Monday, January 31, 2005

Step 9. Fusing the Underlining and Interfacing to the Jacket Pieces

My Underlining Saga:


I chose to use Textured Weft (an HTC brand lightweight fusible interfacing) to underline my jacket.  The wool is a stretch-woven, and is very stretchy on the crosswise grain.  I did not want it to stretch in the areas where the ribbon embellishment would be placed, in particular.  For that reason, I needed a fusible interfacing that was stable in the crosswise direction as well as the lengthwise one.


I tried everything from silk organza to interfacing material, and nothing worked.  I even used silk organza on a Textured-Weft-fused piece, and I didn't like the hand at all.  Textured Weft, my original choice, was firm in the lengthwise direction, but had some give in the crosswise direction.  I love using it because it's about the only fusible that I have found that does not change the hand of most suiting fabric much, if at all, depending, of course on the type of fabric.


I then contacted Louise Cutting (through , her website), and she recommended fusible cotton batiste.  It is as light as a feather, and so fine a fusible fabric that you almost don't want to use it for interfacing!  However, when I tested a swatch, it made the hand of the fabric too firm--that is, the wool did not drape as it did with no underlining.  What I was looking for a product like Textured Weft, which did not change the hand of the wool, but was stable in the crosswise direction


Then, a SewingWorld friend, Fran, suggested that I rotate the Textured Weft 90 degrees, placing the grainline of the pattern pieces on the crosswise grain of the Textured Weft.  That way, the Textured Weft's more stable lengthwise grain would "tame" crosswise stretch of the wool stretch woven.  The wool's stable lengthwise grain would tame the Textured Weft's slight give in the crosswise direction.  It was a brilliant solution.  I tested it, and the test sample was perfect--exactly what I had been looking for.  I remember the famous couture sewist, Roberta Carr, mentioning that when two fabrics are layered or seamed together, the stronger grain prevails.  In my final sample, the lengthwise grain of each piece did the job that I wanted it to kept the other fabric "in line".


Some basic thoughts on fusing:



I have to stop here and make a point about making good test samples when deciding on underlinings or interfacings for projects. It is one of the more (hopefully) intelligent things I do when planning my project, because if I make a wrong choice here, the look of the entire garment is affected. For this reason, I don't skimp on this step. 


I try to use as large a sample as my scrap fabric allows.  I like pieces about 6 by 9 inches, if possible. I am careful to align the grain of the fashion fabric with the grain of the fusible on these sample pieces.  I compare each tested piece to the original fabric to see if it achieves the look I want.  For an interfacing, I generally want the fabric to be firm and supportive.  For an underlining, I generally want the fabric to have as close to the original hand as possible.  Of course these "goals" change, depending on the type of fabric used and the look that I am trying to achieve with the garment.


Once the decision is made, I can happily fuse away, without worry.


I buy my Textured Weft from many sources, depending on who has a good sale going.  and are twoplaces that I have used.  The Sewing Place is very fast in filling orders. I usually buy 15 yards at a time, since I use it a great deal for underlining suiting fabrics, and can sometimes get a "deal" by buying it in bulk like that.


I always pre-treat my fusibles as outlined in Step 6 of this web log.


Now, the nitty gritty on fusing:


About the Textured Weft, or any fusible...two things are absolutely essential when it comes to getting a good fuse--steam and pressure.  Without either, it is often difficult to get a good fuse that doesn't bubble with wear, or, as sometimes happens, the underlining or interfacing doesn't fuse at all.  I learned this from Mary Roehr, who is, in my opinion, one of the best pressing experts around.  Her website is   .


Textured Weft does not like a lot of moisture.  Too much or too little moisture, and it won't fuse at all.  I use a spritz from my spray water bottle and a shot of steam, and it fuses perfectly to everything that I have tried it with, but more on that in a bit.


With almost any fusible, you will get some bleed-through of the glue...not through the front of the fabric, usually, especially with a fusible like Textured Weft, but often onto the presscloth.  That's just the nature of the beast. I dedicate one silk organza presscloth for use only with fusibles, and always use the same side of that presscloth against the fusible.  I usually mark the silk organza presscloth with a permanent black magic marker in the corner "For fusibles, this side up", so I know how to place it each time it is used.  Because the fusible's glue eventually stiffens the organza, I toss it out after several uses, when it starts to yellow and get stiff.  I also always use the same side of the flannelette facing up (see below for use of the flannelette).


