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John Kaldor River Dress

When Megan Nielsen released new patterns earlier this year I was quick to snap up the River and the Jarrah. They were both practical, wearable looks but were somehow quite different from anything I had in my collection. This dress is the second version of the River I have made. My first had a couple of areas to improve on (the binding, the pockets) but still ended up being an extremely wearable dress which is appropriate for both work and weekends.

This fabric caught my eye immediately. It basically combines all of my favourite fabric-elements; bright colours on a dark background AND an over-sized floral. I mean, just look at it – the colours of this material are absolutely beautiful. It’s my first time using a John Kaldor Fabric, although I have long admired the designs, as well as my first time using cotton sateen. To be honest, it behaved like a slightly heavier cotton and sewed and pressed very well. There is no particular sheen to the fabric, as I imagined from the type there might be. It is cool and comfortable and ideal for warmer weather. 

Having made one River before, I was determined to improve the finish on this dress. I did not make any alterations but did take my time to read and understand the instructions properly. As a result, the neck band is much neater on this dress than my previous. Incidentally, did you know that the River is reversible, in that it can be worn with the v-neck either to the front or the back? How cool is that?! Unlike many dresses I sew, I didn’t add anything to the length, which I am more than happy with. Ooh, and also – this is the only pattern I have come across that can be sewn up in either a woven or a knit! So versatile! 

I decided this time I wanted photos with the round neck to the front and the v-neck detail to the back. I really like how the simple tie belt pulls in the shape of your silhouette to whatever extent you wish. On a hot summer’s day this dress really is ideal. It’s pretty but practical and feels sophisticated enough to be dressy whilst in no way making you feel out of place in the supermarket. It ticks all of the boxes. It is also a great cover up from the sun. The raglan sleeves are quite unusual but again, so comfortable. I’m sure they could easily be hacked shorter or you could even add elastic or ties for extra interest if you wished. 

The search for ‘the perfect work dress’ is definitely on hold thanks to this make. It’s satisfying yet straightforward to sew up, and the simple yet classic shape of the dress is ideal for showing off a gorgeous print such as this cotton sateen. This will be no means be my final River of the summer. If you would like to see more of my makes please head over to Instagram and find me at @ccmercer or check out my blog makingandmarking.com

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