Darling Ranges Dress Pattern Review and Hacks

After making three Darling Ranges dresses by Megan Nielsen, I’m sharing my review of this sewing pattern, and all the alterations and hacks I have made to create three unique dresses.

darling ranges dress megan nielsen pattern review

Darling Ranges pattern review

Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen is probably one of the most popular dress patterns in the sewing community. I was immediately drawn to it when I saw it and had to buy the pattern!

I love the v neckline because it creates a more femine silhouette – I have noticed I look better with a slightly deeper V neck, and now I’m making a lot more V neck garments for my wardrobe.

It has a semi fitted waistline which again adds some femininity to this dress, and the gathered skirt balances it off by adding a slight casual feel.

The pattern itself is a beginner to immediate pattern and I found it really straight forward to sew following the instructions.

Although Darling Ranges pattern comes with several variations with two of them being blouses, I have been sticking with the dress pattern with my own hacks. 

DIY darling ranges pattern with longer dress hack

Darling Ranges dress fabric recommendations

For this flowy dress pattern, I have tried both light to slightly heavier fabrics and I particularly recommend fabrics that are light and with a decent drape. I found lighter fabric complement the curve it forms on your body and also make the skirt drapes better (especially if you add pockets)

Both solid and prints fabric will look really nice with this pattern. Solid fabric will highlight the details of this dress; and print fabric will call more attention to the print instead of the cut of this dress.

Alteration and hacks I made to Darling Ranges dress pattern

I have made three dresses with Darling Ranges pattern by Megan Nielsen and all of them have some unique alterations.

But before I share how I hack the pattern into three unique dresses, I did make some general alteration: I small bust adjustment since the pattern was designed for C cup. Besides, I raised the V neckline for 1-2 in as I found the original V point is a bit low for me. Another thing I did is to shorten the bodice. I’m a petite shape, so I like to raise the waistline to all the sewing patterns I bought.

darling ranges pattern review and  hack

Darling Ranges dress look 1 – Long and flowy skirt

This is the first ever Darling Ranges dress I have made! So for the most part, I followed the sewing pattern instruction to a T, but alternated the skirt part.

sewing darling ranges dress pattern

First of all, I elongated the skirt to be just above the ankle: San Francisco is cold so I want to cover my legs more. 

Second, instead of going for a rectangle gathered skirt, I cut the fabric into a bell shape with a wider bottom and narrower top. This allows me to have a more flowy skirt without the skirt getting bulky around the waistline. 

I used a light weight fabric (it is probably rayon). It has small whte petals on a blue backdrop that I think is super cute. The nice drape and lightweight of this fabric works extremely well with this pattern.

darling ranges dress alteration in blue rayon fabric

Sewing Regrets:

The only regret I have is that I over did the bust adjustment. When I wear it, I noticed the bust part is a bit tight, so next time I sew this pattern again, I will re-do the bust adjustment on the bodice to make it bigger.

Darling Ranges dress look 2 – Round neckline with ties and sleeve cuffs

This is the second Darling Ranges dress I have made. After I made the first one, I realized how versatile this dress is and I’m just wearing it all the time! So I decided to make more Darling Ranges dress but hack the pattern to create a new look.

megan nielsen darling ranges dress hack with neckline ties
megan nielsen darling ranges dress hack

So for this dress, I kept the long skirt with pockets, and again using a bell shaped skirt pattern instead of the original rectangle shape.

The biggest alteration is on the neckline. I tried out a round neckline and used bias tape to not only finish the neckline, but also create two ties on both ends. I quite like the bow around the neckline.

darling ranges pattern hack with neckline ties

Another alternation I made is on the sleeve. After making the original pattern, I realized I didn’t quite like the sleeve cuff style in terms of comfort and look. I found the elastic band inside the sleeve hem feels tight around my arm and didn’t like how fabric gathered around the elastic.

sewing project of darling ranges dress

So for this Darling Ranges dress, I hacked the sleeve into a wrist length gathered sleeve with cuffs. I think this look matches better with the neckline ties.

darling ranges dress hack in red fabric

Sewing Regrets:

Because I’m using the same bodice pattern as my first Darling Ranges dress I made, the bust again is a bit small. Another small regret is the fabric is a little heavy. Although this fabric is not bulky but it does have some weight, plus I hack the original skirt pattern to an extra flowy skirt which adds quite some fabric to this dress. 

Darling Ranges dress look 3 – Drawstring with buttonless skirt

This is my latest pattern hack of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges dress. I made this dress because I need more long dresses for everyday wear.

For this dress, I used the original bodice pattern without bust adjustment because the drawstring can be adjusted to accommodate the bust curve. I did adjust the bodice pattern slightly around shower, side seams to make the bodice slightly bigger since I will be putting this dress on from my head instead of using buttons. Additionally, I chose a narrower front placket.

sew darling ranges dress with pattern hack
darling ranges dress hack in yarn dyed cotton fabric

For the skirt, I skipped all the buttons and front opening and used two rectangle pieces instead of three. I still added pockets because pockets are awesome 😛 

I added drawstring to this waistline, which creates a more casual (hopefully comfy too) vibe. And I made the sleeves longer and with cuffs.

darling ranges dress hack in yarn dyed cotton fabric

Sewing Regrets:

I love this Darling Ranges dress pattern hack, but I’m not 100% confident with my fabric choice. First, the fabric is thick so the finished garment looks heavy, especially around the gathered waistline. Also the color is a feathered blue denim, which also adds to the heavy feeling.

Originally I was going to use a lighter fabric but right before I started, I found out that fabric was only 1.5 yard (which happens to me a lot lol). This is one of the only few fabrics that I have a lot of yardage and I was eager to create this pattern hack. 

I also think it would look more light-weight if I didn’t add any sleeves, but again, I made this dress for fall/winter so sleeves are a must in this case.

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Darling Ranges dresses by Megan Nielsen. sewing pattern review, and all the alterations and hacks I have made to create three unique dresses.

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