Friday, May 31, 2019

A New Summer Tunic--The French Dart from Maven Patterns

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. As a true fabriholic, I tend to "stalk" my favorite online fabric stores and when I see something that sings to me, I just mindlessly hit the buy button even without a real project in mind. I have been trying to control myself and exercise restraint but when I saw this digitally printed linen from Marcy Tilton, all resolutions flew out the window!

This fabric didn't stay long in my stash box. I was ready to cut and sew it right away. I knew I wanted a tunic length top. I considered some Marcy Tilton patterns but found the style a little bit overwhelming for my size. I also thought a simple non-pieced cut would do more justice to the beautiful print. And I knew I wanted a rolled collar. Somehow I was envisioning a style like Audrey Hepburn's casual style. Googling "rolled collar" led me to the Maven Pattern's French Dart Dress. Although there was only one review published at the Pattern Review website, Instagram had a lot of inspiring photos. 

I purchased the PDF version of the pattern from the Maven Pattern website. I love that the PDF included both copyshop and print at home versions and the "layer" option which allows one to choose which specific size to print. And even though I was not a fan of the included 1 cm seam allowance, the sewing lines were printed along with the cutting line so it was easy to trace my own seam allowance. I prefer a wider seam allowance as it gives me more leeway for fitting adjustments. A wider seam allowance is also best when dealing with fabrics that tend to ravel. 

Muslin Fitting

                           I have multiple fitting issues so more often than not, I sew a toile.

This is my first version with no adjustments. I cut a straight size 8. When I compared my body measurements to the chart, I was between size 8 and 10. Fortunately finished garment measurements were included so based on that, I thought size 8 was going to work. It had about 2-1/8" wearing ease. 

As can be seen from the pictures above, there was a slight pooling of fabric right in the middle area owing to my swayback.

There was also a noticeable gaping at the back neckline. Not too obvious from the photo was a slight gaping at the back armhole.

After many trial and errors, pinching and pinning, my final fitting adjustments were as follows:

*added two darts 2" long and 1/2" wide along the back neckline, about 2" from the center back. Consequently, I had to make the same amount of adjustment to the collar length so that it would fit around the neckline. 

*swayback adjustment of 1/2"

*extended the back darts by 7/8"

*added 1/8" to the seam allowance of the French darts in front

*pinched off 3/4" from the back armscye

The resulting fit was good enough for me. It was not form fitting, but still shapely and I was still able to slip it on without any closures. 

I omitted the inseam pockets and shortened it to top length. I also made it sleeveless and finished the armhole by using bias binding from self fabric. 

Some details

A nice touch included in the pattern instructions was the application of stabilizing tape around the neckline. I used a cotton twill tape and eased the neckline by about 1/4". 

Stitching the collar in the ditch. 

View of the finished collar from the outside.

Armhole binding

French dart in front

Darts in the back.

The two small darts I added along the back neckline.

Inside view of the French Dart and front side seams.

Finished Garment

And here are pics of the finished top.

With rolled collar folded.

Rolled collar unfolded.

Finally a note about the fabric layout. The print is a one way design but unfortunately along the crosswise grain. I was hesitant to disregard the lengthwise grain as I was not sure how it would affect the drape. The fabric had a little bit of body and tended to pouf out in areas. I think the design still worked okay. The stems running across widthwise instead of vertically looked like some sort of border print so I was fine with that.

I really love this style so expect more versions in the near future!


  1. beautiful top, beautiful fabric, beautiful work

  2. I'm not surprised that you had to have that fabric, it really is lovely and your patience with geting fit right paid of because your tunic fits perfectly. Love it!

  3. I have been hesitant to speak of Marcy Tilton's prices, because she offers a very special service, in that she sells what I would call a "curated collection" of fabrics. For that reason, I believe she is justified in charging more than someone, who sells a huge number of fabics, with a few wonderful things included among them. That said, I have stopped buying from Marcy, except occasionally. Your beautiful blouse has motivated me to tell you why.

    I instantly very much liked the fabric you used for this blouse, and went to Marcy's website to see that it was sold out, but had cost her usual $17 per one-half yard for linen. Because, in the past, I have found some of Marcy's linens elsewhere for far less money (after I purchased them), I decided to check on this one.

    I went to I looked up Telio linen, because I have found that other of Marcy's linen fabrics were made by Telio, and sold on this website for far less money. As you will see, your fabric is now $23.98 per yard. On the day I bought it, they were having a special, and I got it for $17.95 with a 3 yard purchase, plus free shipping. Both prices are significantly less than Marcy's. I have also found other of Tilton's linens available at Emma One Sock for $27.50 or $29.50, which is not a big difference, but it adds up.

    I still buy from Marcy, but never without checking the other two sources first.

    If you feel the subject matter of this email is offensive in any way, I will understand if you delete it. However, I feel good when I find beautiful linens offered for less money, and you and your readers might feel that way too.

    1. Hi Ann, I don't find your comment offensive at all! I totally agree. There were times in the past when I found out after purchasing from Marcy similar products at lower price. That's why I don't often buy from her unless a fabric really speaks to me and more often than not I wait for a coupon (although many times by the time the coupon was available my fabric was sold out!) There was one incident when the price difference of a fabric she sold was more than double the price of other websites and I asked nicely about it and the one who responded to me gave me a refund. Wow, I'm glad you shared a link of that linen fabric. I would not have imagined it to be sold at! I'll have to do better next time at checking other websites first before clicking on that buy button. Thank you so much!

  4. I am glad you are comfortable having this conversation. As for, it is only their Telio linens that I check. They currently have 125, whereas a search for "linen" yields over 8,000 items. If you went through the Telio patterns, you would recognize several, that either are offered now, or have been, by Marcy Tilton or Emma One Sock.

    1. Yes, has so many fabrics that it helps if one knows specific brands to look for. Now if I can only find the calligraphy knit at a cheaper price. So far I'm waiting for a sal