F5156: The Annoying Blouse

And another one.

The process of making this one was a nightmare. The fabric I chose was determined to be incredibly badly behaved, making the tasks of, cutting, sewing and pressing so very arduous.

I made two right sleeves and only realised when everything was finished except for setting the sleeves in. And I did not have enough fabric to recut another one, because the fabric had some pretty bad flaws (in the form of large blue ink splotches in and around the selvedge – I’m guessing it was digitally printed) that I had to cut around. Actually, I did cut one left and one right sleeve, but somehow managed to flip the underlining piece around the wrong way against my fabric when I pinned them together. It now makes total sense why it was so impossible to see the traced markings for that particular piece. *head desk*.

I choose to blame all of this on my toddler’s new molars.

But, I got through it and I’m really quite pleased with the end result:

It’s from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, and described as “Blouse with drop-shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks. Suggested fabrics: two-coloured organdy, it can also be made with lace applications”.

From looking at the sketch, I just loved that it gives an excuse to make a practical and everyday wearable use for lace. I will definitely be making another version of this with lace at some point in the future!

Looking at this image after the fact, I do prefer the sleeves at that lovely 3/4 mark, compared to the full length sleeve the pattern actually is. I’ll remember to shorten them next time!

In my experience to date, Marfy’s have typically been quite low cut – which doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind a bit of decolletage – but this blouse is really very modest. The neckline sits above where my clavicles stick out at the bottom of your neck, the teardrop shape is quite high up, and the top button in the button placket gives no hint of boobage whatsoever. For Marfy, it’s practically Mormon approved.

The front seaming is a combination of a princess seam and a dart (I have just recently learned this is called a Dior dart, as opposed to a French dart, which emanates from a side seam), which surprisingly didn’t give me much shaping at all, but fit well across the bust. As I’m a size larger for the bust and shoulders than I am at the waist and hips, it’s difficult for me to determine whether the fit is loose because of me or it being the style of the pattern. Probably the latter.

I always feel a wee bit self-conscious in shirts with a lot of gathering at the top of the sleeve cap – it’s not an area that I like to draw attention too – my shoulders are broad enough as it is :) The sleeve cap is higher than your usual, combined with all of the ease being concentrated within a short distance of the shoulder seam – in the muslin photo below I distributed the ease over a larger area, and for the final version you see here, I shaved it down quite a bit.

There is also a lot of gathering at the cuff – which is offset and slightly hidden with a gently peaked French Cuff. I didn’t like it so much once I pulled it off the sewing machine, but then once I put it on – found I quite liked the drama of it all. After sewing the French Cuff on here and on my Wiltshire Shirt, I do wonder if I should be shortening the arm length? I think the eI’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

So in the finished version – I’ve kept the cuff gathering, and quite considerably paired back the sleeve cap ease. Here is the unadjusted muslin, which you can see sits nicely across the shoulders and bust, has a significant amount of space around the torso, and a very floofy sleeve cap, especially at the back:


I think perhaps this sleeve would work better in a fabric with a bit more structure than my drapey silk. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

But If you’re into dramatic sleeves, this pattern delivers in spades. I can appreciate the volume and proportions of it in the calico, even if I wasn’t going to follow through! Obviously I’ve left the pattern’s collar option off this time around.

The keyhole is finished with a facing, which I extended past the shoulder seam to have each side meet at the centre back. The facing meets the front placket, which is folded in on itself:

To make this a more form fitting blouse on me, I added my now de-rigeur diamond darts to the back, brought the side seams in slightly at the waist, and moved the princess seam inwards (keeping the side panel the same, just adjusting the centre front piece). As a result of the latter adjustment, the hem also needed adjustment, but of course I forgot to draw it on the muslin, which caused a few headaches when it came to actually hemming the thing…

Probably the best representation of the Dior dart, as this is all but completely invisible in photos of the final shirt.

The hem is, as you can see, straight. It sits higher than the hems of other Marfy blouses I’ve sewn up recently. I’ve left this as is in the final version.

