I have lately found myself without a “wear for any occasion” outfit. I’ve been focussed on making garments for super specific situations that I forgot to plan for unplanned things. Once I fell in love with the two Megan Nielsen River Tops I made, I knew that I had to make a dress in black that I could dress up or down.
While this is a simple dress, it did not sew up without issues. The quick grading job turned out to be awful, and the skirt (and pockets) stuck out awkwardly. Instead of taking it all apart and redoing the pockets, I basically sliced them off and took the skirt in about a half inch all the way down. If you plan on making this dress and generally grade out two or more sizes at the hips, you may want to look at the finished measurements and decide if it’s entirely necessary. There is a good amount of ease through the hip, so you you may get away with only grading up one size.
The one change I made was to the belt loops. I wasn’t keen on the thick ones called for in the pattern and liked even less that they were sewn on after the side seams were done up. What I did, instead, was make a little chain loop that I sewed into the side seam instead. Because I am always looking to do things better and faster, I did a quick google search and found this video that shows you how to do it on a machine in under a minute. Not only is this significantly easier that what the pattern called for, I love how delicate it looks and that they disappear into the skirt when I don’t wear the belt.
ALSO!! I made this out of my very first online fabric purchase, from Blackbird, of course. I ordered a boat-load (maybe like 12) swatches because I need to feel my fabric, and decided on this light tencel twill. It is perfect for the River dress and I highly recommend it and Blackbird in general.