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.