My Darling Ranges Dress : : Megan Nielsen Patterns

Darling Ranges Dress, Megan Nielsen Patterns, #sewtogetherforsummer, Vancouver Sewing Blog

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a maker. Sewing. Knitting. Painting. Macrame…..the list is long and the list goes on. With that in mind my recent go at editing my belongings has felt, at times, contradictory. Oh, there’s no doubt; in the moment, it’s euphoric. I feel lighter, brighter, and…perhaps surprisingly…more creative. And. Therein lies the rub. When I feel creative I find myself accumulating more stuff. You know…the raw materials required for the creative process. And…the obvious result of said creative process? Why more stuff. Of course.

This is neither a new issue nor a big issue, but it has got me thinking. Do the raw materials I have on hand…I’m talking about you fabric stash…benefit me or hinder me? If I truly feel more creative with less…then why have a stash at all?

Darling Ranges Dress, Megan Nielsen Patterns, #sewtogetherforsummer, Vancouver Sewing Blog

With a sizable bundle of fabric donated to goodwill, I initially felt optimistic about sewing primarily from my remaining stash. But, just five garments in including my sweet Darling Ranges Dress here, and I’m feeling the siren call of fresh fabric. Will I cave? Oh, for sure. It’s inevitable. Will I continue to sew from my stash? I’m hopeful but I think the reality might be…if I don’t sew it this year, I probably won’t sew it any year.

I’m not sure what the answers are, but time will tell. I could force the subject; spreadsheets, rules, accountability, but…Oh Looky Squirrel…by now we all know that my attention span is such that I’d quickly fail on my good intentions. Better to let this play out a little more organically. I am curious, if you have a stash do you routinely sew from it? 

Darling Ranges Dress, Megan Nielsen Patterns, #sewtogetherforsummer,  Vancouver Sewing Blog

Onward ho….I’m participating in #sewtogetherforsummer, a shirt dress themed sewalong and today I’m modelling my first Megan Nielsen make…the Darling Ranges Dress. After a fitting boob-boob on my last shirt dress, I was psyched to do my first full bust adjustment and I thought…wrongly as it turned out…that the simple lines and easy fit of the Darling Ranges Dress would be a good pattern to use for my first FBA attempt. A google search netted me three options…altering a bodice with no darts, altering a bodice with a side dart, and altering a bodice with a waist dart. But ermmagawd here’s the thing….The Darling Ranges has a waist dart that is not parallel to the straight of grain. Huh? Why yes. That did throw me for a loop. And for quite some time actually. The good news is that I did figure it out and very satisfactorily I might add. In a nutshell, I ignored the dart, followed directions for altering a bodice with no dart and then added the dart back in. I’ll be publishing a quick how I did it post within the week in case you’re interested.

Darling Ranges Dress, Megan Nielsen Patterns, #sewtogetherforsummer

The pattern sewed up effortlessly. I can hardly believe it, but I made the pattern straight up, no changes. The fabric, from my stash, is 100% cotton…light and breezy for a hot summer’s day. I love that the fit is forgiving…there are ties at the back waistline so you can adjust the silhouette a little or a lot.

Darling Ranges Dress, Megan Nielsen Patterns, #sewtogetherforsummer,  Vancouver Sewing Blog

Oh hi…here I am out standing in my field at the historic Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead in Campbell Valley Park, Langley. It’s been a cold, wet spring but at least the grass is green. I think I might be smiling because we {just} managed photos before another deluge. As per usual, I’m dressed borderline seasonally inappropriate. It’s far too chilly to actually wear my summer dress….but hoorah…Suzanne Carillo clued me into styling a shirt dress as a duster. Suddenly I have twice as many ways to wear my shirt dresses!  Check out her Etsy shop, Vintage by Suzanne and see her vintage 1950s Floral Dress here.


So, are you on the shirt dress train? Valeria from h Wardrobe recently published a series of posts featuring shirt dresses, including one of me wearing My Polka Dot Dress. Thanks for the feature Valeria! Here’s a link to her blog’s home page h Wardrobe Blog.  Valeria also has an ebook with a focus on wardrobe planning and sewing.

And finally, for the curious…a photo of my hoard. My fabric is in a smallish armoire; my scraps for pockets etc. and my interfacings and linings are in a two drawer chest. Most pieces are thrift store finds, although some yardage was purchased retail…you know, when you pop in for a zipper and come out with a bag of fresh fabric…

Another Darling Ranges Dress and How I did a Full Bust Adjustment

Darling Ranges Dress : : Megan Nielsen Patterns


  • Reply Mary April 24, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    My solution to the stash issue has been to challenge myself to a one year fast when I retired, then returned to teaching last August. I shop from the closet, refashion from my clothing stash, and sew from the stash. Nine months in I have have bought 2 small pieces of lace for a refashion. This has sparked creativity in wardrobe planning and in sewing.

    • Reply Sue April 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Oh, that is impressive and inspiring Mary! You have brought up a very good point about looking at your current wardrobe anew. It’s so easy to take the easy road and buy new fabric on a whim. I can totally see how shopping your closet, refashioning and sewing from a stash would spark creativity! You’ve got me thinking that if I were to imagine all of my stash displayed in a retail store, they are still fabrics that I would be drawn to shop for.

