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:

PATTERN
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.

FABRIC
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.

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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”.

PATTERN
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?

Nothing to see here. JUST THE MOST AWESOMEST OF COMPLETELY UNINTENTIONAL PATTERN MATCHING, EVER.

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!

FABRIC
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!

F5172: Wiltshire Shirt

I’ll admit I was hoping Marfy 5172 (from this year’s Evergreen catalogue) was going to be my go-to button up shirt pattern, what – with my favourite RTW shirt maker Rhodes & Beckett going into administration and all. I’ve been living in their shirts all my working life, and them going out of business and me sewing a bazillion shirts and blouses is no coincidence.

It’s a similar style to my favoured RTW shirts – with a back yoke, front darts for shaping, stand up collar, and long sleeves.

FABRIC
Another Liberty, this time the classic Wiltshire print in a lilac and blue colourway, which I absolutely adore. The tana lawn is lovely and light compared to the Egyptian shirting cottons I usually wear – making it perfect for the impending summer.

I wanted to get the crisp collar thing going on – so I took the plunge with some interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I bought two types – for this shirt I’ve used the Pro-woven shirt-crisp fusible interfacing. They don’t post internationally anymore, which from my uninformed position seems like a silly business decision. I’m stubborn so I used a mail forwarding service.

It’s been a couple of months since I finished this one, so it’s had plenty of time to show me how it wears. The fusible itself has laundered well so far (it’s been through the washing machine numerous times now), with no bubbling. It’s also worn well along the French Cuff fold. I followed the instructions of pressing for 20 seconds on high heat with no steam (I used a pressing cloth).

However, I’m not happy with the strength of the interfacing. My personal preference is for my collars to be significantly more stiff – and this is just using it on a very lightweight tana lawn. Within 30 minutes of wearing, the collar points have caved in and curled upwards. Had I used this on any of the heavier  oxford-weave cottons I have in my stash – I’d want something heaftier still. Compared to my Blue Blotch Blouse, which in weight is very similar if not slightly on the lighter side – and which I used organza to support the collar with – I’ve been incredibly happy with how the collar has behaved. Always bouyant, always well-shaped, even post-wash and pre-iron.

You can see the difference here, after both shirts have been worn for the day:

I’m tempted to go back and get some of the Pro-Woven Super Crisp, or perhaps the Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-weight fusible. But they’re out of it right now so I’ll wait until its back in stock. I’ve got a variety of different weighted shirt fabrics I want to sew up, hopefully I’ll eventually find my Cinderalla interfacing :)

I traced out the pattern pieces, and cut on the inside of the tracing so that the fusible piece would be slightly smaller than the pattern piece. Then pressed in place (instructions recommend a dry setting on your iron, and to hold for 20 seconds. I used a pressing cloth as well.

Next time I’ll cut a smidge more away from the interfacing so I can get a nice turn of cloth when turning the pieces back around.

The collar is beautifully drafted – with the undercollar accounting for turn of cloth and being slightly smaller in width than the upper collar. I interfaced the upper collar and inner collar stand only, leaving the other two pieces as is.

I also did tack together the seam allowances between the collar and collar stand so that it would be held in place – encouranging the collar to fold over into position.

The interfacing actually made construction of the collar much easier than the one I did on my toile (or any other collar stand I’ve sewn before, actually) – especially around the collar stand curve at the front. I’ve clipped it very closely of course, but it basically held the lovely curve before pressing it into submission. I’m really happy with the outcome here!

I’m particularly taken with the lilac-y-pink buttons, which surprisingly to me, are from Spotlight.

PATTERN
I made this up in the size 46. The shoulders and bust fit really well and comfortably – lovely shaping through the front, but with the ‘blouson effect’ happening at the back. I ended up adding in two small diamond darts at the back, which I copied from my favourite F3449 blouse. I typically wear my cotton work shirts with jeans/work-issued-pants when I’m in the field which means I wear them untucked, so having that shaping at the back is just what I prefer.

Because of this, I also changed the hem from being straight to curved.  I took the template for this adjustment from my Blue Blotch Blouse (a now OOP McCalls) and softened the curves at the side seam a bit.

I’ve sewn this type of hem quite a few times now, and this is definitely the best I’ve done yet – where the hem curves in a concave manner at the side seams – which can be tricky when you’re folding the hem over on itself like so (and I would still like to try the ‘triangle treatment’ at this junction that a lot of El Husbando’s work shirts have on them):

The sleeve cuff ends in a pleat and some gathering, plus a split where the cuff’s end, fastened with a button.

The pattern has a standard issue cuff on it (button up) – but I far prefer a French Cuff, so I mocked up my own pattern piece for this. Next time, I’ll improve this by shaping it more like a trapezium than a rectangle, or move the buttonholes closest to the sleeve closer in, so that when folded over, the insides are hidden somewhat. Same as the principle of ‘turn of cloth’.

