Sewing Pattern Review: The Ellis and Hattie Dress

10 March 2021, Written by Caroline

The Ellis Dress by Merchant and Mills

By Carissa, one of our amazing Retail Assistants

Carissa recently stunned us with her latest make, the Ellis by Merchant and Mills. She used a remnant of the Wes (which is no longer in stock) and the beautiful Bijou Wes Check Linen to compliment it. It ended up being a truly unique dress and according to Carrisa is a pleasure to wear! It certainly cheered us up seeing her wear it!

The Pattern

Carissa used the Ellis from the Ellis and Hattie Dress Pattern from Merchant and Mills. The Ellis the more fitted of the two dresses. They both have four neck darts but the Ellis has more shaping with bust darts opposed to the lined bodice of the Hattie. It also has a higher waist line, with the Hattie having a dropped waist. And of course it has in-seam POCKETS. And you should see what Carissa has done to her pockets! All the heart eyes!

Carissa cut a size 10 in the shoulders and arms, a size 12 in the bodice and a size 8 in the length of the body. 

The Fabric

As mentioned Carissa had a 1m remnant of the Wes, a large checked linen that pairs beautifully with the Bijou Wes Linen. It is a gorgeous pink and mustard checked linen and Carissa used 2m of it. She used the larger Wes check on the bodice where she didn’t need as much fabric and the smaller Bijou for the skirt. A lovely subtle detail is the scraps of Wes that were used in the pockets. 

The Make

The make went together very quickly and with very few problems or adjustments. Carissa did have to let the arms out slightly as they were a bit tight but other than that no other adjustments were made. 

The one thing that Carissa did find puzzling about the pattern is that when gathering the skirt, the pattern called for the skirt and bodice notches to be matched and then the skirt to be gathered when it was pinned to the bodice. She found this very tricky, but if gathered and then attached it was very hard to see the notches. She gathered and then attached and hoped for the best, but this is something to be aware of when making this pattern. 

Carissa has made a few Merchant and Mills patterns now and finds that they always give really high end finishes, which means that there is always an opportunity to learn. It also means that there is the opportunity to make it easier on yourself, e.g instead of doing french seams you could just overlock the edges. 

Another tip that Carissa has is to do a salt wash with the first wash which will help to reduce the fading that can sometimes occur with the linens. She pops half a cup into the tray at the beginning of the wash whereas I put a scoop directly into the machine. We would highly recommend researching what is right for your particular machine. 


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Sewing and Pattern Review the Ellis and Hattie Dress by Merchant and Mills


Hi Edwina, I’m sorry you are finding your Florence too big, we would be happy to chat it through with you – please feel free to call the store on 06 304 7133 and we can see what we can do! Best wishes Caroline

Caroline December 10, 2021

Just made the Florence and am finding that it’s really really big!!! Made it per the measurement sizing but there is so much fabric…trying to work out how to fix the front to take some of the bulk out. I used a really soft linen…not at all structured…just huge!

Edwina Revell December 10, 2021

Lovely! I found the same thing with trying to match the notches when gathering the skirt for the M&M Florence dress. When I made the pattern again as a top, I cut the notches as a tab which made it much easier to match up.

Wendy March 25, 2021

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