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MN2007 River / Sewalongs

Inspiration & Ideas for the River Dress and Top

inspiration and ideas for the River top and dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

Hey everyone! The River sewalong will be starting tomorrow, so I wanted to go ahead and help you guys with some inspiration & ideas for creating your own unique version! River is so great because it already provides you with the option of top or dress, and can be made in almost any fabric under the sun. From a heavier scuba knit top to a lightweight linen or chambray dress to a lounge-like sweatshirt version. If you can dream it, you can do it! And because it’s so versatile, it also lends itself to some great hacks and variations. So let’s take a look at some inspiration & ideas!

inspiration and ideas for the River top and dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

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The easiest way to add your own personal touch to your River top or dress is with contrasting colors or fabrics on the raglan sleeves. Keep it simple with two different colors, or a solid color and a print. Or play with fabric choice! I’m dying over those velvet sleeves. And sheer sleeves would be so pretty!

inspiration and ideas for the River top and dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

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River is a great loose, relaxed fit. This means, that because it doesn’t have any darts or fitted details, you can easily play with length, width, and proportion! Here are some ideas:

  • Lengthen to maxi length (and maybe a dad slit or two. This would probably work best for the woven version, in a lightweight fabric.
  • Shorten the sleeves to cap length, or make them longer to the elbow.
  • Slash your front and back pieces to add more volume, creating a more flowy A-line silhouette. This would look great belted like the above photo!
  • Crop it and add a gathered skirt or peplum piece for a completely different look! I love how they added gathered ruffles to the sleeves in that last photo, too.
inspiration and ideas for the River top and dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

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A few more detailed ideas:

  • Instead of cutting on the fold, create a seam at center from or center back. Make it a clean seam, fun exposed seam like that first photo, or even add an exposed zipper.
  • Add patch pockets instead of side seam pockets (we’ll have a tutorial for this at the end of the sewalong!)
  • Try some embroidery – very trendy right now.
  • Use a ribbed trim at the decline instead of creating a neckband. This would be cute if you’re going for more of a leisure/sweatshirt look.
  • My favorite detail – add something fun to the raglan seams! IT could be as simple as topstitching, piping, tiny buttons, pom pom trim, or small ruffles. Psssst – We’ll shoe you how to add ruffles in a tutorial at the end of the sewalong!)

What do you guys think? Do you have any other ideas? We’d love to hear them!


LOOKING FOR MORE RIVER POSTS?

Here’s the full list of River posts and tutorials:

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNriver and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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About Author

Holly writes part time for the Megan Nielsen blog– sewing like crazy, creating tutorials and sewalongs. She has been sewing since she was a little girl, and has her degree in apparel design. Now she’s a stay at home mama, and spends all her free nap times at her sewing machine.

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