Here's my method:


1.  Place a piece of flannelette pajama fabric on the ironing board on the board of the steam press.  This is great to use because of the nappy surface of the flannelette--it allows me to brush the "crumbs" of any fusible glue away (from any part where I've inadvertently placed the fusible over the edge of the fashion fabric) and protects the ironing board surface at the same time.


2.  Place preshrunk/pretreated fashion fabric on the ironing board, wrong side up.


3.  Place the preshrunk Textured Weft or other fusible on top of the fashion fabric, glue side down.


4.  Place the silk organza presscloth on top of the fusible.  Silk organza is wonderful to use because it allows you to see that the pieces are aligned as you press, and because it does not reflect or absorb the heat or steam.  It also protects the fabrics from scorching.


Note: I use real silk organza, not the poly organza that is available in many fabric chain stores.  The real silk can handle the heat and the amount of time that it takes to effect a good fuse.


5.  I spritz the surface of the presscloth lightly with water from a spray bottle.  In the case of Textured Weft, which does not like too much water or steam, I still spritz, but very, very lightly.


6.  I give the surface a short burst of steam from my iron or press, and then apply and hold firm pressure for 12 seconds.  I watch the clock religiously while doing this, so that the whole surface is uniformly fused.  If I'm using a hand iron, I lift the iron (never sliding it), and repeat the 12-second pressure step on the next portion to be fused. 


Note: I almost always use 12 seconds because it seems to work.  This is part of the sample testing phase, though, to determine the optimum amount of time to hold the iron down on the presscloth/fusible/fashion fabric sandwich.  I always start with 12 seconds and adjust either way. 


7.  I never move the fabric until it is cool to the touch.  This is because the fusible's glue can shift while it is still warm, which is another reason for a bubbling or unsatisfactory fuse.  I have both a suction ironing board and a suction steam press, so for this step, I suction the piece until it is cool, which only takes a couple of seconds.


8.  When the fusing process is complete, I remove the fused piece from the ironing board and brush any fusible crumbs off the surface of the flannelette before placing the next piece down to be fused.


I have fused many fabrics, from the softest cashmere to the densest suiting fabric. I don't usually like using fusibles with cashmere, because I feel it affects the hand too much for my taste, but for facings, it  has worked fine (using an interfacing-weight fusible on the cashmere facing, that is).  I would probably never use a fusible underlining for underlining all or part of the cashmere garment, though.  I am speaking of pure cashmere here, and for cashmere/wool blends which are predominantly cashmere.  The higher the wool content, the more likely I am to use a fusible for underlining as well (such as Textured Weft).


I have not had the experience of a fusible like Textured Weft's glue coming through on the right side of the fabric.  I have had that experience, though, with some other fusible interfacing materials on silk doupioni.  This is another really good reason for doing the test samples long before the garment fusing decision is made.


With a soft boucle suiting material, I turn the fabric over to the right side, after the fusing is complete and steam it lightly, brushing the surface with my hand to bring the nap back up. I also use a soft, soft baby brush to brush the surface of the fabric right after it's steamed and before I brush it up with my hand.  That helps to get all of the small loops back up into position.  I also use a soft baby brush on cashmere for the same reason, to get the soft surface fibers back into place.  I learned this baby brush method from Sandra Betzina.


One final word about fusing: 

Sometimes I have noticed that the front facing pulls up shorter than the other pieces when it is fused, even though I have thoroughly pretreated both the fashion fabric and the interfacing.  I assume this has to do with additional shrinkage going on during the fusing process, coupled with the fact that I use a heavier fusible interfacing fabric for the facings, as opposed to a lighter weight fusible on the pieces that are underlined, and the two fusibles behave differently.  I felt better after I read in Louise Cutting's and Sandra Betzina's publications that this is a common finding.  They recommend cutting the front facing piece about half an inch longer at the hem edge to solve this problem, and then just trim it to size when the fusing is complete.


