Hello dear readers!
During one of the meetups of our BurdaStyle Sewing Group here in Perth, the lovely indie pattern designer Megan Nielsen of Megan Nielsen patterns popped by and dropped of a bunch of free patterns! What a lovely gesture! I immediately grabbed the Darling Ranges Dress, as I liked the V-neck and cute sleeves. Here’s us going crazy over the equivalent to adult cat nip.
I opened the generously sized envelope (with Velcro closing!) and found a nice set of instructions and a pattern on good white paper! Hallelujah! This is one of the reasons why I love Kwik Sew patterns as well, although I hear they’re switching to tissue like the rest of the Big 4.
What I love about this pattern is that it’s simple and I can PLAY! Whist perusing the net for inspiration (as you do), I came across this version with tucks at the shoulders and it inspired me to do the same (since I really loved my BurdaStyle tucked dress); and look at that bow at the front! I really must do that next time!
I made it with a super cut cotton voile from Spotlight (hey, sometimes you get lucky!)
Here are the full list of mods I did:
1. Moved the dart from the side to the top and replaced the dart with three tucks
2. Lowered the shoulder seam of the front bodice by 2cm and subsequently lengthened the back bodice shoulder seam by 2cm. This ensures the tucks hang attractively down the front of the bodice and don’t start right at the shoulder seam. It makes them look smoother.
3. Made a centre front seam and got rid of the buttons
4. Lowered the bodice by 5cm
5. Put darts in the back (had to modify this twice, as the first dart I drafted wasn’t long enough but it’s hard to fit yourself especially at the back!)
6. Made a 3cm wide waist band
7. Drafted a dirndl maxi skirt with three tucks on either side of both the centre front and centre back.
8. Added a back zipper
9. Dropped the bottom of the armscye 1.5cm
Here’s how I rotated the dart to the top…it’s quite simple really
a) Make two cuts, one from about 1/3 of the shoulder to the point of the dart and the second on the top dart leg leaving a tiny hinge (ie: don’t cut all the way through)
b) Move the top dart leg down so it meets the bottom dart leg. Now you have a dart at the top! You can sew this dart, or convert it to tucks as I did. This alterations will mess up the line of the side seam, so you will need to redraw it. I simply connected the bottom right corner with the corner where the sleeve ended with a straight line, but if the line is curved you may need to finesse this with a French curve ruler.
c) Now that you’ve got some cm to play with, you can make tucks that use up your extra 7cm (or whatever distance the dart is across). You can make as few or as many as you want, or simply gather the shoulder. Just make sure it equals the original shoulder width so you can match it with the shoulder seam on the back bodice pattern piece.
Easy. So, the dart is still there, you just moved it to the shoulder…the fit really hasn’t changed.
Phew! I think that’s it…here are the muslin pattern pieces and then the muslin on yours truly
I also drafted a facing for the front neckline and back neckline. This was done using my pattern pieces for the bodice – they were 5cm wide. Colette has a nice tutorial on how to do this.
I draped the skirt on the bodice to see how many tucks I wanted and how big. The skirt is just a big rectangle with three tucks on either side, each 3cm wide.
I constructed the dress and then hand picked the zipper. I always hand pick zips, since I always seem to get mismatches using the machine -someone needs to invent a walking zipper foot!
I then turned under the facings and interior waist band and fell stitched them in place to make a nice clean finish from the inside
Enough talk! Piccies please!
And on me (easy since it was 27 degrees today not 45!)
I’m really happy with the results and now that I have the pattern fit, I may just make another one one day with sleeves and a shorter skirt.
Pattern manipulation really is easy, so getting a good book is well worth the effort. I have Donals McCunn’s book from the 70s and really love it. Check it out.
Do you manipulate patterns? Tell us about your experiences (good and bad!)
Until that fine day, relax and enjoy,