The Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt

A couple of weeks ago when I bought the Merchant & Mills (paper) Dress Shirt pattern and I was a bit worried it may end up looking like a tent…

Well I eventually got around to sewing it together. I used the paper multi-size pattern and it was quite a quick and straightforward make. My only change was that I inverted the pleat on the front by mistake but I decided I liked that and would keep it.

I LOVE the sleeves. I enjoyed the way it was constructed. I adored the fabric I’d chosen, which was a Blades Linen from Calico Laine. I even added a pocket! But when I came to try it on, it was extremely roomy :(
As I said here, this is “nothing like anything I’d usually choose” but I actually love the balance of simplicity and detail in this pattern. And I really wanted to love this dress. And I do quite like it – from the front…But the back is ill fitting and, quite frankly, I look hideous in it. I’m quite sure I followed the pattern accurately (save the pleat I mentioned before) and I’ve read some blog posts of people who adore this dress so I can only conclude the pattern is fine enough – so either the stiffness of the fabric is a problem or it’s just not right on me! This left me with the problem of what to do with the back without unduly affecting the front. I did find some posts of people who, similarly, found the back very roomy. One lady had put in a band of elastic and someone else had taken out fabric from the centre back (which was originally gathered into the yoke). I dedcided to attempt the latter.
undoing the yoke

unpicking the back

It’s still not amazing but I do think it’s an improvement. So now I have a dilemma. Should I try out this pattern again, maybe making a size down and using thinner fabric – perhaps a chambray? Or should I integrate the sleeves, my favourite part, into another pattern?

cutting a strip from the centre back

Whichever I end up doing, I’m glad this one is finished!

I’m linking this post with TGIFF at Anja Quilts!
Janine @ Rainbow Hare

11 thoughts on “The Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt

  1. Benta AtSLIKstitches

    Oh well done! I've pinned lots of tunics and dresses but since I'm still making a sleeveless top I started 4 summers ago I don't hold much hope! I've actually looked at s cloth kits dress – is that really cheating????


  2. DeborahGun

    oh – ignore my previous comment! I love the fabric, and the front details look great. Could you try it with a belt, or a sash? I know that tunic's just don't suit me sadly :-(


  3. Sandra :)

    The dress is so lovely and I can just imagine how soft and cool that linen is!) but to have it not fit nicely is SO disappointing :( You definitely need to find a way to get it to fit nicely – it would be such a shame to not love wearing it. I agree about the darts – there are darts that go in the middle of fabric instead of starting at one end – I have no idea what they're called as I haven't done clothes sewing in a long time (and when I do make clothes, I generally have to make them LARGER rather than SMALLER, lol) – I hope you can find a solution!


  4. Soma Acharya

    The fabric is quite lovely and you did a great job sewing the dress. I am sorry to hear about the back. I am not ready to sew any clothing yet, so I definitely admire your effort :)



  5. Catherine

    It looks a wonderfully comfortable dress for summer. I think darts in the back is the way to go to give some shape to the top. It could be that a thinner material would drape more and not look so roomy. I really like this pattern and will have a look at to for myself.


    1. @krisquiltspink

      I have been sewing my clothes since I was a teen and theough the years for my kids too. I was so excited to make this but it looks like a giant tablecloth sack on me :’( I think i will cut it short and make it a tunic


  6. Celtic Thistle

    What a shame that you are not loving the dress after all that work Janine. I can't offer any advice I am afraid as I have never even attempted to dressmake. Hope you finally hit on a solution that will enable you to wear the dress with pride!


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