Shirt dress staple!

A review of Darling Ranges Dress and Top

Mel Forrest

Reviewed by Mel Forrest on 16th September, 2020

I love shirt dresses and they are always on constant rotation in my wardrobe. I’ve seen so many fabulous versions of the Darling Ranges dress I just had to give it a try! It’s not a challenging pattern, so I think it could be a good project for a beginner sewist.

Prior to making this view A version of the dress I made a wearable toile of view C. I made a size 4, but wasn’t very happy with the fit – there was some gaping at the neckline and for some reason it was tight across the bust. I made a quick toile of the bodice before I made view A in the same size and the fit was perfect! After chatting with a few other sewists it seems the fit of the dress can be a bit problematic, so I would recommend making a muslin – particularly if you are about to cut into some special fabric.

I decided to use some very beautiful Rifle Paper Co quilting cotton for my dress, which was a birthday present. Although the fabric is only 110cm wide, I managed to cut everything from 2.5m of fabric without too much pattern Tetris!

The instructions are easy to follow, well-explained and good quality. I have made a number of Megan Nielsen patterns and they are always a pleasure to work with. The only alterations I made were to extend the waist ties by 50% so that I could tie a slightly bigger bow and I omitted the elastic from the sleeve hem.

I’m really pleased with my dress and have plans to make a striped linen version for next summer. I wouldn’t make any changes in future, but I think it would be fun to play with the directions of the stripes on the bodice and skirt and maybe add patch pockets instead of in-seam as a design detail.