In which I decide to explore a change in direction, and take a different approach to deciding which garments I want to sew and welcome into my wardrobe, with pattern company Merchant and Mills.
As I have not been producing multiple sewing projects this year, it has made me focus more on the garments I really want to sew. Most of my sewing time has been and will be taken up with continuing to work on my wedding dress, so any additional projects undertaken have been carefully considered.
In a way, this has also made me re-evaluate the type of items I want to sew. In the past I have made garments based on utilising amazing novelty prints or bright colour combinations. As much as still adore bright colours and prints, I have realised that I do not exactly have a lack of these in my wardrobe. In fact, whenever I open my closet I am confronted with a riot of colour and bold prints. At times, this can prove overwhelming when deciding on garments to combine in order to form coherent outfits.
All of these thoughts led me to the conclusion that I need to focus on making garments that are muted, solid colours (ie no prints), and will be key versatile pieces to combine with existing items. For me, part of the joy of sewing is being able to create pieces from unusual colour combinations or whimsical prints, so to focus on plain fabrics is quite a big change.
In order to hopefully lessen the days when I am overwhelmed by my brightly hued wardrobe, I turned to UK based pattern company Merchant & Mills. The Factory Dress was my very first pattern from Merchant & Mills, and as I opened the pattern envelope, this phrase perfectly surmised my recent thoughts and evaluations:
‘Take Pause. Invest thought time and labour in making your own clothes by your own hand.’
The Factory Dress is inspired by a 1920s design, made to be worn as a durable, hard working garment. The pattern comes in multiple sizes, from UK8 up to UK18. I decided to cut the UK 8, which turned out to be a nice fit. Full illustrated instructions are also included with the pattern, which I found not only helpful, but also a delight to read. Through the use of language, it is apparent that Merchant & Mills really encourage the development of sewing skills. Indeed, equal attention is heeded to the internal finishing of the dress as the overall look of the garment, reinforcing the sense that garments made from Merchant & Mills patterns should be garments made to last.
I used a beautiful muted pink pure linen purchased from Ditto fabrics to sew up my Factory Dress. I feel this was the perfect fabric choice – durable, easily laundered, with just the right amount of drape and weight. I love that the pattern includes pockets in the side seams, I do have a tendency to fiddle around with pockets as a kind of social comfort blanket!
Overall, the dress did not take long to make at all, as I recall I had it whipped-up in a day or two. I spent extra time making my own bias binding, which I used to finish the facing and bodice/skirt join on the inside.
I would absolutely make up this dress again, as the pattern was so straight forward to work with. Sizing wise, even the darts were absolutely perfect on my completely flat bosom area – something which never happens with shop bought patterns.
As a testament to how impressed I was with the pattern, I persuaded Kieren to take us on a little road trip last weekend to visit the Merchant & Mills shop in Rye. I purchased the Workbook, and some beautiful English herringbone cotton twill. The next projects I intend to work on are the Saltmarsh skirt, and the Haremere coat – both from their Workbook.
Whilst I previously may have viewed plain, practical clothes as unexciting, Merchant & Mills patterns have made me realise a new joy in sewing – the joy of taking pleasure in the process. Creating and crafting something with care, thought and patience.
- Dress Pattern – Factory Dress by Merchant & Mills
- Fabric – Linen from Ditto Fabrics
- Scarf – Clovelly Silk
- Necklace – Etsy
- Shoes – Hotter via eBay
Until next time dears!