I used a lightweight silk – I’m unsure of what type – from The Fabric Store, which has lots of tiny blue, grey and taupe blotches. It’s relatively loosely woven, but is very soft to the touch (any easy to catch!) with a really subtle satin sheen to it, and quite a lot of bouyancy as well. It does drape beautifully, but it was a horrible fabric to work with. It curled up when pressed, shifted and slipped around the placed (even once underlined) – and at one point I even did a burn test because I was so unfamiliar with the way it was behaving I was convinced it wasn’t 100% silk. Nope, it definitely was. I took a looooong time to finish this one because I was so completely uninspired to work with it!

It had quite a number of ink spills on it, mainly at the selvedge, and the person who cut it said in response to me asking for a little extra “oh, you can just cut around that, surely?”. It was the second slightly rude experience I’ve had at The Fabric Store during 2017, and considering it’s already quite a way out of my way geographically, I think I’ll not be bothering to go back any time soon. Unless I want Liberty that Shaukat doesn’t stock. That’s the exception. Or maybe some merino, too. Eh. I’ll probably go back. Begrudgingly.

It was opaque and light weight, so I cut it out after choosing not to underline – but then my Blue Blotch blouse (in a lightweight voile) ripped at the back next to the sleeve and side seam line (nooooooooooooo!!!!! I’ve still got it hanging up in my cupboard because I’m not ready to throw it out just yet) and I went back and underlined it just so that it would have the added strength to withstand my shoulder/arm movements. Ignoring the fact that Marfy patterns accommodate my shoulders way better than a McCalls ever did, of course. Ah well.

One thing I’m particularly pleased at myself for thinking of, was how to tame the facing for such a slippery, tricksy fabric. I underlined the facing with silk organza only, cutting the organza seam allowance away very closely to the basted seam line once sewn in place (the red thread in the above pic). The organza made it super dooper easer to just fold the misbehaving silk underneath to be stitched onto the white CDC underlining. It worked like a charm – the finishing here looks so much nicer than the inside hem, which is crazy wonky despite excessive pinning and fiddling.

I also used a silk organza scrap length inside the placket for a bit of extra strength/stability for the buttons and button holes.

The cuff needed a bit more structure, so I used some sew-in interfacing I bought from Fashion Sewing Supply. This is the second type of interfacing I bought from them – the Lightly Crisp Sew-in interfacing. I haven’t had the chance to wear this particular blouse much since finishing so I currently can’t comment on the wearability of it, like I did with my Wiltshire Shirt (which is progressively getting worse, and making me really sad about it in the process). I’ll update this post a few months down the track with how it all goes.

Buttons are from Buttonmania, which since I last visited – has been sold to a mother-daughters team and setup down in Highett. Now, the likelihood of me ever getting to Highett is negative eleventy billion, so I posted in a decent sized scrap, the ladies photographed some options for me, I made my choice from the lineup and then had them sent back to me. I’ve done this quite a few times in the last few months and it’s been great.

On a sad note, I have heard that none of the businesses in the beautiful old Nicholas Building (where Buttonmania used to be) are having their leases renewed because a developer is going to be moving on in at some point. (The Nicholas Building was originally setup specifically to bring artists, designers and makers together – there still is a super long list of creative tenants.).

And the final result? Well I wasn’t really feeling it at the end of muslining, and the fabric pissed me off so much during construction I was starting to think that it wouldn’t be something I’d want to pull off the hanger once it was actually finished. The colours and the print still were doing it for me though, and I think that’s what’s got it by in the end. It’s wearable, matches with almost everything in my work wardrobe – and I’m really happy with how it fits and sits.

And that caps off my last make of 2017, which I think can officially be known as my year of the shirt! I’m really quite proud of my output last year – a pair of slacks, a French Jacket, 5 blouses and a bias silk cami. Not just because it was 87.5% incredibly practical – and all my previous items have been worn on good rotation (including my latest French Jacket!) – but it sort of marks a bit of a return of ‘me’ post becoming a parent. I’m very much looking forward to sewing more of the same in 2018.


Marfy Catalogues Pattern Haul

It’s been a long while since I did a post like this – mostly because there was a huuuuge gap of not buying any patterns!

I’ve still bought the Marfy catalogues each year for a bit of eye candy – so when I got back into sewing this time a year ago – I went on a big of a pattern buying rampage!

