Monday, September 4, 2017

Pattern review: Merchant & Mills 101 Trousers in washed linen

The Merchant & Mills 101 Trouser pattern states:
"A gentle drawstring trouser with side pockets and a false fly, cut to sit right on the waist. Features 3 versions - cropped & tapered trouser, wide straight trouser or shorts."
I made these trousers as a shop sample and I put them on for blog photos to demonstrate the fit. They're not really my style or fit (explained below!) but we hope this review is helpful if you're considering the pattern for yourself.

I used one of our washed 100% linens - this one in 'Tapenade' - since the pattern calls for something soft and drapey (washed linen suits just about every Merchant & Mills pattern, and we have a lovely new shipment due any day!).

Merchant & Mills patterns tend to run on the generous size, and a size 12 in their dresses has always been plenty roomy on me. My measurements, and the finished garment measurements (provided) for the 101 Trousers however put me in the size 14. Made up, I think this was the correct size for me. So be aware and measure carefully rather than just choosing your regular M&M size. Also, check the leg measurements. These babies are LONG!

Ahem... learn from my mistake, yeah? I am a fabric miser and tend to assume my fabric ninja skillz will outsmart any given pattern layout. I merrily started cutting without laying out all the pieces and ended up with one much-shortened front leg. Fortunately these pants were so long on me that it didn't matter in the end, but please, trust me: this pattern layout (for 150cm wide fabric, at least) knows what it's doing.

In general the instructions were good and there's always some nice detail in M&M patterns - in this one, the pocket construction is rather satisfying and you could use the separate facing and lining pieces to insert a different fabric as lining and have hidden pretty pocket insides, if you like. At Step 2, attaching the False Fly, I couldn't make sense of the left/right description but followed the diagrams without problem. That said, it's a bit of a flimsy false fly so I'm not sure it's worth the bother. While I'm being nitpicky, at the end of Step 14 there should be instruction to finish seam and press open (I like that these details are included everywhere else).

I chose the wide, straight trouser because I thought it was the best one to have as a shop sample. And hey, it looks great hanging on our wall. Rumply, drapey, gently gathered. On me?
 Like I predicted, not really my thing. But that's okay!

As promised, these really are cut to sit right on the true waist - the narrowest part of the torso. Having a particularly short waist/torso, this brings the 101 Trouser up comically high on me. Hello, Tweedledum!

There is, fortunately, an easy fix for this, because Merchant & Mills have included a lengthen/shorten line in the hip area of the pattern. If I was to try it again I'd remove at least 10cm length there (to be honest I was hoping for a good new pyjama pant pattern and hope is not necessarily lost). The drawstring waist is pleasingly not-too-gathered or bulky. Comfort is good.

I used cotton piping cord for the drawstring for expediency but would recommend something a bit wider/flatter/softer because this cut in a bit uncomfortably when I sat down. In fact, I'd probably do a full elastic band and half drawstring just at the front.

PATTERN: Merchant & Mills 101 Trouser
FABRIC: 100% Linen, washed/softened - Tapenade, 150cm wide, 2.15m
ADJUSTMENTS: Shortened leg (accidentally - but would have needed to anyway!)
COMMENTS:  An easy and fairly quick sew. Definitely high-waisted - but that can be shortened. Carefully consider your preferred rise. The pattern gives all finished measurements and the 'back crotch depth' refers to length from top of waistband to bottom 'drop' of fabric when on a hanger or laid flat. Other than that the fit is pretty forgiving. Probably the epitome of rumpled, casual elegance on someone with a long waist and legs.

Any of our washed 100% linens
Linen/Viscose Twill
Cotton Double Gauze
Cotton flannels

Have you tried the Merchant & Mills 101 Trouser pattern? What did you think?

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. Okay, I see what you mean about the rise! But with your top covering the top of the pants, I actually really love the proportions on you! I remember with my Seamwork Moji pants I had a similar issue and literally cut off the waistband, cut a new one, and reattached it like three inches down to hit me below the waist. I suggest this because actually the fit in the rear is good for you! It just needs to hit a big lower. At a minimum these will make great lounge pants.

    1. Thank you! Yes when I first pulled these on and put the waist about where I wanted it, the crotch (snigger) was sitting ludicrously low. If I was keeping these for me I'd definitely do your Moji trick! But they'll do good service hanging on the wall of the shop :)

  2. I actually really like these pants on you! I just think they could be a tiny bit too short. Other than that I think they would be a good pair of comfy pants.

    1. Thank you Julie - I could probably get used to them! I guess we all have our particular comfort-zones in clothing don't we, and summer pants are not really my thing :)

  3. Really like the trousers. I love the colour and how well they match with the white shirt. I just think that they would be that much better if they were just a little smaller. Great job overall though!

    1. Thank you! Yes perhaps I'd like them better if they were the tapered version?


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