I pushed the boat out the other day and bought a pattern from Merchant and Mills. It was rather expensive, about the price of an entire Japanese pattern book, but I fell hook line and sinker for their relaxed dress shirt, inspired by Granddad at a formal dinner.
It is a very different type of pattern to those I'm used to. Drafted onto thick card and rolled up in a tube, it came already cut to size (fantastic for saving time), notches cut out and all ready to plonk straight onto washed and ironed fabric. This was all completely new to me, totally straightforward and, when I used my tailors' chalk for the first time, I had visions of working high in the Parisian workshop of Madamoiselle Coco Chanel herself.
As well as all the pattern pieces coming as separate cards, M&M provided detailed sheets that were well written but even so I would say better suited to an intermediate seamstress. I had a little trouble with the sleeves and had to unpick to increase the length of ease for gathering. And, hard it may be to believe, at times I found the illustrations trickier to understand than my Japanese books, for example placing the bib on to the front of the shirt had me foxed until I engaged my brain and managed to figure that one out.
The fabric I used is a bluey-browny linen with a narrow blue stripe running through (Fabrics Galore), reminiscent of mens' city suits. I thought about making the sleeves a little longer to get me through the cooler months but I shall probably wear a thin top underneath, roll down the 3/4 sleeves and take the option of an all-weather shirt. I also couldn't make up my mind whether or not to shorten it but I finished it, thinking I shall wear it a couple of times and see how I go. Besides, with some different material it will look completely different and I've got plans to make a shorter, true shirt version to wear with trousers, like this one.
But before I've even started wearing it, I know I will enjoy this shirt dress. It feels so comfortable and I love the details .. the front pleat at the bottom of the bib, the bib itself of course, and the edge stitching right beside the seams. Love!
I've just received another new pattern that I'm itching to try and will do so after the Half Term break. Can you believe it's nearly Half Term already? I feel that I've just got into the swing of things and it's pens down, shut up shop all over again.
Have a lovely weekend!