OK, this is my final word :-) on fusing:


Sometimes it's hard to decide which pieces to underline.  It's pretty easy to decide about interfacing--those pieces are often labeled in the pattern.  But underlining--that's really a judgement call, based on the fabric.  Sometimes, for loosely woven suitings, I use Textured Weft on all of the pieces except the facings, which are fused with a heavier interfacing material such as Ultraweft or Armo Weft.  For other suitings, I may just underline the fronts and back, but not the sleeves.  Other times, I may just do the fronts only (not the side fronts) and a partial underlining over the shoulders, and then strips of underlining fabric or interfacing at the hems (both at the hip and the sleeve hems). 


Things to consider when making the decision about what should be underlined, and whether to use a fusible underlining or a "natural fabric" underlining material such as silk organza or cotton batiste are:

1.  The temperature--both the outside temperature and your internal temperature.  Textured Weft is polyester, and does not breathe as well as natural fabrics do.  Some people say it doesn't breathe at all, but I look at all those little holes and think that some air must be getting in and out.  Who knows...


2.  The fabric--some fabrics are firm enough that they really don't need to be underlined.  This is really a judgement call, and if I am at all undecided, I often go into my closet and pull out a RTW jacket of the quality and fabric type that I am intending to make.  I peek inside and see what the manufacturer used, and if I love wearing the jacket, I let that finding help with my decision.


3.  All, some, or none--where to place the underlining is usually dictated by the type of fabric.  In general, if I feel that the fabric is easily stretched out of shape, then I underline every piece.  If it is a firmer fabric, then I may underline only selected areas.  I am always very careful about partial underlinings, because I don't want the shadow of the underlining to be seen through my garment, and I certainly don't want the edge of the underlining fabric to leave a "show through" ridge--in the upper back, area, for example, for a shoulder area underlining.  I always pink the edges to minimize show-through ridges, for any partial underlining.




Sunday, January 16, 2005

Step 8. Cutting the Fabric

1.  I place the fashion fabric, right sides together, on my large cutting table (a ping pong table completely covered with a gridded cutting mat), and align the selvages to one of the gridlines.

Note:  Sometimes it is difficult to determine the right and the wrong side of a fabric.  Fabric is sometimes shipped from quality vendors with the right sides together, but this is not always the case.  I look at the fabric very closely, sometimes using my lighted magnifier, to detect whether one side has more thread floats than the other (I want the thread floats to be on the wrong side to minimize snagging).  Occasionally, it is just a matter of personal preference.  On these "close call" types of fabrics, I pin a couple of safety pins into the right side along the length of the fabic so that I am consistent in using the same side for all of my pattern pieces. Using the safety pins to denote the right side becomes helpful if I have to cut another piece later on in the process, after my fabric remnants have been stored.

2.  Next I test the fabric's grain by clipping a tiny bit into the selvage at one end of the fabric and pulling a thread across the crosswise grain.  I check the alignment of that pulled crosswise thread with the grid to ensure that the entire piece is positioned on grain with respect to the cutting surface.  Sometimes that results in the selvages not being aligned. If they are seriously misaligned, then the fabric is off-grain and must be straightened before the pattern can be cut.  If the selvages are wavy or dimpled, as sometimes happens, then it is harder to tell whether the fabric is aligned properly.  In that case, I find a lengthwise thread slightly away from the selvage to check against the crosswise pulled thread.  The fabric is properly aligned when the lengthwise threads (selvage) and crosswise threads are perpendicular to one another.

3.  I have previously cut my paper pattern on the cutting line, or on the stitching line if I plan on adding the seam allowances with chalk or by using a rotary cutter with a spacer arm.  I have included any desired alterations on each pattern piece.  Although I pressed the paper pattern before the paper fitting process, I press it once again, taking care to avoid touching the iron to any areas with tape on them. Note: A friend sent me a sample of paper tape found in the "booboo" section of the drugstore where the bandaids are sold.  It can be ironed over, unlike Scotch tape.  I use a warm iron.  I never use steam because it will shrink the tissue paper. 

4.  With the help of large, gridded rulers and T-squares, I place each pattern piece on the fabric, aligning the grainline with that of the fabric.  I check the grainline carefully several times--first, when I place the piece on the fabric and secure it with pattern weights, second, after the weights have all been placed, and finally just before I cut.