  • Reply Andrea Bremner April 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Your stash is so tidy! Mine is a very border line messy overflowing wardrobe that I am aiming to cull at the moment. That is a great dress. I hope you get to wear it as a dress soon.

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 9:35 am

      I won’t go as far as to see my stash is ‘staged’, LOL….but back when I sorted out a heap of fabric for goodwill, everything came out of the armoire. I couldn’t help but to put it back in in some kind of order and….honestly….I haven’t really touched it much since then. The Darling Ranges fabric was pulled out back then too. 🙂

  • Reply Manju April 24, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Glad you figured out the FBA. Lately I have been sewing from my stash a lot and if I have bought fabric I try and sew it up sooner rather than later. Your stash looks very tidy. Anyway, it’s a cute dress and I am sure you will enjoy wearing it once the weather warms up.

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Whew…yes, I’m happy too thanks Manju! You can’t really tell in these photos because I’m wearing the dress as a duster, but the fit is sooooo much better! I really think your onto something good…

      Not to say definitively NO to a new fabric purchase, but to really try for that purchase to go to the top of the sewing queue. That and shopping the stash! Yes, I really like the idea!

  • Reply Curtise April 25, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Your floral dress is so pretty, Sue, and as always, your photos are wonderful.
    I’d say your fabric collection looks beautifully neat and completely manageable, so why worry?! xx

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Thanks dear Curtise! Yes, the neatness comes from a thorough culling. If/when it gets messy again, that’s a good sign…means I’ve been pulling from the stash fabrics to sew! 🙂

  • Reply pao April 25, 2017 at 5:50 am

    I say, a little snort came out when I viewed your fabric stash so neatly displayed. Could it have something to do with the obstacle course of my faltering tower of stashdom? Most definitely.

    Your shirt dress duster is divine. I’ve been thinking about them. I can’t recall if I’ve made any yet…Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between a shirt and a dress anyway.

    I pledged not to buy any patterns or fabric this year. So far, 1 pattern sneaked in, but no fabric. I have enough for several lifetimes. Limits do stimulate creativity, I think.

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 9:46 am

      LOLOLOLOL…Wot, you have a bigger stash than mine? 🙂 I can well imagine the treasure mountain of stash that you have Pao…that’s really all I need is to see your stash!

      As soon as I pledge something, anything….my brain does this crazy reverse and I do just what I pledged not to do. No fabric purchased and we’re past the first quarter is impressive! Patterns? That’s a whole ‘nuther rabbit hole, LOL.

  • Reply Beth Dewey April 25, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I do sew from my stash. Mainly test garments though since my current stash is fabric from the thrift store.

    In January I sewed from the stash at my parent’s house in Michigan and a vintage pattern (also at their house) that turned out almost exactly like your cute shirt dress here. I haven’t had the kahunas to wear it out in public yet.

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 9:50 am

      YES! Having fabric for test garments is important! And different types of fabrics so one can truly see the garment as it’s intended to look. Thanks for sharing that!

      I love the idea of using both stashed fabric and a vintage pattern. I have only one truly vintage pattern…I think it’s early sixties; a cute little A line dress. The wheels are turning for me now, thanks! Hope you get to wear your dress out soon!!

  • Reply Louisa April 25, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Glad you found some gaps in the rain clouds to show us your cute dress/duster! Oh dear, stash. Yours is not only teensy but very tidy, Sue. I find I have a hard time getting rid of anything if I can envision it in a project, even if that project never happens. Most often it finally shifts into something completely different before I get around to it. Heh. I kind of envy the minimalist stashes but I don’t actually want to have one. I like having options without having to go shopping. Luckily I have lots of storage space!

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Ha Ha Ha. With everyone telling me how tidy my stash is, I’m beginning to think I’m a little OCD. Yes…I do like to arrange my fabrics by colour…seriously, sometimes I just like to look at them and take in all the colour and pattern, LOL.

      Storage space hasn’t been brought up yet. I don’t have much space beyond what I’ve shown. Anything else would have to be in bins and for me…Out of sight is out of mind.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion April 25, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I have a lot to say.
    The shirt dress: it is a sweetheart, a real summer treasure.
    The styling: perfect with the boots, T-shirt and jeans. Ever thought of tucking your T-shirt in at the front a little? As is fashionable nowadays. Or do you think that is copycat/mainstream?
    The styling as a jacket: I was bummed that Suzanne inspired you. I thought I might have done with my red shirt dress. Oh well, great minds think alike and all that.
    The hair: I like it so much like this. A bit longer, a bit messy. Makes you look young and daring. It really suits you.
    The stack: I love fabric and I get the attraction. It is a good thing I don’t sew otherwise I would have a stack too. The thing is, you fall in love with the material, the print, the colour but… you haven’t got a pattern to go with it yet. It is like half a briefing. Once you have the pattern you know what material would suit it. And that is not always in your stack. You could sometimes do it the other way around. Take a lovely fabric and think very hard what kind of pattern does it justice. Although the normal way (pattern first) is far easier.
    Hoarding: I hoard clothes and shoes and such. Just as bad.

