Marfy 2014-2015

I just ordered the Marfy 2014/15 catalog!!! It comes with 20 free patterns, which was just too tempting to pass up, considering just one of their patterns can cost around $15.

I’ve never sewn anything from a Marfy pattern before, but I have at least heard of them. A friend mentioned them to me when I was CONSIDERING making my wedding dress. Very glad I didn’t go that route, as there were just too many other things going on. McCalls now sells Marfy patterns through their website here.

After reading their description, I have decided that Marfy patterns are the most hard-core of all the patterns. They are designed by hand in Italy, are pre-cut with no seam allowances, and do not include a pattern layout or instructions. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!! I can’t wait to try one out!

Here are the free patterns that will be included with my catalog purchase. Which one would you try first?

marfy 1 marfy 2 marfy 3


Happy Sewing!



Barcelona Balcony Copycat: Issue 2

Whew! Creating a tutorial is a lot of work, you guys! So many photos! It’s fun, and certainly challenging for me. I’ve tried to cover everything as thoroughly as I can, but do please let me know if you need me to elaborate on anything, and I will go back and insert it in this post. Maybe make a Q&A addendum.

Here goes!

A note about pattern sizing…

Hopefully if you are reading this, you have already gathered up your supplies as listed here. We will be using McCalls M6893 to create pattern pieces for our copycat look of the Barcelona Balcony dress. If you have sewn from a commercial pattern before, you probably know this already, but I feel like I should say it anyway. Pattern sizes DO NOT correlate to ready-to-wear sizing!!!! This means if you are a size 6 when you buy a dress at the mall, you are not a size 6 in a sewing pattern. You are probably an 8, or a 10. And if you are using a vintage pattern, heaven help you, because you are probably a 12 or even higher. Really old vintage patterns (we’re talking 1900’s) actually based pattern size on age. In this case a size “12”, was “Size 12 years”. Interesting, huh? (The following image is of a vintage pattern that can be purchased through Etsy, here.)


My point being, I find it best to ignore the pattern sizes, and just take your own measurements and write them down. With your measurements at hand, determine  on a pattern by pattern basis what your “size” is by checking the handy little chart on the back of the pattern envelope, or on the envelope flap. This will save you a lot of aggravation. If you are plus size, like me, it is likely that this particular pattern is not available in your size, but do not fear! I will be showing you how to size it up in this post. Commence happy dance.

McCalls M6893

The first thing I noticed when I opened my pattern envelope was this neat little “Create It” page. I love anything in this world that has the same premise as a paper doll (hence my addiction to the Covet Fashion game on my iPhone, and no, they did not pay me to say that. I think I only have twenty readers, lol.) The idea is that you can mix and match skirts and bodices included in this pattern to create your own dress design. I’ve noticed the Project Runway series of patterns do this as well. I’m guessing this is something they train you to do in Fashion Design school. I could create an entire post about “Fashion Croquis”, so I’ll try to get back on track.

Cut out the following pieces according to your size: 1, 2, 8 (for reference only), 12, 13, 18

This tutorial will begin with the bodice, so you will only be using pieces 1 and 2 for right now. Put the others in safe place where they won’t blow away or be attacked and shredded by your cat.

create it


We will be tracing pieces 1 and 2 onto a separate sheet of paper in order to keep the original pattern pieces in tact.

Method 1) I have used brown postal paper in the past because I like the larger size, but I actually have found it to be too thick. You can order brown paper online in all different weights, but I just haven’t wanted to front the money for that yet. In my studio, I have a table that I can actually pin into. (Thank you Dad, and brother-in-law!) I typically roughly cut out the pattern pieces, pin them on top of my paper using push pins or straight pins, then use my tracing wheel or pounce wheel to trace around the pattern pieces, including the darts. Afterward I use my pencil, straight ruler, and french curve to “connect the dots”.

rough cut

Method 2) As it happens, we got hit with a blizzard in NC and I took most of these photos while working out of a hotel room where I was snowed-in. I took this an opportunity to trace my patterns in a different way that some of you might have easier access to. You will notice in this tutorial I am using a classroom sized “marker paper”. I carefully cut around the solid lines of my bodice front pattern piece, then used straight pins to actually pin them to my paper in a couple of places to keep it from shifting around. You could use pattern weights instead, or anything heavy you have around your house (i.e. tape dispenser, coffee mug). For the darts, I just cut into one leg and folded the paper over on the opposite line, forming the triangle cut-out that I could trace into without cutting up my pattern piece. I traced around the piece with pencil, but since my lines looked a little “wobbly”, I still went back through with a ruler to make the lines a little cleaner.

