by Suzy Furrer and the other good resource would be Adele Margolis' Make Your Own Dress Patterns.  You can wish me luck on that one - I don't think I'd go to the trouble if this pattern were not free, so yeah, I am loving this Marfy catalog.

So what is the consensus on Marfy? When I search for pattern reviews, I don't find as many as I would have thought. I know LianaBecki, Leisa, poppykettle and others sew Marfy - do you think it's a brand that is sewn more by women who don't blog? I'd love to see some of the gowns! Oh that reminds me, Anne is sewing her wedding gown from a Marfy pattern. I am looking forward to seeing that - yep there is always something good happening in the online sewing community - and this is just my little niche. Have you noticed there are about a zillion sewing blogs now? It is interesting.

About Marfy sizing - my Italian size is 48, Australian size is 12 and German size is 42. Marfy doesn't make every pattern in every size! When I purchased 3443, I had to decide between a 46 or a 50, so I went with the 50. And I would like to sew something for my daughter who wears a larger size than I do - and NONE of the patterns that would appeal to her come in her size. It gives you a queasy feeling to read between the lines and think the designers expect their "younger" styles to be worn only by smaller women. I don't know what size she needs - maybe a 52 or a 54 and the only patterns in those sizes are VERY OLD LADY. It's consistent with what I see in all of the pattern companies. Young women may have plus size measurements but they sure don't want to wear loose tunics. They look better and enjoy wearing more closely fitted youthful styles. So, I will look elsewhere for patterns for her. I am glad that Stye Arc puts out patterns in a wider range of sizes. Burda sizes are pretty good for my daughter, but still a little too conservative in the Plus range. I usually like the Plus designs, but altering them to fit me is a pain, so I don't sew them often. Anyway, that's the sizing scoop on Marfy.

More to come!

muslin #2 Marfy 3619

The occasion of my daughter's wedding has a welcome side effect of boosting my sewing mojo. I am sewing a lot, and I am sewing often! When I am not sewing, I am researching matters of fabrication and fit. I am in my happy place descending into and exploring the terrain in a variety of lovely rabbit holes. By writing about the process, I learn and remember better. In this post, I want to capture the results of my fitting session with Susan Khalje.



I took a few classes with Susan a few years ago, and when I googled around for her latest activities, I learned that she is teaching locally a lot more than she did in the past. Also, she is teaching out of the family business Khalje Carpet Gallery in my old stomping grounds, Hunt Valley, Maryland. This is some major geographical luck going on here! The carpets are really lovely, too.


The adjustments to the back:

  1. Removed length in the upper back with a horizontal tuck (a dead dart).
  2. Added shoulder darts.
  3. Tweaked the vertical darts.
  4. Tweaked the position of the shoulder seams.
  5. Changed the position of the side seam on the right side - because the bodice front is asymmetrical, the alterations are not the same on both sides.
The adjustments to the front:

    1. Cut another front bodice piece, this time on the bias and pinned it in place. As we discussed in the comments to my last post, Susan felt the drape would work better if the fabric was cut on the bias, so let's give that a try.
    2. Added 2 French darts to the sides. One dart would be too big and the bigger the dart, the harder to get a smooth point when sewing it.
    3. Added a waist dart to the right front.
    4. Lowered the diagonal seam to work with my proportions.
    The sleeve:
    It's not shown here, the sleeve will have elbow darts added. 

    So ... I have found myself back in the couture sewing waters. Leisa (A Challenging Sew) was taking a class at the time I was getting in touch with Susan, so I had the good fortune to meet the group for dinner (this is my tribe! I loved meeting everyone!!) I also saw all the projects and I was pretty blown away by all the gorgeous fabrics and patterns and details. 

    This brings me to a major rabbit hole, and that is fabric. While working through the fit of this dress, I assumed use of 4-ply silk, underlined with a lighter silk. The back of the dress is really boring, so we talked about adding a yoke and adding embellishment there (beaded tulle) along with embellishments to the shoulders in the front. I am sure it would be beautiful.