Note:  Sometimes I have traced the paper pattern onto Patternease or Pellon Tru-Grid, ensuring that the pattern's indicated grainline lies along one of the grid lines.  This paper fabric is not always true in scale, however.  Although it is drawn with a 1 inch grid, the spacing is not always constant across the length and width of the paper fabric.  For that reason, I choose one line of the grid and mark it as my grainline on the pattern piece.  I always verify the grain with respect to that single line.

5.  I don't often align the pattern pieces the way they are indicated in the pattern layout in the guidelines.  I use my best judgment.  In general, for a jacket, I like to lay the pieces side by side as they go onto the jacket, keeping the corresponding notches at the same level.  I do this especially with tweeds or other fabrics which have even the most subtle patterning.

Note:  I usually try to use the "with nap" layout with most fabrics.  I study the fabric carefully to see whether there is a color or texture difference when the fabric is viewed from each direction along the lengthwise grain.  Even when I am relatively sure that there is no difference, I still try to use the "with nap" layout if I have enough fabric.

6.  If the fabric has a pattern, design, stripe, or plaid, I match all designs at each seam, wherever possible. I take extra care to look at any design on the bust or the derriere to ensure that no eye-catching design element is placed where I wouldn't want it in the finished garment. 

Note:  This whole process is more complex than described here.  Refer to sewing books regarding matching plaids, stripes, or one-way designs.  Essentially, with the fabric doubled, each piece is a mirror image of the one below it.  Unless one is good at visualizing the layout of a design on a mirror image and exactly aligning the layers of fabric, it is usually best to cut the pattern on this type of fabric in a single layer, flipping the pattern piece over for its complementary piece.

7. Next, I check the grainline of each piece once more.  Then I check each piece off my list that I previously checked or highlighted on the pattern insert.  I want to make absolutely certain that each piece is accounted for before cutting.

8. I check each piece against the pattern layout, making certain that any unusual indications have been adhered to, and verifying that whatever I changes I may have made in the layout have been well thought through.

9.  Now  I take a break.  I walk around the cutting table, looking at the layout from all sides.  I think about the garment's final look and check to see whether the layout supports that vision.

10.  I begin the cutting process at one end of the fabric and continue systematically toward the other end. I do not lift up any of the pattern pieces until the entire cutting process is complete.  I usually use a rotary cutter.  Occasionally I will use shears, especially my microserrated dressmaker shears, with fine fabrics or with polarfleece.

11.  Going back to the end where I first started cutting the fabric, I use a small pair of scissors to score around each pattern piece, ensuring that there are no connected threads. (I especially have to do this if I have used a rotary cutter).  Again, I move systematically down the length of the fabric, examining each pattern piece separately.

12.  Next I transfer any pattern markings and add any tailor tacks as needed.  I check every single pattern piece to ensure that I have not neglected a marking.

Note: I always use fine elastic thread in a large-eyed needle to place my tailor tacks.  The elastic thread does not pull out of the fabric the way conventional thread does.

13.  I pin a tiny gold safety pin into the seam allowance on the right side of each pattern piece, so that, should they become separated, I will always know what I have designated as the right side.  I remove the pins during the fusing or underlining process, or as I attach the piece to the garment if it is not underlined or interfaced.

14.  I remove the marked pieces from the cutting table, grouping them in stacks according to the body part:  Front pieces, Back pieces, Sleeve pieces, Lining pieces, Interfacing pieces.  I try to keep the pieces in these stacks throughout the assembly process.  I know it sounds stupid, but it is sometimes possible to mistake a side front for a side back piece, so keeping the pieces in their corresponding stack minimizes the chances that I might make a goof.

15.  I repeat this entire process for the lining, interfacings, and underlining.

Note: I know sewists who stack the fabrics one on top of the other and use the rotary cutter to cut through them all at the same time: fashion fabric, lining, underlining, and interfacing.  I have never used this method, so I can't comment on it one way or another.  It might be fun to try, as long as the accuracy of the cutting line is not compromised.

Step 7. Reading the instructions

Before I proceed to the cutting table, I carefully study the pattern insert (the guideline sheets), making sure to

1.  Study each pattern piece's shape as it is drawn on the first sheet.  Often the grainline is noted on this drawing.  This tells me whether I have any bias pieces to deal with.  I highlight them with a little dot so I'll be aware of the placement. 

