Ooh…what’s in the bag honey?

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful East Sussex town of Rye. I’m lucky enough to live not far away and guess what? it just so happens that the fabulous Merchant & Mills have their home there! what to do but pay a visit….

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What a wonderful place…it’s like stepping back in time to a working Sheffield cloth factory….a large open space, bright and airy and you can hear the whirring of machines from behind the shop counter.
So what is in the bag?

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Well, beautifully wrapped in tissue paper came a gorgeous dinky pair of Baby Bow scissors…

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All Merchant & Mills shears and scissors are made in Sheffield and are of amazing quality and I can see myself investing in a pair of tailor’s shears just as soon as I can!
I also bought this lovely tape measure…

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I only seem to own cheap tape measures and I realised the difference a good quality one feels like…this one is almost rubber like in texture and feel and ‘Made in Germany’ yay! not China for a change (no offence) but often made as cheaply as possible for a mass market drastically reduces quality.

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A beautiful little box (one of many varieties they sell) of traditional glass headed dressmaking pins…

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And a tailor’s chalk pencil as well as this wonderful pack of 9 ‘Sewing Thoughts’ post cards…can’t wait to get a frame to home these lovelies….

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It did occur to me what a great present for a sewist friend you could put together from the huge choice of accessories the shop stocks. You should have seen the beautiful handmade patterned cotton bias binding!! There are kits for oilcloth bags, dress patterns (all designed by Carolyn herself) and the choice of beautiful linens, wools, silk fabric is breathtaking!
So if you haven’t, do take a look at their website or blog or even better, take a trip to beautiful historic Rye, it’s also very near to Camber sands and Hastings so lots to see and do for everyone! and if you do get to visit the shop, you might even come away with your own little bag of goodies!

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Have a lovely weekend whatever you’re up to!
Kate x

*please note; I was not asked to do a review of the shop, it was just my own opinion and experience of my visit there*

Completed!! Burda summer linen dress – Burda 7796

Oh it finally happened….I completed the linen dress I posted about an eternity ago!! Thanks to the gorgeous summer we have been having, I’ve even managed to wear it…whoop! whoop!

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Burda pattern 7796

Please excuse the awful photo!! It’s the first time I’ve ever posted a picture of me and in something I’ve made! It was also taken by my 10 year old son on my camera phone!! It’s linen, so boy, does it look creased…oh well, it can’t be helped!

This is a dress of “firsts” because, it’s the first item of clothing I’ve completed.

It’s the first time I have made my own bias binding…

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…and the first time I’ve made a sleeveless bias bound armhole…. (*not sure if that makes sense) and I’m actually quite pleased with how well the bias on the armhole matched up with the side seam….yeah!

It’s the first time I’ve ever made gathers!! Just look…how proud am I?!

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It’s the first time I’ve ever made a handmade thread eye!! Took me two attempts but I’m rather proud of my teeny tiny blanket stitch! And look at my little vintage button too….

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It’s not perfect….but it’s so pretty and has lasted a wash or two…

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I’ve learnt such a lot from making this dress…my wonderful buy, Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing has been invaluable in helping me work through some of my more “challenging” moments, and there’s been a few!! Do you remember the clanger I made when I slashed through the front of the dress (in two pieces = epic fail), when it should have been one piece!! Oh I was so angry with myself…but I managed to salvage it…see the tiniest seam I managed to get away with to put it back together?

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I finished the hem with some red cotton tape…well, it kind of links with the red button!! I like it, it’s quirky, I think.

And the fit?

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Hmm, well, it’s a bit small round the shoulders….the bust fit is fine, but the bodice around the armholes is a bit narrow? short? I’m not sure what it is really as I’m simply not experienced enough to put my finger on it but the neckline at the back seems too high, though the front looks fine….

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The back has a little slit in it at the neckline (held together with the button and loop closure) and this came together very neatly…

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I don’t have an overlocker, so used the overlock stitch on machine for the first time!! worked quite well….though I had a few practice attempts first…how do you decide how close to the edge to stitch?? Still not sure I got this right, I just went with what I thought looked about right!

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Trying to be as neat and tidy as possible…

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It’s not the most figure flattering dress…reminds me a bit of something out of “Annie” but it’s very comfortable and cool in this hot weather and I’ve had a lot of compliments about it. It’ll do me as a summer staple, and it feels quite expensive on because of the colour and fabric type….linen works quite well like that. So overall I’m very pleased! It’s given me a confidence boost despite being quite a stressy dress to make! I’m not sure it’s an ideal beginners dress as there’s quite a lot of fiddly bits to make and the instructions threw me a bit! However, I’m planning my next dress and I feel this has paved the way well for (I’m hoping) a better second project….do remember I’m a complete beginner!
Tah dah!!!

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And the name “Brittany” dress….it was meant to be finished for my France holiday but never was…it became a bit of a joke in this house so it’s the Brittany dress that never was…maybe next year…!!

What do you think? Is linen an ‘easy’ fabric to sew with? Is it an ideal ‘beginners’ dress?

🍒