After my last post for Britex Fabrics, they asked me back to do another post for their blog. I picked this gorgeous black rayon crepe with white screenprinted polka dots, and decided to sew up the Merchant & Mills Factory Dress. If you'd like to read my post for the Britex blog, I did a tutorial on how to change an in-seam pocket that floats in the seam, to one that is sewn into a waist seam. You can read it here!
But let's talk about the Factory Dress. First, I honestly never considered this pattern until I saw a version worn by Diane, (look how chic she is) one of my students in a class I recently taught in Ojai at Cattywampus Crafts. Diane just happens to be one of their sewing instructors, and her skills showed on her version of the dress. It was stunning, and made me really reconsider this pattern.
My experience with Merchant & Mills patterns in the past has been hit and miss, and while I love oversized sacks, I find that their patterns tend to be really oversized sacks. But my goal with my fabric sponsorships is to use the fabric to try new things, so I thought I'd give the Factory Dress a go, as it was a perfect match with this weighty drapey rayon.
First, the good: I love the collar and neckline area. I love that this sack dress has tailored details in it, which I find few dresses like this do. I think the neckline and collar are flattering and it sews up really well. Also good are the general instructions and the pattern itself. Obviously as a patternmaker, it drives me insane when patterns don't really work, so using one that actually goes together the way it should is a bonus.
But then, the not so good: It is really oversized. I mean really oversized. Now, I know that's the style, and I know that's how it's supposed to be. But it is big. I think in this rayon it's not as unflattering in real life as it is in photographs because the fabric is constantly moving and floating around the body, which feels amazing. I included these photos of me with my arms up near my head so you can see just how lovely the drape of the fabric is, and I think that is key to this pattern being remotely successful.
I took many inches off the hem because I'm short and the original length on my body was very unflattering. It hits mid-calf, and that looks great on a tall person, but on my 5'4" frame, things this full only look decent when shortened to the knee, give or take a little. I also took inches off the sleeve length and skipped the cuff so it would hit around my elbow. Again on my frame, the original length just way too long. This is quite standard for me though, as I am typically in the "petite" sizing range on RTW garments with shorter lengths on the hem and sleeves.
Verdict: First, the fabric from Britex is a total win. Their website describes the rayon just as viscose, but it is definitely a crepe with a heavy fluid drape. It feels gorgeous on the body. As for the pattern, I'd say it's a solid pattern that I will enjoy wearing. Will I make lots more? Probably not lots more, though I have thought about taking the neckline and putting that on top of my Lottie Dress pattern for a Lottie/Factory Dress hack. For an oversized dress, that one is obviously my preference. It's not too oversized and suits my body better than this one does. So perhaps that's the next version because there's a lot to love about the neckline.
So if you're into oversized floaty dresses, you might love this one! And the people at Britex told me that they are having a Black Friday sale and a Cyber Monday sale, so whether you're in San Francisco or not, you might want to check out their sales this coming weekend!