The Darling Eucalypt

What happens when the Darling Ranges and Eucalypt patterns get together and make a baby?  The Darling Eucalypt!DSC_0098I made a Darling Ranges dress a little over a year ago, and the bodice was not a good fit for me…it took many muslins and lots of changes to get it right.  But recently I decided to take another crack at it, starting with the original pattern.  I have more experience now with fitting patterns, and I thought maybe this time around I could make it work without totally changing the pattern.  I figured all I really needed was a small bust adjustment.  And I wanted to make it with a rounded neckline, and sleeveless with narrower shoulders.  I made my first muslin, and the fit was not great- but as I looked at it I realized the shape of the bodice I wanted was pretty much exactly like the Eucalypt dress, a pattern that fits me really well.  So the idea to merge the two patterns was born!DSC_0086

In the end, the only actual pattern piece from the Darling Ranges dress that I used was the pocket piece…but the style of the dress is very much from that pattern, and I followed all of the instructions in constructing the dress also.  I used the pattern pieces from the Eucalypt dress, plus the following changes:

I cut the pattern across at my natural waistline, and added seam allowances to the bodice and top of the skirt.  You could make a similar dress without doing this, just by adding an elastic casing at the waistline, but I made it separate because I wanted to add a little more fullness to the skirt.  I added 1 inch to the center of both the back and front skirt pieces. (which adds 4 inches of fullness in total).

I added an additional 2 inches to the center of the front bodice and front skirt pieces for the button placket, folding it in 1 inch, then another fold of 1 inch.

After I sewed the shoulder and side seams of the bodice, I sewed a line of basting/gathering stitches around the bottom and tried it on, pulling the threads to gather the bottom of the bodice until I liked the fit (not too fitted, because I figured I would add some elastic to the waist seam later.)  Then I gathered the top of the skirt to match up, sewed them together, and followed the instructions from the Darling Ranges pattern for the rest of the construction.

One of these days I will learn to take pictures during the process, which would make all of this more clear…but if you would like to make one and have any questions at all I would be happy to help!DSC_0076

The fabric is a super soft dotty chambray from Robert Kaufman.  (I got it from Pink Chalk fabrics but it seems to be sold out most everywhere.  They have it on order at Hawthorne Threads, and you can sign up to be notified when it comes in.)  It really is great, and I used just over a yard for this dress because it is extra wide.    This was the last fabric I bought just before I made my stashbusting pledge!  I think I have enough left for a Scout Tee 🙂  I used a purple voile (from my stash) for the bias binding and pockets, I like the little pop of color!

Here are some of the details:

DSC_0006 DSC_0009 DSC_0016Purple!! 🙂
DSC_0025 DSC_0023 DSC_0021Once I was done, I wanted to bring the waist in a little bit…so I put some elastic thread in the bobbin and sewed a couple of lines of elastic thread close to the waistband seam.  It worked perfectly to bring the waist in a bit, and it is stretchy so it keeps it very comfortable!DSC_0026There was some gaping at the waist seam after I added the elastic, so I sewed a hook and loop to keep it closed.  It works well and you can’t see it from the outside.DSC_0095It has been such a hot summer and this feels like wearing air-it is so light and soft.  I love this dress!


  • I love, love, love this dress! It is so summery. I was thinking of something similar with the Archer pattern….you’ve got my wheels turning!

    • Kelly

      Yes! When I originally thought of this dress I was going to use the Archer pattern, I think it would work great!

  • Super cute, and it looks so comfy! A dress you could live in all summer long.

    • Kelly

      Thank you! I have already worn it quite a few times, I am thinking of making another one, it was super easy 🙂

  • I love this, great dress!

    • Kelly

      Thank you!!

  • Super cool dress! I’ve thought about making something similar with my Wiksten pattern, and I might just have to after seeing how nicely yours turned out. The purple details on the inside make it look quite luxurious!

    • Kelly

      The Wiksten would work great for this too, I would love to see your take on it!

  • Ingenious and looks just so lovely!

    • Kelly

      Thank you Kirsty!

  • So sweet! And I love that purple binding.

    • Kelly

      Thanks! I am finding that shopping my stash instead of buying new fabric leads to fun details like this purple 🙂

  • love it! inside and out! i really like the gathered waist, makes it super easy and comfy i’m sure! another way to add elastic at the waist is to top stitch the waist seam to make a casing and thread 1/4″ elastic through. i did that once and really liked the result. anyways, great dress!

    • Kelly

      Yes! The Miz Mozelle pattern works that way, and then I have also just stretched some 1/4″ elastic along the seam when I finished it with my serger, and that worked pretty well too. This one was pretty gathered already, and I just wanted to pull it in a tiny bit so I thought I would try the elastic thread. I think my only concern is durability, but hopefully it will be fine.

  • Oh my gosh! This dress really is darling and I want to make it myself! Thanks for the tip about sewing with elastic thread close to the waistband seam. Great tip! You have created a sweet simple dress, wonderful. I have a vintage pattern that I may be able to play with to achieve this look, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Margo! I am already wondering if I can find something in my stash to make another one 🙂 The elastic thread was an experiment, but worked out great!

  • It’s a lovely dress that looks so comfortable to wear. The chambray has the cutest tiny dots! I have not sewn with elastic thread before, so that’s an interesting tip, thanks!

    • Kelly

      Thank you! Well… I am just making things up as I go, so the elastic thread was another experiment. But it worked well, and is super easy so I am going to add it to my list of tricks 🙂

  • ooo, love it! and the purple pockets as well 🙂 looks perfect for the weather!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Cathy!! 🙂

  • I love this dress! I have a Target dress in the same silhouette that I’ve been wanting to reproduce, but drafting my own pattern didn’t end up going so well. Instead I’ll get the Eucalypt and use your instructions here – thanks!

    • Kelly

      You’re welcome! Good luck, and if you have any questions just let me know!

  • It’s beautiful on you, Kelly! Way to adapt. 🙂

    • Kelly

      Thanks Kristin!!

  • Another beautiful garment! I really like your choices in pattern and fabric paring. You do great work!

    • Kelly

      That is really nice, thank you!!

  • This dress is absolute perfection. I am 100% in L-O-V-E! Beautiful work, friend!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Caroline! I love your Tova in this fabric, isn’t it comfy??

  • Zoe

    Love the dress, especially the bright purple pockets and binding!

    • Kelly

      Thank you! I am trying to use up my stash and have some scraps of this purple- I am glad I used it!

  • Debera

    Hi Kelly! I just found your blog – I can’t remember how exactly – possibly from a photo you posted somewhere. Anyhow, your sense of style is lovely and I’m really digging your fabric choices. You inspired me to two things – first, I’m gonna bust my stash! Next, I’m going to edit my fabric choices better. I hadn’t sewn a garment since high school and years of quilting and bag making had me chasing pretty fabrics that weren’t all that wearable. You have a knack for picking wearable fabrics and I checked your blog several times these past days to talk myself down when I was leaning toward something that wouldn’t work well for me. So, thanks very much!

    • Kelly

      That is so nice, thank you!! I know where you are coming from- I used to buy a lot of quilting fabric, there are so many beautiful prints out there and they are great for bags, quilts, aprons…but not very wearable for the most part. I am not buying fabric right now, but when I do I try to only buy for a specific project, and I sketch it out and try to picture where and how I will wear it. It’s so fun to have handmade garments that you wear all the time!

  • What a beautiful and summery dress! The touch of purple insideis perfect. Great job with the pattern alterations!

    • Kelly

      Thank you Becca!

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