Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Giving the Merchant and Mills Francine Pattern a Test Run

I can be a very bold soul ;) 
As I just typed that, I remembered an incident that happened last winter while out skiing. We had skied up to get on a chair. This particular chair is quite old, and a little tricky to get on. There was a man in front of us with his very young, and very small daughter. The attendant had asked him to put the child on the other side of him and allow her to load the child onto the seat. He refused, lashed out at the attendant, grabbed his daughter and put her on the chair. But, the child was half hanging off the chair. I gasped as I thought for sure that the child was going to fall off. The attendant quickly stopped the lift, came around and properly placed the child on the chair. She commented to the man that if he takes the chair again, that he must listen to her. He snapped back...and then I opened my mouth. He turned back to me and said that it was none of my business. I replied, "But it is, accidents affect everyone who is skiing on this mountain." At that point, the lift began to move, and off he went. The attendant thanked me for defending her. While I did defend her, my actual concern was for the child. 
When we got off of the lift, I was ready for a confrontation, but the guy had skied off with his daughter, and I never saw them again. 

My initial comment though, was in regard to sewing, not me trying to be the police of the world :/ 

I have never used a Merchant and Mills pattern, so before I started using the Francine pattern to design other pieces for the upcoming challenge with Becky of Trail Balloons, I wanted to give the pattern a test run. I had purchased a lovely remnant of wool from Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago. Such a beautiful piece, it feels like butter against the skin. 

To make the dress, the pattern calls for almost 2 meters from a piece of 60" wide fabric. I only had 1 2/3 yards. But, I played around with the fabric, and was successful. 

We had dinner a few nights ago with a friend who is a retired Navy submarine captain. He and my husband were commenting on the fact that the United States is one of only 3 countries that doesn't use the metric system, Liberia and Burma being the other two. I'll be honest, when it comes to the metric system, I can be quite lazy. Thank goodness for online calculators!!! But, I still managed to make a mistake with the measurement calculations, and cut a dress that swam on me :/ And too...I need to enter here that I did not make a muslin, but cut the pattern directly out of my lovely piece of wool. I know, I know, shame on me!

Thankfully, all was not lost, only the pockets. Here again, I was lazy, so instead of taking out all of the stitching, I simply took in the dress so that it no longer looked like a tent, and chopped off the pockets. 

Pictures of me in the dress will follow. I have actually worn the dress a number of times since I made it. It is so comfortable, and easy to wear. It has been horribly cold, so I have worn a wool t-shirt underneath the dress, a black one. It just peeks out from the opening in the dress and looks quite cute. The side seam pockets would have been nice, but in the end, I really haven't missed them. But, I will add them back with the next dress.  

A few other pattern notes;

*There is very little ease in the sleeve. But, with the wool, the seam steams beautifully.
*I found the sleeves to be rather wide around my arms and wrists, so I tapered them quite a bit. In all fairness, I do have rather thin arms and wrists and typically taper my sleeves.
*Measure the circumference of the top, or dress pattern against your own measurements. And, a muslin would be most helpful before cutting your fashion fabric, especially if it's a very nice piece of fabric. 

As I said, I really love the dress. The shoulder seams hang off of my shoulders a bit, but that is hardly the end of the world. I just didn't want to take the sleeves out and adjust the shoulder seams. When I make my next piece, I now know what size to cut, and the pattern will hang correctly on my body.

I have a number of fun tweeds that I will be using for my challenge pieces. As soon as Becky and I have nailed down a few particulars, I'll let you know the start date of the challenge. I'm so excited!!! :)   

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  1. You were absolutely right in your statement and I hope that child survived future rides. I once had an accident with a ski lift through no one's fault but my own inability to jump on fast enough. They shut the lift down and as they carted me away with a concussion I could see the line of skiers had backed up so far it was uncertain whether they would all get on the mountain that day.

    Where did you get all your tweeds? I've been looking for cotton tweeds in particular, and they are not easy to find.

  2. Beautiful dress! I'm glad you managed to salvage it after the conversion mishap. When you say there's very little ease in the sleeves, do you mean in the cap area?

  3. I really love this dress and believe it's probably very warm! I love the simple designs of Merchant and Mills patterns because they allow the fabric and/or embellishments you use to make them to shine. My only problem with M&M is that they have a limited size range. Can't wait to see your next versions of the dress!