Monday, February 16, 2015

Merchant & Mills Union Dress

The Merchant & Mills patterns receive a lot of love at The Drapery, and it's easy to see why. The designs are ridiculously comfortable and very practical to wear. Yet they also include enough smart, tailored detail to make you feel stylish and like you've actually 'made an effort' rather than just thrown on a sack.

And so here is their latest offering, the Union Dress, which we made up in Merchant & Mills' own 'Oxblood' washed linen.
 The wrinkles you see in these pictures are the result of it being freshly washed and ironed, then moved around in just a little... give it another hour of wear and it would be evenly, softly crumpled all over.

The Merchant & Mills washed linens are very soft and feel gorgeous to wear. It was a bit shifty to work with at cutting out stage, but with just a little extra attention to straightening the grain, all was well.

This dress was made up as a sample to live in the shop, and so I cut a straight size 12. The only alteration was to omit the side seam pockets, which struck me as surplus to requirements with those lovely little front pockets.

If I made this again just for myself, I would think about raising the waist seam, particularly at the back. Being short-waisted, this was a helpful adjustment I made to the Merchant & Mills Factory Dress which has a similar shape. You can see in the photo below how the back hem sits a bit lower than the front and there's a bit of excess fabric happening in the back there. It's not a big deal in such a soft linen though.
Such a large blank canvas of plain linen was just begging for a bit of embellishment. I used some Valdani thread to stitch on some quick and simple crosses and running stitch to highlight the details of side splits and waist seam pockets. Contrast top-stitching would also be a great finish.

FABRIC: Merchant & Mills Washed Linen in Oxblood  (NB: I find the fabric length requirements listed on the Merchant & Mills patterns to be pleasingly accurate, hurrah.)

NOTIONS: Fusible interfacing, vintage buttons, Valdani stranded embroidery thread

COMMENTS: An intermediate-level project that I enjoyed taking my time with. Collar is finished with front and back facings, which is not my favourite finish, but probably adds structure at neckline. I stitched the back neck facing down from the outside to stop it shifting around, and this also makes the dress easier to iron. Sleeves are full-length without cuffs, and I would probably always roll them up. I wouldn't mind making those pockets just a bit deeper for hands-in-pockets hanging about. Would be a great autumn dress and also very layerable for winter. Could be lovely sleevess for summer too.

This version of the Union Dress will be in The Drapery and you can even try it on if you want to see if the Size 12 is for you!

- Jane & Fiona xx

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