Are you able to name your most worn handmade item(s)? I've no doubt that I've said on many occasions that my latest make either is or will become mine. However, this time I feel confident in saying I have found them. A year ago I had the pleasure of testing the River pattern for Megan Nielsen and I have worn at least one of my two versions every week since finishing.
When the call came out, I was initially drawn to how the pattern is reversible. It seemed great to have a item you could change up just by turning it around. Once I got my hands on the pattern I was impressed at just how versatile it was. Would I make it out of a woven or knit? Would I prefer the round or v neck at the front? Should I mix up the fabrics and choose a contrast for the raglan sleeves or add piping for definition? Do I add pockets or not? And finally, dress or top? So many options!
After staring at my stash for a long time, I finally pulled out an African wax print which had been waiting to become something fun. I knew then that I would be making the dress version - I wanted to show off the print as much as possible. I went very simple in this version and changed the neckline slightly. The neckband didn't work well with the print so I switched it for a bias finish. The cotton makes for a perfect spring and summer dress. These photos are from our trip to Bruges last year where the Spring weather was stunning and I was apparently tired!
When River came out for a second round of testing, we were entering autumn and I had just purchased a floral scuba from Fabworks. This time I followed the instructions for the neckband which went in perfectly to create a nice crisp v neckline. I also appreciated the other changes - the hem became a longer and felt more appropriate for the cooler weather. As with my first version, I chose to keep the make simple. The scuba is fabulous and so comfortable that it feels like I am wearing secret pyjamas during the day. This version can be very casual or dressed up a little for the office with a pair of black winter boots.
The pattern has a fair amount of ease in the waist - too much for me to feel comfortable wearing the dress as it is. With both dresses, I style them with a belt which feels a little subtler than the fabric waist tie the pattern suggests. The ease is partly why I haven't yet made the top but I would probably size down for it. I'm a big fan of the depth of the hems, which is the same at the sleeves. It adds a decent amount of weight to cotton and helps it hold it shape.
Another great feature of this pattern is just how easy it comes together. This is a dress you can whip up in an evening or take very, very slowly over the weekend. This pattern really is a winner and I've had to resist the urge to make a version for every day of the week!