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!
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…
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.