Apparel · Dresses & Skirts · Sewing

Seeing Stars: A Darling Ranges Dress and My Love For Star Print Everything

Hi! I am so excited to share my latest sew with you all today!

But before I get into it, I have to just come out and profess that I love stars. Not celebrity stars…I’m talking about the stars that sparkle and shine in the velvet night sky.

There is just something about the vastness of space and witnessing the light of a million stars and galaxies that evokes so many emotions. It can be overwhelming and make you feel so small and vulnerable, and even a little lonely–but it also feels serene, peaceful, soulful; absolutely beautiful!

I could stare at the night sky forever…

But, reality check, with the dark also comes the light, and Life tends to happen during the day, so we get up, hustle and slay.

So with knowing about my love for the stars, it’s only natural to want to include star print in my wardrobe (and other areas) whenever I can. And I have. I have quite a few star-themed items of clothing and jewelry in my closet. However, a lot of what I have is RTW, purchased before I started sewing. Here are a few of my favorite star prints that I own:

  • A: I saw this dress at Target years ago and couldn’t pass it up. I love the whole drop shoulder sleeve, although I always meant to bring them up more through altering. I haven’t had a chance yet to wear this dress tbh, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it! One day I will wear it….
  • B: I remember coveting this Emily & Finn dress when it was on Modcloth years ago. I was obsessed with the shooting star print, but I never actually got around to purchasing it. Long story short, it almost became “The Dress That Got Away,” but I was lucky enough to stumble upon it again when Modcloth re-released it sometime ago and I made sure to snatch one up before it disappeared again.
  • C: I am usually very weary and careful about purchasing from certain “overseas/international” based companies, but after viewing many, many YouTube reviews and reading lots of clothing reviews about Chicwish, I took a chance and purchased this navy blue and gold star print dress to wear for Christmas one year. I’m so glad I took the chance as it is one of my most favorite RTW dresses in my wardrobe. Pictures seriously don’t do this beauty justice–it is absolutely gorgeous in person!
  • D: Of course, I have to have some star shaped jewelry! I bought this delicate star necklace and starburst ear crawlers from the Songbird Collection to go with my Christmas dress. The boutique has a really nice collection of Festival jewelry and accessories in general, so go check them out!

While I do love that I can find very pretty clothing in very pretty prints and in very pretty fabric RTW, now that I can sew my own stuff, my range for finding star print fabric expands exponentially. Also, you can’t beat being able to make something of your own that is just a little more unique than purchasing something that is mass produced am I right? So with that in mind, let’s talk about the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen.

The Pattern

First of all, here is the link to the website and dress pattern if you want one for yourself:

Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns.

This pattern has been around for a while and is pretty popular in the sewing world, so it may not say much for “uniqueness,” but what’s so great about it is that it is so versatile when it comes to suggested fabric for sewing. You can pretty much use any kind of woven fabric (I have yet to see this in a knit type) and coupled with a great print or color theme, you can still make it all your own.

You already know what first drew me to this dress, I bet. If you said “v-neck” you are correct and awesome. But I also like how effortless it is, and it looks so comfy! The best part of this pattern is that it is a 3 in 1: you can make two variations of the dress, as well as a blouse (totally making a top with my Kimberly Kight Smol Folkometry print later on). I love the button front. Although I will have to make a whole lot of button holes, at least I don’t have to fiddle with sewing a zipper. The cinched waist version happens because of the back ties and is a cute detail as well.

When purchasing, you may choose between a printed paper or pdf pattern. I chose a paper pattern this time around because I just wanted my pieces assembled and ready for cutting from the get-go.

The pattern itself is sturdy, and marked very clearly. It comes with an great instruction booklet that is very well printed and has concise instructions and illustrations. If you go on the website, there is a whole Darling Ranges sewalong series that is a fantastic complement to the pattern book directions. I had no trouble whatsoever understanding and executing the steps. I love that!

The Fabric

I chose this really beautiful black cotton with a metallic star print by Cotton + Steel. The gold metallic stars are little more bronze in person, which I actually quite liked. Say what you want about quilting cotton. I found this fabric lightweight enough for garment use and found no problems with either drape or stiffness. Sewing with cotton is a delight as usual. For closures I found similar colored gold bronze-y vintage shank buttons on Etsy.