I picked this years catalogue up from the post office 2 days ago, so I’m still digesting that one – this post covers my favourites from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, the 2016/17 Catalogue AND the 2015/16 Catalogue. Because, pregnant + #newbornlyf.

I’ll admit to particularly indulging in what is now last years catalogue – the first Evergreen one – because the catalogue is all separates – so there was a bazillion tops in there that I can see myself making again and again over the years to come.

So unlike in previous catalogues where I’ve bought mainly dresses I’m unlikely to make but they’ve just been so awesome I’ve wanted to acquire them for the sake of prosperity – and jackets and coats that I would really love to get around to making but am still lacking in confidence somewhat – I feel like the purchases I’ve made this time are really going to be money well spent.

And that’s already showing – I’ve made up quite a few from this haul already!

Here’s what I bought.

5117: “Crew neck blouse with drop motif and ribbon, short puff sleeves”. I’ll admit I bought this one because it reminds me somewhat of Leisa’s F1882 blouse from way back in the day, but with a slightly more practical non-wrap front! This pattern was on the blinker between my purchase ‘wishlist’ and the sidelines, because as much as I love the design, I’m unsure it will work well on me. We shall see :)

5156: “Blouse with drop shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks”. Easily one of my favourites – I adore lace but find it a bit overwhelming to wear when it encompasses the whole garment – I love how this blouse pattern allows a smattering of it as a focal point down the front. Depending on the kind of lace, this could either be really subtle or take centre stage. I already know I’m going to have fun searching for fabrics for a lace version of this.

I’ve finished a ‘plain’ version of this one, which you can see here :)

5159: “This refined semi-fitted blouse has an original origami-effect collar that frames the neckline. The sleeves are gathered at the cuffs”. There’s not much I don’t like about this one.

5172: “This classic, somewhat loose-fitting shirt has a shirt collar and yoke”. I had hopes that this would become my go-to work shirt, and I think with a few more tweaks it will absolutely be there. See – Wiltshire Shirt.

5187: “This shirt has a little collar, front placket and sleeves with low-cut armholes. To be made in constrasting colours, or even in a crew-neck version with box-pleat and hidden fastening”. The colour-blocked version doesn’t hold me at all, but I do love the smaller version next it. A bit less 80’s, in my mind. I’m super curious to see how that princess seam into armscye works out.

5200: “This semi-fitted blouse has a crossover V-neckline fastening loose darts”. This is easily the pattern that caught my eye immediately on my first flip through of this catalogue – just gorgeous. It was the first one I tried when I received my patterns – but it has unfortunately taken the title of ‘first Marfy pattern that hasn’t worked for me’. The sleeve however, is utterly gorgeous, and you’ve already seen this in action, transposed onto my most recent make of Marfy 3449 – The Floral.

5205: “This sheath skirt has inset pockets. Suggested fabric: satin or crepe”. Another pattern that was on the fence for me – but did make it across into the purchase wishlist. I love the concept of the pleats at the front, but I think choice of fabric could make or break this.

5212: “This shaped skirt is made of six diagonal panels that open at the bottom giving the skirt volume”. This one was love at first sight. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a fabric hog (1.7m!) – the lines of this are just gorgeous, and the shape is universally flattering, IMO. Because of the amount of fabric required – I’ve got nothing in my stash long enough and in the right bottom weight. and I’ m really going to have to go fabric shopping for this one soon because I’m dying to sew it.

5276: “Form-fitting corset with lingerie-like cuts, to be made in brocade or wild silk”. After my success with my last Marfy Bustier (as the foundation of my wedding dress), I was super excited to see this one here. Regardless of whether or not I get around to sewing this one, it’s one to have for prosperity!

5285: “Trousers with raised waistband that forms a waistband in the back”. I recall when I got my first and second Marfy catalogues being surprised as how few pants patterns there was. But after sewing my own – I think I understand the reasons why. That it’s really easy to pick and choose your features and add them into any pattern once you’ve got one that works for you. I really like the waistband treatment.

