SWAP #4 The sleeveless blouse?

posted in: Finished projects, SWAP | 8

I want a very simple shell top/sleeveless blouse as part of my SWAP. I plan to make some painted silk to pull the other items together. I am using grey and navy and a couple of other striking colours – possibly red and yellow. But before I paint the fabric I need to find a suitable pattern.

Ages ago, as part  my intermediate pattern cutting class, I was required to make a pattern for a halter neck dress. So I copied a lovely YSL pattern. 

Vogue 2093 YSL halter neck dress
Vogue 2093 YSL halter neck dress

I made a toile of the top but couldn’t make up the dress as I lost my self drafted pattern somewhere. I had bought boning, as it was required for the Vogue Pattern Original, as was looking forward to making up this item.


I chose Marfy 1913, a free pattern that has been made up many times, including by several of our best constructors, such as Mary of Cloning Couture. There are dozens of versions out there, many of them very nice. It is a simple woven top, all the fullness being gathered into the collar. It is not as cut-in as the YSL, and is a very simple pattern with just a front and back piece and a collar with an undercollar.

Marfy 1913
Marfy 1913

I cut this pattern out from inexpensive Chinese digital polyester satin I got at Simply Fabrics. I am not sure this fabric is dyed fast, so I saw this as a wearable toile. But the fabric is navy so it may be a SWAP item.


I added 3″ to the length and decided against an elasticated bottom.

It was really simple to make and it didn’t take very long. I used some very lightweight fusible interfacing on the collar and along the back neck vent, and used plastic press studs for the back neck fastening.

I used black satin bias tape that I was given by Wm Gee to face the armholes.

But I am not keen. The collar looks like a polo neck on me.

Marfy 1913 top
Marfy 1913 top

I am not very keen on this pattern so I will look out for something more appealing with a lower neckline.

And I had a lovely experience this week, spending an afternoon to fellow blogger and couture sewist, Ellen Miller .Ellen was in London to promote her new book, and she and her husband joined me to have a good look around the V&A.  Here we are in the tea shop!


8 Responses

  1. The Demented Fairy

    Very nice top, pity you don’t like it…it happens to us all though! If half term had only fallen a week earlier, I would have joined you for Ellen’s visit, such a shame. Ah well. I’ve just been making use of my sleeplessness by making some more cathedral window squares for my Big Project. My fingers hurt!
    My SWAP has stalled, but a beautiful second hand sari arrived yesterday, which may energise my thinking…

  2. Kerry

    What a shame that quite lovely top doesn’t suit. But I love the Vogue pattern even more and I think it’s a style and neckline that would suit you. Any chance of a similar pattern coming your way?

  3. Mary Funt

    Thanks for the reference to my version of the Marfy top. Sorry it doesn’t work for you. What about making the collar narrower? At least the Marfy pattern was free! I’m checking out Ellen’s book; sounds inspirational.

  4. Sue

    Your top looks superb, and I’m sorry you don’t like the collar. What a shame you no longer have the Vogue pattern, could you not redraft it using the linked information?

  5. Annie

    What a shame it doesn’t quite work, it’s worth trying to save as the fabric is lovely. If you’re not feeling the collar you could replace with a narrow bias band, also do rethink adding the elastic to the hem, it would blouson nicely and the proportions would balance better. You know that you suit that style it just needs a few tweaks.

  6. Jenny

    Will be very interested to see if you find a different pattern/idea. Am looking for a more dressy but not formal top idea, I wouldn’t like a high neck either as I donot have a very long neck and find them uncomfortable. Loving hearing about your book too.

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