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Conversational Threads

Marfy Pant Pattern 1666/Threads #141

Pattiann42 | Posted in Patterns on

Has anyone tried Marfy 1666 pant pattern featured in issue 141. page 15?

From reading article, it appears Marfy patterns are DIY.

I am not sure I want to invest in patterns where I have to complete the design.



I strive to learn something new each day.


  1. starzoe | | #1

    As it says in the blurb, this pattern is for experienced sewers. To my mind the whole pattern seems overly fussy with too many details. I've never used Marfy patterns but from the write-up it appears that they have no seam allowances added (not really a problem, old Burda patterns and the Burda magazine patterns are the same). The lack of pattern markings however might be a little daunting to some with less experience.

    1. Pattiann42 | | #3

      Thanks (jjgg, too) for the reply.  I have decided to work with my own pattern using some of the Marfy details.


      Edited 5/7/2009 11:17 am ET by spicegirl1

  2. jjgg | | #2

    I"m not sure what you mean by "have to complete the design". Marfy patterns are very well designed, they come complete - there is nothing you have to complete. You just need to sew it up. That being said, they are plain white tissue paper with very little markings, notches and match points are marked, and there are no instructions with them.These are interesting pants, but I guess the front legs flaps open with each step you take? I can't tell from the picture if this pair is lined or underlined. If you look at the left leg, you can see a side seam that makes it look more underlined than lined. It doesn't look overly complicated, but you do have to know how to put things together, the order of doing things, esp with the underling or lining and finishing of the inside of the legs.Make a muslin first to test out the construction steps.

  3. gailete | | #4

    I realize because they are still in business that they are selling patterns, but I can't comprehend a pattern company selling patterns with no instructions, much less NO picture of the garment. And fussy looking patterns at times also. I've certainly not in their class of sewer, but you would think with the available technology at this point they could easily include a technical drawing of the front and back of the garment. Sometimes until you look at the line drawing and instructions on a pattern you find a detail that you weren't even aware of prior to starting the garment.


    1. jjgg | | #5

      There are all levels of dressmakers (I originally used the word 'sewers' but it just looks too much like where waste products go!!). Anyway, I never use the directions that come with patterns, I don't need them anymore, I don't like the way the American big 4 companies have you so things. There are 9 ways to skin a cat, and so there are many different ways of putting a pattern together - to line or not to line, to underline, interface, top stitch etc. These are all decisions you need to make.Essentially, all patterns work the same - do all the small details first - darts, pockets, gathers, etc, then do the big seams. If there is some sort of construction order that you're not sure of, look it up in another pattern.It's a fabulous feeling to know how to do something without the instructions (my husband would roll his eyes at this - he always reads instructions for everything, I never do). I challenge you to go buy a pattern - a mildly complex one, put the instructions away somewhere without peaking and then figure it out. Very liberating. THINK about the construction order. When I have a complex problem to figure out, I get my best solutions when out for a long run, I think of each step and how it will affect the next step. If you don't run, do this while you go for a walk, or when you go to sleep at night, (it will surely put you to sleep).

      1. gailete | | #6

        Judy, I understand the putting it all together without instructions. The more I learn about sewing, the more I realize that the instructions from regular patterns barely scrape the surface. I think the thing that awes me about a Marfy pattern is hearing the come in a plain envelope without even a sketch of the garment that you are supposed to make or even a technical drawing. I've been surprised with many patterns after seeing the picture of the garment and then compare it to the technical drawing the things I never noticed. I guess I would be like, "what in the world is this piece suppose to be for?"

        My hat is off to you for being able to do this kind of sewing. I'm very visual and dyslexic to boot. The last thing I made without instructions, a pair of pajama pants for hubby, I unsewed more than I sewed as I kept getting everything backwards (solid fabric) and the seams going the wrong way. Not sure the instructions would have helped, but I was very frustrated by the end of it all. I'm much better at sewing quilts than I am garments!


      2. sewelegant | | #7

        You mention that you do not read instructions.  That is remarkable!  (but then, you do admit to needing them early on)  I think I have probably learned lots of good techniques over the years from those instructions so am a little miffed at your casual dismissal of them especially if the complication you needed to think out was covered quite adequately.  I know I have sewn merrily on my way many times only to have to go back and rip out what I had done and found out I could have saved all that angst if I had only followed the instructions!  Of course, I am talking about garments that stray from the simple norm, but I really appreciate a good sewing guide.  I don't sew many complicated designs any more, but have also never been able to keep a good memory bank.  It's when they skip over a hard part and seem to assume you know how to do it that I get incensed. 

