Darling Ranges Dress

There’s been a lot of talk about the Darling Ranges dress in blogland. How could I not jump on the bandwagon and snap up the pattern for this adorable little dress??

Apologies for the bad photos. The weather here is horrible and during the only break in the rain,
the glare created over exposed, glowy shots.

I love wearing v-neck garments. I find it is much easier to wear a busy print when it’s a v-neck. It keeps busy fabric a little further away from your face, making wearing a little more comfortable. Do you find that, or is it just me?

Anyway, this dress is adorable and I LOVE it. I used some positively divine Liberty Lantana fabric – perfect for winter.

Now while I do love this dress, I need to say that I did have a bit of trouble fitting this dress. I had read a number of reviews prior to tackling this pattern, where people noted that the bodice was short (which I believe it is supposed to be), the v-neck low and the shoulders tight. So before cutting into my Liberty I made a muslin, adding 1/4 inch to each shoulder, raising the neck by one inch and adding 1/2 inch to the length of the bodice.

Unfortunately, this did not greatly improve the fit of the dress. The shoulders were still quite tight, so much that I had to pull the sleeves down for them to sit on my shoulders. I don’t have large shoulders, in fact probably the opposite. The waist was still a little short for my liking and there was some excess fabric around my underarms. I was not happy. I wish I could show you the muslin, but it was made with totally crazy fabric from my stash, which wouldn’t show in photographs the true extent of the fitting problems.

To fix the fit, I made quite a few changes including:

  • adding almost an inch to the back of each shoulder grading to just a 1/4 inch at the top front. I found most of the shoulder fitting issues were in the back bodice where the shoulder/sleeve seam sat way off where it was supposed to be.
  • addied a further 3/4 inch to the length of the bodice. I’ll probably remove 1/4 inch for the next one,
  • moved the bust dart up and across an inch,
  • raised the bottom of the armscye 3/8 inch and
  • redrafted the sleeve a little to tackle some of the extra fabric around my underarm. I should note that I think this dress style intentionally incorporates extra, blousey fabric around the bodice, but I’m just not a fan of the bit under my arm.

Now these changes are probably a little difficult to understand when written here like this, but they weren’t too hard to make. Let me know if you want to see pics of the changes and I’ll send them to you.

To finish the dress, I gathered and finished the arm bands with bias tape, rather than elastic. I also ran a little elastic around the back waist, rather than add the ties. This means I can wear a belt with the dress, which is more my style. I have created a simple waist tie for now as my belt is currently out on loan to a friend. Lastly, I used two more buttons than specified as I didn’t want a wardrobe malfuntion in the classroom.

I’m so happy with this dress that I’ve just cut my second from Liberty Mitsi fabric in grey. Although I’m contemplating only making the two waist buttons functional as that’s all I need to get this dress on and off. All of those buttons and buttonholes were a little time consuming. Is that one cheat too many??

Pattern: Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielson = $21.50 inc part shipping
Fabric: 1.5m Liberty Lantana from Shaukat = $54 inc part shipping
Buttons: 14 from Lincraft = $5.60
Thread: $3.20
Total: $84.30 – A little expensive, but I think it’s worth it.

Happy Sewing!

  • i like your dress. i had completely different fitting issues from you. i always enjoy seeing other versions of the same pattern. it's so inspiring!

  • this dress looks comfy!

    For the new darling ranges, I think you can get away with putting four buttons down to the waist band and leaving the skirt button free, but only two buttons (unless you're going to hide them) will look odd.

    • LOL – all buttons will be on the new dress, just not functional. Yes it would look funny with only two buttons at the waist. Just trying to be a little lazy. 🙂

  • This looks really lovely and you'd never have guessed that you had serious fitting issues! I have this pattern too, but I'm a little scared to try it now ;o) It'll have to wait until I have a little more free time on my hands!

  • Looks lovely. Looks like all your fitting efforts paid off. It must be quite satisfying to know that you have the skills needed to get a good fit.

  • Oh I love Liberty and this is a great print for Autumn/Winter. This is such a pretty pattern, but I'm not sure I'd have the skills to custom fit like you did. I have my eye on that blouse pattern from the same brand.

  • I am beyond impressed with your sewing abilities and this pretty dress! I have a sewing machine and while I have begun to master basic homewares sewing (cushions, curtains – straight lines in other words!) I tried a dress for the first time and wasn't too happy! Oh well, I'll stick with it and be inspired by fabulous sewers like yourself xx

    Anna (My Design Ethos)

  • Oh dear – now I am really worried about my version of this dress! I threw myself inotthe project without checking the size or fit and even though it is nearly finished I still haven't tried it on… and the mistakes I made resulted in me raising the bodice by about 3 cm! Yours looks lovely! I just wish I had slowed down enough to make a muslin for mine!