It’s no secret that I have a huge thing for Merchant and Mills. That whole utilitarian workwear, rough and ready vibe is just so me and I am totally here for it. I’ve made quite a few Merchant and Mills patterns now, and ever since the Ellis and Hattie pattern was released, I’ve had my eye on it. I love how M&M manage to get a sleek aesthetic, but work in some incredible details that not only take the garment into another level, it also teaches you new skills, looks like some kind of high-end designer garment, and leaves you feeling hella proud.

I really fell in love with the unusual neck darts on this dress. I’ve never seen those before and was keen to try them out and flex some new skills and construction. I took a while to decide which fabric to go for. I was set on the Ellis as opposed to the Hattie, as I preferred the higher waist level and the sleeves. I figured the sleeves would make this more of an all-season dress, which was appealing to me as I try to be more conscious with my sewing makes. The more wears, the better. 

I searched the hashtag on Instagram to see other makers versions, and saw so many amazing ones. I loved the denim versions, but wanted something a little more lightweight. And so ultimately I settled on my favourite fabric - linen. I wanted this dress to be a statement and so I decided on this amazing brick coloured Linen Mix Fabric by Robert Kaufman. It’s a mix of linen and rayon, so I New this fabric would be lovely and drapey and gorgeous to work with. I was not wrong, when it arrived I couldn’t stop touching it. It’s one of the best linens I’ve ever worked with, and the colour! It’s a deep red that is the perfect shade for me. 

Going by M&M’s sizing chart, I am a size 18. However I know from working with Marchand and Mills patterns before that a size 14 works much better for me. Inside the pattern they do include a table of finished garment measurements so checking against those, I knew the size 14 would work well for me. I like oversized clothes, but as a pear shape and knowing this dress has a lot of fabric on the bottom half, sizing down was a good decision. Plus, the fabric has a bit of give to it, so I didn’t need to worry about the size too much. So I cut a straight size 14 from the pattern, which was pretty quick work as there weren’t a million pattern pieces, and cutting the fabric was straight forward as it didn’t slip around all over the place.

 The construction was straight forward and really chilled. I love the instructions on M&M patterns, they’re really easy to understand and in depth enough that you don’t have to read each point 6 times to understand it. I managed to sew the entire dress in an afternoon.

The linen pressed like an absolute dream, making the neck and bust darts crisp and really professional looking. The hardest part was setting in the sleeves, and to be honest it was more fiddly and time consuming than anything. The same went for gathering the skirt. The is a lot of fabric in the skirt! But with patience and perseverance, it sewed together perfectly.

Like this dress couldn’t get any better, it even has in-seam pockets. Winner! I’m not usually a fan of in-seam pockets on skirts as they can sort of bag up and stick out, but the pockets in the pattern and the perfect shape, and there’s no sticking out whatsoever. 

I’m super pleased with this make. I love the way it feels and the way it looks, and I am in love with the colour. I know I could wear this dress in warm weather or colder weather, so I’ll get lots of use out of it. Thanks to the great instructions, the construction of the dress is so neat and professional, I know it’ll stand the test of time and that I’ll be wearing this dress for years to come.