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!

T-Shirt Success!

I have a love-hate relationship with t-shirts. I love wearing them, but hate buying them. Because of this, I only buy cheap t-shirts and they last like cheap t-shirts do. I’ve tried and tried to make a wearable t-shirt for myself, but never enjoyed much success. You can see my failures here and there is another one on my blog somewhere, but I can’t find it. Clearly my vague blog titles and lack of tagging is now becomming an issue….

Anyway, here are another two fails.

Made with Vintage Simplicity 5133 (c 1981) which I have successfully used here. But I can not remember what I did to make that dress work. BTW – I love that dress and wear it often in summer.

Made with the free Blank Canvas T-Shirt pattern from 3 Hours Past. I made the wrong size, then tried to make it smaller along the side seams, but it didn’t work. the shoulders and sleeves are too big.

My key problem with t-shirt making, me thinks, is that my tightwad, love-hate t-shirt self, never purchased a proper t-shirt pattern. I’ve always tried to fudge up a pattern, but given that I have practically no experience sewing with stretch fabric, I’ve failed and failed and failed. I have tried to save money, but in effect, I have cost myself more money in wasted time and fabric. I should have just purchased a bloody pattern in the beginning!!

Finally, I’ve seen the light and purchased a proper pattern – the Sewaholic Refrew. I was inspired by Marie and Leith’s collection of Refrews that they made for the One Week, One Pattern challenge. They all look great. Much better than my dud t-shirts, which have been relegated to sleep wear or re purposed into tights for Adele.

So, without further ado – let me introduce first Renfrew. View A with 3/4 sleeves.

This was a trial tee made with some cotton jersey that I picked up from the Op Shop here. It only cost $1, so I wasn’t too worried if it didn’t work. Well, imagine my surprise when it turned out completely wearable. The only down side to this tee is the fabric. It’s a little flimsy. More like something you’d make PJs out of, so it has become another PJ top. I didn’t add the waist or cuff bands as I knew this would be a sleep top.

Refrew No 2. View C with 3/4 sleeves

This was made with rayon poly burnout jersey from  Spotlight. Again, completely wearable, flattering and comfortable. I wasn’t sure about the cowl neck, but I love it! Can you tell I’m still surprised with myself?? I almost exclusively used my overlocker to make this, except for setting the sleeves. I did not stitch down the neck seam as you can’t see it and it doesn’t sit poorly so why bother.

Refrew No. 3. View A with 3/4 sleeves

This tee was made with a ponte from Spotlight. I know you don’t normally make t-shirts from ponte, but there are limited stretch options for adults at Spotlight. I liked the colour and I figure it will be nice and warm and not stretch out.

I’m extremely happy with how all of these t-shirts have turned out. The pattern fits remarkably well straight from the packet. I made a straight size 2 and the only changes I might make to the next few is to add maybe 1/4 inch to the shoulder and I may try Carolyn’s stretch binding method, especially for any striped versions, to avoid top stitching the neck binding and to allow fabric matching.

Happy days!

Pattern: Sewaholic Refrew = $19 inc shipping

Refrew No 1 = $1 Op Shop
Refrew No 2 = $15.54. 2m Burnout Rayon/Poly Jersey from Spotlight @ 40% off
Refrew No 3 = $11.69 1.3m Ponte from Spotlight @ 40% off.

Thread from stash
Total  = $47.23 for three t-shirts

Can’t wait to make more! I might have to buy some posh fabric like Leith for my next batch.

Thanks Sis!

My older sister wrote me an email recently asking if my boobs were still small. I checked. They were. I’m not holding out for a change in that department. One benefit of this slightness in bustness, is that sometimes other people buy clothes which turn out to be too snug around their less small bust. She posted me a blouse which no longer fit her.

Jaw dropping moment when I saw the Emerson Made bag that it arrived in. (Emerson Made is now Emerson Fry it appears). This blouse was my inspiration for this and this project, but this one is made in silk!

I adore the pleated neckline and the sleeves are just right. The blouse is possible half an inch smaller than I’d like around my own bust/back, but fits just fine so long as I don’t undertake any aerobics while wearing it.

I don’t think I’d ever buy a blouse this expensive, so it feels quite luxurious to own. Thanks Sis – I love it!

In other news, check out this cool cardigan that I picked up today from Target in the kids section!

Why do kids get all the rainbow coloured clothes? For $17 I had to have it. How funny will it be when I wear it to school and students notice that they own the same cardigan?? He he!

Colette Pastille

Dress completed, but it’s one of those ‘not 100% happy’ projects 🙁

The fabric, a black silky cotton fabric with little olive, white and pink dots, is from Cottonholic on Etsy. While the fabric is lovely, it feels more like a rayon which I don’t think suits this dress.  The pattern calls for a crisp fabric and this wasn’t one. The weave also means the dots aren’t straight and that kinda bugs me. I wish I’d have made a blouse with it! Blah – fabric regrets!

While I really like the sweet heart neckline and little cap sleeves, the fit of the dress is a little off. You can see in these photos that there is a little too much ease in the bodice. It shouldn’t be too hard to fix as the zipper is in the back, but I’m not sure I love it enough to try.

I made a straight size two, but maybe I should have made an 0 – this sizing thing is a constant struggle, just like clothes shopping. The only changes that I made to the pattern was a SBA and I re shaped the sleeves a little, tapering the shoulder seam down to accommodate my small shoulders. I also didn’t mark all of the tucks along the bottom of the skirt, but rather fudged them up at the end. They look fine though. The dress is a little longer than pictured. I think the angle of my camera makes it look shorter.

Anyway, it’s a little too cool to wear this dress now. Maybe I’ll pull it out again later and see how I feel wearing it with a belt and tights.

Pattern: Colette Pastille from the Colette Sewing Handbook. Used before. = free
Fabric: 1.5m Wide Silky Cotton from Cottonholic inc part shipping = $21.00
Zipper: $3
Thread: from stash
Total: $24.00