30 Jan 2012

Marfy pattern dress - muslin 1.

Here is part 2. of the process of making a dress by using a Marfy pattern.
My muslin is a one sleeved version as usual, didn't use the two layers for the collar because I'm only interested in the global look. (The collar pieces are very neat though, the undercollar pieces are slightly smaller than the upper pieces. I guess you don't see this very often on commercial patterns.)

Gathers or pleats?
I still find amazing that my muslin looks exactly as the drawing! Well, they only had drawings during the first half of the 20th century, but now I have to get used to it again...
One thing that's hard to see and why I would like to have at least a line drawing are the small details. For example under the shoulder yoke patten piece the instruction says 'pleat'. Both in the front and the back. At the back there are vertical lines which shows where and how to pleat, but in the front there aren't any. The pattern pieces are not printed, but stamped with some instructions. They might forget one, right?
So what to do next? There are two options. Since there is no line drawing (usually, these provide the most information you need) we can search a clue either in the written model description or take close look at the drawing:
- the catalog description:
"This form-fitting, shirt-waist dress has a belted waistline and triple darts that open into the flared skirt. The short sleeves have gathers at cuffs and shoulders to impart some flow. It has a slightly offset collar and yoke at the shoulders. Suggested fabric: muslin, sateen, eyelet embroidery."
Does mention the yokes but nothing about the pleats...

- the model drawing:

So we know that on the back there are pleats. I can see the front is drawn in the same way. Another fact: the patten says 'pleat'. It would look kinda weird if there were pleats at the back and a gathered piece at the same place in the front of the same dress, right?
When I look at my inspirational pictures here I see gathering under the yoke on the Peckham dress and pleats on the 'picture-drawing'. Since the first one is made of very thin fabric I might go with the second solution and make pleats. Three of them, because that is what I see above.

The muslin:
The overall fit is good. The shoulder width and the sleeves fit perfect. There is enough ease in the dress, just a tad more I usually want. Though in the drawing the dress is worn with a belt and that is what I'm going to do too.

Notice that Marfy patterns use the following descriptions for the fit:
- tight-fitting: fitted garments with just a little ease
- form-fitting: these garments has a slightly loose fit, like this dress. They are somewhat fitted but you can easily move.
- loose-fitting: really loose fit

First I was afraid that size 42 (Marfy's smallest size) might be too small but it isn't.
Notice, this is not the same as the European size 42! (For reference: I always wear size small clothing or  European size 36 and in US patterns I usually end up with size 12)

- As you can see, when making the muslin I just followed the instructions on the pattern pieces and made pleats at the back yoke and gathered the front. (Of course, the skirt front and back are not made of two separate pieces, I just wanted to use less fabric since it is cut on the bias) In my opinion the pleats look better, because the sleeves are quite full, visually there is enough gathering there. And I think the collar looks beautiful!

- The sleeves ends above the elbow. The cuff of the sleeve is just a tad too tight at the upper part, hence the horizontal folds (left). If I pull it down it fits perfect (right):

- If you look at the back and side pictures you might notice that there is some bulking at the back. I have to do a sort of swayback adjustment there, on the skirt:

- Other thing I've noticed is that I've accidentally left the front pleats open while they must be closed. It is going to look better because the line of the darts will continue into the pleats:

As you can see, when you have no instructions at all it is really important to examine the drawing closely and to compare it to your muslin!

So what to do if you have a Marfy pattern but neither a description nor a drawing?
I can imagine that someone gets a pattern or inherit a pattern and has absolutely no clue of how the whole thing should look.
My advice would be to examine the pattern pieces (lay-out) and then to make a muslin. That way you can puzzle a bit with how everything goes together.

If you buy a Marfy pattern you need to do a couple of things:
1. Mark the pattern pieces after unfolding
Mark clearly all the pieces with the model number and size. Marfy doesn't do this for you!
2. Save the picture and description
In the catalog the drawings are quite large, twice the size of a regular pattern envelop, so some details are better to see. However, most of us don't have all the catalogs from the past seasons. When you see a pretty garment somewhere in the internet and want to order it try to save both the picture and the description immediately!
Look whether you can find a picture in an even better resolution or if there is no description (for example on the Marfy website) try to find one somewhere else (most resellers do include descriptions).
Make a print or a copy of the drawing and store it with the pattern pieces.
Have I mentioned that this dress is from the 2011/12 catalog? Right. Not the one I own... Though I'm thinking of buying it because there are a few pretty dresses there. Just look at the pictures in my first post about Marfy.
Remember, you can order every pattern as long as their stock lasts. So if you are lucky you can even buy patterns from Marfy catalogs from 3-4 years ago!

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