3861: “Top with loose ring collar featuring pleats, slightly drop-shoulder sleeve and curved hem. Suggested fabric: voile, viscose or jersey”. With summer coming, and me having spent the last two summers in maternity/breastfeeding-friendly clothing, my options for tops is severely limited right now. I can see myself pulling this together very quickly in a lovely merino knit, and being able to wear it with work and weekend separates.

3893: “Printed silk shirt-dress with optional collar, square yoke at back, tie-fastening at neck, patch pockets, and sleeves with turn-up cuffs.” Looks like a great shirt dress pattern. I’m thinking it might be time to try sewing with Linen?

I’ve got one more sleeve to sew on this and I’ll have this one finished real soon :)

3982: “Double crossover jacket with short belt, raised collar and lapels and cuffs in contrasting fabric. Complete with two-tone skirt with V-shaped hem at the side”. I really lost sleep over whether or not to include this blazer (the skirt has me intrigued, but it’s not something I’d buy on its own). I think in the end, it looks like a safe collar option (because of all the things to sew, stand up collars on jackets are always what scare me off).

3990: “Wool gabardine jacket with peplum, inset pockets with flaps at waist and studded trim”. Pretty simple why I picked this, really. It’s an awesome blazer pattern. I’ve got a muslin for this fitted, I’m hoping to work on it over the upcoming Winter.

3999: “Blouse with either palm-length or cap sleeves. Suggested fabric: jersey”. The intent is to try sewing some more everyday knit tops from this one:

3629: “Fitted top with crossed pleats at the neckline and short kimono sleeves with lace edging. Suggested fabric: crêpe, satin, jersey or cotton cady”. I love the lines on it and see it being quite versatile – in a woven print for work, or a stable jersey for casual wear. Perhaps even another attempt at fagotting to get a Zimmermann inspired outcome?

I’ve muslined this, and it’s not exactly flattering on me. I’m thinking to try my first ever FBA on it to see if I can’t salvage it…

3635: “Classic fitted single-breasted jacket with lapel collar and inset pockets with pocket flaps. Suggested fabric: crêpe, summer-weight wool, merino or pinstripe fabric”. This is the one I originally had earmarked for this year’s couture class… I’m thinking about trialling the wearable muslin concept to practice my tailoring before I cut into the special fabrics I’d like to use for this… one day.

3659: “Smart sleeveless sheath dress with parallel, converging V-shaped seams that shape the bodice, emphasized by lace inserts, round neck with loose pintucks and central split. Suggested fabric: crêpe or silk velvet”. There’s just something about this dress that speaks to me… and I’ve got some heavyweight silk crepe in three matching colourways to make it out of hiding in my stash. I think it would make a fantastic sheath dress for work in non-evening wear fabrics. It’s also on Marfy’s most bought patterns list (on their website) – so clearly a crowd favourite!

3646: “Semi-fitted blouse with converging pintuck detailon asymmetrical scoop neckline. Can be made with side frill and single palm-length sleeve, with two sleeves and no frill, or sleeveless with frill over one shoulder. Can also be made as a dress. Suggested fabric: jersey, cotton cady or satin”. So you can laugh at me, but I bought this pattern solely because I can see myself making this maternity dress out of it. It’s a dress I REALLY wanted to sew last time I was pregnant, but I completely lost all desire to create whilst pregnant… so I figure next time, I’ll be pre-armed!

3647: “Fitted dress with crossover bodice featuring side drape and optional shawl collar, and optional ribbon sash at waist. Suggested fabric: crêpe-de-chine, satin or crêpe”. When I look at this I see another classic day dress or evening dress, depending on the fabrics used. I’m not so into the sash, but – who knows!

Couture Sewing School – Marfy 9814 WIP

I can’t think of a better way to start the year than with a class with Susan Khalje. Apart from already being part way through 2 dresses and 2 toiles thanks to a bit of sewing time over the Christmas break…

After last years French Jacket and pants output, I really wanted to work on a blazer with a stepped collar. Of all the things I feel lacking in confidence in, it’s a tailored collar – I watched 3 ladies in last years class sew up Vogue 8333 with amazing results. Getting back into tailoring is something I’d really like to do, once the basics of my work wardrobe (skirts/shirts… maybe some more pants) is filled in. And not just because I have a plastic tub full of gorgeous, gorgeous wools I’m dying to work with!