        1. jjgg | | #8

          I'm sorry if you are miffed with my dismissive ways. As a beginner sewer when I was about 6 or 7 years old, and onward till probably my twenties, I did read the directions. The biggest thing I learned from them is that the instructions often are (pick a word). There are much better techniques than what is provided in the envelope that will give you a more professional look.If you pick up a decent sewing book, or look at many of the blogs on line, you can get much better techniques. Even better, take apart a commercially made garment and study it's construction.There are short cuts, and there are long cuts. choose what makes it work for you. But you have to know what the options are.At this point in time, as a professional dressmaker (yes, it's my business) I generally make my own patterns, drafted to my clients measurements, and from a picture they give me, be it a sketch or a magazine photo.This dress
          https://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/6090/fluid-fabrics-a-challenge-for-the-proswas made by draping my 'muslin' ( a knit fabric since the dress is of a knit fabric). There is an enormous amount of understructure in the back to help keep it's shape with the weight of over 4000 beads hanging from it. You won't find any sort of information like that in commercial patterns.I NEVER use 5/8 inch seam allowance - it's just too bulky, but 'home sewing methods' always have you using that! I could go on and on.the point is, my level of sewing is in a different place than yours. Every person needs to do what they can to accomplish the final goal.

          1. sewelegant | | #9

            I think I would liken that to being an artist and that is on a different plane than where I tread.  I never had any desire to be a designer or manipulate fabric the way it can be done; I just wanted my creation to be sewn the best I could possibly sew it and not look home made.  I think I accomplished that in my lifetime thanks to good instructions and lots of patience.  But, I am glad to have people like you, enjoying what you do, creating garments that are a work of art. 

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            Some people have the ability to see the garment construction, start to finish, without instruction sheets. Some need clear instructions to forge ahead to success. Some, like me, look at them more as a suggested road map to construction.
            At the beginning of my junior year at college, we were told that by the end of the year, we should be able to construct a garment without the instructions....because we should know all the basic techniques and the order in which they should be assembled. My final exam had a layout of pattern pieces and I was to state in which order to assemble the pieces to construct which garment?
            Point I am trying to make is that the instruction sheets are a guide or reference sheet for garment construction. Every pattern company has made a companion sewing book to fall back on to fill in the spaces that are lacking in the instructions, which is why they are so brief. This is why the instructions "assume you know". Only the very difficult or different parts are spelled out in detail. Beginner or very easy patterns have more detailed instructions, as a rule. More experienced patterns, less detail as they assume more experience on the part of the sewer. Cathy

      3. sewingkmulkey | | #11

        This discussion is very interesting to me as I learned to sew from my grandmother at age 9.  She taught me layout and sewing progression without even looking at the pattern instructions.  Being so young I didn't even realize that printed instructions were included with most patterns until much later so I guess my learning process differs from most seamstresses/dressmakers.  (Personally I call myself a fabric artist but that's a whole 'nother subject.)

        I like your idea of challenging one to sew a garment without any instructions.  I think nearly every intermediate seamstress would be surprised at how little difficulty they encountered.  But, in the end, it really doesn't matter what amount of instructions are use (memory/experience, pattern instructions, books, videos, etc) as long as a well-fitting garment is produced.   

        IMHO Marfy patterns are very fashion forward but if the idea of not having a line drawing or instructions bothers you, then simply incorporate some of their design features into your TNT patterns (as suggested by another poster).   The result can be the same and no stress. 



        1. gailete | | #12

          Last week I finished a dress that I made the most significant change to of any I have ever made. Instead of facings in the round neckline, I used self fabric bias binding. Something little to those who are true professionals but for me it was dipping my toes into the water saying I can do this! I have read how and I can deviate off of the instruction sheet! I also sewed the dress together in a different order than called for in the instructions and did the neckline last. It was such a big step for me but it proved to me I could do it.

          I have lots of instructions books picked up at yard/library sales and what frustrates me is when do I do such and such? For instance, when do you finish a seam edge? Before sewing the seam or after and if after how to you accommodate the seams that cross the one you are finishing? Unless I keep missing something I'm looking for, I never see that mentioned in my books although I see lots of instructions for seam edge finishing, but that is a jungle I'm still lost in.


          1. sewingkmulkey | | #13

            Gail - I take my cue from RTW regarding seam finishing.  You usually can tell if a seam was finished prior to application of cuffs, collars, etc.  Speaking generally I finish seams after I have sewn the seam unless, of course, I am serging and sewing the seam at the same time.

            Please remember that there really is no wrong or right way to sew.  I think my grandmother imparted that wisdom in me at an early age.  She instilled in me a joy of sewing that I will have forever.  When I took Home Ec sewing in 8th grade I was dismayed at all the "rules" thrown at me (by that time I had been sewing garments for 5 years) and was not surprised that many of my classmates were "turned off" to sewing as a result.

            Because of the joy I felt for sewing I immersed myself in reading everything I could get my hands on about the art.  As a result I self-taught myself (other than a tailoring class with a fabulous teacher) by reading and observing quality RTW techniques.  I will continue to read, observe and learn because sewing is my passion.


          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #14

            Your Grandmother was a real Gem, Sewinkmulkey! I wish I had her attitude right out of college, and even now! Many teachers set rules to follow, in order to grade fairly, not really to teach sewing by. One person will often feel another's method is wrong. It is not wrong, just different. If a method works for you, use it and be happy. If another method seems appropriate, try it. All part of the learning curve anyhow.... Cathy

          3. gailete | | #16

            Ah yes, Home Ec rules. I was a tomboy and always ripping my hems out so mom and I always hemmed my hems with a double thread. Of course that wouldn't do in home ec so was marked down for that. Also my dread of sewing in zippers came from that class, although I usually when I use them can do a good enough zipper in one try.

