A long, long time ago I bought a dress pattern from Merchant and Mills: the company started in 2010 and I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I purchased the pattern not long afterwards. It is stored in a sturdy cardboard tube and the pattern pieces are equally sturdy manilla card that require weights and not pins to hold them to the fabric. It will last for years and years. I never made the dress. There were no pattern reviews, no Google images (apart from M&M’s, below); I was a little wary and then I lost the whole lot!
Quite recently I relocated The Park Lane and just happened to have a very fine windowpane wool that didn’t have a pattern partner, so the two were paired together.
The dress is simplicity itself: sheath style, shaped shoulders that elongate into short sleeves, funnel neck and comes with a tie belt, in-seam pockets. I don’t do belts on loose dresses as they create folds and gathers on my considerable sway back and looks terrible – belt was ditched. I ditched the pockets too because this fabric is practically transparent and the black lines of the window panes showed through to the right side.
However, without a belt the dress was even looser and, quite honestly, shapeless. There are two little dart/pleats at centre front which are relatively pointless – I added three more on each front, total of 8.
I get to keep the shift style but with the extra pleats I get a bit of shaping at the waist and creates some construction interest too.
I like this dress. It’s not weird, far-out dressing, just a classic shape with a wee bit of unusual that might make someone look twice – in a nice way!
I have a small dilemma that you, dear readers, can help and advise on. I made the dress straight from the pattern and this is the length (which I personally like).
Here it is pinned about 6″ shorter.
Which looks better?
It is difficult to raise one’s arms as the whole dress lifts up; I’m not planning on cleaning out the high kitchen cupboards so it’s not that much of a problem.
I went with matching the horizontal windowpanes. They match up (mostly) at centre back and side seams.
Merchant and Mills no longer sell this pattern and I’m truly wondering if this is the only one ever made – please let me know if you’ve made it too or know somebody who has.
Should I sew another one?