The pattern from Merchant and Mills creates an oversize dress and combined with the heavy wool fabric it looks like a 1940s dress a woman would have donned for work during the war. I'd give the pattern a impressive 10/10 for design and style; its effectiveness lies in it's simplicity.
|It features a v neck pull over front, bust darts, two types of pockets, collar, sleeves and front pleats|
|It has handy side pockets which you can only see properly from the back as they're set back from the side seam|
|Collar finished with black topstitch thread|
|Collar layering was particularly important with this heavy fabric|
|The collar has a full facing|
|Turned up sleeves really create that factory feel|
|The dress is not lined so keeping the inside tidy was quite important (I even darned in the overlocking thread ends)|
Where this pattern is lacking is in the finer details of how to construct the dress, with some instructions simply being missing (how deep should the hem be?)
After a while I also found myself getting frustrated with the diagrams which are quite simple and they use lots of cross hatching. I felt they were quite confusing as I'm used to precise and technical drawings from the leading brands. I was also surprised when I came to attach the skirt to the bodice that there was no notch on the skirt front to line up with the bodice centre seam. I ended up improvising by measuring the centre of the distance between the two sets of pleats and lining this point up with the seam to ensure the front was sewn accurately.
Thankfully I've learnt from experience to not just take instructions at face value. However I did think this was a real shame for beginners; the pattern should be suitable for them but first it needs some improvements.
All in all the £13 price tag is steep for the quality of the instructions but the finished design is really impressive. With only two meters of fabric used (@£14 a metre), two spools of thread and some interfacing (which I already had) this dress has cost a total of £45. I think it's going to be a winner at work.