Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

More M&M Workwear


Still enamoured with my Merchant and Mills Workbook I am continuing to sew garments using these patterns but attempting to elevate them to professional autumn/winter workwear status rather than soft and wrinkled summer linen.


I started with another Curlew dress. [Photos have been lightened and are slightly blurred so that you can see the garments.]


This one is made in a wool/linen/cotton blend in dark denim blue. Not too much to add to the first review except this time I lengthened it considerably so that the hem cuts exactly at the top of my black Salvatore Ferragamo boots which were picked up for a song in a charity shop. See, you can make things any length you want when you sew your own clothes!

I also came across an error in my initial tracing of the pattern. My front was too long for my back – the armholes didn’t match up, and completely my own fault …..this fabric was not as forgiving as the linen/cotton used in my first dress which I eased into place but this one wouldn’t budge.

Therefore I added a new design feature (we all use those, don’t we?). I folded the excess at the front into a ‘new’ seam and I now have extra shaping over the bust!


The pattern is now fixed. Although I do kinda like this little extra detail.


Over the top of the dress is a coat – Haremere jacket once again. This time lengthened absolutely loads but wait – the hem of the coat cuts exactly at the hem of the dress and hence also at the top of the boots. See, you can do things like that when you sew your own clothes!DSCN5698

Don’t mind the hair, I’m going to the hairdresser’s tomorrow.

This fabric is gorgeous – linen/wool/alpaca – about 33% of each. In navy blue, it’s soft, like a knit but robust like a boiled wool. It is lined with a navy/black silk and viscose mix, same as used in son’s bomber jacket.


Both fabrics are from MyFabrics. I had a short business trip to London a few weeks ago and headed directly from Heathrow airport to Berwick Street via Liberty’s with £100 burning a hole in my pocket. Too much choice!!!! However I did pick up 2m of Japanese hammered polyester (more later) and a card of vintage navy buttons from The Cloth House, which were promptly put to use on this coat.

BTW – I’m back on Friday 16 October for one night only. Any of you Londoners want to meet? I saw a fab navy ribbed knit in Misan that I intend to buy next time round but need advice on seaming techniques and pattern choice….I’ll be wearing this coat so you’ll easily recognise me.


I Hong-Konged the seams again: nowhere near perfect but better than the first time. So I just need more practice and a very good excuse for another Haremere….if only I could justify the cost of the wool tweeds in Misan’s basement


I fretted aDSCN5679 little that the back of the coat would seat due to the softness of the fabric and so I fully lined the back, kept the original shoulder and sleeve linings and left the fronts unlined.

I’m planning on sewing a navy A/W ’15 collection and this is the start but I have still a few items to make and others to fantasise about.

ReAnn came to visit and she brought me a hat. We had great craik. I took her to the local Folk Museum for a local craft day and then back to our house for hearty Irish food and hopefully, good company.


I just had to wear homemade clothes to meet her so I wore my mock Vivienne Westwood dress to impress. I’m admitting this only to you, but this is only the second time I’ve actually worn this dress! I love it: I always get compliments when I wear it and yet the poor thing mostly languishes at the back of the wardrobe. Do you make stuff that you hardly ever wear?

ReAnn is an amazing woman, truly. My life is better for having met her. A traveller, a sewer, a fabric stasher, an unique stylist; independent, strong, funny and lighthearted, enthusiast for life and extremely interesting. I want to be like her when I grow up.


33 thoughts on “More M&M Workwear

  1. Fab coat chick! xxx

  2. I am so impressed with your skill and really like the Curlew style on your body type. Very flattering.

  3. I have to confess, I’ve been staring at your photo of the back lining, trying to figure it out…. It’s difficult to tell, but from the photo it looks like the lining has been pieced in an ‘x’ formation. Is that just the lighting or is that actually how you’ve made it? If so, I’ve never seen a lining put together that way. Is there any reason it’s put together that way? (or is it just the lighting and my screen that’s making it look like there’s seaming and there really isn’t)

  4. So elegant yet so simple. These are fabulous styles on you.

  5. Ruth, I’ve been following you since I discovered your posts in March…you truly inspire! Thank you! And, I suppose I should thank you for my inability to resist the M&M Workbook, which I have barely cracked since it arrived. I love the bias dress on you, and the Harem topper? After the Bantam top, well, there was no turning back. And, if one has handwoven fabrics in the stash, aren’t they perfect? Time to put the stash to work with some of the lovely patterns that you have employed. But, how did I find you in the Spring? I was sold on your trouser adjustments. I know you’re back at work now…please continue keep us inspired!

  6. that dress looks fantastic on you! So Smart to think ahead and tailor the length to your boots. The footwear dilemma makes such a difference in how much a garment is wearable.

    • I’m a wee bit obsessed about footwear Chris. It determines how tall we are, how we walk and affects general deportment. The haute couture houses have you wear the exact underwear you intend to wear with the garments when they are doing fittings and the same should be done with shoes. I have trousers that I can only wear with one size of heel as they have been hemmed to fit. Of course, I don’t have to wear these boots every time I wear this dress but it’s nice to know that when I do the length is perfect. Thank you.

  7. How clever, creating a new seam line to accommodate the fabric, it absolutely looks like it belongs there! I would have just sat at my machine and cried. Love the dress….but that coat! Oh my goodness, it is gorgeous!

  8. I have to apologise to you because I noticed your faux V W dress straight away at the Folk Museum, but never got around to mentioning how gorgeous it is because we were too busy chatting! You should definitely wear it more, it would be lovely with the boots in these photos. And also, your dress and coat are brilliant. Who doesn’t love a good design feature (I know I do…), and the buttons are fab.

  9. These are simple garments, but emanate effortless style. Love the design feature on the front of the dress. Fabulous outfit!

  10. What a classic and lovely outfit. Beautifully made and very you.

  11. These are nice. I’ve discovered that I don’t really like linen on myself; I don’t really like the unstructured, rather crushed look. I made a linen jacket and don’t wear it for that reason. I wasn’t that sold on the clothes in this workbook, but am now more so since I see they can be made to look more structured with a different fabric choice. I’m actually in London on 16th also for one night only but will regrettably be too busy to meet. Sad.

  12. Delighted to hear the VW dress got an outing! Your whole wardrobe is becoming very sophisticated, no doubt partly due to concentrating on such details such as hem length that are down to perfect. I do like that horizontal bust dart too; nice save.

    Will email you re 16 Oct.


  13. I am glad you wore your VW dress. I have worn my VW jacket quite often. I really like this pairing, but I thought the colour was forest green (I know you altered the colours a bit to show the clever bust shaping, ahem), and I thought it looked amazing on you. Navy is a great colour too!

    I am sorry I am not in London on Friday 16 October, but do please let me know when you are here again as it would be nice to meet you.

  14. Wonderful makes, and I love the addition of the bust seam on the dress. I have my workbook sitting besde my bed now as I am making men’s shirts right now.

  15. Pingback: 2 Piece Leftover Skirt | corecouture

  16. I totally agree, you are “in control” of your full wardrobe if you sew your own clothes! I love how you created everything at the same length, everything are coordinated.

  17. Pingback: Vote For Me | corecouture

  18. Pingback: Blogging | Jane's Sew & Tell

  19. Great share!
    Found your post interesting to read. I cant wait to see your post soon. Good Luck for the upcoming update.
    This article is really very interesting and effective.

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s