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Tee Hee! I love it when you have a lot to say! 🙂

      I hadn’t thought of doing the thumb tuck…that’s what stylish people call the shirt tucked into the front just a little. I think it would look cool, so thanks for the suggestion!

      Yes sorry…but Suzanne does get the credit 100%. When I saw her Etsy dress styled this way, I knew right away I was going to copy the look!

      I just got my hair styled and I’m so happy that you like it! You’ve described it just like my stylist planned…a bit longer and a bit messy looking. {Of course, the wind helps with that too, LOL} Young and daring….WOO HOO! Thank you! 🙂

      For someone who doesn’t sew, you really get the psyche behind the buy! It would be perfect if they always showed up at the same time…the perfect pattern and the perfect fabric. But you’re right; it doesn’t always happen that way, and I think that’s why my stash kind of grew! Your comment makes me aware that I could be putting more thought into my pattern choices now….ie patterns that go with my fabrics that I already have! Thanks ever so much for that Greetje!

      PS….shoes are my retail buy that I just can’t quit!

  • Reply Melanie April 25, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The sweetest dress paired with the best location to showcase it. I can’t believe all that lovely green grass with dandelions. And that red barn! I was thinking, oh, she must be freezing out there, but it’s for art after all. Your styling options for this are excellent, especially with the back ties. And I recognized those boots right away. Not a serious sewer myself, I do have quite an annoying stash, and I keep buying items to refashion. Yeah, rrrright. Hahaha. Excellent post. I can relate to your see-saw thinking. Hahaha!

    • Reply Sue April 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Yep…the things we do in the name of art. It was actually not too cold out which was good….I mean it was sunny a lot of last week, why did Saturday and Sunday have to be such bummers, LOL?

      The boots were such a lucky, lucky find! I love them and they love me!

      I hadn’t thought that you would have a stash too…but of course you see things with the idea of farking them and thus the creation of a farking stash…or a farsh, or a fash?

  • Reply Suzanne April 25, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Super cute dress! And styling if I do say so myself ; P It does create a whole new look.

    Thanks for the shout-out : )

    That is Mary Engelbreit fabric right? She was so big when I was designing.

    You chose a great location for the shoot. The fact the sun wasn’t shining made the colours pop even more.

    • Reply Sue April 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

      NO…THANK YOU! You’re a whiz at styling and I love that I can learn from your blog and your Etsy shop!

      And yes….pretty sure this is a ME fabric. I still love her whimsy.

  • Reply dan April 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    You are a creative person and creativeness needs a wide range of raw materials! As you know, I like making my jewelry and have beads everywhere at home! Nevertheless I love when I get beads as a present…

    I agree : a shirt dress is comfortable in summer and your new one is very nice!

    • Reply Sue April 26, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for the compliment Dan. You have beautiful shirt dresses and wear them with pizazz! You’re right…having a range of raw materials on hand makes sense!

  • Reply Carolyn April 29, 2017 at 9:02 am

    your dress is so pretty! is that a Mary Engelbreit print? it’s lovely! I hope you get the warm weather soon! xx 🙂

    • Reply Sue April 29, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Carolyn! Yes…I’m pretty sure it is a Mary Engelbreit. And yes please on the warm weather. Spring has been decidedly slow in making her appearance this year…

  • Reply Shelley@ForestCityFashionista April 30, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Even though I don’t sew, I am very impressed with your fabric stash. You picked a wonderful backdrop for these photos; the intense green and deep red are gorgeous. I have always liked the idea of wearing button or zip front dresses over other things and this one works perfectly as a “duster”.

    • Reply Sue May 1, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks Shelley. I agree…I think we might have picked just the right moment to head out to Campbell Valley Park.

  • Reply Flo May 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    This is so cute! I love this new option too. Lots of versatility with this piece!

    I can totally relate to the too much crafting stash–I’m always learning how to do something new and inevitably get carried away with buying stuff for it. I have gotten much better about it in the last few years though, and I’ve set myself a new rule of not buying anything if I can’t get to it within a short period of time (usually a week or two). It’s not completely fool proof, but I do find myself buying less plus I’m trying to use up some of what I have on hand. It really is hard though because you never know when you might need something from that stash!

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      FLO! So nice to hear from you!

      I like your logic and attempt at not buying too much raw material. At least you are going in with a loose plan of what to make and how soon to make it. That’s big. I’ve gotten some good, helpful suggestions on not having too much but still have enough!

  • Reply Sharon May 31, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Summery shirtmaker is now ticked off your list, and congratulations on your first FBA. I am not looking forward to moving things out of the house for the painter, not sure how I will hide all my “crafting stash”.

    • Reply Sue June 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

      YES! I’m no expert but with the first one done, I feel I’m starting to get the hang of it.

      LOL….well the painter won’t care, but perhaps the crafting stash will shock your significant other? Good luck with hiding it!

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