Summer sewing begins!
Last week, I finally made the Marfy blouse in the “good” fabric (a cotton lawn I have been hoarding). I took a little more time on the finishing with this one, and I am glad I did. I’m sure I will wear it so much that it will have to hold up to many washings.
In addition to the changes I worked out while making the toile, I also added to the front and back pieces to raise the level of the underarm. If anyone out there is considering this pattern, I would recommend leaving extra fabric in this area and then figuring out if you want to make the change. Once you cut that armhole, you can’t get the fabric back!
Button, button, who’s got the button?
One of the reasons it took so long to put this together is that I obsessed over getting the right buttons. I really wanted a button to match the darker color in the fabric pattern. It was so much harder than I thought it would be.
Issue 1: What color is it anyway? If you can’t name the color, you can’t really search for it. I can say with certainty that it is not purple, plum, violet, burgundy, or red-violet.
Issue 2: Online vendors that sell buttons have many different ways of listing sizes, colors, and shapes. Some buttons are sized by diameter in inches or millimeters, others use Ligne numbers. Here is a great explainer from Mood fabrics: How to Measure Buttons.
It’s a jungle out there in the button world. If you have access to a store with a good collection, count yourself lucky. The best and easiest way to find exactly what you want is to look at actual samples against your actual material.
I didn’t make the pattern’s patch pockets for the toile, but I wanted to add them on the final version. Of course, Marfy assumes that given the general shape, you can figure out how to assemble them on your own. By mistake, I attached the pocket flap to outside if the pocket. But after some mild cursing, I decided to keep it that way. I realized that in practice, I would be more likely to use the pocket if I didn’t have to lift a flap to get to it. So this way, I can have the cute round flap detail, but keep the opening the way I like.
Since the last time I made patch pockets, I have acquired a template which is used to make consistent curved pocket corners. It was great! Ironing tiny pocket curves is a fiddly task that can be so frustrating. The pocket template helps by holding the seam allowance in place while you iron. It is even designed so that you don’t have to have your fingers close to your work.
After all of that, I pinned the pockets in place, stood back and… hated it. That’s okay. I’ll use them for something else later.
After struggling to make machine-made buttonholes on the toile, I spent some time thinking about the best way to do these. My original thought was to make then in a matching purple-ish thread as a design feature. I changed to white thread because it would hide my inevitable mistakes better. Also because like the buttons, I couldn’t find the right color thread.
An online friend mentioned that she always hand-sews her buttonholes because for her, it is easier. I had never considered hand sewing, but since I have been playing around with hand embroidery, I thought I might be up for it. Of course this is covered in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, my go-to technique reference. I followed the instructions to the letter and made a totally functional buttonhole. Unfortunately, it took forever and really does not bear close inspection. Back to the machine I went.
Partly because the fabric was more stable, and partly through practice, the machine served me well this time. I breezed through the machine buttonholes. In the future, I will save hand made buttonholes for coats and heirloom sewing.
I can’t wait for the weather to catch up to my creations!
Missed any of the other posts on the Marfy blouse?