The Factory Dress

It’s still blazing outside, and I’ll be starting my part-time teaching job in less than two weeks. Therefore I was very motivated to sew up some practical work wear that can take me from end-of-summer through fall. The Factory Dress by Merchant and Mills fits the bill perfectly.

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I have coveted the Merchant and Mills patterns since discovering them some time ago. When I calculated that it would cost me approximately $46 to purchase a pattern directly from the UK based company, I figured I would never own one. When I learned that I could purchase one domestically through Fancy Tiger Crafts, I took the plunge. I still paid $20 + $7.95 shipping, much more than I normally pay for patterns. I do splurge very once and a while to sample patterns outside the Big Four. The Factory Dress is “inspired by working women, with a dash of the Twenties.” I found the notion of elevating a working class uniform to something more sophicated intriging.

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The fabric I used is once again from The Fabric Store on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. I hit their summer sale and scored this beautiful linen for $12 per yard. I purchased three yards, but could have done with a little less. Might I add, the sweet employees always measure the yardage very generously. I prewashed it in the machine “at my own risk” and also partially dried it in the dryer. I wanted to soften it a bit and give it a slight laundered linen look.

I accidently put the pocket on the wrong side. I think I make mistakes like this because I'm left-handed.

I accidently put the pocket on the wrong side. I think I make mistakes like this because I’m left-handed.

I top-stitched around the collar by hand.

I top-stitched around the collar by hand.

Inside peek - I serged all the seams. It has side seam pockets.

Inside peek – I serged all the seams and did a hand hem on the sleeves and bottom. It has side seam pockets.

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Gosh, that morning sun is bright.

LET’S BE HONEST:

1. The pattern ranges from size 8 to 18. I cut a straight size 10, even though, according to the chart my bust is a size 12 and my waist and hips are a size 14. I read other reviews, looks at images of the dress online, and also notice how loose fitting the dress is on the model on the pattern envelope. I “get” the loose fitting style aesthetic, but what also know to be true is that style only looks flattering on very slim people. I was aimming for comfortable wearing ease, and the size 10 turned out perfect. I made no adjustments.

2. This is a well drafted pattern. The paper the pieces are printed on is like a lightweight brown bag with a smooth, shiney backing. The directions, printed on heavyweight paper, are done in vintage graphics and hand illustrations.

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I must confess, I really only looked at the illustrations while sewing. I suspect that the written instructions are probably not quite adequate for a beginning seamstress. But I’m done nit picking pattern instructions, because I certainly wouldn’t want to write them and my hat’s off to anyone who does.

3. When wearing, there is a marked difference between the distance from the hem to the ground in the back and the front. It scoops up in the front and dips in the back. It could just be me, but I don’t completely think so. I did not engage my husband to mark the hem with my old fashion hem gauge, but I did a gradual trim before hemming, making the back 5/8″ shorter. I realize many people don’t notice or care when hems aren’t parallel to the floor, but it’s one of my pet peeves. I can thank my mother for that.

I really had no issues sewing up this dress. I can’t wait to wear it and honor those hard working women of the past!

What are your pattern buying habits? Are there patterns you have been eyeing, but cost is preventing you from buying? Do you have a price limit just on principle?

Thanks for reading my post! Cheers, Lori