            Most of the clothes in my closet are homemade so I don't really have a lot of seams to look at and shopping for clothes is usually low on my priority list when I'm out and about. But thank you for saying it doesn't matter! Now I can comfortably do what I feel like!


          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #15

            BRAVO GAIL!!! Stepping out of your comfort zone into the wild blue yonder of sewing adventures. Way to go!
            I tend to finish my seams as I go. I seam, trim, finish and press each seam before continuing on to the next part. That being said, I also group several seams together, so I am doing several of them at the same time. Rather than jump up and down to the ironing board after each seam, I do a whole bunch, as far as I can, first. Then move on to the parts where seams may cross. Cathy

          5. gailete | | #17

            Yes thank you! I did feel brave to do the change in the dress.

            Here is the dress on Annabelle. I made this from Simplicity 2615. I just love the fabric and color. I hope the picture lets it come through.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            OOOOOHHHH, AHHHHHH, Pretty Dress! A FINE job indeed. Ya did yourself proud. *huge :)* Cathy

          7. jjgg | | #18

            Congratulations, Wasn't that liberating? The dress is lovely. The facing patterns that come in the package are so worthless, I hate them.I"m not really sure what you mean about finishing a seam. after it's sewn it needs and must be pressed correctly. You have to do this before you sew the next seam to it. Are you talking about clean finishing the edges of the seam? That all depends on what the fabric is, how you want it to look etc.If you just want the edges serged, then I generally serge the fabric right after it's cut out. I don't use the knife to cut anything off the edge of the fabric - just "whiskers", so you end up with the original seam allowance. If I am serging the seam as a means of sewing it, then I do cut off part of the seam allowance as it is serged. If I'm going to "pink" the edge, I do this after I sew the seam but before it is pressed open. - sew the seam, press it as it's sewn (closed) and then I use a rotary cutter with a pinking blade in it. I ALWAYS use a ruler (the big fat plastic quilting rulers) just for insurance so that I don't accidentally cut my garment. then I press the seam open. If you are hand overcasting an edge (I do this on high end stuff) then I sew the seam, press closed, pink, press open and then hand overcast. I've never done a hong kong finish, and at the moment can't think of other seam finishes, but I'm sure there are some.sort of in answer to your question, is to finish it in whatever way you want to and whenever you want to as long as the final result looks good. That's really what it's all about. There are no sewing police looking over your shoulder, but there are many critics looking at the finished garment, and how you treat it during construction can have a major impact on the way it hangs in the end.One little adage I will never forget my mother telling me was "press now or pay later"Like I tell all my students, think about the steps as you go to sleep. 'If I do this now, then when I do that step, what happens' Seeing the relationship of the steps will answer many of your questions.And we can all answer the rest of them here.Judy

            Edited 6/4/2009 9:28 pm ET by jjgg

          8. gailete | | #19

            I've always been good about pressing my seams after sewing them, but you see so many articles about finishing them with Hong Kong finishes, overcasting, etc. and I've never really been sure where and when. The dress I just did although I got the fabric on the store closeout for $2/yard was the most expensive fabric I ever worked with, but you couldn't press is or else those crinkles came out. But I was thinking, here I'm making this dress out of expensive fabric, it seems I should be doing some kind of finishing to the seams--all the books and magazines seem to say you need to all the time. At this point I haven't, but of course could go back and do something. My mom made most of my clothes growing up until I took over and we never did anything but press the seam open. I've been trying hard to improve my sewing and have been seeing noticeable results, but the thing with finishing seams had me puzzled as to when in the process it needed done. I don't have a serger, but do have a machine that can make an overcast serger looking stitch which I could use.

            One thing I have never been able to understand is pinking a seam and how that was suppose to prevent raveling. Seems to me it would make it even worse. I have some pinking sheers but can't use them because of the arthritis in my hands.

            I have decided that I will do the best job possible with my sewing but I can't 'sweat' the small stuff as my time and strength is so limited and even when I was sewing in a fairly shoddy manner, my clothes lasted for YEARS! If I make anything better held together I'll have to be 103 before I wear them out!


          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #21

            A Hong Kong finish, where you wrap the seam allowances in a bias tape to finish, is usually used in an unlined garment where the allowances would be seen. It gives a neat finish to the garment. It can also be done on really loosely woven fabrics to enclose them to prevent raveling where ordinary stitching might not hold. It can also be done as an embellishment in a garment that is see through. I have never done it as I figure a lining would be less work and a better finish, tee hee hee. Perhaps in a lightweight summer jacket perhaps....Pinking shears cut a zig zag on the bias that prevent raveling, as bias cut fabrics do not ravel. Pinked edges do not usually need to be stitched to finish as well, but a line of stitching before the pinking is usually advised.A line of medium width, medium length overcast or zig zag stitches on the edge of the seam allowances, made by your sewing machine, is usually enough of a seam finish. Press using paper between your seam allowance and the body of the garment, and the stitches and allowance will not show on the right side. Many RTW lined garments do not finish the SA of lined garments, but I don't take chances, and finish them anyway. I do not want the chance that my washable garments shred on the inside. Use your seam finish choices as part of the design elements in your garment construction. Felled and Flat Felled seams finish and seam the garment all in one. French Seams, that enclose the seam allowances are great for very light and sheer fabrics that tend to ravel. Sometimes, just double stitching a seam and trimming close is all that is needed. Keep in mind the needs of the garments looks and the intended stress on the area of that particular seam.Seam finishes by hand are great for fine finishing when you do not want the stitching to show, or you want the polish of a fine custom garment. I hope this clarifies some of the finish uses for you. It is great when an article or book tells you how to do them, but it is confusing to know when. Hope this helps. Cathy