    But ...
    What about brocade?


    Upon seeing all the fabulous fabrics being used by Susan's students, I had to investigate. To make a long story short, I have these 2 samples of brocades from Mendel Goldberg, where Leisa works 2 days a week. This is where fabrics have been procured for a couple of other amazing online projects (poppykettle and Goodbye Valentino). I suppose the biggest fear for a DIY dressmaker is the fear of ruining precious (and expensive) fabric, so I can clearly see why one would take the plunge knowing Susan Khalje has your back. Let's face it, Susan won't let disaster happen - she knows how to fix problems. I have seen her do it and it still influences my sewing. When I sewed that Milly Top and the final result was way too tight in the bust area, I remembered watching Susan rescue a student and it helped me think of a solution. I added a gusset under the arm to solve the problem. As she says, "There is ALWAYS a solution".

    That brocade isn't the right fabric for Marfy 3619. And that is why I am looking at more patterns, just in case 3619 isn't "the one". I'll go through some pattern options in my next post. Which is going to happen in another hour, while I am on a roll.

    More to come!

    Sunday, March 29, 2015

    muslin #1 Marfy 3619 dress

    It's time for another installment in Sewing for Mother of the Bride!

    I had a bit of a moment when I tried on this muslin of Marfy 3619. Even in this raw state, the dress feels beautiful- just the feeling you hope for when sewing for a special occasion. Now that I have this option, my first idea (the column dress) is fading fast. I like this dress better!

    It definitely needs tweaks, but I have never (I mean NEVER) sewn something straight out of the envelope and had it come this close to fitting well. This is what I usually get after measuring and altering pattern pieces before sewing the first muslin. Forgive me, but I am a little emotional at the moment! I am 5'9" (175cm) and I carry most of my height above the base of my armscye. It just surprises me to get a decent fit right away - does this mean that medium height people have to alter Marfy patterns? Is Marfy difficult for petites? I'd love to know -

    I'll shorten the back waist-neck length and narrow the back a bit under the shoulder blades.
    There are shoulder pads in place, by the way. 

    It surprised me to find that the front bodice isn't cut on the bias. I think that might work well, so I'll try it on my next muslin. With a little more give from bias cut fabric, I might not need an FBA. Then I'll tackle the sleeves. I will be using shoulder pads - that is one of the attractions of this pattern. I'd like to create a strong shoulder line with shoulder pads and perhaps embellishment on the shoulders.

    So ... about the fabric ....
    New York City isn't that far from me, and there are stores there with ultra amazing fabrics. I am talking about places like Mendel Goldberg and B&J Fabrics. The embellished tulle I bought in January is really nice ... but ... I could save it for a future project, too, couldn't I? Of course I could! We'll see how that shakes out. 

    In the meantime, I will get this pattern fitted. The first step in fitting, for me, is to take photos. I have 43 photos of me in this dress from every angle. I'll study them and then start the process which involves a lot of trying on, taking photos, taking it off and making the next tweak. I don't like to change too many things at once, so it is time-consuming. I can do it, but I am considering setting up a lesson or two with Susan Khalje. You only live once!

    Marfy 3619

    I also got the pattern for a matching jacket. I like it, but I am not even sure if I really need a jacket, you know? Maybe the dress will be awesome enough on its own.

    Here is the jacket:
    Marfy 3621

    I am not sure if I mentioned this, but the main reason I thought about wearing a long dress was to hide my feet in case I needed to wear unattractive shoes. I had been struggling for many months with foot pain and after seeing a podiatrist, I went in another direction and tried acupuncture. I am delighted to report that I am completely pain free in my feet now. I don't know how it works, but I love acupuncture.

    OK, off to make use of what remains of this weekend. I'll be back when there is progress to report. 
    Thanks for checking in on me & Happy Sewing!