Finally, a finished Darling Ranges dress! **
Okay, so there is a reason why it took me so long (3+ months actually) to get a finished Darling Ranges dress. You see, I started sewing my first Darling Ranges back in April when Megan Nielsen, the designer, hosted a Darling Ranges sewalong on her blog.
After I had the dress almost completely sewn together, I realized that I had cut the bodice a size too small. My measurements put me at the very top of size S, and since it’s supposedly designed to be a loose-fitting dress, I went ahead and cut a size S thinking that it would be okay since I knew I wanted the bodice a little more fitted anyway.
And it is okay, but just okay. It’s a little snug up top which makes the bust darts do kind of funky things (and you don’t want bust darts doing funky things), so I never finished it.
Flash forward to mid-July when I had a few days down time while waiting for my invisible zipper foot to complete my Hazel dress.
I had already traced the size M pattern pieces for the Darling Ranges bodice and even cut the fabric for a new dress out of a nice lightweight black chambray. I was in a sewing mode so rather than twiddling my thumbs for three days while I waited for my invisible zipper foot, I broke into my new Darling Ranges!
Since this was actually the second time I’d sewn this pattern, I barely looked at the instructions, and the dress went together in nothing flat! It was seriously so easy.
I again eliminated the sleeves and finished the sleeve openings with single-fold bias binding, same as the neckline. I did make a couple modifications to the sewing process in this version.
Rather than sewing up the shoulder seams before attaching my sleeve facings, I attached the first side of my single-fold bias tape to my sleeve openings before sewing the shoulder seams. I then ironed the seam flat against the bias tape and understitched the seam to the bias tape. Then I sewed the shoulder seam, sewing all the way to the end of the bias tape. After the seam was sewn and pressed, I ironed the bias tape under to the wrong side of the dress and sewed down the sleeve facing.
This is a technique I learned while sewing the Rose Shirt from Melly Sews, and I find it really, really convenient. I hate having to take absolutely precise measurements of my sleeve facings and risk having them be slightly too long or slightly too short. This way, they are exactly right every time!
I also added back darts rather than ties to cinch in the waist. I know that I will be more likely to wear this dress with a belt and cardigan, and I just generally am not a huge fan of ties. Adding darts was really easy. I just measured the finished width, compared it to my waist measurements and decided that I needed 2 1-inch back darts. I measured out my darts equidistant from the center back bodice and sewed them down. Easy peasy, and the bodice is now a lot more fitted!
The other variation I made was using snaps instead of buttons. I hate sewing buttonholes so rather than sewing 12 of them, I ordered some pretty snaps off Etsy, broke out my snap pliers and went to town. Much easier, and I really like how they look. I think they make the dress look professional and just a tad more dressed-up than it otherwise would. After all, this dress will get lots of office wear!
In short, I L-O-V-E this dress! Comfy, cute and easily dressed either up or down. I’m already planning another–this time with short puffed sleeves 🙂 In fact, as soon as this one was finished I started ironing the next fabric!