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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.