          10. gailete | | #22

            Thank you ladies for your encouragement! For reasons that I can't go into here, my mother stopped speaking to me over a year ago and she used to be the one that would look at and 'evaluate' what I made. Something on the creative end she could compliment, but when it came to clothes, etc. I was always holding the angst it as to whether she would approve or not. That is one thing I'm glad isn't hanging over my head and fun to know that there ARE encouraging people out here in the world and I appreciate it.


          11. jjgg | | #23

            Well, Cathy answered most of your questions very well.I have never done a hong kong finish except in school as an example, and I don't think I would ever want to do it. I've done a flat lining on skirts and pants that gives the look of a hong kong finish but is quite different.So getting back to when to finish the seams. It depends. Will they show - such as an unlined jacket. They should look attractive then when you take the jacket off. So yes, some sort of seam finish would be nice, what type you use can depend on the fabric. - Ultra suede for example doesn't ravel, so no finish is NEEDED but would look nice. Loosely woven fabric that will ravel - absolutely you need to do something to protect it. Like Cathy said, just a simple 3 step or regular zigzag along the edges will work. This can be done either before or after the seam is sewn. Doing it AFTER may be better because the zigzag might distort the edges a little and make it more difficult to line up the seam nicely to sew it.If I made something out of a very soft, silky like fabric, I would NOT serge the edges, that would be too heavy and show through. Pinking the seam would be good for that. - and yes, pinking puts many little bias edges on the seam so it won't ravel. The thread at the peaks of the 'pinks' will fall off, but it stops there.With your dress, and the crinkle of the fabric, to press those seams you need a seam roll and some heavy paper/light cardboard to put under the seam allowance when pressed would preserve the crinkle in the dress. What a seam roll does is allow the fabric of the garment to fall away from where you are pressing - it's sort of hot dog shaped, so you are pressing on just the top of the round hill (does that make sense?)How did you do the hem on the dress?

            Edited 6/5/2009 10:12 am ET by jjgg

          12. gailete | | #24

            Hi I understand about the pressing on a seam roll, don't have one of those, but could improvise. I hemmed the dress by folding over half the 5/8" hem allowance twice and sewing it down. The pattern called for a 5/8" hem and with the fabric wanting to do it's own thing (and it had a bit of stretch) I did it that way as it 'seamed' the easiest. I remember Nancy Zieman once talking about her seam roll that she had made with an old Seventeen magazine rolled up and covered with wool fabric and was apparently still using it on her show. I wonder if she still does. Seam rolls, wooden pressing thingsy (I just got one at a yard sale!) were all completely foreign objects in our house when I learned to sew. It is just since I got my Threads subscription and have really been trying to unlearn BAD habits and learn good ones that these things makes sense.

            For example, I had a pattern with cut on cap sleeves so literally two pieces and binding at the neckline. Usually I just eyeballed the hems, etc. Well finally I gave myself a good talking to and spent the time to measure the hems, etc. I couldn't believe the difference on this very simple top! It made me want try harder to do my sewing in a more careful manner. I have read up on a lot of these sewing things, but some I'm still having trouble knowing what and when to do. I suspect I should go back and do at least a simple finish on the dress I just finished as I think it will ravel if I don't.

            Thank you for helping me out. I'm glad I do both quilting and garment making as going back to quilting gives me a break on the learning curve somewhat, although I still continue to try to increase my skills in quilting.  It is much simpler as I stick with cotton fabrics so generally am not chasing slithery fabric when quilting.


          13. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #25

            Thanks Jigg. Hope I didn't step on your toes with that info. You are so good at explaining the techniques involved with doing the different types of finishes. Thought I might just clarify what they were and why they are used. I wished someone had pointed those things out to me when I was trying to figure it all out. Cathy

          14. jjgg | | #26

            I just wrote a really long letter to you and with the touch of a wrong key lost it! I'm so sorry, I don't think I can repeat it all now, but you absolutely did not step on my toes (I live too far away LOL)JudyI was writing a whole lesson on how to figure out what you want to do - I guess it was aimed more at Gail, but arrggghhhhhhhhI'm off to the woods tomorrow for some backpacking. I need it.

            Edited 6/5/2009 10:06 pm ET by jjgg

          15. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #27

            Enjoy your trip, sounds like you need it! Clear your head and organize your thoughts. Heck, throw the whole lot out and just enjoy the view! Nah, I just realized after I hit the send button, that you were probably amassing the same info and I might have wasted your precious tent making time! I would still really love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject, as I love to learn from you! Cathy

          16. sewelegant | | #28

            Your dress turned out very nice.  I think it will be flattering and you'll get lots of compliments.  It's one of my favorite colors.

