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Laura’s Matilda Dress

May’s Luxury SewHayleyJane Box included 3.5m of stunning cotton poplin from Roo-tid. Laura used it to make a Megan Nielsen Matilda dress

I don’t know about you, but this weather has me longing for picnics. Those ones straight out of a Jane Austen novel, with cake stands and bone china teacups.

As soon as I saw the Luxury fabric this month, it was crying out to be a shirt dress. It is the perfect weight, impeccably clean and crisp, and the leaf vine print is just so cute and summery. I have a lot of shirt patterns in my repertoire, but none seemed quite right for the vibe I was going for. I briefly considered drafting my own by Frankenstein-ing some together, but I couldn’t get it quite right.

Some browsing later, I soon stumbled upon the Matilda dress from Megan Nielsen, and it was exactly the vibe. Being a pear shape, I love fit and flare dresses on me to bring me in at the waist and skim over my hips.

The Matilda dress is described as a “modern utility style shirt dress”. It has shaping in the bodice from princess seams with optional pockets and two sleeve options.

My measurements put me just outside of the regular Megan Nielsen size range, so I opted for the pattern in the curve range, which is designed for a dressmaker’s D cup. I am however a dressmaker’s B cup, so a small bust adjustment was in order.

I chose my size based on the high bust measurement (full bust minus 4 inches for D cup) to get the right fit across the back and shoulders. Thankfully my other measurements fit nicely in a straight size.

An SBA on princess seams does pose a trickier challenge, especially on this pattern as there is a front yoke to consider. I ended up using the simple alteration tutorial on the By Hand London website that was for the Kim dress as the pieces looked similar. It involved simply slashing horizontally at the fullest part of the bust to the side seam allowance (thank you the Jenerates seam circle from the March box!) and hinging it upwards to decrease the length at the bust.

The difference between a dressmaker’s B and D cup is 2 inches, so I reduced mine by an inch (1 for each side). You then need to make sure that the front piece is shortened by an inch, as well as the placket.

I played around with the direction of the grain when cutting out, mainly so I didn’t have to worry about pattern matching!

As with all new patterns, I usually browse the hashtag on Instagram for inspiration. Versions with piping details looked amazing, but I came across one that had colour blocked a patterned fabric with a plain that just caught my eye. I chose this gorgeous light sage green to compliment the leaves.

Topstitching lovers rejoice as there is topstitching aplenty in this pattern. It just makes everything really neat. I think it would look amazing with some contrasting thread.

It all came together like a dream. The drafting is impeccable and was a real joy to sew with the cotton. It came out exactly how I envisioned with the contrasting green and different directions of the vine print.

And the fit? Well, it fits like an absolute glove. Taking the extra time to do the bust adjustment made all the difference. It is so comfortable to wear and I love how it looks on me.

And you guys know I’m a sucker for buttons! These ones are from Pigeon Wishes in the colourway “Surrealist”. The green matches perfectly, and I love the added pop of blue and pink.

Now, where is my cake stand?