I’ve actually got two jacket UFO’s lurking in a box somewhere – both of which have stalled at the collar. It used to be sleeves and collars that I struggled with – but I feel that between the couture method of sewing with the seam lines and the French Jacket classes I’ve done, that this is not something I stumble over anymore. Practice really does build that confidence.

The last jacket I finished – my GGQB blazer – has various ‘flaws’ that I now know I could prevent from occurring thanks to being further down the learning curve, but the collar is one that still stares unrelenting at me every time I pull it out of the cupboard. And that raw silk it’s made out of is starting to discolour, unfortunately, so I don’t know how much longer it will be in rotation for. The other jacket that still gets a lot of wear is my Vogue Suit jacket, but that’s a total cheats collar in a lovely drape-y wool, so no issues there!

I’ve spent most of 2017 convinced I would work with Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue (also on their website, here):

Basically a ‘Classic fitted single breasted jacket with lapel collar and insert pockets with pocket flaps’. Sandra has sewn this up just recently and it looks as you would expect – pretty darn good! I was super pleased to finally meet Sandra (who flew over from NZ for the course) after following her on Insta for forever, as she’s also a regular sewist of Marfy’s :)

I figured if I went in at the deep end with a wool suiting that leaves no-where to hide, then coming back and sewing some blazers on my own in more forgiving fabrics won’t seem so intimidating.

And I have this Ermenegildo Zegna wool suiting (from Joel and Sons), in a taupe and blue-grey large check that I would really love to see realised:

I was totally thinking it would look kinda like this.

But over the last few months with all the shirt sewing I’ve been doing… thinking about my personal style… and how Susan’s softer approach to tailoring works, I’ve decided to go a different route at the last minute, saving that for later on when I can perhaps learn more about traditional tailoring, rather than the soft tailoring that couture leans towards. I’m talking the whole horsehair interfacing, pad stitching and everything.

And to be honest, I probably need to do some ‘wearable muslin’ tailored jacket work just so I can practice and – build up the confidence.

So, rifling through my pattern stash, I found myself still holding F9814, which was a pattern I received as part of the very first Marfy order I placed (from the BMV website, as this was before Marfy had an english website and well before I ever had a catalogue!). A quick search in my email tells me this was back in early 2012!

This is the pattern I hacked the sleeve from to make last years French Jacket (my Octopus’ Garden Jacket):

It has a really cool standup collar that is cut as part of the front bodice, which should aid in simplifying the construction process/time – handy as I’d really like to also sew up a matching pencil skirt to make it a skirt suit. It’s highly unlikely I’ll get both items done, but I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to have the skirt fitted…

It’s a very fitted jacket (which I like) and I swear I bought it in my usual size 46 (I keep meaning to check, but haven’t yet got around to it), but the muslin is definitely too small!! I can’t get it to meet at the front.

I’ve then spent a week mulling over three different fabric options I had in my stash – narrowing it down to a really cool 3D cotton-rayon-and-something-else tweed from my stash – in pale peachy pink and cream. It has something small and reflective included in the weave, which is woven into a mini hexagon pattern:

It’s from iTessile on Etsy – she carries a ridiculous amount of fabric that I want to own!

The other two options was a cream wool with bright bursts of colourful wool highlights that reminds me a bit of the 100’s & 1000’s on fairy bread, and a blue and grey wool check with a matching solid wool, both from Stitches to Style. I’m thinking I’ll make another version of F9814 in one of these wools this coming winter, but with a long sleeve to differentiate it a little.

I’ve said it before probably several times… but watching Susan fit everyone is just fascinating viewing. You learn so much.

Here are a few things the others are working on! There were some really ambitious projects this year which were fascinating to watch come together – with Ros working on replicating a Roland Mouret dress in a three-way scuba crepe knit – for which we are all pretty convinced she found the actual fabric the real thing was made from – here is her daughter in the almost complete version at the end of the 6 Days:

With a couple of pieces of scrap lace tacked on for perspective. Ros is planning to embroider these panels herself later on.

