Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merchant & Mills All State shirt in Washed Linen

Merchant & Mills, who produce some of our best-selling women's patterns, have recently released three patterns for men. The Merchant & Mills style of casual elegance - understated and slightly rumpled yet distinctly tailored - translates well into these garments.

I was quietly excited when I saw the All State shirt. My husband has a chequered history of wearing my handmades. He's very particular. But could this be the breakthrough? What's not to like?

My cunning plan was to make a 'sample for the shop' that just happened to be in Andy's size and choice of fabric. So here I present, The (no pressure at all, really) Shop's Shirt.

 And, maybe not The Shop's Shirt after all.
 I'm not sure if I've ever made a garment so true to the pattern cover image.
There's lots of nice topstitching, although in matching thread it is quite subtle on this substantial linen.
The pattern came together nicely, with some nifty bits like mitred corners inside the front hem and simple but clever side splits. 
Sometimes I'd like a little bit more hand-holding from the slightly sparse Merchant & Mills pattern instructions. They have some quaint wording such as 'on a big stitch' (baste), and when they instruct to 'organise yoke and topstitch' I have visions of blowing a whistle Captain Von Trapp-style and having the fabric fall obediently into line. In any case, the garments always turn out well in the end.
 My very special thanks go to Andy for being such a good sport and modeling this (shop?) shirt for us. He may not have an enormous vice like the guy on the pattern packet...
... but he has a loyal greyhound, which is surely just as good.

Merchant & Mills All State Shirt

Washed linen in Indigo (there is a very small amount of this left at time of writing), 1.6m **NB: fabric requirements stated 1.45m and after cutting this, I did not have quite enough. On close inspection the pattern layout in the instructions allows for only one back yoke piece when in fact you need two. The inner yoke could of course be from a different fabric but if you want self-fabric then allow an extra 15cm above stated pattern requirements.**

Gutermann cotton thread, cotton woven fusible interfacing, corozo (tagua nut) buttons, available in store.

42 (very true to size, very tall men will probably wish to lengthen)

I really like the look of this shirt and it is reportedly very comfortable. 
Please note the fabric requirements as per above!
This would be a good pattern for advnaced beginner and upwards. Especially good as a first men's shirt project, given that it has just a one-piece collar and no plackets or cuffs. An achievable project with a very professional-looking finish.

- Jane & Fiona xx

PS if you see this shirt hanging in the shop, well... just tell me how nice it looks.


  1. Looks good to me! I love the fabric, which suits the style so well.

  2. A great shirt, especially in that fabric.
    I showed this to my son, who also rejects my handmades. He loves it and wants one.
    The first version will be in a checked Japanese fabric I bought from you last year (which Max likes), and if accepted graciously and worn, then a second one in linen will follow.
    Well done!

  3. Shirt looks great and there's nothing better than a loving greyhound.

    1. Thanks - and yes, big, big love for our greyhound :)

  4. I love your version of the All State shirt, I think it suits your model perfectly! I think your fabric choice and size are great too. I'm about to make one for my husband, I've been Procrastinating for Professionals about it. Its a lot of effort for something that may not be right (men are so fussy, no?). So we went to the Merchant and Mills shop (yes we are lucky enough to live in Sussex, UK) and Marc tried the shirt on there. Phew. He likes it. Now I just need to sew the bugger. Your version is good motivation!

    1. Oh thank you Rhonda! I think the shirt had approximately one outing this past summer but at least it's a 'classic' and won't really go out of style. Maybe I should pinch it back for a shop sample after all :D I am rather jealous of your being able to just 'pop in' to the Merchant & Mills shop! Wishing you all the best for your sewing and for the result being loved and worn very much!


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