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March 15, 2017

Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top


I recently discovered (and devoured) the Merchant & Mills Workbook. After putting my eyes back in my head, I set out to make a few items from this gorgeous book. My first garment was the Curlew T Shirt which you can read about here. Continuing through the Workbook, this post describes my making of the Heron Wrap Top. With its structured and unique style, the Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top is a rewarding sewing project and a wardrobe highlight.

Book & Pattern

The Workbook was my first introduction to Merchant & Mills– the high-quality sewing patterns, fabrics & notions company from the UK that is the place of my dreams! The Workbook is equally luscious and offers six different garments. As I do with paper patterns, I quickly traced off my size and got to work.
Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top

Fabric & Cutting

I selected a printed woven fabric that was heavy enough to keep the garment’s shape, particularly in the collar. While you could make this garment out of any woven fabric, I found the extra weight made for an excellent structured finished garment. I also recommend taking the extra time to mark the fabric as directed on the pattern pieces- you will thank me later.

Construction Process

If you primarily sew US-based patterns, I recommend reading & reviewing the pattern directions before you start sewing. Initially, I found the instructions to be tricky; however, taking it slowly and step by step helped get through the slightly different perspective. The facing and collar get sewn together first and go together smoothly if you snip & stitch the neck pivot points as directed. After a good press, this step assures that the neckline lies flat and looks fabulous when finished.
Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top

Next, I marked, stitched, and pressed the front dart/tuck. This step allows the shirt to have some shaping & fitting in addition to the tie closure. The ties themselves are either stitched from fabric or purchased- I chose the former as it provided a more polished look. I found this step to be tricky to visualize, so I held the fabric up to my body to be sure I had the ties correctly placed.

Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top

Now it’s finally time to sew the shirt all together! The facings can now be sewn to the shirt and pressed and the side seams joined. Since the side seams also serve as the arm hole openings, it provides an easy fitting point if needed. As directed, the gap in the side seam allows the tie to be inserted for the shirt closure. The final step is top stitching the armhole and bottom edge and slip stitching the neck facing down. And of course. I added my custom tag and gave the whole thing a press.

Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top

Wardrobe Highlight

I consider this garment a “wardrobe highlight” in my closet- not something I wear every day, but more of a statement piece. The structured style gives it a pulled together look, and coupled with a pencil skirt or dress slacks and heals it makes for an attractive silhouette. I haven’t combined this shirt with jeans yet, but I have seen plenty of examples, and with the right fabric (lighter linens or blends), this could be a fabulous combination.

What about you?

Have you tried the Merchant & Mills Workbook or the Heron Wrap Top? Please let me know your thoughts on any these Workbook patterns and what you’ve made.

How to Sew the Heron Wrap Top Sewing is Required


  1. Bill says:

    the pattern seemed a bit tortured in regards to the collar and facing. I like this pattern though and I feel that it will work best in linen, especially yarn dyed linen. The white strangely looks a bit medical like a lab coat on anyone younger than 50. I have some great 50’s and 60’s patterns with collars that flow a lot better and I will modify them to have this tie/wrap feel.

    • Thanks so much for the comment! I struggled with the collar and facing as well- the instructions were tricky to follow at first. I don’t wear this top all the time, but whenever I do I always get comments 🙂

      I love your ideas for trying this in linen fabric and making your pattern modifications- sounds perfect!


  2. Schaeffer Sonia says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I’m a hobby seamstress living in France. I am making the Heron wrap and have some problem , as you had 😉 with the ties. Can you please tell me are the front facings sewn over the ties? Is it possible to send a picture or rapid drawing of the inner front parts? I hope that you understand my English. Best regards, Sonia

    • Hello Sonia!

      Thanks so much for the comment. I just checked my Heron Wrap Shirt to answer your question- the front facings are not sewn over the tie. The ties are sewn into the seam between the front and front facing or the side seam. The tie attached to the front will be covered by the facing when worn. I had to move the location of my ties to better fit my waist, but otherwise followed the directions. In the end, you should see the end of the tie inside the seam at either location.

      I hope that helps and if not let me know and I’ll send you a picture.


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