And Tatyana re-creating Dior’s ‘Abandon’ Dress in black silk taffeta. This dress is from the Fall 1948-1949 collection. After being able to see the Dior Exhibition at the NGV last year, I’m so in love with all things Dior right now – how well does it translate, 3/4 of a century later?!? Tatyana said she’s been wanting to recreate this dress for many years, so it was wonderful to see her bring it to fruition:

Most of the time was spent working on drafting the collar to get the proportions right… it was a tough job from where I was sitting!

I was also really thrilled to be able to meet Sandra (from New Zealand) who I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time – as she’s also a lover of Marfy patterns. She worked on Marfy 3507 – a coat dress – I think you’ll agree it looks bloody great:

And Margie – who I met at my very first class with Susan in Baltimore – is replicating this St George tweed dress:

Me? Well I was absolutely on fire the whole week and had my jacket entirely finished bar lining at the end of the second last day. Absolutely killed it.

I started work on a matching skirt on the last day.

It’ll probably be while before I finish it – we’re all familiar with the psychology of sewing – I find a week of intensive sewing on a new project to be quite overwhelming – and to be honest I’m a little sick of the sight of my jacket right now! Plus, the weather is currently hot hot hot and the jacket is very warm…. so I’ll be going back to finishing off those summer dresses for the moment :)

Final installment to follow in a month or three…

F3889: Pointilism Shirt

Happy New Year, everyone :) May 2018 be happy, safe and have lots of sewing for you!

Marfy 3889 – probably one of the simplest and quickest shirts I’ve ever made!

It’s from the 2016/2017 catalogue, and described by Marfy as “Shirt with gathered bodice. To be made in voile or crepe with contrasting edging”.

The pattern has a straight hem with a split at the side seam, and is not shaped (there is only one back pattern piece, two for the front, a sleeve, cuff and three collar pieces) apart from some gathering at the bust. The ‘contrast edging’ is in three pieces – one around the neck for the collar and two forming the button placket (one on each side).

This is my go-to size – the 46. It’s a boxy fit! Suprisingly to me, I chose to leave it be, apart from raising up the hem by 3cm. It’s definitely long on length, and I’m already long in the body.

After trying on my muslin with a work pencil skirt, I decided I quite liked the ‘blouson’ effect of the fabric billowing over a fitted waistband – I get enough shaping from that effect to satisfy my desired silhouette.

I think it looks far better tucked in, and given the pattern length and sketch, I suspect this is how its intended to be worn. As you can see – I really just don’t suit the boxy/shapeless look… but this shirt will be super handy should I ever be pregnant again. Lots of space!

I will definitely be making this again when I find the striped cotton shirting fabric I have in my mind – because the stuff I used for my muslin shows just how well this pattern can show off a stripe. I love the way they curve around the bust and point up towards the collar. Perhaps some might find this unsettling?


Pressure to replicate that fluke is on!!!!

The sleeve itself is interesting as well – no ease in the sleeve cap (which I love), and what I would call a 7/8 length?

It has a cuff that buttons up and one of those split things (I have no idea what it’s called? An internal placket?!?), a pleat AND some gathering. I had to draft my own facing for the split-thing, but that’s fine (actually, I suspect I may have lost the tiny pattern piece for this in my messy sewing space – as the next shirt I sewed up after this one (the Wiltshire Shirt) has the same split and it came with a pattern piece) – I copied what I did pretty much exactly on my Blue Blotch Blouse (McCalls 5929, now OOP). It worked better than I thought it would. And completed, I actually love how the volume is concentrated on the out-facing part of the sleeve because of the gathers.

The sleeve cuff didn’t have a marking to indicate where to start the overlap for the button/button hole. I presumed there was supposed to be an overlap, so I wrapped the cuff around my wrist and gauged that 2cm ought to do it. I could have gone a bit less, I think. I then just used the gathered section to make the sleeve fit to the remainder of the cuff.

The hem is just a simple fold up and under and top-stitch affair. It also has side splits. As it’s extremely unlikely I’ll ever wear this untucked – I didn’t put a great deal of effort into any special finishing. Just a quick and easy fold under, press and stitch.