2.  Look at the list below the pattern pieces on the first page. I check off or highlight the pieces that I will use in my garment.  I use a different color of checkmark or highlighter dot for the lining or the interfacings, since sometimes one of the garment's pieces will be re-used in the lining or interfacing layout.  Sometimes, then, a pattern piece may have three little dots on it: one for the fashion fabric, one for the lining, and one for the interfacing.

2.  Study the pattern layouts on the fabric, noting any unusual orientation or fabric folding requirement.

3.  Read the pattern instructions from beginning to end, making little notes or highlighting something that I want to be sure not to miss.  This is where I often change the sewing method or the sequence of garment assembly to best fit my fabric or my intended garment.  I often substitute what I may consider a better sewing technique for the one that is described in the instructions.  This just comes with experience and practice.  I research anything that I don't understand and get the whole process clear in my mind before proceeding.

4.  I count the number of pattern pieces that I will be using for the fashion fabric, the lining, the underlining, and the interfacing.  I write that number down on the guidesheet, right by the pattern layout information.  I always compare the respective number with the number of pattern pieces on my fabric before I cut.

Note:  The pattern layout information always has a list of the pattern pieces to be used just above the layout picture.  Sometimes, if I have made no design changes, I just check this list before I cut.  Often, though, I may interface more or fewer pieces, or use more than one in a garment, for example.  That's when I do my pattern piece number designation and count check extra carefully.

Step 6. Preparing the Fabric

A.  Pretreating the wool:

Since I am using a wool/lycra blend tweed, I steam it with my gravity feed iron and suction each section dry before moving onto the next.  It takes a while to do all the yardage I have (3 yards, 60 inches wide), but it is a mindless thing to do while watching TV or listening to a book on tape.

I want the wool/lycra tweed to be stable in the jacket, because I don't want any stretch of the fabric to distort the ribbon embellishment.  For that reason, it is necessary to fuse the entire jacket with Texture Weft, with the exception of the facing pieces, which will be fused with Ultraweft, and type of fusible interfacing similar to Armo Weft. The jacket will therefore be underlined with Texture Weft, interfaced with Ultraweft, and lined with silk charmeuse.

B.  Pretreating the Texture Weft and Ultraweft

I pretreat the Texture Weft and the Ultraweft by soaking the fabrics, one at a time, in a deep sink filled with warm water until the water cools, or 20 minutes, whichever is less.  Then, if the fusible is cool, I toss it quickly into the wash machine and spin it for less than a minute.  That takes most of the water out of it without damaging the fusible side. (I pretreat 15 yards of Texture Weft at a time, if I am using the narrower 29 inch product).

Note: Although I am often tempted to soak my fusible interfacings and underlinings directly in the wash machine, I don't.  I'm afraid that the amount of spinning that it will take to empty the tub of water will detach the fusible's glue from its fabric. (I have a top loading washer.)

Note:  I always pre-test any fusible used with my fashion fabric. This helps me to determine how it affects the hand of the fabric, and the best method to obtain a good fuse on that particular fabric.  Although I usually use the same fusing method, I may vary the amount of time that the iron is held on the fusible depending on the nature of the fusible and the fashion fabric.  Usually this amount of time does not vary more that a few seconds either way from my standard 12-second fuse.  I also may use a different type of presscloth, depending on how the moisture is applied to the garment.  Usually, though, I use my standard silk organza presscloth.

C. Pretreating the lining fabric 

The silk charmeuse lining fabric is pre-treated with the same steam method used for the wool: 

1.  Steam heavily, holding the iron just slightly above the fabric.

2.  Pat the fabric dry, or suction it dry if using a suction ironing board, before moving to the next section of fabric to be steamed and dried. 

Note: Sometimes silk charmeuse will water spot.  I always test the silk first by flicking a few drops of water onto it.  If it waterspots, I dip the entire piece of silk into a deep sink filled with cool water, roll it in a thick turkish towel, and then hang it to dry over a clothesline or shower rod.  Usually I have to repeat this process once or twice more to eliminate the waterspotting tendency completely.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Step 5. Sleeve Vent Modification and Buttons for Project

Since I had purchased several small buttons for the sleeve vents, and because of the more unique nature of this jacket design, I decided to deepen the sleeve vents and have six vent buttons per sleeve.