            As for the Hong Kong finish, I'll bet that's what you did when you finished your neckline... maybe not, there are several ways to apply bias binding.  Whatever way, I like this kind of finish and have been using it a lot lately.

            I too have problems with arthritic hands, but my Gingher pinking shears cuts through most fabric like butter.  I like to grade seam allowances with them to cut down on the bulk, but hardly ever use them as a seam finish any more because I like the serger, or French seams if the fabric is sheer.

            Edited 6/6/2009 1:58 pm by sewelegant

          17. gailete | | #29

            I got some gingher applique scissors for Mother's Day. I used them to grade the fabric around the neckline before the final stitching down of the binding. When I was done they had some fabric fuzz on the 'duck bill'. Without thinking I wiped it off with my thumb and sliced off the thinnest layer of skin that I didn't even bleed! I'm not used to such sharp scissors. I had been looking for some of those for a long time and a Mothers' Day gift card plus an online sale at JoAnns got me them. The pinking shears I have came by way of my MIL and who knows how old they are and definitely not sharp!

            Actually I think the bias neckline on the dress is something like the Hong Kong binding as the bias binding is wrapped around all the edges for a neat finish.


          18. Cityoflostsouls | | #30

            I am rusty (an understatement) but I'm starting a dress using a pattern I have had for 5 or 6 years and intend to upgrade it so it will have the newer style thats current.  One reason for using it (along with the cost of patterns)  is that it incorporates all the things I need to "catch up".  That line again!  A back zipper, front and back pleats, set on waist, etc.  I don't want to use the collar version or the outdated ties.  I think I will try the bias facing other than the regular facing pattern.  It will give me an excuse too to use my bias tape makers that I have never tried.  I may not end up with a wearable dress but just think how much I will relearn!!!  I'm doing a muslin for the first time and using a new dress form.  Unfortunately I did not mark the fabric in my stash with the fiber content except that it is basically a very good grade of cotton plus.  I chose this for it's ease of sewing.  The person I bought it from has closed her shop and gone on to other areas of her sewing career. (Ronda).  Thanks for the idea.

          19. starzoe | | #31

            I have a few comments about your post to gailete. Firstly, if you can delete the underlining it would be much easier for us to read. Secondly, you can find out what your fabric's fibre is by the burn test. Google it, or find it on THREADS index (if you have the magazines).You don't mention washing the fabric before cutting it. If it is 100% cotton it will probably shrink considerably, if it is a blend it may/may not shrink but you will have gotten rid of all the fillers and freshened it from the storage process.I don't know if you keep up to date on current fashions, or if you care at all about it......it is a purely personal choice, but a pattern that is five or six years old, unless a classic, could look outdated. A dress is a lot of work and you would want it to wearable for some time to come.Don't rely on the dress form for perfect fit. It is only a tool like the rest of your sewing equipment. A personal try-on will give you a much better idea of the fit "on you" even if it looks perfect on the model.I like bias facings, in fact use them a lot. I just finished a loose summer float to wear over camis or sleeveless t-shirts that has a bias from hem, up and around the neck and down to the other hem. The fabric came from a thrift-store find of an Indian cotton broomstick skirt, very light and breezy, perfect for hot summer days.You will probably find that your sewing skills are not lost and that it will all come back to you. Good luck.

          20. Cityoflostsouls | | #32

            I do keep up on fashions.  I take several fashion magazines and also use the internet.  Thats why I'm making changes on the pattern  and have looked for the things I'm not changing.  I give my fashion magazines to my granddaughters-and some clothes.  I'm sure this cotton is a blend or I would not have bought it.  Ronda sold excellent fabric.  I have several pieces.  One grandaughter goes to Smith college, one graduated in Iowa this year and one is going to the University of Chicago this Fall for her Doctorate on a full fellowship.  I have to keep up.  My daughter also graduated this year in Iowa.  I've had a dress form in the past and know how to use it.  However I did not make muslins and fitting was not a problem.

            Ball game tonight for Corey.    Sue

          21. gailete | | #33

            I'm really trying to integrate learning new things with enjoying the process AND ending up with a wearable garment. To that end when I made my dress, since my last couple things hadn't turned out real well with meticulous altering of the pattern, I decided to fly by the seat of my pants so to speak and just used the multi-size cutting lines, I didn't alter the pattern. Imagine my delight that the dress actually fit! I knew from experience I had to lower the waist a bit, and I used my high bust measurement for deciding what the size around my neck and shoulders should be--a smaller size than I've made in years. Since it was sale fabric I decided to ignore the fact that if it hadn't been on sale it would have been expensive fabric and just chopped into it. With the neckline changes, and a type of fabric I was unfamiliar with making, I certainly had learning opportunities but also didn't spend all those hours trying to tweak a pattern to fit that already did! I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but when I alter a pattern it just seems to get worse. I'm very happy to know I have a pattern that fits! It will be going in my TNT stash.


