A Trapeze in the garden


Now, I wont lie, I’ve had mixed reviews on this dress. I love it , but my husband wasn’t quite so impressed.

“Wow, I can’t even remember where that curtain was hanging before you took it down to make a frock!?” Boom boom. It’s amazing how quickly he forgets I’ll get mates rates on the divorce lawyer…


This is the Trapeze Dress by Merchant & Mills. It’s one of the first patterns I brought when I got into sewing properly. I loved the simple lines, and yes, the stylish industrial packaging (come on, I think we’ve all been sucked in by nice wrapping some time?) I’ve since made a couple of other great Merchant & Mills patterns, I actually find the drafting really works for me, although I do wish the size range was more inclusive.

I originally made the dress in a dark green wool, which gave the garment a vaguely “monastic” look. This turned out to be entirely appropriate, I realized after about an hours wear I really needed to line SUCH a scratchy fabric, it felt like wearing a hair shirt. If you’ve seen the Da Vinci Code movie (don’t be judgy, I was on a plane)  , the bloke that self flagellates with a price of rope ? He could have saved energy & just worn my dress all day.

At that point I had no idea how to line a dress, so it ended up languishing in my wardrobe. Given the horrific state of my first attempt at a full bicep adjustment (hint, just adding 2 cm around the whole sleeve doesn’t work, the sleeve becomes impossible to ease in without mighty puckers all around!) it’s probably not a bad thing. I don’t know why its taken me so long to revisit the pattern but I’m really glad I have.


Do you like the toe point (I always wanted to do ballet…)?

The fabric is a glorious soft drapy corduroy (yes, corduroy!) from Miss Maude , as soon as I saw the colours I knew I had to have it. But I thought such a busy print needed a really simple shape to highlight the wonderful colours. Its a very light cord, the drape highlights the Trapeze shape without looking too stiff.

I adore corduroy, I love the look & feel of wearing it, and the colours! I had quite a long stretch in hospital as a child, and I remember Mum & Dad bringing my younger sister in to visit, wearing a corduroy jacket & skirt Mum had made her, it was a deep red colour , I was SO jealous! Dad called it “the burgundy” , among his many eccentricities he liked to name clothes, the purple linen shirt I sent from the UK for Fathers Day was forever after his “London” shirt”. He was also a deeply kind, thoughtful, very funny man, most of us are lucky enough to love our parents, some of us are VERY lucky, and like them very much too. We miss him.

In his honour I shall call this my “Front room drapes” dress.

Such beautiful lush colours & texture 


So, modifications. First, I added pockets. I don’t tend to actually carry anything in my pockets ( I once left a hair clip in my jeans which went straight into the wash & completely buggered our washing machine…boy did I hear about that from Mr D) but I like to have them just in case I want to. Or I need to warm up my hands. Or I just want to stand around nonchalantly and really , in the absence of a ciggy (I don’t smoke) pockets are really essential. I used the pocket piece from my Feilder , which worked perfectly.

I also did my usual Full Bicep Adjustment , using the very handy tutorial from the Curvy Sewing Collective , this time I did manage to get the sleeves inserted without huge gathers. I did however, have a couple of small tiny gathers, Mum came for Good Friday lunch yesterday & complimented me on my “lovely dress”. She then went on “but you need a to learn better sleeve insertion, you didn’t ease those in very well”. No really Mum, don’t sugar coat it hey? I have put those bloody sleeves in about three times, if there are puckers now its purely a design choice. Tough crowd!


Bloody noisy planes…

So, styling choices? I thought boots would tone down the overly floral “pretty” look, and make it a little more edgy. I love the neckline on this dress, its quite high but nicely proportioned. However I work in a very chilly office so a scarf is a must. With so much going on, I wanted something plain, so the amazing merino at The Fabric Store was perfect.

I used Ochre merino, and the Infinity scarf tutorial from Miss Maude to make a simple scarf that is warm, practical, and looks great with my dress. I brought 1.5 m of fabric, so I’ve also got enough fabric left to make another scarf, they make great gifts.


My cat being a twit off camera!

Four days off here for Easter, we had the traditional lovely family lunch for Good Friday, today has been sewing & mooching around, catching up with a friend tomorrow and more sewing, the weather is supposed to turn (it’s been glorious here so far) so I shall feel very cosy in my sewing room, I have a Wattle skirt that needs finishing.

In the meantime me posing/looking startled while my sister ineptly tries to take photos. We retired to the lounge for a Chardonnay shorty after…

Amazingly, this was BEFORE the Chardonnay…

Have a great weekend, and if you celebrate,  have a lovely peace filled Easter

Kristina x


  1. It turned out absolutely gorgeous, Kristina! The colors are 100% and I love the pattern you matched it with….


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thank you! Really pleased with it, perfect for autumn 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marlene says:

    Your “Fielder” jacket story is hilarious! You reminded me of my first quilting teacher who insisted there are no mistakes, only opportunities to be creative. What a great “save” from a jacket to a dress. And thank you for giving me something to laugh out loud about in this “Plum Kitchen” excerpt. Love the way you describe things. So nice to read about someone who makes fun out of “opportunities” to be creative!!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks so much Marlene, glad you enjoyed it! I have quite a few “opportunities to be creative”, it’s good to at least have a wee laugh about it 🙂


  3. Kristina, I am so sorry that your mum and your dear husband criticized your pretty dress. I do have a comment that I hope is constructive. I have narrow shoulders and wide biceps. I believe the shoulders are too wide for you on this dress. Following your link to adjusting the arm, there is a link to adjusting shoulder for narrow shoulders. I am short so I never add height to the sleeve cap. I often adjust the shoulders to make up for the extra room needed for the sleeve cap. There are many tricks to having a smooth not gathered sleeve cap. Some of them are very unorthodox! The most important is tomodify the garment to exactly match a sloper which fits perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks so much, that’s really helpful:) I have checked out the link, and will try a wee adjustment on my next one, so cool to be able to tweak things , and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. JulieLou says:

    Love the colours and blooms in this fabric. I couldn’t see the sleeve puckers, and probably average Joe Bloggs won’t either. Looks great with the scarf and boots. Enjoy wearing it.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks Julie! Yes I suspect it’s only “mum vision” that sees these things, so much tougher !😉


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