Marfy Evergreen #2 Catalogue Favourites

The 2018 Marfy Catalogue appears to be the counterpart to the 2017 Evergreen catalogue – covering dresses, outerwear (jackets and coats) and evening dresses. After being really very taken with the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue (aka – The Separates Bible), I was looking forward to seeing it.

The first things that stood out for me – is Marfy 6048!

I was absolutely thrilled to see this pattern in there because it’s almost a carbon copy of Marfy 2005 (below), from the 2009 catalogue. I emailed Marfy to try and buy this pattern sometime in 2012 or 2013 – and they no longer had any left in my size. So I don’t even have to really think – I’ll absolutely be getting this pattern!

The other standout pattern for me, is this dress – Marfy 6179. A really next level evening dress, IMPO. “Dress with loose rayed draping on the back and panel originating from it.  See through effect on yoke and bodice”. Wow.

I recognised quite a few patterns throughout the catalogue – a quick tally up, and I actually have 11 patterns from this catalogue already! Some with slight differences, like Marfy 6080 – almost identical to my Marfy 9814 jacket from this years Couture Sewing School (which is finished all but for the lining, which I’ve yet to start work on!), minus the flounce at the sleeve, and this time with a button placket, rather than joining with hooks and eyes like mine does. I do really like that standup collar though :)

Another similar-but-different pattern is Marfy 6038, which has a shawl collar instead of the stepped collar that Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue:


My guess is that as a point of difference – this Evergreen catalogue has what looks like new-to-me patterns as well as many of their past popular patterns, which have been graded into a larger range of sizes. This hypothesis is further supported when I came across Marfy 6175 (which I also already have) – as it’s also been Marfy 9921, as pictured in the back of the catalogues for as long as I can remember:


But moving on, here are some of my favourites!

Marfy 6107 – ‘Semi fitted coat with wide collar to be worn fastened in a funnel-style or opened, to be made with or without a belt. Recommended in velour or boiled wool”. Between this beauty and 6048 above, I’m really feeling the want-to-sew-a-coat thing…

Marfy 6123 (and 6029, the dress next to it) is one of the free patterns that comes with the catalogue, and I really like it! “This single breasted, semi-fitted jacket has a loose collar that is turned up at the back, redingote cuts, it can be made with or without triangular lace inserts”. It has a very similar collar to the jacket I made as part of my Vogue Suit, which I really like wearing:

I saw Marfy 6096 and immediately thought of Solange’s wedding dress, even though there are some pretty significant difference (dress, coat, eh), and there is that fabulous standup collar again!

Lets be completely impractial and skip to my favourite evening gowns, hey?

Marfy 6268 totally makes me swoon. This dress has a “lifted up waist and its skirt is wide, cut on the bias and without seams on the side”. Dreamy. Somebody please invite me to a ball, asap.

As for Marfy 6380, I love the train at the back, and the lace placement. It’s also the kind of dress I’d be very keen to take an inside peak at – I’d imagine some kind of supporting structure would be worked into this beauty:

There is also a few beautiful cheongsam inspired dresses, like Marfy 6231. “This dress has an oriental flare. It has a strip collar, skirt with side slit and short cap sleeves. Suggested fabrics are printed silk and shantung”.

In fact, there is a broad range of dresses that take inspiration from a variety of different cultures and decades. I was born in the first half of the 80s, so didn’t live the fashions of that era and don’t have the negative connotations as a result – but Marfy 6239 is clearly pulled from then! I can’t ever see myself having reason to make such a frock, but it sure looks like it would be fun to wear!!

There is also some great shirt dresses, like Marfy 6254 (on the left) and Marfy 6253 (centre and right), which I would class as a quintessential American style silhouette.

Marfy 6235 takes me on a bit of a trip down memory lane – in my early 20s I had a much loved Alice McCall party dress that was just like this, but with a slightly more tulip-shaped skirt. And a lot shorter. Knowing that this is a style I loved wearing and had many fond memories of makes me very tempted by this one…

On the other end of the spectrum, Marfy 6258 I find myself drawn to, but because bizarrely it’s the kind of thing I see myself wearing when I’m middle-aged. Do you ever come across patterns you love but would only wear when you were older/younger?

Marfy 6160 is just LOVE. Actually I have one already that is strikingly similar, but I still want this one pretty bad. That gathered panel joining up into the underbust dart is just so beautiful, and I think this would work better for me than the one I have (Marfy 3647) because it would provide a little more surety in terms of bust coverage – I’ve found in the past that wrap tops like this that join at the side seam end up really low cut as the fabric wraps around and under the bust. Having the gathering end up closer to the centre front would perhaps allow a slightly higher neckline? Perhaps I’m just trying to convince myself to purchase an almost identical pattern… but, it’s working ;)

Marfy 6180 – how fun is this? I love everything about it – the bateau neckline, the flounce at the sleeves, the pegged skirt, the slight hi-lo hem, everything. I don’t believe I’ve quite the proportions to pull this off – there’s a bit too much going on – but that can’t stop a gal from a good ol’ daydream.

