Darling Ranges Dress goes Safari

I have been a huge admirer of Megan Nielsen’s patterns for quite a while, especially her Darling Ranges dress. I’d see all the amazing versions posted on Instagram and fall even more in love. Now, I am happy to say that I have finished my very own Darling Ranges dress!

Darling Ranges dress pattern from Megan Nielsen

Darling Ranges dress pattern from Megan Nielsen

Last summer, when I first started buying fabrics for Style Maker, I found two incredible, vintage, rayon challis prints that I just couldn’t pass up! Bold, graphic, single border prints that are just so unique, Who could say no? Plus, the gathered skirt and length of the Darling Ranges dress makes it the perfect pattern to show of these amazing, wide borders.

Vintage Rayon Challis Prints. Right: Safari Left: Moulin Rouge Scene

Vintage Rayon Challis Prints. Right: Safari Animals and Left: “Moulin Rouge”-esque Scene

I had originally planned to sew up my Safari version of Megan’s pattern for fall last year. But with everything else going on (ie: launching a new business), it just didn’t happen. I put it on the back burner for the coming Spring/Summer.

This spring, my Darling Ranges dress became a priority project and it was definitely worth the wait! Along the way I made a few changes to the pattern to make it my own and show off my fabric choice even more. The biggest change I made was making the front skirt ONE piece, rather than two pieces, and NOT continuing the buttons to the hemline. I was worried about either 1) not having the border print match at the center front and it looking strange or 2) wasting a lot more fabric and time to get it to match just right.

Finished Safari Darling Ranges Dress with Full Skirt

Finished Safari Darling Ranges Dress with Full Skirt

Rather than give myself a headache- I used the front skirt pattern piece, folded back the excess needed for making the button placket and cut it on the fold. An easy change and I love how it turned out- uninterrupted safari animals.

Just a couple of other slight changes I made are: lengthening the sleeves to make them 3/4 length instead of elbow and lengthening the skirt to just above the knee. The length actually ended up being a happy accident- I knew I wanted to lengthen it but I didn’t know how much. I guessed as I was initially cutting out the skirt- with the border any changes would need to be done from the opposite side. You wouldn’t want to loose any of your beautiful border!

Just one more tip that I wanted to share, my secrets to perfect gathers. First, there is this handy product called Fuse ‘N Gather. It is pre-stitched, iron-on tape that gives you perfect gathers with out the hassle of having to do all those basting stitches. Just iron it to the edge of your fabric, pull the two durable strings and away you go! I always have this stuff on hand and hardly ever do any gathering without it.

Using Fuse 'N Gather- Gathering Tape to attach the skirt to the bodice.

Using Fuse ‘N Gather- Gathering Tape to attach the skirt to the bodice.

My other tip to even gathers is PIN, PIN, PIN. I find that if I pin both the fabric being gathered and the fabric I am stitching it to at each quarter point (ie: the middle and half way between the middle on either side) I know that my gathers will be nicely spaced. Just match up the corresponding pins and spread the gathers out evenly between them. No more areas with extra gathering and other areas with hardly any.

Loving my finished Safari Darling Ranges Dress!

Loving my finished Safari Darling Ranges Dress!

I love how this dress turned out- it is just how I had envisioned it! Originally, I planned to wear it belted and skip the ties in the back, but after trying a few different styles of belts I just couldn’t get the look I wanted. I added the ties in the back and it fits and looks perfect. The ties really finish it off and give it a nice relaxed but fitted look.

Alternate View of the Safari Darling Ranges Dress

Alternate View of the Safari Darling Ranges Dress

The vintage rayon challis drapes so nicely and feels just as amazing on. This dress is definitely a keeper and the pattern is one that I will revisit again in the future- so many possibilities. Thank you Megan!

~Michelle

Cotton & Steel: Special Deal and Giveaways!

To go with our latest blog post and newest make, my Carolyn Pajamas, we have a couple surprises for our readers!

First, 10% OFF all of our Cotton & Steel fabrics this week (through 6/14/15)! These cotton lawns and double gauzes are a dream to work with and perfect for your summer sewing projects.

I love this top from Made by Rae– she keeps teasing us about the pattern release. Can’t wait to make my own!

