Merchant and Mills Workbook review

Merchant and Mills Workbook, The Curlew Sleeveless Top

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on ever since I first got wind of it being published. I’ve loved all my Merchant and Mills patterns and the only one I’ve held back on making was The Factory Dress– but after seeing this video of Carolyn Denham wearing hers, it has moved up the queue drastically.

So happy!! @ute_ig what have you made so far?! I'm just about to start flipping through it, need to refresh my coffee first πŸ˜‚πŸ˜βœ‚οΈ

I had mentioned in a previous make how nice it would be to have finished garment measurements on the patterns and my dream came true in The Workbook! The sizes show FINISHED measurements so you can know precisely how much ease will be built into your usual size. This came in particularly handy when I was deciding on which size to trace out for the Heron, a bat-wing wrap top.

july 12 curlew muslin in crossweave collage

There are 6 timeless patterns and The Curlew Sleeveless T-shirt is a bias cut top with bust darts for additional shaping. The fabric choice is a crossweave cotton in a lovely teal/emerald with cross threads of black. This has been in the stash for a year, back when I went home to Indiana for a visit with family and went to Margie’s Country Store in Madison, In. It is much thicker and more stiff than what is recommended, but this is a wearable muslin since I wanted to check fit on size 16, which falls on my body measurements the closest.

july 12 curlew sleeveless muslin in crossweave full

My guess is that it will be a bit more tricky to sew with a more shifty fabric when I make my next/nicer one in a linen or silk. Since my wearable muslin is more of quilting cotton weight, the bias cut drape isn’t really noticeable. It is incredibly comfy to wear and easy to pull on and off even with the close fit.Β july 12 curlew muslin in crossweave front detail

My main problem after finally figuring out how to correctly join the bias tape, was the bust darts. These are to be sewn with a stretch stitch since the bias cut makes it similar to a knit with the give in the fabric. I’d never sewn a bust dart quite like this and it shows, unfortunately. I’m wondering if it’s trickier on bias to sew smooth dart points or if it was a combination of user error/stretch stitch/bias-cut trifecta of terror. Using the ham to try and iron it into a smooth shape didn’t work, either. It will be fixed since I love this top..maybe start a short line of straight stitches near the end of the dart and try to get a smooth tapering? If you’ve sewn with a stretch stitch then you know what a b*tch it is to unpick.

july 12 curlew with sweater front

I can see this book one that is used again and again for me, I’m already thinking of making this a short sleeved top. Oh, the possibilities! Thanks, Carolyn, for such an ace sewing book- I’m looking forward to seeing my sewing skills advance with the more involved patterns.