Trapeze Dress from Merchant & Mills


I tested the sizes 20 – 28 size range of the Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress in their Woolsey Boston Fall linen/wool double gauze, which Merchant & Mills kindly sent my way along with a digital copy of the pattern for the purpose of the review.

Their extended size range goes up to a 55″ (139.5 cm) bust and 57.5″ (145.5 cm) hip. The largest finished bust measurement is 62.59″ (159 cm), there’s no given measurement for the hip measurement and the finished bicep is 18.79 ” (47.75 cm).

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Leather Breve Bag

Breve Bag
A Muna and Broad Breve Bag, Waikerie Shirt and Sculthorpe Pants

Leila sent me this gorgeous leather bag made from the Muna and Broad Breve Bag pattern which she designed. The bag is designed t be in proportion with larger bodies, and has the added benefit of having enough room for your stuff (not like those bags where you have to choose between your phone or wallet)!

The leather will change over time and will start to colour up, which is something I love about my leather shoes. Now that NZ is out of lockdown, I’ve found that this is my grab-and-go bag, as it’s big enough for all my stuff, but not a pain to carry around.

Breve Bag

The bag can also be worn around the hips like a bum bag/fanny pack, depending on where you’re from. I can totally see myself wearing this full of change for when I work at a small shop in the countryside!

The bag is currently $2 and all the proceeds (after shopify and paypal takes their cut) will go to different charities. From now until the 31st August proceeds will go to Tjanpi Desert Weavers. To see what they do, or to make your own donation, you can visit their site here.

Silk Noil Waikerie Shirt

Silk Noil Waikerie

The latest pattern from Muna and Broad is the Waikerie Shirt pattern, and this here is the collarless variation (View C) with short sleeves.

I’ve avoided buttonholes for pretty much the whole time I’ve been sewing (all my pants have elastic), even though I love shirts, and finding shirts that fit both my bust and my hips was one of my biggest issues when shopping RTW!

Silk Noil Waikerie

This Waikerie Shirt is made from moss coloured silk noil from A+R Fabrics in Australia, and I love the earthy/organic look and feel of the fabric, which feels really relaxed but also super-luxe at the same time!

Silk Noil Waikerie

Although I usually make Size 1 (our M&B sample size), this time I set my base size as Size ii and graded out at the hips to a Size 1. The split hem gives a little extra room, I’m definitely pleased that I graded out at the hip and am very happy with the final size and fit.

The idea of a collarless shirt intrigued me a lot and although a lot of the inspiration I found was from vintage 80s-90s sewing pattern illustrations, I’m pleased with how modern and versatile I think this view is!

Silk Noil Waikerie

The inverted box pleat is the standard back for Views B and C, and while I also lover the look of a box pleat, I love how the inverted pleat looks so elevated here. Of course, I’m already planning more shirts (including a long shirt dress version and a cropped version)!

Waikerie Shirt Test

Waikerie Shirt

Here’s the happy face of someone who gave the automatic button hole on her very basic Brother sewing machine just one more go, and finally managed to end up with something consistent enough to risk trying on actual clothes! I finally put buttons on 3 shirts that were otherwise fully made, that were part of my testing for a forthcoming Muna and Broad pattern, the Waikerie Shirt.

Waikerie Shirt

This is the test version of the forthcoming [now available] Waikerie Shirt pattern from Muna and Broad which I made in heavyweight linen from Drapers Fabrics (now sold out).

The hems on View B (this one) and View C are finished with great looking mitered corners, there’s an inner and outer yoke. There’ll be some tweaks around the collar and neck in the final pattern so it won’t look exactly like this. I love that this shirt is exactly like the linen shirt I would have purchased for myself pre-sewing, if only it had been available in my size.

Waikerie Shirt

Size Details: In the test range I made Size aa as my base size and graded out to Size A just below the waist. The pattern sizes range from a 44-71.5″ (112-181.5cm) Hip and if the size range is too small for you, then we’ll grade the pattern up for you.

Fabric Consumption: I’m not sure exactly how much fabric I used. but the pattern calls for about 2.3m of 150cm fabric, and since I cut my fabric on the flat I usually manage to use even less fabric than called for.

Waikerie Shirt

I realised after making that I didn’t make the shirt with a solid plan for what I’d be pairing this bubblegum pink number with, so I’ll need to do some experimenting to see what’s possible but trying to style this has helped me get past some of my hangups about combining linen and tencel!

What I learnt from MMMayPlus2020

For Me Made May this year, I pledged to take photos of my outfits and not repeat any outfits and I mostly managed to make good on those aims, apart from on the weekends when I would often wear lounge-wear for most of the weekend whilst sewing or cooking.

I found the month much easier to get through thanks, in no small part, to working-from-home! I shared photos over on my instagram grid and in my stories and although my photos from the month were pretty un-inspiring on the whole, I did have some interesting takeaways about my me-made wardrobe during the month.

Thing I learnt during Me Made May

Flynn Jacket
  1. I have so many more me-made clothes that I love now! I was so much happier wearing me-made this May than I was last year during my first MMMay!

2. I feel a lot more comfortable with the style of clothes that I’m making. I’ve found a lot more patterns that feel like ‘me’, instead of simply being things that came in my size, or which were ‘flattering’ but not something I really wanted to wear.

3. My clothes are so much better made than a year ago! They fit better, they’re better finished (neater inside and out), and they look less ‘home-made’ and are generally much more appropriate for work!

Nullabor Cami

4. Working from home makes it easier to get dressed! May is Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and I found it much easier to ‘pick an outfit’ while I was working from home. Whether I’m planning to dress warmly for my commute or wear waterproof because it’s raining out, it all adds a stressful dimension in the morning. Most days I didn’t even look up the weather before getting dressed.

5. Picking shoes is my kryptonite! I have shoes that I love to wear, and which work well in summer with my pants (which are mostly cropped). I basically didn’t wear shoes for the whole month of May and I realised how much easier it was to plan outfits when I wasn’t having to pick shoes to go with them!

Waikerie Shirt

6. I should explore more texture combinations! I’m quite particular, and generally have a lot of strong feelings about things, and I’ve always really struggled with combining linen and tencel textures, especially if the smooth/tencel fabric was on the bottom.

7. I still have wardrobe orphans to work on! And there are some items that I need to try to match with more items to make them more versatile! My natural-coloured linen Glebe Pants are my wardrobe work-horses and I’d like to have a few more pairs of pants which are as flexible.

Marsala Pembroke

8. I do still have wardrobe gaps. Even though I’ve got lots of clothes, the cooler weather kicked me in to action to finally sew up some of the cool-weather clothes like merinos that were appropriate for layering, and I’m still on the hunt for the perfect winter coat pattern too.

In other great news, my May was also filled up with the joy of coordinating a blog full of amazing fat sewing voices over at www.FatSewing.Club and at @FatSewing.Club on Instagram. Do take a look!