Sewing Together: A Twofer for Week Two

When Rhonda posted a link to the Chanel runway show a few months back I was in the middle of a series of projects using Merchant and Mills patterns.  It occurred to me that they were on opposite ends of the spectrum...luxury on one end and simple working garments on the other.  It was interesting to have those two ideas in my head at the same time.  Chanel takes a very down to earth fabric...tweed, and elevates it to total luxury.  Merchant and Mills take basic working garments and brings them into today's fashion vernacular.   So what would it look like to merge those ideas?  That is what this month's challenge is all about.  Taking humble garments and humble fabrics and pushing  the envelop of how we usually think of them.

It's been on and off horrible here in Michigan as far as weather goes.  Ice, snow, cold, more snow, a little wind, more snow....and to top it off I have been dealing with an airport sinus something.  You know, the stuff you pick up while getting on and off airplanes in drastically different climates...yeah...that!!!  What that means in my sewing room is....there have been no trips to the fabric store!  Whatever happens has to come straight from my stash.  I hadn't thought of this sew together month as a stash busting month, but it's kind of turning out that way. 

I pulled out a tweedy wool jersey for a top for this week's installment, but after seeing Rhonda's trial of the Francine pattern as a dress I decided I wanted a dress version myself.

Hmmmmmm....I'm not sure what the original dimensions of the piece of fabric were, but after washing and drying it I was left with a 47" X 66" piece.  No problem for a top, but I wanted a dress.  (whiny stuffy headed noises!!!)  Now, if you have read my Threads article from last year about 'Reversible Garments' you know that I am a total sucker for double faced fabrics, and, you guessed it, my slightly shrunken (is that a word?) wool jersey is in fact, double faced.  It is a lovely grey on one side and a grey and tan herringbone tweed on the reverse side.  So not only do I want a dress, but I want it to be reversible as well!!!  (maybe I shouldn't sew when I have yucky sinus-y head stuff going on?!)

I knew if I could get it laid out on the fabric I could make it work...
My usual trick of skimping on the seam allowances wasn't an option.  I needed them for the flat felled seams that would make my dress reversible.  I also 'decided' that I would like 3/4 length sleeves...yeah, 3/4 length sleeves that's the ticket!  I spent a very long afternoon wiggling pattern pieces and fabric around, but in the end I got it all on!


The fabric was a total treat to work with.  (I wish I remembered where it came from?) The knit was very stable and incredibly straight, no twisting that usually comes with a wool jersey.  It was also very resilient and I could press it directly without a pressing cloth which made turning all the seams way easier!

I followed the Francine pattern pretty closely.  I did have to forgo the side seam pockets and I did shorten the sleeves.  I turned the facing out onto the grey side and made the collar grey.   I also turned the sleeve hems and the bottom hem to the tweed side creating contrasting grey bands to finish the dress. This meant that I have one all grey dress and a tweed dress with contrasting collar, cuffs and hem.  I tried out a pocket on the tweed side and thought about a snap tab instead of the button and loop that the pattern has, but in the end I liked the simple elegance of the plain dress.


I was also excited to realize that it was a great match for a sweater vest that I have been trying to find a partner for for a couple of years!   I actually like it with both the tweed and grey dresses.  Bonus!


So...week two is a actually two dresses...one grey and one tweedy!  Does that mean I can take next week off?! 😏


I will link up with Rhonda's blog as soon as she gets this week posted....stay tuned!


  1. This pattern didn't really grab me until I saw you and Rhonda playing with it. Great job getting the two sided dress out of so little fabric, using stash and minimal waste. Looks so good on you.

    1. The M&M patterns are deceptively simple, but engineered so well. I am loving the clever construction methods. For example, the way the collar is done on Francine makes it almost impossible NOT to get a straight seam from the collar point through the neck opening. I've used several now and really am smitten!