Tried & True: Merchant & Mills Top 64

Hi folks! I’m Jen and I’m from Leeds in the UK. I recently started a sewing blog over at Pins & Whiskers — I’m still getting going so its a little bit sparse at the moment, so when I saw the call out for TNT contributors, I jumped right in. My mum taught me to sew when I was little but I only starting sewing for real in May last year. My boyfriend bought me a Husqvarna Emerald 118 for my birthday (better known as Lagertha because she’s a Swedish viking, obviously) and I’ve never looked back.

I think I’ll start this post by saying that I’ve always had a funny relationship with clothes. I don’t think I’ve ever had a good idea of what my personal style is or been confident enough to really pull it off. I was ‘gifted’ with big boobs and big hips that I’ve loved and hated in equal measure through my adult life, and I’ve never really learnt how to dress my shape or style. I’m not one for bold colours and patterns and generally prefer to be the wallflower. Before I started sewing, if I found an item of clothing I liked, I would buy it in every colour. Most of my outfits were a copy and paste job of what went before. To an extent I still do this with sewing — when I find a pattern I like, I make it a bunch of times. The beauty of sewing though, is that I can be more adventurous with each new make and slowly but surely I think I’m starting to move out of my comfort zone.

Now, I’m a little bit worried that you’ll call me out on that once you see the three Merchant & Mills Top 64s I’ve made! Because, well, now that I think about it, they all look very similar…and they’re all blue. Ah.

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When I saw the call out for contributors I thought, ‘I’ve been wanting to make another Top 64, perfect!’ I had been wanting to make another in some petrol blue linen I had in my stash, but when I looked at my existing two I realised they were both blue and it would be daft to make another. So, I bought some new fabric… and naturally its blue. I have a problem.

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But wait wait wait! This lush denim from Fabric Godmother is different in that its reversible, and I thought that the stripes on the reverse would be great to play with. Add that to the really versatile Top 64 pattern, and hopefully, I’ve made something a little bit different this time. Baby steps though.

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I love this pattern. It was the first pattern I made successfully without having to do it three times to get something wearable. Its a great pattern for beginners but there’s plenty of scope to make something unique (should you be more adventurous than me!) It’s pretty much all straight lines, there’s no fastenings, and the raglan sleeve means you don’t even have to set the sleeves in. The pattern calls for a lot of topstitch but thats where you can have fun; contrasting thread, different widths or even no top stitching at all if that’s your jam. I’ve played around with the sleeve length too because the first thing I do with sleeves is pull them up, and nobody likes a sad, baggy sleeve. I’m super proud of my top stitching on this version — behold, my armpit!

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Even though the three tops I’ve made are all blue, they each have qualities that make them very different — and that’s what I love about this pattern. Choose a different type of fabric and you get something completely different.

The first one I made was in some fab wool jersey. It sewed up like a dream, but sadly I think I’ll have to move to Siberia to get a lot of wear out of it *sweats*. The second, which has become a long running favourite, was made up in some beaut Sevenberry Linen and it gets better every time I wear it. The linen is breathable and comfortable, and I love how the fabric has relaxed and softened over time.

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I think my newest addition is going to get a lot of wear too — and might outlive me, judging by the denim! It’s got a tiny bit of stretch so its not too constricting, and I think it’s going to wear in really nicely. The only bump in the road I’ve come across so far is that I only seem to have jeans to wear with it — so if you have any suggestions for bottoms that are a little less ‘Canadian Tuxedo’ let me at ’em!

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Between writing this post and recently giving my wardrobe a bit of a cull, I think I might have given myself a nudge to try something different with my next make. I still don’t think I’ll be wearing anything too wild any time soon — but where do you draw the line between pushing your boundaries and still being comfortable? Do you fall into old habits when you’re sewing or are you a fearless crafter?

Jen x


21 thoughts on “Tried & True: Merchant & Mills Top 64

  1. I wanted to write something that sounds like “Reight lovely” not quite right but I’m fighting the spellchecker!). Nice to see another Yorkshire blogger!

  2. Thanks for sharing your makes. I love the striped pockets. My favorite sentence was ‘behold, my armpit!’ because where else would people appreciate such beautiful seems?!

  3. These all look great and the point of a TNT is to have several of them. You have a great wardrobe and sense of humor. I tend to look like an elementary school teacher most days wearing tons of color and pattern. I’m working on making basics. Perhaps the best TNT pattern is a wardrobe basic? Oddly enough mine may be Simplicity 8292 which I have made as a bridesmaid dress, a shell top, a blazer, and a tunic. I see more hacking on the horizon with that pattern because I spent the time on adjustments so it would fit perfectly. Keep sewing blue tunics, they look great and each is different (your topstitching is killer).

    1. Ah thank you so much 🙂 I can be a bit hard on myself and forget that I’ve not been sewing that long, I’ve come a long way! That Simplicity pattern looks fab, and plenty of room for hacking! x

  4. As I was reading your post, it felt like someone had written about me ! I do the exact same things …buy the same colors, buy all colors in a pattern I like, totally flummoxed as to the patterns that are flattering….and totally unsatisfied with the garments out there. Your pattern is really nice and execution is awesome! Love the TOP stitching!

  5. What lovely tops and why bother if they are all blue? Does it make you happy when you are wearing it? If the answer’s “yes” then it is all good. Your tops are very chic and the fabric choices are lovely. I do like that denim. If double denim is not your thing then what about a nice pair of tailored navy trousers, or even red. Classic colour combination for a reason. Thank you for sharing your lovely sewing. You topstitch like a boss. 🙂 Xx

  6. Well blue is one of my favourite colours…it’s my favourite ‘basic’ colour…so you’ll hear no complaints from me.

    Your latest make might look pretty awesome with some linen or tencel trousers! You’ve already made some stellar Hudson pants so it’s something to think about.

    PS….your kitties are adorable.

  7. Beautiful makes! Beautiful top stitching. I thought I loved blue………..until I kept returning home with variations of green hued sale fabric! LOL! One day I thought- There is lots of green here! Oh well, I love what I made with them and I guess that’s the color I really like! ;o) So enjoy your blue!

  8. p.s. Thank You so much for sharing about your sewing machine. My Husqvarna from the 80s was not repairable. (one of my kids broke it :o( And I reluctantly bought a new heavy duty Singer this year. Which I like but don’t love. So I searched your machine- Husqv. Emerald and found a beautifully refurbished one on Etsy!! Woo- Hoo! The seller has high praise for his re-furbishing! And I just know I will LOVE my “new” Husqvarna!! (which I am naming Esmerelda- LOL!)
    Once a Husqvarna sewing machine devotee, always a Husqvarna devotee!

  9. Great post. You had me giggling all the way through, while still admiring your array of BLUE tops. 🙂 As long as they’re not truly identical (same fabric, same pattern, same view), then they are different. And people will read your happiness and confidence whilst wearing something you feel good in, instead of thinking “Oh, is she really wearing blue AGAIN?” Hahaha

    Just about any solid bottom will go with the denim … I’m thinking a red (or go wild and choose bright pink!) pencil skirt or trousers, gold/mustard, etc. Lots of good classic colors or their bright cousins to choose from.

  10. I loved reading about your TNT tops. I wouldn’t worry that they look similar, you’ve found something you love- thats wonderful! For my two cents, a red sateen skirt would be really cute with your denim top! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

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