Changing Stripes. Or: Look, I made a dress that isn’t a solid color.


Okay, so a couple months back I started having a fever dream for the hi-lo split hem t-shirt dress that is the Inari tee from Named.

This because I wanted a short-sleeve t-shirt dress that was dressy-ish enough to fit into a tidy little capsule wardrobe. You know how these things go: ou have a trip coming up. You start searching pinterest for things like ‘HOW TO FIT A WEEK’S TRAVEL IN A SINGLE CARRY ON’, which leads to attractive capsule wardrobe pins, and suddenly you’re thinking that you can’t possibly travel with the clothes currently in your closet and you must make some.


So as I was looking at the Inari dress, I was like: wait a minute! I don’t have to compulsively buy every cutely-photographed pattern. I already have a split, hi-lo hem short sleeve dress pattern, that I’ve made before. Hello Marfy Catalog 2014/2015. Specifically, welcome back Marfy 3367.

Problem is, while I loved my first version for the royal purple wool and the silk lining, I just don’t wear it. I’d thought this was because the thing had shrunk, or that I just didn’t know how to fit myself very well three years ago. So I started from scratch, retracing the pattern and still wound up with something that just doesn’t fit quite right in the bodice.

But what we have is something I’m not totally in love with.

Marfy 3367 - 4 Marfy 3367 - 3









I don’t generally consider myself capable of critiquing the drafting skills of others, but: I think the pattern is out of balance. There back fits very closely to the body, and I actually think it fits well. But the front: the chest still feels tight despite a really generous full bust adjustment. And it has this sort of easy-fit-at-the-waist thing going on. Look what happens when I put my hands on my hips and stand a little lazily.

Marfy 3367 - 6

All that front excess goes to the belly and, because I probably chose the wrong weight of fabric, it stands out in a little ball and I look preggo.

I don’t really understand the problem. It’s not a massive issue on these two dresses, where I used 3667 as the base. But maybe the hand of the fabric reduces the effect and the comparatively large skirts on those ones give the excess somewhere to go? I don’ know. (SIDE NOTE: Would you wear those other two dresses? I used to, but have been self-conscious ever since someone told me I looked like a flight attendant when I wore the navy one with a scarf. Those dresses have been dead to me for months).

Right, so tight-chest-excess-round-belly space is my chief complaint.  But maybe file that away if you’re an A-cup pregnant lady who needs some second trimester wear?

It’s been a while since this was finished. A long while. A while as in, my work trip was in April, and now it’s June long. For London in April, this Oscar de la Renta silk wool blend was the perfect weight (and now you are all shaking your heads in shame at me for effing up such nice stuff, right?). But I think the fabric choice might be a bad match for the dress.

Now, a question: What am I doing wrong with my darts? I keep having extra folds above and below the dart seam, running parallel to it. I don’t know what it is, pinching out the fold and making the dart bigger helps a bit but just a bit, I’m doing my full bust adjustments according to instructions, etc. What gives?

Version 2

(Check that bias sleeve cuff detail though! My favorite part of the dress. I should just rip the sleeves off and wear them by themselves.)

So, is it a failure? I dunno. I wear it. And I assume no one judges me for the fit of this garment any more than they judged me when I made a habit of wearing ill-fitting store-bought clothes on the regular. But she ain’t perfect. And just as soon as I unlock perfect dress fitting and fill my wardrobe with precisely  tailored dresses, she’s getting cut up for that scraps quilt for sure. But for now, it’ll do.

I bought the Inari pattern, though, and it’s assembled on my cutting table, just waiting for its black linen partner to be cut. (Yes, I am that  creative.)

PS: It’s been a while since the last post, I realize. I was traveling, we were buying a house, and I got a little lazy. Lots of stuff backlogged, though, so brace yourselves.



  1. I’m no fitting expert, but if you bought this in rtw I’d tell you you bought it a size too big. The tightness at the chest is giving me pause though. I dunno, but it looks too big to me.

    Love the fabric and those bias cuffs!

  2. Hi, it looks like the bust point of the dress is too low which is why the upper bust is too tight. I think that tightness is leading to the extra fabric sticking out more in the abdomen. Back looks like it has God room for movement. Re the blue dress, I think it looks great and would totally wear it. If you don’t want to wear it w a scarf, what about w a nice necklace? Abbey

    1. Thanks! That’s a good point actually. The pattern uses french darts that end at the waist and are fatter at the bottom then towards the bust point. So what you’re saying about the excess being too low I think is right.

      And good point about the other dresses! I love wearing scarves, but they’re not always the correct move.

    1. Hey! It’s one of the handful of their patterns you can buy as a pdf, if you like it that much. It was one of the free ones with the 2014/2015 catalogue, which is still available. Depending on the shipping costs, I also highly recommend that 2014/2015 catalogue (If I remember correctly, they waived shipping on pre-order, which is why I bought it). I’ve also used Marfy 3400 for about three different silk tee shirts for work. Should probably get around to blogging those…

      I struggle a little with Marfy because you need a lot of imagination to translate their fashion drawings to real life. They’re actually really fashion forward (like 2 cold shoulder tops in 2014/2015…and that style’s just coming to rtw.), but those hats and long lady gloves on the drawings can really distract from that fact!

  3. Trips are one of my biggest sewing motivators – to the point where I can’t even imagine packing non-matching pajamas. I actually really like this dress! It looks cute and comfy, and I don’t think I’d have noticed all the things you pointed out on my own. I am also no fitting expert, but I have been playing around with bust adjustments. I’d agree with the previous comment about messing with the dart position (and possibly length) to see if it helps. My darts used to be too high, so after doing an FBA I’d be left with pools of fabric in all the wrong spots. Also, flight attendants are pretty chic. As long as no one is pressing you for a drink order, I’d keep wearing them!

    1. Thanks for saying that. Sometimes I think writing about pieces is to my detriment. I went to put this dress on the day after drafting the post, and then took it off because I was like ‘ugh those darts!!’. But I was wearing it about once per week or so for April and May.

      And yeah, I think low darts is probably the thing, I’m just not ready to try making it again at the moment to test the theory for sure.

  4. I would definitely concur on the darts being too low. I would pinch up the shoulder seam and see if that fixes things. If so, you could always remove the sleeves, make the adjustment then reattach. If you’re so inclined to take apart a dress to make post sewing alterations, that is! Otherwise it’s a cute dress, I love the hemline.

    1. Oh that’s a really good idea for a fix. Would make it a bit short in the front, but probably still okay for work.

      I’ve just got to get over that distaste for mending…

    2. Today I put the dress on, and then pinched up the shoulders about an inch. Totally worked and brought the fullness up to my bust line. Now, to test my motivation for disassembly…

  5. Don’t stop wearing it, it has issues but most clothes do, we strive for perfection when making our own clothes but put up with less than perfect RTW. The sleeve detail is great and I love the hem, it’s a lovely dress despite it faults.

  6. Hello, I’m looking and wondering if you are not short between the shoulder line and the upper bust line… making it too big there including in the armscye and under the arm. I would try pinching through the upper bust line and see if that makes it fit better. I’m no fitting expert… oh and I don’t know how to actually fix the sleeves if this is the problem. Must look that up myself!

    1. Actually, that’s a relatively common alteration that I make, esp on big 4. I’d have to go back and look and see if I did it here, but I think it’s spot on.

      And when I do that, I usually just pinch the same amount– generally half an inch — from the sleeve on the cross grain. Legal? I don’t know. But it hasn’t led to outright horrible results in the past.

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