I didn’t complete the Merchant and Mills Workbook this summer – yeah, yeah – bad girl!
There is one pattern that I know with absolute certainty that I will definitely not like: it will not suit me and I will never wear – so why make it?
The last and unmade pattern is The Saltmarsh skirt. This is, in a nutshell, a rectangle (with some darts) with a drawstring waist. To its credit the skirt has pockets and you could make it any length you want. Just not for me so I skipped it. Certainly for many others, this might just what you’re looking for.
I have come the end of a torturous, enforced (it’s in my contract) six week vacation and I now have to start thinking of ways to intimidate and scare the new students who will walk through my classroom doors in a couple of weeks. Apart from my irascible personality and well practised scowl, one of the best methods is clothing.
I have loved my wrinkled linen and cool cotton M&M garments and they came in really useful for our one day of summer which happened last Tuesday but I turned to the Workbook once again in preparation for the upcoming start of term to make some workwear.
The fabric is institution grey in a fine cotton chambray: a gentle drape with just the right amount of wrinkle-ness to soften the severe look and is gorgeous to wear against the skin. Found at Cheapest Fabrics UK (which is the most unbecoming of ebay shop titles) in spite of some of the loveliest cloths I’ve found this summer. Most of my M&M wardrobe was supplied by this shop.
I made another pair of Strides and another Heron wrap top for a complete, serious and “Don’t-Mess-With-Me” look from the students’ perspective and will equally take me to the boardroom when The Management rely upon my wisdom and experience to advise and help them through the upcoming tumultuous year of yet more restructuring and budget cuts without offering me a bonus or pay increase.
So, instead of casual linen here’s the professional version and hopefully shows how a simple change of fabric can change the look and appropriateness of the same garment.
The grey chambray had a darker wrong side and I used this on the reveres of the Heron to try and break up the uniformity of plain grey from head to toe.
I added 1″ to the trouser length and this way I can wear flats (as in these photos) as well as a slight heel for extra intimidation appeal. With flats the trousers have that slouchy Great Gatsby look and with heels they take on a more tailored appearance.
At the armholes on the Heron wrap top I sewed the gap much closer this time so it’s perfectly respectable to wear without a cami underneath – people of any age or gender just won’t take you seriously when your old off-white bra is on show! However, the armholes are not tight enough that I can’t wear a long or 3/4 length sleeved top underneath.
Remember, these are waist-high trousers and so the pockets are also higher than you might be used to. Waist-high trousers are lovely in my view – good coverage, no muffins or thongs on show and at my age, much more comfortable and reliable – my tucked in shirt stays tucked in!
My first pair of Strides were cut, sewn. made and worn exactly from the pattern and I found the back was a tad roomy, even for baggy trousers. This pair had the back crotch dropped by 3/4″ for a better fit at the back. I made no alterations to the front apart from grading into the new back crotch line and there’s still plenty of room there. But these are intended to be baggy trousers – that’s their style – too much tinkering will take away from the original aesthetic.
Should I ever wish to go along the Churchill WWII look or join the impractical jumpsuit following, then all I have to do is tuck the Heron top into the Strides; but I can still use the Ladies room without completely undressing.
While the public view is school grey bland, the inside tells a different story.
A bit of quilting cotton not used for teenage son’s quilt found a perfect home as pockets and fly guard. See how that chambray presses into a perfect crease?
Didn’t have a flat trouser hook and loop in the notions box so to close the front waistband I extended it and used a button instead. Use what you have, adapt and change and don’t let a pattern intimidate you.
The only thing you want to see the backside now though don’t you? I must admit, this is one view that is missing from the M&M workbook, so here’s mine instead.
Draglines – don’t you dare!!!
And uneven hemlines – that’s merely my posture – carrying shoulder strap handbags on my left side has made me droop. Note to self-do more yoga.
I intend to continue my workwear wardrobe using M&M Workbook as I have already purchased and sitting waiting some navy wool/alpaca/linen blend (imagine!) for a second Haremere jacket which will be a coat, and some navy-denim-ish wool/linen/cotton blend for another Curlew dress. Wouldn’t it be really nice to make the coat the same length as the dress and the dress hem just right to cut the top of knee-high boots? The Boardroom Boys won’t know what’s hit them and the Boardroom Gals will just be spiteful of my erudition because I’ll be better dressed than them. Oh the perils of sewing your own clothes!
Of course, this is just planning at this stage; I have a jacket to make for teenage son yet and in a fit of generosity the other night (might have been the wine talking though) I offered to make jackets for my son’s two lifelong friends from primary school who are also heading off to uni this year. One mother – you know who you are! -pushed her luck and wanted one for herself instead, in fact she asked for a Chanel first! – we’ll see…………
Thanks so much for all your pattern suggestions for this jacket – I have already started so just wait a week or two for hopefully the finished item.
Was this summer? And is it over?