          22. Cityoflostsouls | | #58

            I asked you to start a new thread on books and you very kindly did and I need to apologize for not getting into the discussion.  My life has been hectic lately and I find I need to go off the internet for the next few months.  Hopefully I will be back as I will miss all of you so much.  This is one thing I really hate to give up.  Living in a rural area this is my contact with the "outside world"  Happy sewing.

          23. gailete | | #59

            No problem, my life has been hectic for the last bit too, to the point I couldn't remember my password to get on line here!

            I too live rurally and don't have many friends other than those on line. If I wasn't able to access the Internet, I would go nuts.

          24. Cityoflostsouls | | #60

            I'll be in touch later.  My life is like yours.

          25. Cityoflostsouls | | #61

            My phone company has enabled me to keep my internet for a year for $6.00 a month so I can handle that.  I'll try to reply to your new thread as soon as I can.  Thank you so much.  Sue

          26. Cityoflostsouls | | #34

            Last year my daughter hosted a family get-together in Branson and I bought a swim suit for the first time in years.  Started a sheer cover-up with french seams and ran into some confusion with joining, starting and stoppng the seams.  Needless to say I didn't finish it (at least not yet) and we didn't have time for swimming!  What has held me up is the multi-size patterns and the confusing advice on different ways of using them. I started this muslin with the larger size (because of my shoulder width and waist length) knowing I will have to reduce the pattern size ).  I'm also doing some updating to the dress and still have the parts remaining that I need to update my rusty skills.  My neck facing (your idea) is great because I am eliminating a collar and making a lower rounded neckline.  The collar seemed dated and it needs a little adjusting in the fit of the bodice.  The project is entirely chosen to update my skills and to use the good advice I have gotten through Gatherings.  Could I have chosen a different pattern-yes!  Would I learn as much-no. Doing a simple easy-to-sew pattern will teach me nothing.  It sounds as tho we have something in common.  Working with a muslin is new to me also. Last year I could have used my serger but wanted to do french seams.  My machine calculates buttonholes and that may be the thing I try next.  Right now I have 5 acres of out-of-control mowing to do and the unusual rainy weather we have had has "put me under".  I love hearing your progress and ideas.  Thanks.

          27. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #35

            I love your idea of changing a dress that mostly suits your needs, and trying to adjust those that are not wanted! No matter how "old" a pattern is, most designs are based on variations in basic style. If you managed to get one with most of what you wanted, YAY! I have some patterns that are so well used, and so basic, I have been using and adjusting them for over 10 years. A few changes of details, a newer fabric-VOILA!-an updated version! Bravo for attempting something new! Cathy

          28. gailete | | #36

            I just saw a Threads article on sewing a sheer fabric swimsuit cover up in my nightly reading! I think I'm in the year 2004, so if there is any chance you have those back issues, check them out. Also recently I saw two other articles in back issues for sewing sheer fabric. I have a 5 yard chunk of chiffon that I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but I will certainly be referring to those articles when the time comes as I've never sewn sheers like that before.

            Glad my idea about getting rid of the facings helped you. I hate how they always flip outside the garments if you only tack them down where the instructions say to, so your only other option is sew them down and have the chance they show through on the outside. The bias binding worked so well for a round neckline. Seems to me that would be the finishing of choice for a round neckline and so many decorative possiblities too! Sew it down on the inside, the outside, binding in a complimentary color, a decorative binding, couching some decorative threads down on the seamline. All little things that could be done to draw attention to the face instead of possibly saggy boobs!


          29. Cityoflostsouls | | #37

            I always understitched my facings before tacking them down.  This helps and for casual clothes I would stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seam-which was all the tacking down needed and it held.  I did this mostly on childrens clothing.  Understitching the facing is the only thing I know of to prevent that bothersome roll.  I "oversewed" and nothing ever wore out.  My best friend "undersewed" and her 3 girls could count on 3 new blouses for 8:00 Wednesday night and my daughter definitely could not.  Her schedule was "sometime" in the future.  However I don't think people oversew anymore.  With all the new equipment a lot of things aren't necessary-I'm not being critical.  Her cutting table was the floor and no pins-mine took forever.  Her seams were never finished, mine took longer than sewing up the dress.  We both taught ourselves but I had lots of books.  She turned out masses of clothing for her children-I stuck to school clothes and Sunday Best.  I hated making play clothes but I did do flatfelled pajamas.  I guess we should have gotten together and ended up somewhere in the middle!  She moved once in the middle of reupholstering all the dining chairs for a Country Club.  Her house was full of chairs and she moved them all.  I admired her greatly. 

          30. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #38

            Oversewing-what a great concept! What a great descriptive term for something that I tend to do, but could not put my finger on. I guess it is like doing anything, Done, Done Well, Done to Death... tee hee hee. It is almost like permission to let things slide a little is sometimes needed. Do I really need couture finishes in a sundress for summer, that is meant to be worn for one season only? Or a T-shirt? Am I allowed to do simple straightforward sewing without complicating the process? Just because it can be done, does it always have to? I sometimes feel that I have problems discerning when good is good enough. Cathy

          31. starzoe | | #39

            I am inclined to "oversew" and have to keep that in mind when I am working on something. Today, for instance, I am making a loose summer top to wear over a sleeveless t-shirt. The top has a very low neckline (stylish) but the t takes care of the space, filling it up (age-appropriate). It's fine cotton. I'll wear it maybe just for this summer, so no facings (bias bindings), no french seams, just zigzagged.I saw this top at a shop yesterday. It was polyester (!) and the price was $199.00 (!). So....a trip to Fabric Traders, a 3m remnant for $10.00, a couple hours sewing and I can wear it tomorrow. It's satisfying to begin and to finish something in one day.

