Howdy, internet people!
I have a thing to show off–hooray! This particular thing is one I’m rather proud of, because it’s from a Marfy pattern. Marfy, if you are uninitiated, is a line of patterns that tend to be the purview of more adventurous and/or advanced sewers. They can be purchased in a few ways: via the Vogue website (not all Marfy patterns are available that way), the Marfy website (again, not exhaustive), or by ordering their annual catalog (see Marfy’s website). When you order, you get only one size; the pattern arrives pre-cut, folded into a rectangular packet. The kicker? No seam allowances, no hem allowances, and NO INSTRUCTIONS. You’ll get markings for grainlines, notches, buttonholes, etc., and a few hints as to where certain pieces attach to one another, but that’s it. Apart from that, Marfy tend to offer beyond-a-beginner patterns, and some of their stuff is really complex. Their bridal patterns are legendary. Once I saw a version of this blouse–3093–at poppykettle, I knew I had to have it. A few weeks ago I bought a big piece of heavier-than-average chambray at a lady’s stash sale for $3 with this pattern in mind–behold!
I made a straight size 42 in this pattern with no adjustments whatsoever, apart from some extra length at the bottom. (I did make a muslin first.) 42 is the smallest Marfy size this pattern comes in, and even though a 40 would be closer to my measurements, I ended up liking the roominess of this size.
I’m going to come right out and say it: this pattern was not difficult! I think that’s down to the fact that this isn’t one of their more advanced patterns, like a cocktail or bridal dress; I mean, my skills have improved quite a bit since I finished my first-ever garment back in 2013 (which, OMG, simultaneously seems like it was yesterday and forever ago!), but I am not prepared to give myself that much credit for this pattern resulting in a great shirt. The drafting was absolutely excellent, which is in line with Marfy’s reputation. One word of warning though, if you feel like making this exact pattern: it is LOW. LOWWWWWWW. Camisoles are mandatory, folks. Unless of course you have a life and/or job where your bra and tits are allowed to show their faces at will, in which case, I fucking envy you.
I even wore my loudest bra–blue leopard!–for this shoot, thinking it would show up when I demo’d the low front. And while my bra decided to be camera-shy, trust me: we were close. Tom made sure to note that any time I moved, he could see it. So keep this in mind if you pursue 3093.
**WARNING: Word dump imminent.**
So, even though I am inclined to give the exceptional pattern most of the credit today, I did take quite a lot of care with this project. We’re talking chalk outlines, thread-tracing those chalk outlines, and marking all important items with a different thread color: think buttonholes, the roll line for the lower collar, the shoulder position (which was very necessary because of the yoke–no shoulder seam!), which side of the sleeve was the front, pocket placements, etc. After all that, I went through and added seam allowances with my seam gauge. I did 5/8″ everywhere, to facilitate french seams. I added 1″ of sleeve hem allowance and 1 1/2″ of body hem allowance. The bias hem facing only ate about 1/2″ of that, which is good because I needed that extra 1″ or so.
I drafted a back neck facing–the pattern does NOT have one–for a cleaner finish in that spot, and I am very pleased with how that worked. The undercollar got put on the bias to ensure a good roll. I interfaced the upper collar, but kept my interfacing out of the seam allowances. Looking back, I sort of wish I had interfaced the front facings as well, but I gave those roll lines a good press and am happy with how they sit. This, along with the above paragraph, was all stuff I did before sewing one stitch on the machine! Needless to say, this project felt like it took forever and I expended a lot of mental energy making sure my prep work was up to scratch. And it’s just a chambray shirt!!! :-) But it’s a Marfy chambray shirt, so I wanted to make sure I gave myself every chance to be successful. Which reminds me: PRESS YOUR SHIT, guys. It’s so important and it makes a huge difference. I pressed every. single. seam. I sewed on this blouse and was amazed at how much more professional everything looked once that step was done.
When it comes to construction, I did my french seams nearly everywhere that I intended to, with the yoke seams at the front being my most shameful exception. No good excuse for that one, guys–I got really caught up in making sure those front pleats faced the right way and utterly forgot to french that area. The back yoke was another tricky spot, so I just pressed the yoke seam allowance under and edgestitched that motherfucker. The armscyes are another area I didn’t french, but that was according to plan–I didn’t feel like messing with that, frankly. I know it’s possible, but I felt like I’d done my fair share of tedious bullshit for this shirt already. For all these un-frenched areas, I zig-zagged the seam allowances close to the stitching line and trimmed them down. I tell myself that, from far away, it looks like serger stitches. LOLOLOL. ;-)
As for instructions, I double-checked myself only one time (yay!), and that was to make sure I sewed the sleeve tabs to the appropriate side of the sleeve, since I’d never made them before this. They go on the inside and your buttons go on the outside, FTR. :-) (The post I referred to was on Dixie DIY; I literally just needed to know which side of the sleeve to sew the tabs to, and one look at the post of hers that came up on Google made it obvious. Yay!) If you have some solid garment construction experience, and especially if you’ve ever successfully done a collar and facing insertion, you can absolutely handle this blouse. Although, if anyone wants to know what I did here (order of construction, etc.), just ask in the comments and I’ll share. I just didn’t want to make this textbook of a post any longer than it is already!
I guess the moral of the story here, apart from “Mads has a new shirt to parade around in, hooray!”, is that you should not be afraid to try something just because you know it might be hard. Maybe don’t start with fabric that has sentimental value or that you would be sad to ruin, but just get in there and try things. As long as you learn something, it was probably worth doing. If you get to a point with your sewing where you think, “Gosh, this pattern seems difficult, but I feel like I could do that,” then DO IT. Personally, even though I think this pattern was simple enough for me to tackle, I felt AMAZING when I looked at the finished shirt and realized that I had done a good job on a Marfy pattern. Finishing this project has even made me reconsider how I “rate” my skills…I have always considered myself a beginner, but I’m wondering now if I have finally surpassed that classification. Do you categorize your sewing skills this way? Did you have that “ah-ha!” moment when you realized you had crossed over to the next level?
We had another great shoot for this blouse–Tom really likes taking photos!–so here are some extras. (And seriously, I say “shoot,” but this whole process took 15 minutes at most.) Some are silly, some are “arty,” and one of them (of me, mid-strip down) is both. :-)
If you’re still with me, thanks so much for checking in with my silliness–see you soon! <3
Approx. 2-2.5 yds chambray
9 plastic buttons in two sizes (courtesy of a lovely sewing friend)
White Gutermann polyester thread