Rifle Paper Co Magnolia Dress

I’d admired many versions of the Deer and Doe Magnolia dress, but never thought the neckline was for me – mainly because I don’t usually wear low necklines so I was worried about feeling uncomfortable.

But when I saw this Rifle Paper co fabric I thought it would be a great match so I decided to take the plunge (pun intended). I thought I was ordering the rayon but I accidentally ordered cotton. I thought it wouldn’t work but actually it gave it a nicer structure particularly in the sleeves. As you can see Betty validated my fabric choice when it arrived. A rayon version is definitely still on the cards though as the cotton one can’t be worn with tights.

One benefit of making it in cotton was that it sort of became a wearable toile – it was so much easier to adjust and make changes – when I’ve been sewing with loads of floaty fabrics it’s always a surprise how much easier it is with cotton.

So for the adjustments. I did make a quick toile before which is very unlike me but I mainly wanted to check whether the neckline suited me. One drawback of sewing your own clothes is that you can’t try them on before! As you can see below, the toile had a few issues – saggy bust, too low, too much seam allowance.

After making the toile I decided to make 2 main changes: 1. A small bust adjustment (based on the Deer and Doe guide on their site) and 2. Overlap the front by 2cm more – this fixed the side seam issue and made the neckline higher.

And that was basically it! I finished it with bias binding instead of lining it since the fabric is thick. It was my first side zip and it went swimmingly so I was pretty happy with it.

The sleeves are maybe my favourite bit about this dress- definitely hacking those to other patterns in future.

I think in total it only took me 4 hours to sew including cutting out so it was a really satisfying project. I can’t wait to make more and have been entirely converted to this neckline. I’ve already worn it twice in one week.

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