This is my take on the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen which is an easily adaptable modern shirt dress. That pattern features a V-neck, button front, high waistline and ties at the back to allow it to be worn in a fitted or loose style.
The pattern is listed at a cost of £21.99 on the Minerva website. Unfortunately my measurements fall outside those of the pattern so even if I were to splash out and purchase the pattern I would still have to make a number of changes to get the dress to fit me.
I took a comparatively short cut. Using my TNT bodice block I drafted a V-neckline with button front and short sleeves. Depending on my desire at the time of cutting out/making up, the dress could also be made to include a button-through the skirt, bodice with or without waist darts front and/or back, concealed side seam pockets, with or without self fabric tie belt set into side seams. At a later date I can also draft different sleeves: tulip, ¾ length or full length into button cuff.
For this first wearable toile I used some charming Blue background printed cotton poplin featuring abstract flowers, retro leaves and partially hidden cranes that I bought from JJ Textiles of Manchester. I purchased 5 metres for £25.00 inclusive of post & packing. After cutting out the pattern including skirt panels measuring twice the width of the fabric x 30 inches length I still had a generous 2 metres of fabric left. Enough to make a blouse or shirt.
So on with the construction. This is a comparatively easy make but as it was a wearable toile I did have to make some minor fit adjustments; I reduced the length of the back bodice to allow for my sway back. I found the front bodice too fitted and so let out the front waist darts a little. I made the rear neck facing extra deep so that I could add my ‘Carousel’ label but the front facing was kept to 2½ inches wide. I marked up for 5 buttons on the bodice and later added 7 buttons for the skirt. The buttons are placed 2¼ inches apart. I used ½ inch 4-hole faux tortoiseshell buttons from my stash that I originally purchased from Abakhan many years ago. Concealed side seam pockets were added and the skirt panels gathered onto the bodice waistline. The hem of approximately 1 inch was stitched using the blind hemmer on my sewing machine. All seam allowances were overlocked.
Conclusion: The dress is a good fit on the bodice and I like the V-neckline with button front. However, this cotton poplin has a lot of ‘body’ and I would have preferred a 4-gore ½ circle skirt. A gathered skirt would be best if using a viscose or polyester that has better drape qualities.
The only other thing which has annoyed me – and it is totally my own fault, is the fact that I did not pattern match the bodice and thus there are two dominant motifs on the front. I will remember next time!
Project #7 completed 26th January 2021