Magnolia/Hannah/Kew dress hack

I made quite a few Deer and Doe Magnolia dresses towards the end of last year and found myself wanting to wear them all the time but obviously a high leg slit isn’t necessarily appropriate for every day. I wanted to make something with the same 1970s appeal but a little bit more casual.

I started with the fabric and found this amazing viscose twill from Sister Mintaka by Mind the Maker. I was immediately sold on the colours and pattern but I was also impressed with the sustainability and quality of the fabric which made me happy to pay a little bit more than I usually would. I was a bit worried about it being too thick as a twill but it’s actually beautifully floaty and breathable.

I knew I wanted to go with the neckline of the Deer and Doe Magnolia, with waist ties too. As for the sleeves and skirt I decided on the By Hand London Hannah sleeves and a modified Nina Lee London Kew skirt. I made a dress just before Christmas with this sleeve and skirt combo and it’s one of my most worn things to work so I knew if I used those patterns I’d be likely to reach for it often. I find this to be the best way of planning my everyday makes, and used to use the same logic when I went shopping – I’d wear my most worn dress and would only buy something if I preferred it to what I was wearing.

As for the modifications. Sleeve wise, there wasn’t much work to do – I just gathered the top of the sleeve slightly and eased it in. For the skirt, I cut both the front and back on the fold (as the Magnolia has a side zip and the Kew traditionally has a front button placket). I lay the front one about 1cm over the fold since I wanted to omit the seam allowance for the button placket. I also straightened the hem and added a good amount of length. I roughly measured it when cutting out and then evened it out when overlocking the hem. It’s basically unrecognisable as the Kew dress but it’s always my go-to pattern as a starting point for a skirt if I want a more casual look.

Once I put the sleeves on it was pure love and I definitely feel like I need to make more. It’s one of those dresses that you could wear to work but feels a bit fancy which is perfect for January blues.

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