14.10.11

pin striped


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!

41 comments:

  1. That is a fabulous dress and the cut/style/fabric.......everything really suits you. And even though it isn't, it does look like one of those gorgeous dresses you find in a Japanese book that you could just keep on laying up - or not.

    Still a fraction of the price of a one off - off the hanger - designer piece.

    Nina x

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  2. Absolutely stunning. Love how it hangs, you created a superb piece Kate.

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  3. The dress really suits you Kate. It has a great cut and I LOVE the pinstripe. Versatile too.

    Have a great weekend.

    Jeanne
    x

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  4. I like that a lot :)

    Have a great weekend xx

    BTW - I have promised never to attempt to dance again !

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  5. Hello Kate!
    I love your shirt dress...both the design and the beautiful fabric...you are inspiring me to start dressmaking again...I am going to take a look at Merchant and Mills....this is all new to me and really interesting..
    Wishing you a great weekend,
    Susan x
    P.S I am adding a link to you as our blog of the week as soon as I have done my blog rounds!...

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  6. Love this Kate, so very stylish, and wonderful choice of linen, too.

    Happy weekend!

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  7. Oh Kate this is a masterful creation and justifies the value of the pattern you paid for.
    First of all how ingenious to send patterns already sized up - I am usually put off sewing when I plan to draft the size of the thing I am going to sew. The process itself shatters my nerves :)
    Next, the pattern alone is quite elegant and magnificent! I love it with the 3/4 sleeves- that allows versatility of wear and I am sure you are going to exploit the dress a lot and the bib is superb.

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  8. I have looked at the Merchant and Mills site before and been tempted by the patterns, but wondered about them. Your dress is stunning - totally worth the investment of time and money, I should say!

    Pomona x

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  9. Kate, this looks fabulous on you. I love the understated, simple lines and yet know it wasn't that simple to make. The sleeves look great too.

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  10. I really love the fabric you chose for this piece. It just hangs so well. I am sure you will get loads of wear out of it as it looks so comfortable and stylish. I've been meaning to get back to sewing again, so I need a trip to Fabrics Galore to get some inexpensive fabrics to work on. I too cannot believe that it's nearly half term. I had so much planned once the kids went back to school and haven't got any of it done so far.

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  11. I love this stylish dress, you have made it so well. The linen in that shade is a lovely choice.
    Have a great weekend. Helen x

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  12. Beautiful Kate!
    The shape is gorgeous and I really love your choice of fabric.
    What a lovely thought, working in a Parisian workshop for Coco Chanel. :)
    Have a great weekend,
    Vivienne x

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  13. Fab fab fab dress. Love the fabric, and such a neat finish. Delicious. C.x

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  14. Love it! It looks fabulous.

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  15. This is totally gorgeous ... clever you :D
    And thank you so much for the get well wishes ... a week long migraine, not the first, so I knew what to expect ... I'm bouncing back now though :D

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  16. Want one please! Identical, same length and fabric!
    It is soooooooo nice, love that deep bib at the front, wish I was seamstress. Have a fantastic weekend,

    Sarah x

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  17. Oh wow! Totally in awe of your sewing skills.x

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  18. What an excellent dress and I love that fabric. It looks so comfy I think I would wear it all the time. - Annie

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  19. Your dress is beautiful - and suits you well. I'd be very proud of myself if I were you.

    Thanks for reminding me about coconut flour. I've used it a bit in the past but dropped it as I found it a little heavy. After reading your post, I bought some more and made some muffins where I replaced about 10% of the overall flour content with coconut flour, which has added a lovely flavour and moist element to the end result.

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  20. It's a gorgeous dress and you look fabulous in it. Laura x

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  21. wow - what a gorgeous dress - so tempting!

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  22. I thought this was a Japanese pattern when I first saw it.
    I really like the unique details - the curved hem and rolled sleeves, besides the neat bib and pleat.

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  23. I've suddenly forgotten I have a cold, and feeling a bit miserable, because I've just seen your fabulous dress shirt! It's truly and utterly gorgeous, and you look very elegant in it. I just love it! It's got me out of myself and feeling excited! Thank you! Vanessa xxx

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  24. totally perfect dress! heading over to merchant & mills now...

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  25. I love this dress. Fantastic fabric and fit! Lovely job:)

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  26. I recently discovered Merchant & Mills, decided to do a a google search for finished garments, and discovered your blog. Beautiful dress and I appreciate your "review" of the patterns.
    Best, Lizz

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  27. This dress is so beautiful ! I love it !

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  28. hi, i just bought this pattern and i was wondering does it come with instructions???
    day
    thanks! i could just wear these everyday over summer!

    allison

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  29. What a fabulous dress. I've always been hopeless at sewing but seeing something like this makes me want to try again.

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  30. First of all, welcome to the Canadian Northwest (my home since, well, birth). Secondly, I love this dress! I've been contemplating buying this pattern but wanted to read some reviews first bc of the price and the fact that it only comes with one size per pattern. How did you find the sizing? Pretty true? Anyways, excited to find your blog. Looking forward to seeing what other lovely things you sew up!

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  31. I love this dress. I bought the panel dress pattern from M & M. I made the short sleeve version, it turned out really but when I tried the sleeveless version I had to give up because I couldnt figure out how to fit the interfacing around the armhole...so frustrating. But I plan on visiting their shop in Rye next week and may just buy this pattern and some fabric :)

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  32. I love Merchant & Mills, but do find the pattern instructions a bit scant. I made the fisherman's top, which works well with the cardboard blocks if using a flat fabric, but not so well on a heavily textured fabric. The shirt dress looks great though–I'm tempted to give it a go!

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  33. which book was this in? I love it!

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  34. Clearly I'm late to your party; however, seeing your version of this dress is great. I just bought the Trapeze Dress pattern albeit the "tissue" one with multiple sizes (you never know...) and am trying not to bump all other sewing projects out of the queue in favour of it. I have to say, even the quality of the tissue pattern is better than most commercial patterns out there. Can't wait to make mine. Congrats on the dress; I imagine that after three years it has become a go-to dress for you.

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  35. This dress is stunning. One of the most lovely and versatile pieces I've seen in awhile. :)

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  36. Love it! I have an old Brooke Shields pattern from the 80s that I will try to adapt. Love the use of menswear fabric.

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  37. Que lindo tu vestido ,modelo.tela,confección esos modelos son los que me gustan...me encanto....

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  38. Great to read your blog post, love your frock, just trying to decide whether to buy the Merchant and Mills books. Writing from Falmouth UK.

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