I therefore needed to deepen the sleeve vent on the upper and under sleeve pattern pieces for the fashion fabric. Since the lining pieces do not have the vent in them, they did not need to be modified.

I increased the depth of each sleeve vent by 4 1/2 inches, which would allow plenty of room for the button spacing for the 6 half-inch buttons that I plan to use per sleeve. The total depth of the sleeve vent is 9 1/2 inches, excluding the hem.

Here are pictures of the buttons to be used as well as a picture of the sleeve pattern pieces modified for deeper vents.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Step 4. Making the lining pattern

Marfy patterns do not come with linings. To line my jacket, I had to make the following modifications to the existing pattern pieces:

1. Center front: None. The attached front facing (created in Step 3) extends to the seamline.

2. Middle front:: None.

3. Side front: added 1/2 inch to the side seam allowance at the underarm area, tapering to nothing at the waistline. This extra amount will be eased in when the lining sleeve is attached. It is added to allow a bit more roominess in the underarm area, so that the lining will not pull where the sleeve joins the underarm.

4. A back neck facing was drafted , using the center back pattern piece for a template. The depth of the facing is 3 1/2 inches, which includes a 5/8 inch seam allowance at the neckline and a 5/8 inch seam allowance where the lower edge of the facing attaches to the lining.

5. Side back: same as Side Front.

6. Middle back: None

7. Center back:

a. The center back seam allowance was increased to 1 1/2 inches to allow for a back pleat at the center back seam. This allowance started at the neckline and tapered to 5/8" at the waist.

b. The neckline of the Center Back was lowered 2 3/8", from center back seam to shoulder seam. This modified Center back piece includes the 5/8" seam allowance where it will attach to the back facing piece.

8. Upper sleeve: the vent is turned under and is not cut for the lining piece.

9. Under sleeve:

Note: the undersleeve does not have an underarm seam. The two piece sleeve has a front and a back seam.

a. the vent is turned under and not cut for the lining piece.

b. the underarm of the sleeve is raised 5/8 inch, tapering to nothing at about 2 inches on either side of the underarm piece. This allows for some extra room in the sleeve length as it attaches to the armhole at the underarm.

I cut my linings the same length as the jacket pattern pieces, for both the jacket body and the sleeves. This gives me some wiggle room for adjustments after the jacket construction is completed. That way, the lining can be more precisely trimmed when the it is attached to the jacket's torso and sleeve hems.

Additional Note: since I made a Patternease muslin, I know that I will not have to add any width to the jacket, so the seam allowances for the lining are 5/8". (If I had not previously fitted the jacket, I would cut 1 inch seam allowances on the shoulders and all of the vertical seams of the lining to allow for adjustments.)

I very likely will have to take the jacket in, especially in the upper abdomen, waist and hips, as it is fitted during the construction process. I plan on modifying the lining's seam allowances accordingly and/or creating small pleats in the lining for additional ease when it is inserted into the jacket.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Step 3. Allowing for the buttons and buttonholes

The Marfy pattern is designed for a center front zipper. I do not want a zipper in my jacket.

The Marfy pattern is designed for a collar. I do not want a collar in my jacket...I prefer it to be a collarless Chanel style jacket with buttons.

The Marfy pattern has a separate front facing which is attached to the Center Front piece on the center front line. I want to put buttonholes in and do not want a seam at the front edge, because it just adds bulk. Therefore, I had to make a new Center Front pattern piece with the front facing cut on, and the foldline placed perfectly for the size of my buttons.

I made the following modifications to the center front pattern piece:

1. I raised the front neckline 5/8" at the center front, tapering to nothing at the shoulders.

2. My buttons are 3/4 inch in diameter. I followed these rules from Roberta Carr, in her book, "Couture"

a. The width of the fabric extending past the center front is equal to the diameter of the button.

b. The buttonhole should start 1/8" past the center front into the front extension

c. The first buttonhole at the neck should be set below the neckline at a distance equal to the diameter of the button plus 1/4"

d. The lowest buttonhole should be at least a distance from the hem of 1 1/2 times the distance between the buttonholes.

I marked two buttonhole positions to start out, then, the position of the first button, and the position of a button right at the level of the apex of the bust, where I prefer one. Using my Simflex gauge

I spaced six buttonholes down the front of the jacket. I checked, and the last buttonhole stopped above the hem at a point slightly more than 1 1/2 times the distance between any two buttons.