          32. gailete | | #40

            I always understitched my facings just like the instructions would say but somehow they seemed to not lay the right way. Then I found a favorite top pattern that used a bias binding. After having 5-6 of those tops, I realized I preferred the bias binding way more than the facings, and much easier to do.

            I love your oversewing mention. Even though I never thought I was oversewing, my stuff rarely wears out. It just gets pitched when I get it spotted or whatever. I have to really be careful not to waste time oversewing garments now as I have been steadily dropping weight--45# down from my all time high (due to being sick not a diet) but who wants to spends hours making something that has a big possibilty of being way too large in a couple of months?


          33. jjgg | | #41

            did you get the email I sent you?

          34. gailete | | #42

            Yes I did, I responded, but it was bounced back.


          35. Cityoflostsouls | | #43

            I was watching Marthas TV show this morning and normally since I don't quilt or do heirloom sewing I was surprised that her guest discussed neck facings.  She said the higher end clothing no longer use the regular facings but use the bias facings.  She said not to press the bias before stitching it on and to turn the bias towards the outside and then either stitch it down or turn it up and stitch it by hand underneath to avoid the outside stitching.  I didn't really understand the not pressing but I think it was because you can manipulate it better and not be tied to your pressed turns.  That would make sense.  She said she thought the pattern makers in the past didn't think home sewers could handle the bias facings well. (hmnn).

          36. starzoe | | #44

            "turn it to the outside" - am I misreading this? I would think the procedure would to be to put right sides together, sew, turn to the INSIDE, turn up and handstitch. Of course there are other ways of doing it, one of my favourites being a doubled bias strip turned inside and stitched-in-the-ditch (either by machine or hand) from the right side....no raw edges to deal with.

          37. Cityoflostsouls | | #45

            No you're not misreading this.  Your way is the way its always been done but turning it to the outside and stitching down is what she suggests or handstitching the outside turn.  It will be interesting to see the difference and figure out why.  I need to look at some of my new tops to see if any are done this way.  Thats the turn you would probably prefer pressed.  I just looked at my new block print dress and it's turned to the outside and stitched.

          38. starzoe | | #46

            Hmmmm.......the only reason I can think of with the outside turn that it would be easier to determine the exact measurement of the turnover. Maybe that is the rtw technique for some reason not clear to (this) home sewer!

          39. ljb2115 | | #49

            Was this Louise Cutting?  If my memory serves me well, I think this was covered in the Threads DVD.  Not sure if it was Louise's own DVD or in one of the three Threads DVD's. I know this is one of Louise's pet methods to finish a neckline.  It is not hard and no, do not press the fold of the bias - as this will hamper the turn of the cloth when you are ready to stitch it down.

          40. Cityoflostsouls | | #50

            I don't know if this was Louise Cutting as I missed the introduction.

          41. sewelegant | | #51

            While reading this about bias facings I was thinking you were talking about a garment with a collar and could not visualize how to do it, but now I think you are only referring to a collarless garment, is that right?

          42. Cityoflostsouls | | #52

            My pattern calls for a collar but I'm making a deep rounded neckline instead and using the bias facing.

          43. jjgg | | #47

            I don't understand this either,Is she using just a bias cut strip or is it a shaped piece? if it's just a strip, is it a facing? or just a binding? I think you are much more likely to find a binding on RTW than facings, certainly nothing I own that was store bought has a facing in itSome of the better sewing techniques can be learned by takiing apart a RTW garment and seeing how it was done. make sure you take notes as you do this.

          44. gailete | | #48

            Turning it to the outside, can give the binding a decorative look to the top/dress. I don't think it really matters which way it gets turned, but it can be more decorative if you sew it to the outside. Especially this gives you a chance to use a coordinating color binding for a little pizazz.


            Edited 6/15/2009 5:57 pm ET by gailete

          45. Cityoflostsouls | | #53

            My sewing book collection is not as extensive as yours!  I wish you  would start a new thread and let us know some of your favorites and we can then all chime in.  Collectively we may have just the thing someone is looking for!

          46. gailete | | #54

            Just managed to loose the note I just wrote :(

            I have been meaning to do some lists of my favorite books for my Website and would be happy to start a thread here on that topic. I have favorite books for needlecrafts in many areas: general sewing books, hand embroidery books, machine embroidery books, quilting, applique, scrap quilting, embellished quilting, needlepoint, crewel work, vintage sewing books, reference books, etc. Can't do it today as if I'm going to do it, I will have to sort through them. I'd hate to say I thought a book was really good and then have someone buy it and it wasn't what they thought it would be based on my say so.