Where as the inside front is just overlocked, except for the collar/contrast facing, which I handsewed down. Not sure why I didn’t just include this in the overlocked part, to be honest!

It’s pretty hard to go past Liberty. This one is a painterly print called ‘Pointillism’, in its blue/grey iteration (which is apparently an ‘abstract interpretation of the wild floral fields of Tesco’ – Liberty of London’s words, not mine). It’s from Shaukat.

The cuff and the collar are interfaced with a double layer of silk organza (all eeked out of scraps, yay!) for a bit of structure. Any interfacing in the front placket needed to be soft and pliable so as not to awkwardly affect the way the shirt blossoms out when worn tucked in.

I also wanted a teeny bit of contrast on the collar in this one, and found a matching pale-ish blue cotton (blend?!) from The Fabric Store. It’s of a lousy quality – the grainline shifting all over the place and other bizarre behaviour – but with only a tiny slither required it was quite workable. (I was thinking a bit about this as I worked on this blouse… and I don’t half wonder if the closing up of a lot of clothing businesses in Aus has driven the changes I’ve seen at Melbourne’s The Fabric Store recently – a really great spread of Liberty of London fabrics compared to years previous? Hey, not that I’m complaining – but they did used to have a fabulous array of different fabrics that were of decent quality, and that seems to have dried up recently. Has anyone else noticed this, or know anything about the change?)

This is what the colours actually look like. My DSLR has kicked the bucket, and camera phone pics just aren’t the same!

Buttons are from Buttonmania. It was the first time I did the whole ‘send a scrap of fabric away for them to match buttons to’ thing, and I was a bit thrown off guard with the lime green buttons they texted back to me. Even after I said in the accompanying letter that I would be cool with some left-field options! haha, I was forced to chew on those words in the end. I agreed to the lime green option, and in the end was glad I did – they look SO much better against the fabric IRL than they did in those photos they sent through. A really perfect match to the lime and fluoro yellow highlights in the Liberty.

And that is all for Marfy 3889. One more shirt to blog about (Marfy 5156) and I’ll be up to speed on things I’ve finished during 2017. I’m also almost finished a dress (I’m waiting on Buttonmania to come back from their Christmas break so I can get buttons!) plus have another 2 muslins finished and ready go into final production… but those will have to wait as I’m currently prepping for a class with Susan in a week or so, which I’m very VERY excited about!

Silk and Lace Bias Camisole

One of the lovely things about sewing has got to be all the awesome people you meet. Especially when said awesome people are also super skilled sewists and you are able to gain access to those skillz!

I’ve been meeting regularly for a day of sewing with quite a few of the ladies I did the French Jacket Class with in Melbourne at the beginning of this year – one of which happens to run her own nightwear label, Tatyana Design. As a third generation couturier (having been taught by her Russian Grandmother) her collections have walked the runway at MFF and there’s a lovely into to her brand here. Her collections feature gorgeously floaty silks, opulent heavy weight silks, embroidery and amazing details… So when Tatyana offered to put on a bias cami class on for us – we jumped at the chance!

No shortage of that floating around – especially when you’ve got Carine Gilson‘s artwork in the form of clothing to daydream about. I was so very taken with this particular lace and silk colour combo, perhaps one day I’ll find the right lace to pay homage to it with my own version of this dressing gown:

Image via Instagram – @carinegilson

The two necessary ingredients are of course, lace and silk. I was keen to use some of the lace I had in my stash – specifically the taupe and periwinkle lace from my pleated birthday dress, way back when? But it was only when I started visiting fabric shops that I remembered how difficult it was to get it to match anything… being the most unusual shade of periwinkle blue – it looked purple against the blues, and blue against the purples. In the end, I did actually end up finding a matching gold-hued rather heavy satin backed crepe silk to work with it – which will become something else special – as the cording on the lace ruled it out as a option for sleepwear. I’ll have to work it into a drapey top instead, I think.

Instead, I purchased a really soft and malleable green and gold lace and matching green charmuese to work with.

