Francine and Heroine

We just returned from a week in the Hudson River Valley, where every time you turn around there is a more magnificent view than the last!  It's not hard to see why the rich and famous of the "Gilded Age" built their mansions there!  It certainly made me wish I were a better photographer!  The week was filled with history and amazing architecture and absolutely gorgeous scenery...everywhere!  The only regret is that I arrived in Rhinebeck the day AFTER the Rhinebeck Wool and Sheep Festival! (missed it by that much!) I will just have to go back.

When I wandered into my sewing room all my Merchant and Mills patterns and fabrics were waiting patiently.  It was so much fun to have them there, ready to go....

I decided to start with the Francine sailor top and the Heroine jeans.  Because I had tried them on at the shop I had a bit of a head start, but I wasn't ready to commit "real fabric" before sending up a few trial balloons to test the fit.


I have a box of fabric that has been designated for donation.  This means that basically it is not 'real' anymore, at least to me.  I have effectively let it go and so using pieces from this box for trial balloons makes it easy to just cut with abandon.  No emotional attachments.  The beauty is if they work out I can actually wear them...bonus!

My first whack at francine ended up being the dress version.  The pattern piece fit exactly on the length of fabric so I went with it.  The only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves, of course.  What I learned is that I have broader shoulders than the Merchant and Mills models.  The dress is wearable as long as I don't want to raise my arms!  Once I added an inch or so across the chest, I was ready for trial balloon number 2.

This time I picked a scrap of ottoman wool that was the weight of the fabric that I would like to use for the 'real' version.  I spent WAY too much time monkeying around with little leather button tabs for a mock up garment...but hey, it's all fun!  And I think I'll wear this one...

I didn't have enough of my scrap to make the facing so I used a piece of cotton jersey, which actually worked out well and reduced the weight around the neck.  I used the reverse side of the ottoman for the collar.  Why not!?  I think Francine is ready for the real world.

Next I moved on to Heroine.  (that sounds kind of weird....) ...the jeans pattern.  I had a piece of advise that makes a lot of sense.  I was told that you should never wear the same style more than once in a lifetime.  This pattern flies directly in the face of that sound counsel.  It is right out of my high school yearbook...high waist, full legged jeans!  Can I pull it off? (Please don't tell me if it's "no," I have already worn them in public! 😳)

I actually had some leftover denim so that was the choice for the first round. I had tried on the shop pair and they weren't bad so I knew what size to start with.  I made my standard pants adjustments...move the lower legs toward the inseam, make an 'L' shaped crotch curve and lengthen the heck out of them.  I have to say that I love these pants!  The instructions are really great, particularly for the zipper.  And they make me feel like a teenager, even if I don't look like one!

So far I am really enjoying the Merchant and Mills patterns.  I will be moving on to the jackets and parkas next and then climbing the learning curve for working with waxed canvas!  Should be fun!

Stay tuned.....