I have designed this tutorial for advanced sewers as well as intermediates with some knowledge of pattern drafting. The gown will be constructed during the month of July 2012 so please check back often for updates.
I love working with Marfy patterns because the designs are straight off the couture runway and the patterns are extremely well drafted. The patterns have clever curves that flatter the wearer and elevate the design beyond normal commercial patterns (Vogue, McCalls etc.). Sizing is couture meaning you probably will buy a larger size than normal. For example, in Marfy a 36" bust requires a size 44 pattern. In Burda you would be a size 40 and in Vogue you would be a size 14.
Marfy patterns are printed on white tissue paper and have a few notches and grain line markings, and no seam and hem allowances. It is easy to trace the pattern directly onto muslin and then add seam and hem allowances with a ruler. Also mark grain line on each muslin panel to assist you in checking fit.
Once you have perfected the fit of the muslin, you can calculate the fabric yardage required.
Here are the fabrics I will use in this gown:
1. Black silk chiffon for the skirt. 60" wide fabric is best for the skirt to eliminate piecing.
2. Red silk crepe for the bodice.
3. Red silk georgette for the bodice ruching overlay.
4. Black lace for the bodice lace overlay.
5. Silk organza to underline the bodice.
6. Coutil to build the bodice foundation.
7. Lining fabrics: silk habotai and silk charmeuse.
8. Notions: regular zipper, 1/4" spiral steel boning, 1/2" boning casings, glass seed beads for ruching, sequins and larger glass beads to embellish the lace, thread.
The gown requires quite a bit of fabric and notions to construct and it is my choice to use couture materials. You can definitely create a lovely gown using less expensive materials so set a budget and stick to it. This gown would be lovely in a sheer cotton, say a cotton voile or lawn and that would get the price down. I like the way silk sews and feels on the body. You will not get the same results from polyester and rayon, but you will still get a lovely gown. Have realistic expectations for the fabrics you choose but don't be discouraged if your budget is small. Fine workmanship is key.
The first photo below shows the bodice pattern pieces. The muslin has comments, notches and grain lines and you can see the Bodice Side Front dart has been modified to fit me (red ink).
Cut 2 of each bodice pattern piece in coutil. I purchase coutil from Farthingales through myvoguefabrics.com. Acceptable substitutes include cotton duck and firm polyester/cotton blends. The "right" side of the coutil is black with red roses.
|Bodice Back, Bodice Side Front, and Bodice Center Front|
|Center Back, Bodice Side Front, Bodice Center Front|
|Boning casings applied|
|Coutil foundation pinned|
|Silk crepe over silk organza|
|Bodice ruching overlay panel cut on bias|
|bodice panels ready to assemble|
Seam the back panel to the side panel, and stitch the dart. Lay the ruching panel, right sides together, on the bodice. Three thread gather the panel to the bodice. Back stitch the seam by hand. You cannot use the sewing machine or you will stitch through a boning casing.
|bias ruching panel hand stitched to bodice|
|organize ruching with pins|
|ruch in vertical rows|
|Bodice is constructed|
|closeup of beading/ruching|
|inside of corset|
|Skirt is cut with center front on cross grain and center back seam allowances on lengthwise grain|
|bind seam allowance with silk organza|
|cut lace overlay|
|trim outer edges of lace panel|
Insert a zipper at center back. I hand picked a lapped zipper.
|waist seam allowances are pressed up at zipper|
|pink and stitch lining seam allowances|
Cut the bodice panels out of silk charmeuse and seam together to create a bodice lining. I pinked and stitched these lining edges as well.
Seam the two skirt panels to the gown at the waist. You will not be able to stitch all the way to the ends because of the zipper. This seam will be difficult because the gown is now heavy and stiff with boning. Clip and catch stitch all waist seam allowances up to the bodice. Add hanger loops.
|note the skirt lining hangs free at the zipper|
|Grosgrain belt tacked to seam allowances and boning channels|
|bodice lining is at bottom of photo, skirt lining is at top|
|grosgrain belt exits through buttonhole|
|Hook and eye tucked under lining|
|horsehair braid in fashion fabric, machine rolled hem for two lining|
Finally the gown is finished!
|So much work but the result is a great dress; can't wait to wear it!|