However on the day of the workshop, one of the ladies just recently back from a shopping trip in Hong Kong pulled out (unbeknownst to me) the most gorgeous cornflower blue charmuese – which she’d bought with me in mind. Thanks Ros! I fell in lust and quickly bought it from her. I made a quick dash to Tessuti about a block away from where we were having the class, in the hope of finding thread and a matching lace… and I got very lucky with a short width white floral lace:

We were effectively Tatyana’s guinea pigs for her offering this course, with one day set aside to see if we could work through it all. Spoiler – it’s a two day job.

There were a few mind blowing moments fairly early on in the piece – like apparently if you handle bias cut fabric in Tatyana’s way correctly, you don’t need to hang the bias panels to let them drop before hemming. She’s got an amazing rack of samples in her workshop, some of which have been hanging for 10+ years – and no drop. Which I suppose is exactly what you need when working in a production environment! No small business can afford to have a production run of garments hanging around to ‘drop’ before hemming.

I spent a considerable amount of time just staring at this french seam – as it looks like a seam sewn with cotton on the grain, not with bias charmuese! And this is with barely any pressing… you can even see the still perfectly straight grainlines of each piece of fabric reflected in the lighting if you look closely enough:

Most of the day was spent working on the lace – figuring out how best to position it, cutting and shaping it, sewing it onto the silk and cutting back behind it. Everyone’s lace was different, so everyone’s placement options were different. I ended up going with a V style shaping which was pretty quick and painless…

Unfortunately we didn’t get it all finished – still the straps, elastic back and hemming to go.

Tatyana’s black lace sample. Both Amanda and Danielle had this lace (from Cleggs) – Amanda also was using this black lace on black charmuese.

Judith’s champagne charmeuse and black floral lace. I was mesmerised by all the little lashes on the lace!

Danielle’s pink lace and baby pink charmeuse – terrible lighting, sorry!

After setting a date to suit most everyone – we reconvened at the end of September to finish them off.

We started with the elastic – I bought some white lingerie elastic with picot along one edge from Tatyana’s work stash for my blue cami (and conveniently she also had the most perfect shade of green for my yet-to-be-started green and gold set, which I also bought).

After the elastic was installed, being able to take off the tearaway fusible interfacing and finally see the bias drape on our fabrics was wonderful!

Then it was onto making the straps – cut on the bias in the same way that you would make bias binding. Sewing them up, trimming back and then turning them around… took a while.

There was two options for straps – wide and flat, or narrow and round. I chose the latter as when putting the samples up against my cami – this appeared to suit it better… but changed my mind after I’d made them. After making up the second set, I changed my mind again and went back to using my originals. They were rather a bit lumpy (although Tatyana assured me that after time and washing they would soften out and look beautiful like her sample, which was quite a few years old).

There was also hardware to install – same as what you would use were you making bra straps, making it adjustable.

My second attempt at making straps – and I made them inside out. I ended up going back and using my first straps as I was a little rough in turning these and they popped a seam – oops!

I used the small straps to try on the cami and determine where they would be attached, and how I would finish the lace at the front. As an insurance policy the straps were made extra long, and I was able to use the extra length to create a ‘triangle’ detail onto which the lace could be finished on.

Once trying it on (and loving it way more than I thought I would – it was mentally hard to do all this work and have no idea what it would look like once on – I’m so used to sewing toiles!) I also decided that instead of hemming, I wanted to have another row of lace around the bottom.

I was disgustingly lucky that the repeat on my lace fit the hem length almost exactly (I think I had about 3/4 of a cm to ease in total), so I started working on that (and finished it off at home).

And now, many gratuitous finished garment photos, on a mannequin that’s a wee bit big across the bust!

I wanted to get some photos of it on a mannequin as laying it flat just doesn’t do it justice and it’s definitely a bit too saucy for me to model! But I hadn’t actually finished it when the opportunity to put it on a mannequin arose, so it is not finished there.

It’s a really beautiful garment, and I’d love to sew some French Knickers to match – so I think sometime next year Tatyana will be putting on a course for those which I will definitely be attending, (I also see she’s putting on a second Bias Cami workshop early in the next year, if you’re local and such a thing interests you!).

I’m already mentally gearing up to work with the green silk and lace – with an idea for a variation on the back pilfered from this gorgeous Sass & Bide top….