Merchant & Mills Trapeze, The Perfect Dress For All Seasons

Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress

Merchant & Mills Trapeze, the perfect dress for all seasons? It has taken a while for me to get around to writing and sharing about the Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress pattern. It’s possible that this is because I’ve been making so many versions! 

The Pattern

I had been looking for a trapeze dress pattern for a while, so I was thrilled when I came upon this Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress pattern on The Foldline website. 

The cover illustration is deceptive, as it has far more to offer than just a sleeveless pinafore style dress. There are also short-sleeve or three-quarter sleeves options, with an insert detail. The back of the dress is available with either a button back or a plain option. 

The Fabric.

Fabric suggestions are: linen, cotton, wool, tweed, and denim.

On this occasion, I wanted to make a dress suitable for the evening that was understated. I came across a heavy weight woven black satin fabric in a nearby shop. I’m not sure how to describe it. The closest thing would be a scuba fabric.

It feels amazing to wear and drapes beautifully. The fabric frayed when cut, which was surprising to me. It was necessary for me to overlock it, and I must admit that it was a challenge! The fabric was difficult to cut as it passed through the overlocker. If I did not carefully peel away the offcuts, they would snarl back up and easily get caught up in the newly finished edge. 

I found some fabulous buttons locally that gave the dress a bit of evening glamour! 

The Make

The dress comes together easily. The instructions were unnecessary since this was my fourth version. Despite this, the directions are straightforward and simple to follow. 

The dress’s open back version requires a series of facings to be sewn together. They form the returns of the back openings and hem of the dress. If you have sufficient fabric, it’s worth considering cutting them out as one continuous facing. If not, at the very least larger sections for the facings. 

It would be very easy to bag line the dress if you preferred, such as for a winter wool version. 

I added pockets immediately because there are no pockets in this dress pattern. 

Tips & Alterations

The neckline is open enough to simply pull on the dress, so it is not necessary to create a button opening at the back if you prefer to miss this detail. I decided not to add button holes and just stitched the buttons into place. 

Pockets were surprisingly not included with this dress design, but they are easily added. 

Lining a winter season dress made of wool or suiting is something I would consider. This would add warmth and save on constructing the facings.    


Although this is my fourth trapeze dress in as many months, I am still planning to make a sleeveless wool version for winter to wear over sweaters. Of course, I must also make a sleeveless linen version for the summer months. 

This is a versatile pattern, which is not immediately apparent from the pattern cover illustration. With a variety of options, such as plain or button-back details, this dress is suitable for everyone. 

I have now made this dress using Ankara cotton, washed linen, wool suiting, and now scuba fabric. This shows that the dress can be worn throughout the seasons (day or evening) depending on your fabric choice.

The Trapeze dress is certainly comfortable to wear, and I love the trapeze shape of the dress and the lovely details on the back and sleeves. It looks great worn with a sandals, trainers, flats, heels, or boots depending on the season and your chosen fabric, or even your mood!

It is an understated dress that is perfect made in linen for the summer months, but it could equally be made in brocade for the evening. I am confident that it will be a regular item in my wardrobe for many years to come. 

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(4) Comments

  1. Sally Scott says:

    Love this version! I agree with all your comments although I am just making only my second version. Both are sleeveless and I have lined both. Successfully!

    Particularly like the black version!

    1. Hi Sally,

      I am glad to read that you have successfully lined your dresses. I am sure that it is much easier and practical for the sleeveless versions. I plan to make another soon using this method.

      Thank you for your comments on the black version, in a formal fabric it make a great work / evening outfit.

  2. Gretchen White says:

    It is so helpful to see this made up, and to hear your comments about different fabrics and versions.

    Sometimes the envelope illustration does not do justice to the potential of the piece!

    1. Hi Gretchen,

      I love all the versions I have made, and they look so different depending on the fabric choice. This is certainly a pattern that I will keep going back to time and again.

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