true bias rio ringer dress side

The Kind-of LBD: True Bias Rio Ringer Dress Review

The True Bias Rio Ringer pattern came across my Instagram feed at exactly the right moment. I’d been living in leggings ridden with holes (that I just can’t bring myself to throw away because they’re SO SOFT), T-shirts, and zip-up hoodies. Not that there’s anything wrong with dressing like that—I think we’re all allowed to dress however we want right now. But I’ve also found that putting in even the minimal amount of effort can really boost my mood and make me stand a little taller at my “alternative” standing desk… made of board games and cookbooks.

standing desk
how meta, a photo of me writing this very blog

I definitely feel a little better throughout the day if I put on at least one item of for-public-consumption clothing. Bonus points if this piece of clothing is super comfortable and fits into the #secretpajamas category.

true bias rio ringer dress front

true bias rio ringer dress

true bias rio ringer dress back

true bias rio ringer dress close

I’m thrilled to say that the Rio Ringer Dress meets all of the aforementioned criteria! It’s the first pattern in a long while that I’ve finished sewing within two days of buying the PDF pattern and printing it out. A serger definitely speeds up the process here, but this would be a relatively quick sew on a regular sewing machine, too.

Rio Ringer Dress – The Details

  • Pattern: Rio Ringer T-Shirt & Dress by True Bias, which comes in two sizing ranges (0-18 and 14-30)
  • Fabric: Jersey knit from Oak Fabrics for the body and sleeves (95% cotton, 5% spandex), Merchant and Mills ribbing from Oak Fabrics for the binding (it’s expensive but you only need 1/4 yard!)
  • Size: 8 (my measurements are 36-29-39; 6’0″ with a long torso)
  • Alterations: Added 3/4″ at the lengthen line (waist) and 3/4″ to the hem
  • Construction: I used my serger for everything except the binding and hem. I followed Kelli’s sewalong on her Instagram stories, and she’s also hosting one on her blog. (Sidenote: Is there a way to pause Instagram stories? I had to keep tapping back to replay the instructions since I wasn’t keeping up with her steps in real time). She instructs you to attach the binding in the flat instead of the round, a method that I’ve only tried once before and LOVE here. The bands lie perfectly flat. It’s a little fiddly topstitching/attaching layers of binding to the sleeve, but just go slow and use lots of pins. Mine’s not perfect, but black thread, binding and fabric hide a lot!

The Verdict

I could use a little more room at the shoulders since mine are very broad, but I love how this turned out! I may add an extra inch to the hem if I make this again to have a more work-appropriate summer dress. I think I shaved more than 3/8″ off the seam allowance when I was serging the sleeves, so those are a tad tight, too, but not enough to bother me.

mask and rio ringer dress
When your mask matches your shoes

Part of me wanted to make a dress with contrasting binding, like most of the samples True Bias showed, but I thought my first stab at this pattern should be a little more versatile. This kind of qualifies as a Little Black Dress, right?

Have you been inspired to sew lately? Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve made a stack of masks, so it’s definitely nice to take a break and make a garment. Just-for-fun sewing stress relief is a real thing!

 

MN dawn jeans straight leg

I Made Jeans Again! Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans Review

I am proud to share my latest contribution to the verrrrry Slow Fashion movement: Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans! Nearly six months after buying the fabric and notions, they’re finally done. Whew!

I put “Finish what you start” and “Finish MN Dawn Jeans” (for double whammy good measure) on my list of 2020 goals, giving myself the perfect amount of accountability without too much pressure. That’s definitely how I like my hobbies lately!

Insta post of MN dawn jeans

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen my slow, erratic progress on these jeans. Since I chose a close-to-black denim and mint green topstitching thread, there was a ton of topstitching and unpicking… a few times over. I wasn’t going for perfection, but I didn’t want any wonky stitches to be downright distracting. Nevertheless, it was a really satisfying piece! I referenced Megan Nielsen’s sewalong throughout construction.

Marc snapped a few photos on a very slow moving Sunday morning (a theme here!), so please excuse my grunginess.

MN dawn jeans straight leg

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MN dawn jeans straight leg

Details

I made a shorts-length muslin before cutting into my denim—thank god I did because I had a very uncomfortable wedgie that was super easy to fix by lengthening the rise. Full details below!

  • Pattern: Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans in view B (straight leg jean) with the tall full inseam (31.25″)
  • Fabric: Nonstretch denim from Oak Fabrics (I don’t think they have it in stock anymore!) and 100% cotton print from Mood for the pocket lining
  • My measurements: 6’0″ tall, 36″ x 29″ x 39″
  • Size: Cut between an 8 and 10 at the waist and hip, graded to an 8 from the thigh down
  • Alterations:
    • Took a 1″ wedge out of the yoke
    • Lengthened rise (crotch length) on front and back by 1″
    • Shortened pocket bag by 1″ after reading Lladybird’s review

MN dawn jeans back

MN dawn jeans back close

MN dawn jeans straight leg

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MN dawn jeans straight leg with belt
Yay a belt actually fits through the loops!

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The Verdict

Construction

While they did take for-ev-er, these jeans weren’t a crazy hard sew. I’d say that the stated 3/5 level of difficulty is accurate. This pattern is impeccably drafted and the directions are straightforward (especially if you follow the sewalong). I struggled with hand-sewing the buttonhole, because my zipper was really long and extended up into the waistband. I don’t think the directions called for this, but in retrospect I should have removed the extra teeth with pliers. Live and learn.

My one piece of advice is to MAKE A MUSLIN! If you’re going to sink hours and hours into sewing a pair of jeans, you might as well take the extra few hours to make sure they fit great.

Fit

These are the highest-waisted jeans I’ve ever worn! Despite it being a little trickier to bend over in these, they’re surprisingly comfortable. They’re a little snug since I’m not used to nonstretch jeans, but overall they felt great sitting through two meals.

I am debating going back and cropping them since the inseam is in this weird spot between cropped and regular length (shall we just call them floods for now?), but Marc insisted that the look great. I’m going to give them a few more wears and see! You can always chop, but you can’t add fabric back, so I’m hesitant. I thought cutting these at the tall full inseam and adding an extra inch at the crotch would be fine, but I wish they were a little longer.

Overall, I’m loving these jeans and will definitely be exploring some of the other views. I’ve been primarily wearing skinny jeans for the past several years, so this straight leg version feels ultra roomy and a little strange, but it’s a nice change of pace.

Now please enjoy these gratuitous photos of my dog, Cora, who made it almost impossible to take detail shots.