I marked the foldline of the Center Front piece as a distance of 3/4 inch from the Center Front line. Once that foldline was established, I added an attached front facing piece onto the Center Front pattern piece.

Now my new Center Front piece has an attached front facing and has the perfect allowance for the buttons which I have chosen for the jacket.

Here is a picture of the original Marfy Center Front pattern piece with 5/8" seam allowances on the neck and middle front edge and a 1 inch seam allowance past the center front. To the right of that pattern piece is my Altered Center front pattern piece which shows the neckline raised for a collarless design and with an attached front facing to minimize bulk at the front opening.

Step 2. Altering the Marfy pattern

Here is the Issey Miyake jacket that inspired me:

Here is the Marfy pattern that I chose to make the jacket.

I did not want to use the Vogue pattern because I didn't like its style lines as well as the Marfy. Plus, I wanted to make a Marfy jacket to see how I liked their patterns.

When I first compared the size 42 Marfy pattern to my existing jacket patterns and jackets, I was afraid that it was too big in the upper bodice. I therefore made the jacket up in Patternease, using 1 inch seam allowances on all of the vertical seams. It turns out that these were the alterations that were made:

1. Shortened the shoulder seam by 3/4 inch. I did this by decreasing the Front/Middle Front seam at the shoulder and tapering to nothing at the apex of the bodice and about 5 inches down the back seam.

2. Added 1 inch at the apex of the bust, tapering to nothing in the upper bodice. I continued this added inch down through the waist and hips.

3. Added 1 inch at the side seams.

4. Added 1 inch to the undersleeve, tapering to nothing at the cuff, to compensate for the added width at the side seam in the armhole.

5. Cut 5/8 inch from the Center Back neckline, tapering to nothing at the shoulder seam. This is for comfort in wearing.

This results in a jacket that fits well in the upper bust, shoulders, and sleeves, and is slightly roomy in the waist and hips. I like leaving my master patterns this way (with a little fitting insurance) so that I can take the seams in as needed depending on the type of fabric used. I know I will be taking it in more in the waist and hips, but I prefer not to fit the master pattern too closely at this stage.

A picture of the Marfy pattern as it is received.

It is hard to imagine that such a small tissue packet holds an entire jacket. Here is some information about the Marfy patterns:

1. They are cut by hand

2. They have no seam allowances

3. They do not come with any pictures or pattern instructions. The picture is in the catalogue only.

4. They are marked with letters of the alphabet as to which pieces fit together. A to A, B to B, etc.

5. There are no pattern pieces for lining.

A picture of the Marfy pattern pieces, opened up.

Step 1 Selecting the Pattern, Fabric, and Embellishment

The Inspiration:

The original Issey Miyake Ribbon Jacket.

I plan to use a combination of two patterns to achieve this look.

The first pattern is the Vogue Issey Miyake Designer Pattern, No. 2768:

The element that I like the best about this Vogue pattern, and the original Miyake jacket, is the ribbon path that is appliqued to the jacket. I want to use this ribbon design element only from the Vogue pattern. I probably could have fiddled it through without having the pattern, but it was fun to see how Vogue recommended doing it.

The second pattern is from the Italian patternmaker, Marfy, Pattern No. 8450:

My primary motivation for this Jacket Journey is to use a Marfy pattern, to see how I like the pattern company. I chose this particular Marfy pattern because of its design lines with lots of seams to allow for alterations. (It has many more seams than the Vogue pattern above.) A two piece sleeve design is also included.

Fabric and Embellishment Choices:

The fabric for the jacket is a raisin colored wool tweed. Here are some of the lining choices I am considering:

Handpainted silk charmeuse lining option with raisin wool tweed

Silk chiffon lining option with raisin wool tweed

Two French silk ribbons for the embellishment:

These ribbons will be joined together with Steam a Seam Lite before appliqueing them to the jacket. Here are some closeups of the ribbons placed the way they will look on the final jacket.


  1. Raisin wool tweed from Erickson Consulting, Dunlap, IL

  2. Lining silks from Vogue Fabrics, Evanston, IL

  3. Ribbons from The Ribbonry, Perrysburg, OH