Made by Me!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Darling Ranges Dress Finished!

I know it seems as though I have been living under a rock for the last few years to have only just sewn up the Darling Ranges dress from Megan Nielsen but in fairness I think it was one of the first indie patterns I bought way back when I first started sewing, its just taken a while to reach to the top of the 'to do' pile. I am trying hard to gradually tick off the patterns I never got round to doing and I have seen so many people over the years who have made this up and there are some very pretty versions out there. For some reason its the pattern in my collection that I always pick up and put down when considering what to make - and so this time I made an effort to actually do it knowing otherwise it may unwittingly end up being unused for another year! 

After my last 'finished garment' post (Gertie's wrap dress) I said I always seem to do toiles now but for some reason - lets call it a hangover and general lethargy at the idea - I didn't bother doing it with this pattern. Something I completely kicked myself for when I started sewing the bodice together. My measurements fit the pattern exactly and the design was so simplistic I argued to myself what could go wrong.....?? Well the bust darts for one. They are so weird - they are huge and made my boobs look off centre as they were too short and pointy like something out of a Madonna video circa 1990. I tried steaming them over a ham but whilst that made the area more rounded the boob still had a lot of point to it and it still wasn't going to fall in the right place. In the end I picked apart the seams and a little of the serging I had done on the seam allowance, elongated the darts by about 1 inch and tailed them off a little more to avoid the severe end to the dart. If you look closely it still isn't great but I couldn't make huge alterations because it was far too late for that so a shambolic fix would have to do.

With belt!
Without belt!
At that stage I put the project down and left it for a while. I need a break from something when it refuses to go my way. The rest of the pattern was really straight forward and easy to put together though. I liked the way that the pattern used bias tape around the neck rather than facings and if I had enough fabric would have made some myself rather than resorting to shop bought stuff. It's a really clever little technique and not one I have seen before - but I think I would definitely use it again. If nothing else it's a fabric saver if you haven't got enough fabric left to make facings. Essentially you use bias binding to enclose the raw fabric around the neckline and then the plackets are folded over to cover up the end of the bias tape.When its finished it's all neat and enclosed...voila! Sorry the photos aren't great here and the fabric appears to attract fluff as well!

Now to talk about the fabric, this one is from Atelier Brunette and is called 'Bye Bye Birdie' in black - it's simple in design and really rather lovely don't you agree?? I know you are wondering why I so quickly avoided one resolution to think before cutting such a lovely fabric... well we cant all be perfect can we?! This fabric is a cotton which feels the same as a lawn in weight so its not too heavy. I can therefore see myself wearing this in the spring and summer as well - providing I get tanned legs as the whiteness of my skin can be a bit of a shocker to the eye!!

I think what I should point out here is that I am completely unable to dress in a seasonally appropriate manner and so generally will try and wear items that are not quite right for winter and layer myself with tights and thermals underneath instead - and even then not to a point of being warm enough. I never got winter dressing for some reason and my wardrobe has always been a little lost and confused at this time of year, maybe I am just always hopeful it will be warm soon and I can hold out just a little longer so there's no point in making anything too seasonal and cosy....mmm I realise this is stupid but hey...

Anyway back to the construction. It's the first time in ages whilst in the middle of making up a garment that I suddenly began to feel unsure of what the finished item was going to look like. Usually the vision of the finished piece is strong and I get so excited about the prospect of seeing the final piece and finally wearing it that it pushes me to finish it. With this dress I only really completed it because I didn't want an unfinished object staring at me from my fabric stash until I re-purposed it. That's how little I had high hopes for this dress. I think it's because half way through I suddenly thought it reminded me of dresses I used to wear ten years ago, and it felt a little like I was stepping back in time style wise. It's probably why I have subconsciously avoided making it for so long. I am not saying it isn't a lovely dress or a nice style but I realise that it just feels like something I owned a while ago.

I do think however that after all the worry it's turned out pretty well - not my favourite but not a complete fail either. It may not be the best fitting garment but it's a nice addition to my wardrobe. I really like the colourful buttons, which were bought a long time ago for a top for my niece. I deliberately bought far too many as I knew I would want to use them on something for myself in the future.

In fact this dress has been great for reducing stashed extras, buttons, thread and bias tape and hey an old pattern! I am not sure if I would hurry to stitch it up again but if I did I would want to do a toile to modify the pattern and make sure the bodice fit better. I will also probably be getting rid of the ties on the back of the dress as I think I prefer it with a belt. I wanted to show it both ways here though so you could see it as it was intended to be sewn together but I don't think you can really see the difference on the black fabric and in the back view I am also standing awkwardly! I also don't think the ties are really long enough - I just managed to tie them into a bow here but I would prefer something longer really. I also realised when I had finished photographing the dress that it pulled slightly on the buttons around the bust because I tied the waist ties at the back - another reason to get rid of them! I hadn't noticed this before but hopefully it wont stand out too much on the images.

So what do you think of the Darling Ranges dress? Hit or miss?! Would it be something that you would make? Or have you already made one up before? Be great to hear what you think. Happy Sewing everyone!

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