Pattern Puzzle: Marni

marni_front marni_back

I like a lot of styles on the Marni site, not that I could afford or even wear any of them but the design elements are thoughtful. There are few if any coffin clothes in evidence. I’m not wild on the color of the style I’m using for today’s example but its details are unique and worth the bother of analyzing. For your convenience, you can click on each photo above to see a larger image of the details in question.

I definitely wouldn’t put pockets like that off to either side -and on an empire waistline no less. But that’s just me. If you’re thin and slender busted, it would probably look great on you. Point is, I really don’t care what it would look like on me, I just want to know how to replicate the pocket effects. With the close up, it might not be as you imagined either.

I really like the dress back. There’s an asymmetrical seam running from one shoulder to the opposite hip. What I can’t tell is whether the deliberate fullness released in the seam line (just below the waist) is just that or whether the effect merely starts there but is a draped fold fulling at the hip, following the line of the asymmetrical seam.  Being able to have a better look at it would help because I’d draft rather than drape it.

So what’s your take on it? Feel free to submit your ideas on any or all of these design elements. There’s plenty to play with.

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  1. Paul says:

    In the pocket detail picture the pocket appears to be a raglan sleeve. The detail of the back is not large enough to determine if the fabric below the diagonal seam is on the bias or not. Vionnet used this technique to introduce fullness below the diagonal seam with the seam on the straight or cross grain. But the fabric on the back doesn’t hang like bias, though it may also be due to the choice of weave or the stiffness of the fabric. In one sense the back looks like an exercise in pattern making, i.e. ‘let’s see what this does’, rather than a design detail with much function. To complement the front, something similar could have been used on the back to add additional fullness. I question “why do something like this for pockets?” I do not find it aesthetically pleasing or very functional.

  2. Katherine says:

    I love Marni clothes as well and have often puzzled over the drafting of her design features. I would guess that the fullness in the back is deliberate to match what looks like a pleat on the other side of the back.

  3. Brina says:

    The dress comes in a print that makes it a little easier to see the seams and the grainline.
    I don’t believe the back is cut on the bias. I’m with Paul in thinking that the back doesn’t look inspired–more like a quick fix. And the seam in the back is actually a very long dart that stops about the top of the scapula–perhaps it is a fish eye dart or perhaps it extends to the side seam.

    The pockets look like this have a couple of layers: the bottom layer has a machine stitched hem, the top layer has the the cuff/fold over edge. After reading the description of the dress on the Marni site, I think that the pocket has side vertical pleats or darts at about what looks to be the waist line. This makes the top of the pocket drape because the top edge is longer than the bottom edge of the yoke. The yoke extends down to make the back of the pocket. Maybe that’s clear.

    There’s a seam that extends from the yoke to the hem on each side of the pocket–so the darts are sewn into that.

  4. jinjer says:

    Okay, I was good and didn’t look at any of the other suggestions yet. To me, it looks like this whole design is based on pleats that are sewn for a considerable length as seams or tucks. I think these are called release tucks.

    Here’s my guess:

    For both the front and the back, I show the block that I think they started with–style details to be added are shown in dotted lines. I can’t tell where the seam on the (viewing) left of the back is, so I guessed.

    The pocket-things in the front are made by release tucks only in the midriff area. The extra fullness released by the top of the tuck is what makes the pocket hang in a baggy fashion. I believe the whole thing is sewn to an underlay that is also a pocket–i.e. it’s folded in half, with a hem at the top, where it’s attached to the yoke-ish bodice. The outer, baggy layer, and the flat underlay are sew together in the seams of the tuck, is my guess. In my drawing, I picked a random length for the bottom fold of the underlay, but were I to draw it again, I would have the bottom fold of the underlay go all the way down to hip level, where the pleats are released to add fullness to the hem (It looks like that to me in the photo. It’s a little hard to tell.)

    Note that in the photo, the outer side (near the side seam) of the pocket fold overlaps with the yokeish bodice more than the inner side (near center front). This is evidence of the hidden side-seam dart for the bust–the top of the pocket is straight, so yu lose the shaping of teh dart unless you hike it up at the side seam.

    In the back, fullness has been added in two places, basically along the princess lines. The fit looked really boxy, so I didn’t start with any darts, but you could totally hide darts in those lines.

    Note that the mysterious diagonal wrinkle that extends the diagonal “seam” (which could be sewn as tuck) towards the hip is just a side effect of adding fullness on grain but sewing a tuck on a diagonal line. If you extend the seamlines to the side seam, they must come together in a point. In essence, from the place where those imaginary extended seamlines hit the side seam to the point where the tuck starts, there’s an unsewn dart with the apex at the side seam. What’s more, the length of the dart legs don’t match. the bottom leg is longer, so the fabric droops down a bit. Also notice that the hem hitched up a bit in that area because the tuck is diagonal.

    okay, now I want to go read what everyone else had to say!

  5. jinjer says:

    well, now that I’ve seen the dress in the print (thanks Brina!), I want to change a few things. For example the front yoke seam is not a straight line, it jogs down into the baggy pocket-ish part for a bit. (note, I think those are not functional pockets, because they’re open on the bottom. I just don’t see how they could be sewn to anything!) Also, the diagonal “seam” is a cross between a fisheye dart and a release tuck– made by pivoting the shoulder dart to the side hip, then closing the dart from hip to princess line, opening up a wedge of extra fabric in the hem. I stand by the release tuck on the viewing left side of the back, but it’s a much more sensible straight tuck extending up to the back armhole. I find it odd that there seems to be no shoulder dart on the (viewing) right side of the back…

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