Sewing Details

  • I chose to make the cinched waist version with ties in the back. Construction was super easy and I really enjoyed the whole sewing process. It came together fairly quickly, despite having to stop periodically to get get through daily duties. I stretched out sewing time over a few days, but from start to finish without interruptions, I’d say this dress could easily get done in a day.
  • The pattern calls for the neckline to be finished with bias tape that you make with your fabric. I had fun making it, and I appreciate the way the way everything ends up so neat and tidy looking on the inside. It is a well thought out detail. I did end up sewing some blind stitches to small parts of the neckline to flatten the biased seam even further, as well as close up some openings in the neckline that I discovered (not sure if that was my personal sewing mistake or just an overlooked part in the directions, but it was no big deal to fix).
  • I didn’t have to do much as far as altering for my size. I sewed my usual, and the only things I needed to do was shorten the sleeves a bit, and shorten the bottom hem. I chose not to elasticize the sleeves. I just liked the loose sleeves better. The dress was a little long on me so I shortened it to knee length. Other than that, it was a straight sew through the rest!

Ta Da! Presenting my Starry Darling Ranges dress!

I absolutely love how it turned out! The cotton gives it structure, but still drapes nicely. In the end, I chose not to add the back ties (even though I went ahead and made them) because I actually liked the loose, slight babydoll silhouette, but I also liked the option of being able to still cinch the waistline with a belt if I wanted to. Both styles are adorable, I think.

Outfit deets: Dress: handmade // Black Tights: Target // Belt: Forever 21 // Boots: Frye Combat boots

Okay…I know I shouldn’t even draw attention to the major sewing snafu that happened when sewing this dress since it’s not totally noticeable, but I have to point it out, if just to vent. While I was marking and pinning for the buttonholes, I managed this by lining up the front edges, starting from the bottom hem and moving up to the top of the V neck. What I failed to take note of was that my front waistlines weren’t lined up properly. It wasn’t until I sewed all my buttonholes and buttons on and went to try on the dress that I noticed that my right side waistline sits higher than the left side by about 1/4″. Nooooo! Cringe! I was mad at myself for not seeing it earlier. I could have kicked myself.

Can you see how uneven the waistline is? I am most def my biggest critic, so this mistake is a glaring one for me. I made my youngest look at it and he said you don’t even notice it, and I guess I can hide it easily with a belt, but still. What I should have done is start from the top and line up my front edges, making sure my waistline lines up before pinning down the length to the bottom. Then I would have been able to see the unevenness in the lower skirt hem and fix it from there.

Its crazy because usually, I save any bottom hem alterations for the very last since that is where I tend to find length errors and that section is the easiest to remedy. With this particular pattern though, I guess I needed to finish it earlier on in the process so I could accurately space out my buttonholes. Sigh….I suppose the dark background and print help cover it up somewhat, at least from far away. Ugh!

Alright, I’m done with my self-pity party. Sorry…

Aside from that unfortunate incident, I’m still proud of my accomplishment. I like that I have a casual star print dress to wear as my other ones are a little on the fancier side. I think this dress can easily cover a wide range of casual day activities and events.

Final Thoughts:

The Darling Ranges dress pattern is a well-drafted, easy, relaxing sew. I highly recommend making this if you are looking for something pretty, versatile, flattering, and comfortable to wear. You won’t be disappointed!

What are your favorite prints to sew with?


2 thoughts on “Seeing Stars: A Darling Ranges Dress and My Love For Star Print Everything

  1. Hi. I think I have your new blog figured out…we’ll see with this response!

    First, about the fabric: I think I like the stars pattern…the dresses with it (including the last 2 pictures) look wonderful! And you look so nice in them! (Had you not mentioned the “little sewing issue” – I never would have noticed it!). I’d wear them in a heartbeat. But I’m also partial to the V-neck tee dress (brown one on the pattern cover.) A cool, flowing dress – perfect to wear on hot summer days… like we’ve been having. If you’ve made one of those, would love to see a pic! Probably would look nicer than the ones I have! Will post a pic of mine in my blog one of these days!

    Stay cool…



    1. Hi Mandy! I also love the look of the flowy version and will have to make it soon!

      We’ve finally had some relief from the sticky heat here in SoCal! For weeks Hubs and I have been sleeping out on our covered patio so we could at least get some sleep at night. Same with my son, who has been camping out in our living room for days on end! Heat and humidity are the worst! 🥵

      Hope you are getting settled into Fall just as well! And as ever, thank you for your kind comments and for being a loyal follower! ❤️ Hugs!


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