Sunday, 17 April 2016

FO: The Mercury Top by Marilla Walker

The first sewing "FO" of my new blog is definitely worth celebrating.
This is the Mercury top by Marilla Walker:

I knocked out a couple of Renfrew tees last weekend, but that felt like production-line sewing, so familiar am I with that pattern.
This was something new and shiny and I welcomed its novelty while relishing its dependability:  Marilla Walker's patterns feel like good friends from the start.

I bought the pattern for the trousers, so you can expect to see them appear here sooner rather than later.
The top was a bonus... but it might actually turn out to be the main attraction.  I can see me making lots more of these in different variations, just as I did with the Maya pattern.

What's special about it?
It is the strong and silent type.
That simple shape?  It is perfectly balanced:  just the right amount of high / low hem differential, with no danger of indecent exposure over my jeans.  The neckline is neither annoyingly throttling nor embarrassingly wide or deep - which sounds like a simple requirement but one which is so rarely delivered - the Maya top is a notable exception. This has the advantage of having full length sleeves.  It is still freezing here:  we had snow yesterday.  I definitely get more wear out of my long-sleeved tops.

It was really straightforward to sew:  the neck facing fitted perfectly; the sleeves went in first time without any puckering; and best of all the bottom hem has an interfaced facing too.  The Girl was using this finish on her coat toile - clearly it is a "fashion design thing"!  I had never come across this detail before, but it really works to weight the bottom edge of the garment and give it substance and swingy drape.  Who knew?!

Pattern:  Mercury top by Marilla Walker in size 2
Fabric: 2 metres of Atelier Brunette cotton lawn in the Hirondelles print, from Guthrie and Ghani.
Other:  thread and lightweight woven interfacing.

Pesky wind!
A winner!
I rarely buy 2 metres of fabric to make a top, because I feel like 1 metre should be enough.  But I will definitely be topping up the stash with more 2 metre lengths to sew this again.
I am wearing it here with jeans, but I am expecting it to become a workwear staple with wide-legged trousers and a drapey cardigan.
I had better get on and make those Mercury trousers...!


  1. Ooh it does look good! I know just what you mean about necklines, particularly for work. However I have currently discounted this pattern due to the lack of darts on the line drawing (I have a f.b.!). I presume that is correct. Anyway lovely that you have found such a perfect TNT x

    1. You are right - there are no bust darts. But I imagine you could do an FBA quite easily...?

    2. I'm not sure how to do one on dart less tops/dresses. But it would be useful to know!!

    3. I like to do a "dartless" FBA on such tops. Go ahead and make the FBA on your paper pattern. Instead of sewing the dart, I take the extra length at the side seam and gather it as tightly as necessary, to return the side seam to the original length. It's a softer option than a dart, for those of us who are busty. You can still do a flat-felled or a frenched seam with this technique.

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  3. I love this and you've written such a great review. I have made the top too and love it but next time I think I'll just add a bit to the length. I haven't tried the trousers yet so really looking forward to your review.

    1. Interesting! Maybe you are taller than me - the proportions are just right for my height ( 5 foot two and a smidge) ;)

    2. lol - yes I am 5'11" so way, way taller. For the top when I was wearing it I did think it was more along the lines of cropped (but not) so I thought of adding an inch or so next time. Now maybe I should consider adding more than that...?

      I haven't had much luck with trousers so I'm just watching for reviews on the Mercury, and the right fabric for a wearable muslin. Good luck with yours!

  4. Fantastic top. I love your fabric choice. What is the Atelier Brunette lawn like? Is it crisp like the Robert Kaufman lawn or drapey?

    Can't wait to see the trousers! I quietly covet your wide-legged trousers. It's you and Marlene Dietrich ;-)

    1. Hi there - I haven't used RK lawn, but I would say this is like a Liberty lawn, if that helps?

    2. I haven't sewn with Liberty, but the Tana Lawn has the reputation of being one of the softest, so the comparison does give me an idea more or less.

      RK lawn is crisp, with a dry hand, if that makes any sense. It feels dry to me, anyway. It did teach me to look for voile rather than lawn when I want drape in a cotton.

      Well, Atelier Brunette is now on my radar :-)

  5. love your top, perfect for spring and lovely simple lines.

  6. Very elegant! I think Marilla has developed a great collection, deceptively effective designs.

  7. A very stylish top - love the high/low hem. I bought the Mercury pattern recently but at the moment I am making Marilla's dungarees.

  8. I have my eye on this set, too, and the Roberts collection. This looks great on you. I look forward to seeing your trousers, which I'm excited to make myself. Never made trousers and they look a more forgiving design. Never sewn with knits before, either, as I'm in confessional mode. None of your 'I knocked out a couple of Renfrews' malarky, tehe. Oh ye confident sewers! I will do both, though, in time for summer. Hope the house refreshing continues well. Jen