            I just got The Sewing Machine Attachment Book. After I got past my initial disappointment with the book (it is mostly about vintage or hard to come by feet), I started having fun with the book as I have two vintage machines that are currently used for decoration that had come with bunches of presser feet that I had no idea what they were for. Even with the book I still ended up in my sewing room trying to find out about a couple of feet that weren't mentioned in the book and getting side tracked by other stuff in the books. I love to read! Anyhow saying that this is a really great book but not warning people that many of the more current/modern presser feet aren't even mentioned would be a disservice to anyone looking for a book on how to use the presser feet in their new sewing machine. I do book reviews for Amazon and take a book review/recommendation seriously, especially if someone would only be able to buy it on line without seeing if it fits their needs first.

            A dream job for me is getting all the latest/newest sewing books to read and review and then getting to add the book to my collection!!


          47. Cityoflostsouls | | #55

            I look forward to the new thread and thank you.  If you pay a few dollars for a vintage book at a yard sale, etc. and find the answer you have been looking for I feel it is worth it.  I have an old Singer book which has an absolutely beautiful stitch combination in it and know there are people out there who would try this lovely combination on their older machines.  You can do lovely creative work with the older machines but you will not find this work in the newer books.  It does take skill and creativity.  I have not felt very creative (I'm not anyway) watching an occomplished digitizers work rolling out of my machine when all I have contributed is time, color sense and deciding what to put it on to show it at it's best.  When I did my daughters poodle skirt in the sixties I really felt I had occomplished something. 

          48. gailete | | #56

            I know what you mean. I was looking through my old Singer book yesterday and found a lot of color pictures with decorative stitch combinations that I would like to try. One of the really interesting designs used button holes as designs on animal faces. Who would think of using a buttonhole these days as part of decorative stitching and nowhere near a button?

            I have machine embroidery capability, but figuring out how to make a lovely design using just your machine in conjunction with its feet and special stitches is fun. I had a book once on lace made on a old treadle machine. Most of us couldn't sew it out even with it digitized for our embroidery machines. A lot of work went into those pieces.


          49. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #57

            I love those old sewing books! I have managed to snag a couple for my collection. I love that they do not rely on all these fancy products, but rather on technique and basic skills used in new ways. I often find an old technique I want to try, and can usually go up to the sewing room and sample it right away, using basics that are already in my sewing room. New techniques I find often require the purchase of expensive supplies before I even decide whether I wish to pursue the technique further. An old technique can be improved or made easier by some of the newer stabilizers and threads, but that is my choice.
            BTW, the I think a thread on standby or favorite sewing books is a great idea. Cathy

          50. Cityoflostsouls | | #62

            Theres nothing like sending a message to yourself meant for someone else!  I can't find the book thread you entered-will you tell me where to find it?  The phone company gave me a break so I'm here.   Please read my message to me!  I want to share a favorite book or two and why.  Sue

          51. gailete | | #63

            Hi Sue, So glad you will get to keep the Internet! If you go over to the left hand side of the page and click on advanced search and then go down to the bottom of the page that comes up and enter 9962.1 for the discussion number, the discussion thread will come up. That is the easiest way I can think of to tell you how to get to it.

            I actually need to add some new books. I just picked up two great quilting books this weekend! I just don't have enough time. However saw the doctor yesterday and he did have an idea why I haven't felt good (other than my arthritis) for the past 6 months so maybe with new meds, I'll be feeling better and have more time to spend here! :)

          52. Cityoflostsouls | | #64

            I'm having a hard time finding My favoriteSewing Books that you started and I'm

            way past the time I should have joined in but I am going to send this directly to you

            One of my earliest questions was about using a muslin and I found in my Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, 1970, a complete chapter in Chapter 3, pages 13-36 called The Alteration Pattern.  This is all about fitting muslins and I had it all the time!  I used to use this book mostly for cutting plaids and for doing linings and interlinings but it was not my favorite sewing book.  Suddenly it has a whole new value to me.  It is quite a comprehensive sewing book.

            I think this thread would be a reminder to people to see what they really have on their back shelf that they have forgotten about!

            The book I intended to write about is The Complete Book of Sewing, 1972 by Greystone Corporation which I recently bought at our used and new bookstore.  I have several others I love (some newer!) which I really like.  We always like the shiny new books but having the old ones can definitely be an asset to anyones library!  You can always update with the new ways of doing things and the new equipment that we have but these older books do not leave anything to the imagination.



          53. gailete | | #65

            The interesting thing with some sewing books is they usually cover more than what the title implies. I was working on a dress this weekend (just finished an hour ago!) and had a question about binding the neckline and how to join the ends. I'm dyslexic and so that part always is a puzzle for me. I found what I was looking for in Claire Shaeffers Fabric Sewing Guide Book. You would think it would only be about fabric, but this book is huge work on sewing and has just about everything you need to make something up, especially when you are doing something that isn't included in the pattern. This was my first thing that I had to look up in the book, but it sits with my Sandra Betzina Fabric Sewing Guide close to my machine for ready reference. All the other books sit on shelves. I just love sewing books. I find them very inspirational and better than many novels to read!

          54. fabricholic | | #66

            I didn't know that about Claire's book. I might have to check it out now. Thanks.

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