It also called for a proper sleeve plackets. I got lazy and just did the other version – same as what I did on F3889. I think on lightweight cotton’s like this you can easily get away with it, but when I get to sewing up the heavier shirting cottons in my stash, I will really need to try that placket thing…

I reach for this shirt a lot – it’s a great work basic and I just love the colours in this particular Wiltshire print. In future I plan to add an extra inch or so to the length, and work on my shaping efforts, which I believe have room for improvement (especially at the back).

F5172 is definitely going to become my standard issue cotton work shirt pattern, and considering the number of shirting cottons in my stash, you can expect to see more of it in future!

F3449: The Floral and The Phoenix

Bit shocked that it’s been a good few months since my last post – especially as I’ve actually been doing rather a lot of sewing. I’ve sorted the whole ‘time for sewing’ thing – getting photographs of the finished things is proving to be the biggest challenge it would seem! Hopefully now that the weather is improving, that will get a bit easier.

Today I have a repeat of a favourite of mine to show you – Marfy 3449.

My latest version is definitely an improvement on the first – I’ve swapped out the F3449 sleeve for the sleeve on another blouse (F5200 – which has been muslined but was a complete disaster and is unlikely to ever be finished. Perhaps I’ll drag it out of the naughty corner and blog about the experience). Let me just say – I am IN LOVE with this sleeve!

This one is also underlined with a white silk crepe de chine, which I thought to do as the floral CDC was a little on the thin side. But the underlining gives back so much more than just making it opaque – the flow of the silk is just amplified in every good way. It makes me wish I had underlining the original version! Totally worth all the time spent thread tracing.

Especially, the underlining does its biggest 1+1=3 where the sleeves meet the cuff. It makes the fabric flounce in such a voluminous way (I’m wearing at as I type this and keep stopping to admire it – haha!). Balancing this out is lots of structure in the cuff – I underlined the cuff piece in both the white CDC and some thin cotton flannel I happened to have a scrap of handy. This completely changes the feel of the cuff – it even holds its own shape when laid flat, but the weight of it makes the sleeve and cuff sit wonderfully.

I chose to not underline the ruffle at the neckline though – it ends up being quite a heavy weight just on it’s own, and I didn’t want the front to look or feel as though it was being dragged down by the weight. That, and white underlining peaking out from the wrong side of the ruffle would look blergh.

One thing I changed/improved about the construction order for this blouse was for that centre front seam. You can see that in this silk – the weight of the ruffle pulls the front collar open so that you see the insides. This also happens to my first 3449, but in a slightly different way.

On my first version, I didn’t think about how to finish this seam until after I’d sewn it together – now when I sew Marfy toiles I put a lot of thought into how to finish it off as a result.

In the end I sewed in some binding to close all of the clipped seams from the ruffle. This was a bit of a drama! For this blouse, I made the binding up first, then made one pass as I sewed all the layers together – before folding and pressing the binding back and sewing it down in place.

Ruffle, pinned in place and clipped so it hangs nicely.

Those clipped edges would otherwise be visible, so I’ve added a strip of binding to be included in the seam, ironed across to the seam edge side before the two front halves are sewn together. Then the seam edges have been encased in the binding.

Basically it’s a pain in the ass, and combined with the tiny collar I self-drafted (both for my first and for this one) – a really involved process. Fashioning and sewing on that blasted self-drafted collar was about 4 solid hours of work. I’m considering that when I make this again (I love it too much to retire this pattern just yet) – maybe I’ll just make a facing for the front. That would minus the need for binding and a self-drafted collar. I have a sneaking suspicion that the weight of my added collar does support the front ruffle somewhat… so version 3 of this will be an interesting experiment!

I’m also wondering if a little hook and eye at the top centre front seam to hold the ruffle up would be quite flattering? Perhaps another thing for a future version.

Otherwise, I french seamed pretty much everything except the armscye, which I used my overlocker on. I have an irrational dislike of finishing armscye seams – it just doesn’t seem right to topstitch in place in a fabric like this.

The hem seam is handstitched down onto the underlining. From memory, the F3449 pattern is a straight hem and I made it curved – I think this is so much more flattering on the body, especially as it’s a fitted blouse.

So this brings us back full circle to the original F3449 – my Stitches to Style blouse. Well, it was much beloved. Except whilst making it I accidentally sliced a little to close to the seam on the armscye seam allowance. Which was fine, as long as I handwashed it – which is what I do for things I make (especially silk blouses).

Except it accidentally got dragged into the washing machine, and came out rather ripped. Oops.

Thing is I’d originally bought that fabric with a shirt dress in mind, so there was quite a bit of it left. Just enough to eek out a NEW and improved (read – overlocked armscye seams) version of that blouse. I did have to unpick the flounce from the old one to make it work with the yardage I had left though – ruffle details always consume so much more fabric than you think they should! A sleeve was also sacrificed to make the new cuffs.

So, my Stitches to Style Blouse has risen from the dead:

In hindsight, I do really wish I’d underlined this one though – that lovely polka dot chartruese silk twill is very prone to creasing, where as my floral version doesn’t have a single crease after a day of wear. Next time!

