Darling Ranges x Megan Nielsen
Darling Ranges is a pattern I had been eyeing for a long time but honestly wasn't quite sure how it would look on me. Then this baby bump came along and as I revisited my "to make" list and pared down my options to those that were bump friendly, I realized Darling Ranges could work beautifully as a maternity dress.
Featuring a full button placket and a collarless neckline, the Darling Ranges dress is a unique take on the shirt dress. It also has three different sleeve lengths including the elasticized elbow length sleeve I chose, and can be made with darts and a gathered skirt or as a dartless shift-style dress or top. And of course it has every woman's favorite feature, large inseam pockets.
I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to use this lovely bubble crepe from the relatively new Alyssa May Design after I saw Lara's Dove Blouse (also a Megan Nielsen pattern!) in the same fabric. I loved it and had to have it! And the fabric turned out to be a dream. Normally I'm not a polyester gal but this fabric is super light and breathable and despite its fluid drape, it was pretty user friendly at the machine. It has an inkling of stretch as well which makes for a nice fit, and the crepe-y texture wears so well without wrinkling. It was the perfect fit for this pattern, which I picked up from my trusty shop, Indiesew. I always love the abundance of resources Indiesew provides in their item listings, like inspiration photos and tutorials on techniques relevant to that pattern or fabric. They even have a fabric file post on crepe with lots of tips on sewing and caring for crepe garments too.
This dress did not come about without a few maternity alterations:
First, I shortened the bodice by 3 3/8". With a short torso and a baby bump I needed a rather drastic change so the waist of the dress would hit closer to my narrowest point.
I moved the bust darts out a little and redrew them to account for the change in the bodice length resulting in a more drastic dart. This allowed it to fit the bust then cinch in closer to my waist.
I hadn't made this pattern before pregnancy so I was nervous about how it would fit. To be safe I sewed the side seams with a 3/8" seam allowance instead of the original 5/8" seam allowance. The bubble crepe has enough give though that I could probably keep the original seam allowance and be fine next time, especially since I have my back waist ties tied as close as possible.
I lengthened the skirt 5" to make up for the shortened bodice and my belly, with the front of the skirt lengthened an additional inch for 6" total. Again, since I hadn't made the pattern before and wanted to make sure I had enough room, I also added 2" to the width of the skirt.
Finally, since I raised the bodice, that meant I needed to lower the pockets otherwise their regular placement would be too high. So the pocket placement was lowered 3.5".
I absolutely love how this dress came out--in fact, its better than I expected it to be! Its so comfortable and I'm crazy for the design elements like the full button placket the length of the dress and the V neckline. I also really like the ties at the back to adjust the fit of the dress. I've gotten so much use out of this garment the past two months (Mother's Day, a wedding, Hamilton date night...) and I'm excited to see how it'll fit in my regular wardrobe after baby is born. And a chambray or linen version is definitely on the list for post-maternity sewing!
What patterns have you found that have made for excellent maternity wear? I'd love to see them!