Marfy 6182 – to me this is the ultimate Melbourne Cup style kinda dress. Maybe it’s the big hat tipping me off, but I’m always a sucker for ruching/pleats at the neckline like this.

Marfy 6305 – this to me reads like an interpreted version of Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress, and I’m really liking it. “This elegant dress has a shawl collar, a draped skirt and 3/4 length set in sleeves”. Interestingly, the recommended fabrics are are sateen and crepe de chine, but I’m sure it could be translated well in a stable knit as well.

Well, these are my picks. My thoughts on this catalogue? I enjoyed it. After the 2017 Evergreen catalogue which was a bit of a peak experience for me – I’m a separates girl through and through – it was always going to be hard to match but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. This catalogue has a really broad range of styles of dresses – many of which I haven’t really shown here because they’re not what I’m drawn to. As I already have 11 patterns in my collection from this catalogue, I probably won’t buy as many as I usually would – although I’m beyond positively thrilled that the coat pattern I thought was lost to me is back on the table! That said, if you haven’t dipped your toes in this pond yet and are keen to try, this is probably as good a catalogue as any to start, as it seems to have so many of the best sellers and popular styles that have stuck over the years. I’m obviously quite happily biased though – seeing as these days I predominately sew Marfy – more often than not they just work for me, and I’m not going to chance a winning formula any time soon :)


Book Review: The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques

The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques
By Lynda Maynard, Published by Interweave Press

“Make professional-quality garments by using couture techniques and finishes. Fashion designer Lynda Maynard makes these techniques accessible to every sewer, explaining the seemingly difficult secrets of couture design and construction, from functional hems and waistbands to decorative ribbon-trimmed collars.”

What I just adore about this book (besides the fact that the spine of is a spiral binder so it lays flat – perfect for quick reference by the sewing machine) is that it’s all about the little touches that make a garment, well… special. You won’t find anything on how to sew garments together, but you will be inspired to include a few detailed flourishes when putting together your next showpiece.

It’s categorised by a technique selector, going through bindings and finishing’s…

…to the design details that are on show…

…and the design details that are secretly hidden away either underneath or inside your garment:

There’s some more unusual and infrequently used techniques laid out in this book that I’m dying to try – like horsehair braided hems, making your own shoulder pads, flange closures for buttons on sheer fabrics and enough different binding finishes to make your head spin.

Each technique has fairly detailed photographic descriptors, and I’d say that for at least half of those included (the simpler ones!) the text and visual images for the steps are well laid out and informative.

For the remaining half, I felt as though the more fiddly parts were glossed over – like there isn’t any mention of the use of interfacing your bound button holes, and no discussion is entered into over the width of the horsehair braid and how it would affect the outcome of your skirt or dress hem. So were you to follow the instructions given implicitly, your end result either wouldn’t be very long lasting, or would look closer to home-made rather than hand-made.

I’ll be referring to this book mainly as a source of inspiration and idea’s, rather than a definitive manual of ‘how to’ I think. That being said, there are a lot of techniques covered in a relatively short space of time, and like a bee to pollen I’m drawn to things that are beautifully packaged – and in that light this book doesn’t disappoint.

Book Review: A complete course on making a professional suit

Tailoring: A Complete Course on Making a Professional Suit
Edited by Peg Couch, Published by Fox Chapel Publishing.

“A classically tailored suit never goes out of style, nor do the skills and techniques used in crafting one. This step by step guide takes the reader through the entire process of making a suit, from selecting the fabric to the final fit. The book also includes over 200 colour coded diagrams that clearly depict the construction process. This complete course on tailoring is illustrated and annotated like no other book on the topic and will become a trusted reference in any sewing library.”

I’m slowly acquiring a small sewing library (I adore books) and this was one of the first books on tailoring I bought. It’s a good read, especially as it has sections specifically for men’s and women’s suits – I had no idea there was such a difference in construction techniques between the two.

Whilst it’s heavy on text however, the authors/editors/publishers seem to forget that a picture speaks a thousand words – and in a craft such as sewing, visuals are indespensible.

For instance, there is a section on the different types of fabrics – you would expect them to come with pictures, no? No. There’s just a block of text. And whilst the techniques are well detailed textually, there are only hand drawings of the garment and their tailoring steps, which can get a tad confusing when various layers and different materials are used.

My biggest gripe? One of the small number of pictures that actually has a garment and a hand in it at the same time has dirty fingernails. I mean, really?

This is not what I’d expect from a tailoring publication. Whilst I know I’m going to use this as a reference text as it really does have a large amount of useful descriptions in it, I just can’t get past the dirty fingernails. Ick.