The Merchant and Mills shop and the Saltmarsh skirt

Happy sigh. Following a recent trip to beautiful Rye in Sussex I am enjoying a healthy obsession with all things Merchant and Mills.  I like their aesthetic, and the workshop vibe of both their shop and their branding.  It reminds me more of my dad’s woodworking shed than a sewing space.  It encourages us to take it seriously.  Sewing is IMPORTANT, not fluffy.

Thats not to say I didn’t get a bit giddy and excited in there.  Me and my lovely mam spent hours, we had to have a coffee break and go back!  Not before my mam bought me the Workbook, which we took with us to the coffee shop for a peruse…


The Merchant and Mills Workbook was top of our list of things to check out, I wasn’t expecting to buy it because I didn’t think the style of the clothes would suit me. This is where the genius of pattern companies providing samples for customers to try on comes in.

I tried on absolutely everything, and I learned so much. Firstly that the styles really suit me, and they give me a look of relaxed elegance that I like.  Secondly, I learned my size, this is such a joy because I am forever diligently tracing off patterns and sewing up the wrong size.  Thirdly, which fabrics are suitable for each garment.

Here is my linen Saltmarsh skirt (from the workbook) in Merchant and Mills soft grey Irish linen.   I have not hemmed it (in fact, will I ever?!).  I’m wearing it with the bantam vest from the same book in a lovely organic white cotton from my stash.


Here it is with a Merchant & Mills mustard muslin bantam vest.  I’ve styled it with my favourite necklace, plus bloke and smallest child.


I also made it in a vintage paisley crepe – that languished in my nana’s fabric stash, then my mam’s, and is now a much-loved Saltmarsh.  What a difference fabric choice makes.  It seems to be half the size!  Please excuse my damp hair and awkward posing.


This isn’t intended to be a review of the pattern, so I won’t go into detail about the sewing process.  Just to say it was a pleasure to sew, everything went together beautifully.  My favourite features are the deep pockets, which are a subtly cool design feature when topstitched.  And also useful for stashing biscuits, hair bobbles, pebbles, seashells….  I hadn’t thought that a drawstring waist could be flattering, but this pattern has changed my mind.  I think the darts in the back provide clever gentle shaping (sorry you can’t see these in my photos).

I will definitely be making more of these, perhaps I’ll try a knee-length one next summer.  Big thumbs up for the Saltmarsh, chuffed to bits.

I’ll probably do a separate post on the bantam vest once I’ve made a couple more, plus the dress variation.

Size details:

Saltmarsh skirt: I cut a straight size 10 with no adjustments, I’m 5’5″, waist 29″, hips 38″.

Bantam vest: I cut a size 10, but took it in about an inch at each side seam.  Bust 35″.  Will try the size 8 next time.


7 thoughts on “The Merchant and Mills shop and the Saltmarsh skirt

  1. Wow, it sounds so awesome being able to try on samples! I never seem to make the right size first time…. But I am improving on this slowly. The garments look fabulous on you. Are both of those patterns in the Merchant and Mills workbook? If so, there many other patterns that take your fancy in the book? Sorry for being noisy, but I haven’t seen the book and I am very interested as I’ve got a couple of their patterns already….. However, I live in NZ and international shipping can be a killer!


    1. Thank you for your comment, I’m excited because its my first ever comment on my blog as I’m just dipping my toes into blogland! Its funny, I nearly didn’t post this article because its winter here and they are summer garments, then I thought it might be nice for someone in OZ or NZ and ping! There you were!
      Yes both the salt marsh skirt and bantam vest are in the book. I recently made (and will soon blog) the trousers from the book, The Strides, and I LOOOOOOVE them! I also plan to make the coat. So far this is the most-made patterns from one book for me. It inspired me to slow down and focus on doing as good a job as I can, always a bonus! I’m sorry the international shipping is so expensive, it would be great if you could one day find a local supplier.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay!!! Ha ha I’m currently making a merino sweatshirt that I can’t bring myself to try on because it’s been so warm the last few days. And I’ve just finished the same sweatshirt in the thickest fabric I’ve ever sewn clothing with. What was I thinking? Hopefully I won’t be wearing them too soon! I was just super excited to get a new pattern that inspired me


  3. Oops I hit send too soon by accident…. But anyway….. My point about my sweatshirt, well I think you should blog about stuff you are excited about (or maybe super frustrated with and just need to get out of your system) rather than just what you think people want to read about. I think the


  4. Man! I did it again, I shouldn’t probably type on my phone. I think you should write about what you’re enthusiastic about, as I feel that voice can really be so much more interesting to read in a blog. Keep up the great work! I still want to go to their shop next time I’m in the UK to try everything on, but unfortunately that won’t be for a while. I bought the factory dress pattern at Liberty last year, because it looked so gorgeous made up in their fabric, but I am yet to make it. I’d probably end up buying all the merchant and mills patterns if I could see them made and try them on!


  5. Hi – I’m in the states and it is great to be able to see how others doing with this pattern. I’m currently working on converting it to inches and tracing the pattern pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

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