F3449: Stitches to Style Blouse

What to do when you adore the picture/line drawing of a pattern, only to sew up a muslin and find you look utterly ridiculous?

The pattern is Marfy 3449, which I’ve adored since laying my eyes on it. According to the Marfy catalogue it’s “A flowing, collarless shirt with a ruffle down the centre at the front, satin trim at the side, and sleeves gathered at the wrists and slightly at the shoulders.”

Marfy 3449 from the 2014-15 Catalogue

Marfy 3449 from the 2014-15 Catalogue

My ridiculous muslin was sewn up in a specially bought hot pink polyester because it was virtually identical in weight and drape to the fabric I envisaged this being made up in. Had I been invited to a dress up party where I would have like to have gone as Joan Collins, a pirate or someone from Days of our Lives, this would have been utterly fabulous.

Alas, that was not my intention. It did however, fit me perfectly through the shoulders and the bust. What this muslin doesn’t show is the gathered cuff – I recall feeling more OTT that this WIP instagram snap would imply!

Marfy 3449 Muslin

I figured if I toned down the sleeve cap height (I’ll admit – this effect was enhanced by the body of my chosen fabric, and the fact that I’d pushed all the ease up to the top of the sleeve cap), slimmed down and removed the bell cuff on the sleeve (which once elasticated looks exactly on me as it does in the sketch) and raised the level of the front split by 5cm (warning – this one is very low cut – right down to below the root of my bust) then I could probably handle it.

Once I adjusted the fit of the bodice by my normal Marfy adjustments (taking it in below the bust to account for me being two different torso sizes) I compared it to one of my all time favourite and regularly worn make – the Blue Blotch Blouse. Many times fitting issues with woven clothing only become apparent after a bit of wear, and it was clear to me that whilst that blouse is a very comfortable garment, it did need some more width across the shoulders (I’m broad). This Marfy pattern had that, which was great.

I hesitated on my ridiculous adjusted muslin for nearly two weeks on whether or not I would proceed with the real thing, and I’m SO glad I did. I really love the end result! The flounce makes me smile every time I look down or catch it moving as I walk.

Marfy

Everytime I take a photo that has me smiling with my lips together, it just looks like I’m oddly pouting. Usually those photos get instantly deleted, but the weather/lighting was doing weird things on this particular afternoon, so the fact that it was the best colour match to the real deal won through.

Marfy 3449 Blouse 2

The fabric is one I’ve been wanting to sew with for over a year. It’s a pretty substantial silk twill fabric, chartreuse with off-white polka dots – cool to the touch and with a subtle matt texture. I scored this at one of the fabulous End-Of-Financial-Year-Sale’s at Stitches to Style a few years back.

The hem of this shirt (which you can’t see from the sketch) is straight, split at the sides and the front is slightly shorter than the back. I altered this to be curved and with more of a pronounced ‘hi-lo’ hem.

The ruffle – a challenge to finish because of the weight and thickness of my fabric – I chose to sew a hand-rolled hem on. I used this youtube video to get me started – it’s a really simple and (if you like hand sewing) enjoyable thing to do. I haven’t quite yet mastered my rolled hem foot on my machine on straight edges – so no way was I going to risk it on a shaped edge!

How well the ruffle sits depends solely on how you clip the seam allowance (Anne from Clothing Engineer has a wonderful post on how clipping can affect your flounce/ruffle here). I clipped every 7mm or so along the length of each ruffle – and it really does sit wonderfully.

Marfy 3449 Blouse 4

Marfy 3449 blouse 11

Marfy 3449 Blouse 9

The sleeves I copied from another Marfy blouse pattern instead of adjusting the sleeve cap, because they were also a lot wider than what I felt comfortable in. The original sleeves recommend finishing the cuff with elastic (to enhance the bell shaped cuff – a feature I really like in principal but not so much on me in reality), I drafted a simply slim cuff that I can pull over my hand easily.

Otherwise this blouse is finished with French seams except for the front seam – a challenge because I knew it would be visible. I’ve bound each side to enclose the heavily clipped seam allowance. A bit heavy, but effective.

Marfy 3449 Blouse 3

Marfy 3449 Blouse 8

For the neckline I initially thought bias binding, but drafted a thin, curved collar so it would sit flat. I suspect that I am missing a pattern piece for the neckline, as the back bodice pattern piece has a notch around the neckline indicating that something should be matched to it – and I only had pattern pieces for the front, back, sleeve and ruffle.

Marfy 3449 Blouse 6

Probably should have steamed those pin holes out first...

Probably should have steamed those pin holes out first…

Also – the ‘satin trim’ down the side is not a pattern piece, but rather a DIY addition. I left it out.

Another work horse blouse, complete – I’ve already worn this to work a few times and I love it both tucked into skirts and untucked over pants. The silk does crush easily, so it’s not a travel-suitable blouse – but it’s so substantial that it feels like it could withstand a LOT of wear, much more so than the delicate silk/cotton voile I made the Blue Blotch Blouse in. Much to my devastation, I think that blouse will only last another year… massive sad face!