Versatile comfort wrap dress

A review of Merchant & Mills Etta Dress

Reviewed by Melanie Keane on 8th April, 2023

I’ve always loved the minimalist traditional style of Merchant & Mills’s patterns, but hadn’t tried one, so this was my first. The fabric suggestions are for light to medium weight wovens but I wanted to make a winter dress so chose fine Australian merino wool. I chose a regular lining fabric for the bodice and pockets. The skirts are designed to be quite full so I knew that I’d need to reduce the bulk of the skirts because of the thickness of my fabric. I’m 165cm, 32” bust, 37” waist which made me a size 6. I’ve had a brain trauma and I find numbers, distinguishing left from right and wrong side/right side very tricky so I marked up the instructions in different colours. It was my first time making a lined bodice so the detailed instructions and diagrams were invaluable. I found sewing the lining in tricky so I phoned M & M and they were so helpful. The first thing they said to me was “don’t worry, we’ll get through this together and you’ll have a super finished dress”…music to my ears! The seam allowance on the dress is 1.5cm but as I constructed the bodice I was concerned that it would be a bit snug so I reduced it to 1cm around the armholes and the bodice sides.

The skirts…Elwen from M & M worked out the maths for me to ensure that the front and back skirts were in proportion. So I cut the back skirt to 92cm wide, cut on the flat and the front skirts I cut at 72cm wide, each piece cut on the flat. I’m 165cm tall so I reduced the length to 73cm.

The merino wool was a dream to sew with, very stable and it pressed well.

I’m so pleased with the final result, it’s a perfect fit and I love the swishiness of the skirts and the warmth of it. I will definitely make a summer version of the Etta.