From disappointment to joy…

I bought some gorgeous 11oz stripey denim from good old Merchant and Mills and silly me I didn’t realise till I got it home that the stripes ran vertically and not horizontally. I don’t know why I was surprised as its happened several times before. Anyway I was slightly disappointed as for some reason I’m really not keen on vertical stripes, and was wondering if I could get away with using the fabric so the stripes would be horizontal, but decided against it as I felt there would be no give in the fabric where I needed it once it was made up.

Oh and just as an aside I had planned to make something different. I was going to make the Merchant and Mills Union dress, I have the pattern. So as I’m lucky enough to live not far from Rye I am able to visit their lovely shop quite often. I tried on 2 of the Union dress samples in a size 10 and 12, and well lets just say it did me no favours. A bit like the Top 64, which I made and hated. So I’m afraid for now I’m sticking with the Trapeze pattern. I did however get to see a toile of their newest pattern offering and let me tell you its gorgeous! And I didn’t end up wasting an awful lot of time making something that I was never going to wear.

On the way home I became a bit concerned about the weight of the fabric too. I’ve already made the Trapeze up in a denim, firstly an 8oz denim and a 5oz dress weight denim. The 8oz is quite sturdy and results in a fairly structural garment whilst the 5oz is a lovely soft denim which drakes a bit better. So I suddenly had a moment of panic about the 11oz, thinking it was going to be too rigid. I managed to allay my fears until the moment I got it out of the washing machine when it felt like very stiff cardboard! It had somehow felt a lot more pliable and softer in the shop. I was a little unhappy with my decision and wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to make a Trapeze with it. Plus I was stuck with 3 metres of the stuff!

Next day though I decided to plough on. I’d had the fabric cut into a 1 metre and a 2 metre piece to save me from trying to wrestle a 3 metre piece of fabric in my living room. I started with the 1 metre piece and made a Trapeze top. And I have to say that although I wasn’t exactly excited about this project the denim was a  joy to work with. It behaved and went where I wanted it to go and did what it was told. The thin stripes were a little bad for the eyes at times though, I have to say.

Now considering I don’t like vertical stripes on clothes and the fabric was a little too thick in my opinion, I ended up quite pleased with it.

This is one of the nicest crispest necklines I have ever produced. And I’ve become rather taken with those stripes, looks a bit like a humbug.



Back of the neck.


And because of the vertical stripes, pattern matching wasn’t much of an issue. Which is always a plus in my eyes.

Look at the side seam.


And the centre back seam looks almost invisible, particularly at he top.


Now for rest of the pics.



It does have quite a structured look about it still, but I like it.


I love that it holds its shape.



Unfortunately I still haven’t mastered putting in smooth sleeves, there are tucks and puckers, Patrick Grant and Esme would be horrified! But I put up with it.

It was a pleasure to wear and I felt really good in it.



I am now a convert to the vertical stripes, but not sure if only like them as they are very thin. And from a distance the fabric almost looks plain grey. And now instead of despairing that I have 3 metres of the stuff, I’m looking forward to making another one for sure but maybe a third too. Not sure yet, might end up making a bag. I think the fabric would work really well and look good as a bag.

  1. looks great and those chevrons in the seam are fab! Puts me to shame as I still have the oil cloth pinned and not cut out!

  2. You need to get a move on with that, its been over a year now!

  3. Jenny Jenny Jenny Jenny

    Nice top! Agree with Poppy – that side seam is awesome!
    I rather like stripes, so I guess I’m biased. I agree, they are so fine, it looks grey. I think stripes still fit with your aesthetic 🙂
    I didn’t know there were different weights of denim, so you’re ahead of me.

    I’m going to attempt the Inari dress. Got the PDF ready to stick together. Think I’ll have a go with the pattern as is, tho’ I’ve read others (eg Did You Make That blogger) who said the armholes are a bit too low. I will mitre the hem corners a la Gabrielle’s tutorial (blogs as Up Sew Late). How the internet has expanded the sewing universe!

  4. Thanks, I am rather happy with the side seams. I love stripes too, just wasn’t too keen on the vertical ones. I love these though. I have some more fabric with vertical stripes too, only they are thicker and I’m not too sure about it. I will cut into it one day though.
    I love the Inari dress pattern, I will be trying it one day, good luck with yours. I’m thinking about the Merchant and Mills Camber dress at the moment. Was wondering if it might work in jersey?

  5. Jenny

    The Camber is a lovely dress. I haven’t had a go at that. I think it would be OK in jersey – a more stable one perhaps? I confess I’ve not ventured much into jersey-land. I googled and saw someone had made it in 97% wool 3% spandex fabric. Look forward to seeing your version!

    I have promised myself I will conquer my 3 year old but never used overlocker before the end of the year…

  6. I love sewing with jersey now. My first foray into it was a bit of a nightmare, but that was down to the pattern I was using I think as it was quite fiddly and the jersey I was using was very fine and slippery. But now that I’ve discovered ponte roma jersey I’m loving it. Its a much more stable jersey and you don’t need to finish the hems. I never use an overlocker, I don’t have one and they scare the willies out of me! Good luck with yours. Xx

  7. jenny

    Have you come across this lady and her blog and books? I’ll be reading up this series on sewing knits..

  8. Yes, I have one of her patterns, the easy pull on dress. Haven’t made it yet though.

  9. jenny

    Hi again Sarah!
    I don’t know why my name is coming up multiple times – looks like I keep typing it til I’m sure it’s there 🙂

    I have only just come across Wendy Ward. Look forward to seeing what you make with her pattern.

    Have you seen 100 Acts of Sewing? I like the idea of the simple base patterns. I’ve just been enjoying reading A Closet Full of Posies (I think she matches pattern and fabric well, and I like her love for simple shapes, too).

  10. Hello Jennyx6, I was wondering myself what was going on there. It seems each time you comment it adds a Jenny, weird!

    I’ve had the Wendy Ward pattern for about a year now, I don’t know what keeps putting off making it, I really should branch out again and make something different.

    I’m not familiar with 100 acts of sewing I have to say, I’ll look it up. As you know I’m a fan of the simple stuff. Just had a look at closet full of posies, thanks for that, I shall enjoy reading and looking at her makes. Looks right up my street Xx