Tag Archives: Merchant and Mills

Best Makes of 2015

So since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do the obvious thing of looking back over the last year and seeing what I’ve made and done. This was inspired in part by the Instragram #2015BestNine hashtag.

Instagram Best 9

I’ve made myself 14 garments, which isn’t really that many – I have felt like I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I would have liked.

I particularly like my BHL Victoria Blazer, and definitely feel smarter when I wear it instead of a cardigan.  I like my Merchant and Mills denim Dress Shirt, too.


I made a few things with knits, for the first time this year: a Closet Case Files Sallie Maxi Dress; a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress; and a Breton-style Deer and Doe Plantain Tee.




I have also refashioned 7 things, so I’ve been a bit more productive than a first glance might imply!

My 3 favourite refashions were my ugly skirt to Grainline Scout tee (which I unfortunately shrank in the wash, boo!), my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip-off and, probably the one I’m most proud of, my ugly coat which I remade into a Freemantle Coat.


I’ve made 6 non-clothes things, including my first (pusheen) and second amigurumi (a Minion), and my first scrapbook, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday.




But my very favourite non-clothes thing (and probably favourite out of everything I’ve made) was the felt allotment I made for my friend’s daughter for Christmas 2 (which happens in January so this was made this year). This was one of those things that I saw on A Beautiful Mess and knew I had to make it, and then was super excited to see my friend’s daughter open it! I was almost too excited to wait until the present exchange, and wanted to open it as soon as I arrived for Christmas 2!


This is the anniversary of this blog, too – I had an old one but transferred the content over and focused just on sewing and crafty things (I had previously written about food and books too), and I’ve introduced a couple of new regular posts – style inspiration and fashion history. I’ll continue with these I think, as they help me to cement my personal style and guide me what to make next! I’ve also reviewed some books, events and shops. You can see the archive of all these posts here.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and I hope you’ll come back in 2016. xx

Denim Dress Shirt

I’m guessing you’ve heard of Merchant and Mills if you sew clothes? I have a couple of the t shirts from their collaboration with Uniqlo and I like their utilitarian styling. I was drawn to the Dress Shirt pretty much straight away, and was totally convinced when I saw a version made up in Ray Stitch (where I buy most of my patterns).

Dress Shirt pattern

I love these kind of loose fitting dresses at the moment – probably because it’s so hot in London at the moment and the idea of wearing something fitted makes me feel even hotter!

Spot the fact that I’m giggling in this photo! When The Boyfriend takes pictures for me, (which I really appreciate btw, because my photos on the tripod with the timer come out way blurrier), he lifts his finger high over the taking-the-picture-button (there must be a name for this but, I’m buggered if I know!) before taking it, so I know when he’s taking the picture.


I bought this really nice, thin denim from my favourite fabric shop, Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road. I had bought mostly jersey offcuts recently and then realised I had some plans for this, a Holly Jumpsuit and a nice, loose Archer Shirt for the warmer weather and I had no nice woven fabric in my stash, so I went a bit crazy! I bought 2 metres of this for £15 and the pattern was £12 (but I will hopefully use this again, so the cost per make will go down), which isn’t too bad considering I saw one the same, but without the nice yolk detail for £40 in topshop.

Demin-Dress-Shirt-2I made the size 8, based on my measurements – my measurements were pretty spot on in the size 8, which is unusual for me with sewing patterns. Usually my bust measurement is one or 2 sizes smaller than my waist and with dresses, I then need to decide which size to go for – or actually I usually trace the pattern between the sizes. I, obviously, made the version with the long sleeves – the turn-up is made really simply, with a huge hem that you then turn back on itself – so simple!




The only change I made was to take 15 cm off the length – well 12cm with a 3cm hem. Before I did that, I hated it because it went down to my mid calf and looked really frumpy and matronly. Jacking up the hem definitely makes something feel less frumpy! Although it still looks fairly long from the front, given how short it is at the sides, that was as short as I dared go. Demin-Dress-Shirt-4 I really love the yoke detail, though I think next time I would change the pleat for gathering at the front. My top-stitching around the yoke was some of the best I’ve ever done, but I failed to take any close up pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it! I think I could also do with narrowing the shoulders a bit next time.Demin-Dress-Shirt-6

Outtake of me scratching my nose!Demin-Dress-Shirt-5Have you made any Merchant and Mills patterns? Do you like their styling? What other fabric could I use to make this again? Maybe some really lovely linen from Merchant and Mills themselves?

I really want their new book (and their old book!), and I think I might give their Factory Dress a go next.

Factory Dress pattern