I love linen. Like, really love linen. My fantasy house has billowing linen curtains, linen sheets (changed daily by my fantasy help), me wearing linen Pajamas (ironed by my fantasy help naturally…). My fantasy life has me getting off a plane in only very slightly crumpled linen, looking cool & effortless. Anyone who has seen me roll off long haul knows just how fantastical that one is (hint, wear dark colours take a sense of humor & at least two changes of top…)
So when I came across Merchant & Mills pattern The Shirt Dress I was tempted. Maybe I could nail me some crumpled effortless vibe after all, and it would fit! I was concerned initially as the size range only goes up to (a small!) 18, which is 41, 35, 44. But previous experience making Merchant & Mills patterns, I know they have a lot of ease built in.
I really like this style. We have sleeves (as you may know, I’m still in discussion with my biceps about the state of themselves), a decent length, and an easy, but not tent like fit. Perfect for work, or the weekend. The bib front is an interesting style point which feels a bit old fashioned to me. In my universe that’s a good thing hey. The top stitching finishes everything off nicely
Its cold here in Auckland. By that I man to a soft Aucklander like moi, its COLD. 4 C here overnight. Naturally to any readers in places that get ACTUALLY cold (Canada in winter anyone? Anyone living in the Deep South here in NZ , currently a balmy -2…) you’ve possibly misplaced an eyeball rolling in the back of your head, but please bear with. Like many Kiwis I grew up in a woefully heated house (one fire for a five bed one level bungalow), where complaining of being cold got you a quick “put another jersey on” and one of Mums evening routines in winter was filling five hot water bottles ! I crave warmth, so linen isn’t an immediate choice for winter dressing.
But introduce merino cardigan and long boots and we may be talking? I’m a little obsessed with this Uniglo mustard cardigan. This colour is everything, if I have it in my wardrobe, chances are mustard will go with it. Polarizing yes (one friend commented “its the colour of poo basically” , but I love it! Mustard & Navy? Oh yes please…
The linen is from The Fabric Store, it’s crisp, the colour is rich, everything linen should be. Isn’t navy blue & brown just the best combination?
The pattern is great quality, printed on heavy paper, with a clear instruction sheet. The only quibble I would have with M&M patterns is their styling. On the one hand I love the ” industrial 40’s workman” vibe, but I do wish they details on the clothing were easier to actually see. And why do the models always look so miserable?
Now, the details. A nifty pattern than came together effortless, with nary a swear word or wine consumed?
Hell no! I fell like this dress was sponsored by my unpicker (seam ripper to NH friends), it was certainly the most used tool in the whole operation. Everything was going seamlessly (like what I did there?), until it came to the yoke. Not only did the wheels fall off at that point, they caught a flight & moved continents. I sewed & unpicked that thing FIVE times. In fact I unpicked the yoke so many times it disintegrated, thankfully I had enough surplus fabric to cut two new ones. Honestly.
The worst thing is I’m still not 100% sure what I did wrong or how I fixed it. Which is a fat lot of good if you’ve come here for useful sewing info like how to sew the yoke on the Shirt Dress pattern. For that I apologize. It isn’t the first time I’ve struggled with a yoke, and as you can see it’s far from perfect, but we got there in the end…
I can tell you I added 2.5 cm to to the sleeve, to accommodate my generous biceps. Other that that, I made no alterations to the pattern (as I said, the sizing is generous!). After unpicking the yoke numerous times, I then thought I’d add to the fun by sewing my sleeves on without changing the stitch selection from a long gathering stitch. Well my did those sleeves have some lovely gathers (puckers!) in them. After Mr D had grudgingly dragged himself away from the football for 3 minutes (I curse you FIFA!) to take some pics in the gloom (in Scotland it would be gloaming, that time between day & night, isn’t that the best word?)I realized how bad those sleeves were. A calming Chardonnay later, I took both sleeves out & re sewed them, but my photographer refused to play ball…
Despite my unpicker shenanigans, I love this pattern. So easy to wear, I have several colours of this pegged with boots & a cardi for winter. In summer I’m looking fwd to the longer sleeve version turned up, with sandals & a pretty necklace for casual but cute dining…or walking off planes looking fancy. As you do.
In between blog posts, whats been occurring at Plum Towers? Sorting fabric with my trusty “helper” Tuppence.
Making cakes. This is for my Mother in Law Florence, really pretty, I’m happy to say she loved it. Which given she’s my MIL is a good thing yes?
Chocolate drip cake for a friend to take to a 50th birthday…notice not actual “50” on the cake. Yes.
It’s been lovely to get back into the sewing room, here’s to a lot more fun stitching. Maybe with a tad less unpicking….