Today I’m really excited to share the Darling Ranges dress as part of the Sew My Style project hosted by Bluebird Fabrics. Sew My Style is a year long project featuring a different pattern every month. I’ve been popping in here and there with my own makes as time permits. I made a point of making time for this dress though because I’ve had the pattern printed out for at least two years. It’s been in my queue for ages but somehow never makes it to the cutting table.
The pattern is designed my Megan Nielsen and features a V-neck, button front, gathered skirt with in-seam pockets and short sleeves. The only design modification I made was to simply hem the sleeves instead of gathering them with elastic. I also left off the back ties. I made the ties but felt like they weren’t really necessary so I haven’t sewn them on.
Like all of Megan’s patterns, this one has excellent instructions and was a pleasure to sew. I didn’t see it in the instructions (however it is in the sewalong) but I applied interfacing to the button band to give it a little more heft. Otherwise I stitched it up pretty much as instructed. If you need some people sewing yours, make sure to check out this tips post on the Bluebird Fabrics blog. There are also a lot of great Darling Ranges hacks out on the web (just give it a google). Plus, Megan has lots of tutorials and a full sewalong on her site.
Using my past experience with her patterns as a guide, I decided to cut a size M and use the longest length. The darts on this dress seemed too long for me so I shortened them by about 2 inches. I cut the skirt 28 inches long and added 1” to the sleeve length (although I think that addition was not really necessary, just a safeguard). For reference, my measurements are roughly bust 38”, waist 28”, hips 39” and height 5’11”. I think the fit is really good and as of now, I wouldn’t change anything.
I bought this gorgeous fabric during a visit to Portland, OR about a year ago. It’s from the Pendleton Woolen Mill store in the Milwaukie neighborhood. At this store they sell fabric leftover from their clothing and blankets. There’s lots of wool (which I’m sadly allergic to) but occasionally some really nice apparel fabric. Their fabrics are not available for purchase online but I found a similar print at Mood. This fabric is a nice medium/light cotton. It’s not as soft as the red fabric I used for the Tea House Dress but I think it will soften with wear and washing.
After a full day wearing this dress I can confidently say that it was a success. With the sleeves, it's a great dress for transitional seasons. That said, the sleeves make it a little warm on days that are super hot. I'd love to make a chambray version that's sleeveless and maybe try a scoop neck. Have you tried out this pattern yet? Do you have a favorite shirtdress pattern?