In January, we added to our ongoing Makeshift series, adapting available garment patterns using Alabama Chanin techniques with a Merchant & Mills pattern for the Shirt Dress. This month, we’ve created another Merchant & Mills garment in our own style—an Alabama Chanin version of the Factory Dress (love the name). This piece is shown here without embellishment to highlight the simple design, but you can choose to utilize any of the techniques from our previous posts or our Swatch of the Month Club to embellish your project
Keep in mind that Merchant & Mills is a UK-based design house and that UK sizes differ a bit from US numbered sizes. Their website has clear size charts that can help you select the right pattern size for your body. Also note that their patterns are priced in pounds, not US dollars, and you should take into account shipping costs when shopping. Alternatively, there are quite a few stockists in the US with ready links available here.
Merchant & Mills: The Factory Dress Pattern
*2.5 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter
Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, or Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: All four of these books contain the basic sewing and embroidery techniques we used to make our version of this dress.
Follow the Merchant & Mills instructions as written, but reducing the 5/8” seam allowances on every pattern piece to 1/4” by removing 3/8” from every seam.
Hand sew all seams with a straight stitch, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance, using a double strand of thread on our Alabama Chanin medium-weight cotton jersey. We felled our seams for the dress above, but that is a matter of taste and desired style. If you choose to use a floating seam, we suggest reducing the seam allowance or trimming around all seams after completion to reduce bulk. Leave hem raw.
Fabric weight –100% organic medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Fabric color – Black
Button Craft thread – Black #2
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside felled
Binding stitch – Clean finished
*This garment was made in a size 8. Yardage may vary for different sizes—please reference pattern for the exact yardage required for your garment.
Beautiful work. Can you post a picture of someone wearing the dress?
so so cute! What a refreshing and light dress for the summer. Also, universally flattering on all shapes!
I am a novice sewist with what might be a question that might have an obvious answer but … Here goes … When you say reduce the armholes etc by 5/8 … Do you mean reduce the diameter of these(adding 5/8″) or to reduce the seams of these elements by 5/8″?
You do not need to reduce the diameter of the neckline and armholes. You will need to trim 3/8″ from the edge of your seam allowance to end up with 1/4″ seam allowance (which is standard in all Alabama Chanin garments and DIY Kits). You could either trim the 3/8″ off of the seam allowance before sewing and then sew all of your seams at 1/4″, or you could sew your seams at 5/8″ and trim the 3/8″ off before felling your seams.
We hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.
I have a question about the Lightweight Jersey Fabric. Is there a Right side and Wrong side? I was ready to cut out the A-Line Dress but I can’t see a difference in the Right or Wrong sides. I also cannot see the grain line in the Lightweight Fabric?
Because of the fine knit of the Lightweight Cotton Jersey, the grain line can be a bit more difficult to see. However, there is a right side to the Lightweight Cotton Jersey. When looking at the right side of the fabric, the selvage edges should roll towards the back (wrong side), and your cut edges that go cross grain will roll towards the front (right side).
Hope this helps…please let us know if you have any more questions. Happy sewing!
I am just now getting around to making this. I assume it is single layer, yes? What about the interfacing they call for? In general not a fan of fusible but I have also never used interfacing in any of my many Chanin projects.
It is a single-layer garment, and no interfacing was used to create the finished dress. When we create a garment from someone else’s pattern using our techniques, we omit the interfacing. On those areas where it is called for, the jersey is doubled—and we find this creates enough structure to give the garment its proper shape.