The Magnolia meets Emma Hill A

I often find myself asking, "which came first, the pattern or the fabric?"  That moment when the combination of a new pattern you've been dying to try meets with the new fabric you are desperate to make something from.  It can feel magical, a perfect pairing made to be.  

Those were my exact feelings as I dug into the Deer and Doe Magnolia, a surplice-bodiced dress, with options for maxi and knee length skirts, as well as two dramatic sleeve options.  While I love the silhouette of the full length option, I knew I would get more daily wear out of a slightly more understated design, and went with View B.  

The fabric is another story - it kept staring at me from across the studio!  As a part of the Open Call collection, this gorgeous, painterly abstract design was created as part of a competition seeking new designers and fresh talent.  


Emma Hill A (my purple fabric) was designed, unsurprisingly, by the tremendously talented Emma Hill - check out her instagram to see more of her beautiful work! The movement, colors, and organic feel of the print kept me looking at it over and over again, seeing something new each time.  I knew I needed to make it into a dress, if only to feel like a painting come to life!

As far as construction, making this dress was fairly straight forward.  I found the pattern and instructions from Deer and Doe easy to follow, and only had one trouble spot.  I initially had issues getting the cross-over part of the bodice to lay correctly as marked, and needed to put it on my dress form to futz with before deciding on basically the original placement.  

I also decided to line the bodice for extra stability and to make the inside look extra finished - this isn't something I always do, but it feels so nice putting on something completely finished inside and out.  As a final personal design touch, I made some bias tape from a piece of cotton my sister had hand-dyed years ago and gifted to me.  The oranges and purples work great with the Emma Hill, and I like the definition it gives to the shape of the neckline. 

This has become one of my favorite go-to summer dresses, both for the pattern and the print.  They just go together, like ice cream and cones, or beaches and sunscreen, or handmade bias tape and slightly steamed fingers!