Marfy 3201 Step 2 – Constructing and Evaluating the Muslin

The most crucial step in making a Marfy pattern, if you ask me, is the muslin. Okay, that’s one of the most crucial steps in making any new pattern, if you ask me. But it’s really critical with Marfy, because you don’t have instructions, and you only have the pattern illustrations to go from. When you’re faced with this:

There's a lotta little pattern pieces, just waiting to get lost.


Allowing yourself a test run in muslin is very helpful. Now, the good news about Marfy’s patterns is that they are beautifully drafted. They don’t give you instructions, but they give you match points, and the patterns go together with no fuss. Yes, you need to know what you’re doing. Yes, you need to be patient (this isn’t a calico A-line dress we’re making, after all). But more than that, you need to be adventurous, and willing to step off that 10 meter platform believing that Marfy put in the pool to catch you. And they did. As long as you take it low and slow, you’ll get gratifying results.

Eh, enough of my yammering. Let’s take a look at the muslin and comment on it, shall we?

3201 Muslin Front
First thing to note is that I used our 65 inch muslin for my test garment. It’s the best out there, period and end of statement. I made the entire coat, including the facings. I didn’t make a lining (I have to draft those pieces), but I made the outer pieces, and I attached the belts, pockets (I didn’t trim the SAs), tabs and epaulets, so I could get a good look at the finished proportions. So far mostly so good. Now to the back…

3201 Muslin Back

Here’s something interesting. The sleeve cape pieces are longer than the back cape piece, by about an inch and a quarter. If you look at the pattern illustration, those pieces are the same length. So I’ll adjust the length of the back to be the same as the sleeves.
3201 Shoulder Detail
This for me is the selling point of the entire coat. Well, this with the cape. The proportion on the chest flap is perfect.

From the pattern illustration, the coat looks like it’s designed to be at or slightly above the knee. I’m 5’6″, and the coat is more like just below the knee on me. The longer version is more formal. I pinned the hem up about 5 inches. The shorter version is more sassy. I have a pair of kick-a** boots that I want to wear with this, and I think they would look better with the shorter version. I’ll leave it on Shelley while I pretreat the red wool, then I’ll try it on with the boots and see which I prefer.3201 Muslin Shortened

The best news about this pattern is that it fits me exactly the way I want it to, straight out of the envelope. That almost never happens any more, woot woot! I put it on over my sweater today and it felt great. So the next step will be to make the few changes to the pattern, pretreat my wool and then get going on the final version. More to come…


Happy sewing!

25 thoughts on “Marfy 3201 Step 2 – Constructing and Evaluating the Muslin”

  1. Rhonda says:

    Can you share what you mean by “pre treatment” of your wool? Thank you.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Rhonda I use Pam Erny’s Method

  2. Elle says:

    You have such a good eye for proportion, I wonder what your thoughts are about the back view, specifically the length of the cape in relation to the length of the overall coat. I can see the proportions of the front details, but I can’t grasp why that particular cape length. Thanks!

  3. Kirsten L says:

    What is your favorite method for pre-treating wool? I am still using the London Shrink (wrap your wool in damp sheets and let dry) that was recommended to me in my 4-H and Make it With Wool Contest sewing days. Is there any newer or better methods that I have been missing out on?

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      I provided the link to Pam Erny’s method in my response to Rhonda.

  4. BeaJay says:

    That is one good looking muslin. Looking forward to seeing it made up in fashion fabric.

  5. Allyn says:

    Wow, that coat is going to be AMAZING! One thought I had about the difference between the sleeve and back cape lengths . . . if you lengthen the back to match the sleeve length, would this make the cape so long in the back that you would be sitting on it if you were seated? I would think you wouldn’t want to sit on the cape.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      I don’t think I’d run the risk of sitting on it Allyn, but after thinking about it a little more I think I might just fold the length out of the sleeve cape so the proportions don’t go off.

  6. Gigi says:

    Oh boy, this is going to be a stunner!

  7. Phyllis says:

    Maybe it’s me – but do the pocket flaps also look smaller on the fashion drawing? (even taking into account the SA)

  8. Tracie says:

    Ann, I am so impressed by anyone that tackles a Marfy pattern — but I didn’t have any doubt that you’d be able to whip that thing right into shape. I keep saying that I’m going to give one a try, but haven’t done it yet. This may be the motivation that I was looking for! Can’t wait to see the finished coat and your kick-a$$ boots!!!!!

  9. jackie Goff says:

    You say it fits, so I’m assuming you are at least 5’8″, slim, less than C bust, and no narrow shoulders or sway back? I’m 5’1″, D cup and small back/shoulders. No pattern ever fits correctly. Do you fit into other commercial patterns quite well too? I want to sew Marfy patterns like crazy, love their styles but they look like they are drafted for tall thin women. Would love your thoughts on this fitting issue.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Wow – um, no, I’m not model thin. I’m 5’6″, busty, with broad shoulders. And yet? This fits me exactly as I want it to. I have very good luck with certain pattern companies (StyleArc), and not so good with others (Simplicity/New Look). It’s all a matter of finding what works for one’s body. This pattern happens to work very well for mine. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that different types of garments need to fit differently. I don’t want to fit my coat as closely as, say, a dress or jacket. Best of luck to you in your search.

  10. Rosie says:

    Love Marfy patterns and your muslin is great! I cannot wait to see the final garment. Shelley is ready to take it for a spin!

  11. Julie says:

    This Marfy pattern is obviously complex and in need of a muslin. How do you decide when to make a muslin and when not? Is it the number of pattern pieces? The complexity of the tailoring or just every pattern that you’ve never sewn before?

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      When in doubt, make a muslin.

      That’s how I determine it, seriously.

  12. Hilma Jones says:

    What a wonderful website! After 20 years away from sewing, I’m back at it again and fully enjoying the newness of…everything! The fabrics, the much improved sewing machines…my serger (I love it)…inspired by bloggers sharing their sewing experiences, and truly helpful sites such as yours. Part of my return to sewing is finding as many ways as possible to be “green,” along with the pure pleasure of making something lovely for myself and others. Keep up the good work!

  13. Anne Frances says:

    Ann, that is going to be one stunning coat. It looks so good already. I think I would try pinning the length out of the cape sleeves and see how that looks – better than lengthening the cape I suspect. And I agree with Phyllis – even allowing for the seam allowances the pocket flaps look big, and I would see how the seem trimmed a little smaller all round. The joy of making a muslin like this is that the details can be tweaked to perfection – and I’m sure the result will be terrific.

  14. Martina says:

    When the fashion fabric (coating) is so different from the muslin, is there a way to know if the amount of ease is going to be OK? I have that beautiful red wool I bought from you, and need to decide on a pattern, but wanted to make a muslin to make sure it can go over a suit jacket (unlike my hot pink coat, also Gorgeous Fabric :)) I love the style of the Marfy…very fashion forward!

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Unless you’re dealing with a massively thick fashion fabric, the ease shouldn’t be that different. You might lose 1/2 inch or so, but that shouldn’t make a difference in a coat. A good coat should have enough ease, especially in the sleeve and armscye, to fit over most jackets.

      1. Martina says:

        Guess I was optimistic with the pink one…no muslin :). It’s pretty though. I’ll be more careful with the red!

  15. Melissa Westergard says:

    Question – I have heard it discussed to “pretreat wool” as you have. Why? With what? How? Can you please expand upon this?


    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Melissa, you can read about the method at Pam Erny’s blog.

      1. Melissa Westergard says:

        Thank you so much!

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