Cut out your piece, including the darts, and you are ready for Issue 3.

Happy Sewing!


Barcelona Balcony Copycat: Issue 1

Hey Everyone!

I’m going to be creating a tutorial for how to make your own Barcelona Balcony dress. Read all about the dress, here. For those who are keeping up, I did skip ahead to Dress #6 of the Dazzling Dozen, since this eye-catching red dress was intended for Valentine’s Day.

I will be showing you how to replicate this dress, more specifically for a plus size, but anyone should be able to follow along. We will be modifying the McCall’s M6893 sewing pattern to achieve this. Never altered style lines on a pattern before? I will show you how!


  • McCall’s M6893 in the size that is closest to your measurements.
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Large paper (You can use brown packing paper, tissue paper, news print, or even poster board.)
  • Pounce wheel (for thicker paper choice) OR tracing wheel
  • Soft tape measure
  • Hip curve, french curve, or flexible ruler to draw curved lines.

patternmaking supplies


You are now ready for Issue 2.

Happy Sewing!


The Sew Weekly Reunion Challenge -Complete!

TSWR collageThe Facts

Fabric: Organic cotton. Print is Robot Factory by Caleb Gray, Circuit Board in Rust. I purchased from

Notions: 2 white buttons, and an invisible zippper

Pantone Challenge colors: Koi and Samba

Pattern: I created the pattern using the software Pattern Master Boutique, but it is based on this vintage pattern, McCall’s 6324 (I used the original pocket pattern.)

photo (10)

Year: 1960’s (1963?, I will have to go back and check.)

Time to complete: From the time the pattern was corrected, approx 5 1/2 hours over two days.

First worn: Just for photos so far.

Wear again? There a couple of minor things I would like to fix, but yes, definitely! I would love to wear it the next time I set up at a craft show!

Total Cost:  I originally bought 4 yards of the fabric (almost a year ago!) for $32 (I still have approx 1.5 yards left), and $2 for the buttons. I already had the zipper. Total: approx $34

TSW Challenge – 24 Days Left

In the words of the great Bart Simspon, “Hay caramba!” I finally found the circuit printed fabric. After checking all THIRTEEN (yes, I counted) boxes of my fabric stash, it was in the bottom of the very last one. Figures, right? Well I took the circuit fabric along with the denim fabric outside into the daylight to see how the colors looked. So the red denim I mentioned earlier…..definitely PINK! So why did I think it was red? Well I must admit the light was out in my lamp, I have since replaced it, but I should have known better than to be judging color in dim lighting. The denim might actually be close to the Vivacious. See photo:

photo (9)

So, I decided I still want to use the circuit fabric, but will NOT be making a jacket. It may have been biting off more than I can chew for my first challenge ever anyway. The jacket I had in mind was very modern, so my first rummage through, I only looked at my modern patterns for the dress I wanted to make. This was also in part because I didn’t think I would feel like trying to size up the itty bitty vintage patterns.  I decided to sift through all of my dress patterns, (including the vintage ones) before I fully committed to the dress from my previous post.  I found a lovely one from the 1960s that I think will look great. 1962 to be exact. McCall’s 6324. I have decided that this one is absolutely the one I want to do for the challenge. I already found some white buttons while I was at Jo-Ann the other day, and I think they will be perfect.

photo (10)

I’m thinking that I might just recreate this pattern using my pattern software, instead of trying to size up this vintage pattern to a plus size for myself. We’ll see. Circuit fabric is being pre-washed right now!

TSW Challenge -26 Days Left

OK! I think I have decided what to do for the Pantone Fall color challenge. I still haven’t found that circuit fabric, but I know it’s around here somewhere.  From the stock photo, the orange isn’t quite “koi”, but it will have to do. I’m hoping to do this with no money out of my pocket -just using stuff from my stash. Although I’m sure I will have to buy a couple of zippers to match. I’ve decided to go with a dress and a jacket – I hope there’s enough time for both!

Here is the dress, it’s McCall’s M6503, and I’m thinking View D.


I was delightfully surprised to see that I had a red denim in my stash that I think is really close to the samba. I’m not sure yet how it matches up to the circuit fabric yet though so I may be re-thinking it later. We’ll see. The jacket pattern I want to use is Simplicity 2056. It’s a “Suede Says”, which I have never used before. If I do go with this denim, I want to do View B. Have any of you out there ever made anything from either of these patterns? If so, what did you think?