Sunday, 19 July 2015

Curlew from Merchant & Mills Workbook.

I suppose the first thing to say about the Workbook from Merchant and Mills is that I love it.  There are six main sewing patterns, four of which have variations, now that in itself makes it excellent value surely.  The book itself is typical Merchant and Mills styling, with a buff, almost brown paper front cover.  It is traditionally bound and the paper patterns are in an envelope on the left side, the patterns themselves are made from quality paper, which I reckon would last a lifetime.  Should you never make anything from this book, it is still a thing of beauty to have in your life.

However, the main reason in having a book like this is to MAKE AN ALL SEASON WARDROBE.  So I thought I would start with one of the basics, the CURLEW.  I really have a hankering for the Curlew dress, but as it is cut on the bias it requires quite a lot of fabric, so I thought I would try the sleeveless T shirt, mainly so I can determine the sizing.

Bias dresses will drop after sewing, so to stabilize, strengthen and prevent seams from stretching out of shape, it is important to use a fine, lightweight seam tape just inside the seam allowance of the neckline and the armholes.  I used iron on tape for this purpose from Prym which I got from Guthrie and Ghanni.

 There are two bust darts at the front, the shoulders and side seams are french seams and the neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding.

I used a pink Nani Iro double gauze, from the 2013 range called Nuance-Muji (Milvio).  There are different tones of pink, I think it's meant to represent shadows and light.  It has deeper squares of pink, but as it was cut on the bias I ended up with a diamond of deeper pink on the centre of the front and back.

This is the size 14, which is a neat fit (I am quite broad in the shoulders).  Strangely enough I would say this is a neater style than some of the Merchant and Mills patterns, more like a fitted shell top.  When I make the top or the dress I think I will go up a size for ease and comfort.

It's a relatively simple make, but worth taking your time over, especially with the bias binding on the neckline and armholes.  Overall I like it and will definitely aim to make both the top and the dress version.

I also love the look of The Haremere jacket and The strides, both a little bit more involved.


  1. Great idea to make a top to test the size. This is a great basic, perfect for this heat. Was the fabric easy to see with? I like the shades of colour throughout the top, very pretty.

    1. Yes, it was pretty easy to sew with. I used a size 60 sewing machine needle, did a bit of tension testing first. It is really fine fabric.

  2. Lovely shirt and color💃🏾