Beatrix Top from Made by Rae in Cotton & Steel Double Gauze

Beatrix Top from Made by Rae in Cotton & Steel Double Gauze

Next, we have a Special Giveaway! Cotton & Steel canvas totes!

Last month I traveled to Minneapolis for the International Quilt Market and was so inspired by all amazing designers and displays around the show. Some of my favorite displays were in the Cotton & Steel booth- such attention to detail and beautifully constructed garments.

Cotton & Steel Quilt Market Booth- New Rayon Fabrics

Cotton & Steel Quilt Market Booth- New Rayon Fabrics

On the trip, I picked up a few of the Cotton & Steel’s limited edition canvas totes and I want to share them with you! You can get one of these amazing totes in 1 of 2 ways.

1) Win ONE here on the Style Maker Blog! Leave a comment below- maybe tell us what sewing projects you have planned for this summer. We will pick ONE random winner on Sunday, June 14th. (US entrants only please).

2) Save 10% on Cotton & Steel- The next FOUR orders placed at Style Maker Fabrics that include any of our Cotton & Steel yardage will receive one of the totes! Hurry, they won’t last long! (Minimum total order of $25).

Cotton & Steel Limited Edition Canvas Totes

Cotton & Steel Limited Edition Canvas Totes

Watch for new Cotton & Steel fabrics coming to the shop this Summer! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest arrivals and to keep up with what is going on here at Style Maker.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

Carolyn Pajamas: Savor the Process

In looking over some of my past blog posts and projects I found myself falling into a “fast and easy” sewing rut. Don’t get me wrong, I love a top that you can finish in an afternoon or a pair of leggings you can whip together in just an hour or so. Sometimes, though, you just need more of a challenge- a pattern that is going to stretch your abilities as a seamstress and make you think about your technique and how you want your end result to turn out.

Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

When Heather Lou, from Closet Case Files, came out with her Carolyn Pajama pattern I knew that I wanted to make them. I love lounging in PJs on a lazy Sunday, watching movies all day, and these are perfect for that. When the Cotton & Steel lawns arrived in the shop earlier this year, the stars aligned and I knew I found the perfect fabric! I just love the colors of Melody Miller’s vintage floral print and the hand on this lawn is just so soft and yummy.

Vintage Floral Lawn

Cotton & Steel Vintage Floral Lawn by Melody Miller

Going into this project I did have some reservations. The Carolyn Pajama pattern was going to test my skill level as a seamstress- I had never used piping on a garment before or had much success with button holes. I also was a bit frightened by the amount of fabric I needed to make a complete pair of full length jammies- 5-1/2 YARDS! It was easy to decide that this project was worth my investment of time and fabric, but I also wanted to make sure that I did it justice. I didn’t want to just throw them together and rush through each step.

My Carolyn Pajamas took me about a week to complete. I took on a new step each afternoon or evening when I had time to think about what I needed to do. I also redid anything that I wasn’t quite happy with, rather than pushing forward, hoping nobody would notice in the end. From making my own piping (I couldn’t find pre-made that matched just right) to actually learning how to make a decent button hole on my machine (thank you YouTube!) I took the time this garment deserved and I have an amazing final result to show for it.

Carolyn Pajamas in Cotton & Steel Lawn

Carolyn Pajamas in Cotton & Steel Lawn

In the end, I am very proud of everything I accomplished in making my Carolyn Pajamas and I just love how they turned out! I have to thank Heather for all the blog posts and detailed pattern instructions she provided; they really helped along the way. My PJ’s are uniquely mine and better than anything I could ever purchase. They are sewn to last, in a fabric I love and they are sure to be well worn.

PJ + Toby

Snuggling with the Style Maker Fabrics Blog Dog, Toby

I hope my experience in sewing my PJ’s inspires you to take on a new challenge and really savor the sewing process. In the quilting world, there has been some buzz about Mark Lipinski’s Slow Stitching Movement. He is encouraging quilters to take on a legacy project- one that isn’t made just to finish a project but that has some more heart and soul behind it. I think all seamstresses and makers can apply this to their craft in some way and enjoy the creative process a bit more on a special project- savoring each step and learning something new along the way. Best of all you will have something you really care about and cherish when you are finished- I know I do!

My Completed Carolyn Pajamas!

My Completed Carolyn Pajamas!