Pattern Review – Darling Ranges Dress

Released in 2010 and widely featured in highly covetable versions near and far, I’m fairly certain that this pattern needs little introduction. Aye readers – it’s Megan Nielsen‘s Darling Ranges dress. Having now ticked this off my Must Make list, I can very much vouch for
the pattern description which states that it’s “easily adaptable and
incredibly flattering”. I’m particularly fond of the high waisted style
and while it can be worn in a looser style, I decided to run with a more
fitted bodice.


The pattern instructions are clear and simple to follow and the dress came together very easily. The only stage that I stalled on was (unsurprisingly and through no fault of the pattern) the bit where I had to sew on twelve buttons. You’ll be pleased to know that it was nothing some good company and a couple of beverages couldn’t help me get over the line with.

I’m very happy with how it finished up but there’s definitely room for improvement. The fit is good but not great and I could do with a little more room across the back. I was going to omit the back tie but in the end, felt that it helped with the overall bodice fit. I also varied the sleeve finish by sewing a regular hem rather than the suggested elastic casing. Oh, and I applied fusing tape along both button plackets for extra stable buttonholes. Well, there ARE twelve…

The bust dart placement didn’t work for me and I’ve read that a few others had this problem. Megan has put together a very helpful tutorial on dart manipulation which I’d definitely recommend, along with her other catalogued posts for the Darling Ranges sew-a-long. I used a hardcopy version purchased earlier last year and in November 2013 a new version was released (pdf only) with dart placement revised from bust to waist.

The fabric is our Liberty Tiny Dancer Purple (also available in Grey) 100% cotton tana lawn and gave me no end of pleasure to sew. For that, I give equal parts credit to Liberty, Megan Nielsen and this leaping hipster dude. Bearded, no less.

This print is from a mid 2013 seasonal Liberty range, but did you know that we received our latest seasonal collection in December? Oh yes we did, and they’re lovely. You can check them all out here.