tutorial: fishtail darling ranges dress

You guys! I am so in love with this dress!! Remember when I wore it a few weeks ago? Well now it’s warm enough to forget about the jacket – yay!

This is absolutely, 100%, for sure, my favourite dress at the moment. I feel like it goes with everything, works for all weather (well all Perth weather hehehe), and feels so glam. That sounds silly, but it does :)

As soon as I saw fishtail hems appearing everywhere (also known as “low/hi hems” or “mullet hems”), i knew the Darling Ranges dress would look amazing with one. And now that its come to life – i couldn’t be happier!

Would you like to make one too? It’s such an easy alteration to the Darling Ranges pattern. See below…

First take a few measurements. Decide how long you want your dress in the front and back. I wanted my front skirt hem to measure 18” from the center front and my back skirt hem to measure 30” from the center back of my skirt.

Add seam allowances. Since it is a fishtail hem, it will have a substantial curve which makes it necessary to have a narrow hem (½ inch).  So for the skirt front, add ½ inch to 18” plus a 5/8-inch seam allowance at the waistline. For the skirt back, add ½ inch to 30” plus a 5/8-inch seam allowance at the waistline.

So the front skirt pattern piece should measure 19 ¼ inches from the center front to the hem and the back skirt pattern piece will measure 31 ¼ inches from the center back to the hem.

Now you are ready to start manipulating your pattern pieces.

Tape skirt back and skirt front pieces together temporarily.

Add some pattern paper to the skirt back piece and tape in place. Mark your new hem, in my case 31 ¼ inches from the center back of the waist to the hem (on the fold side of the pattern piece).

On the skirt front, measure and mark 19 ¼ inches from the center front of the pattern piece to the hem (on the button placket side of the pattern piece).

Draw a nice curve joining these two points that you just marked. This will mark your new hemline, which will be shorter in the front and longer at the back.

Once you are satisfied with the new curved hem, cut the pattern piece.

Carefully, remove the tape holding the front and back skirt pieces together. You just completed the first step in altering the skirt pieces. You should now have a skirt back pattern piece that looks like the above.

We are going to use the slash and spread method to increase the fullness of the skirt back and add some flare to the skirt. This method will maintain the proportions of the skirt.

To do this, first decide how many inches of fullness you want to add to the skirt. This will determine how many slashes to make, and how many inches to spread these slashes. I decided to make 3 slashes and spread the slashes 1” each. This will increase the fullness of the skirt by 6 inches in total (remember, the skirt is cut on the fold!).

Divide the waist measurement on the back skirt pattern by three (for three slashed), and draw a perpendicular line from the waist to the hem.

Cut the pattern along these three lines from the hemline to the waist but don’t snip it off completely at the waist.

Spread the hemline of the skirt 1” at each of the three slashes and add some pattern paper. Tape in place.

Once you have slashed and spread the pattern, make sure the hemline is a nice curve.

That’s it! You have just completed altering your skirt pieces.

Cut the modified back skirt piece on the fold, and cut two of the front skirt piece.

Follow the Darling Ranges sew along to attach pockets to the skirt, complete the skirt and attach the skirt to the bodice.

Make sure the hem is even at the side seams. If necessary, use scissors to even out the side seams.

Since the hemline of the skirt is now curved, we will sew a narrow hem to neatly finish the dress hem.

Sew ¼” away from the unfinished skirt hem.

Press the hem upwards toward the wrong side at this stitch line.

Press the hem up once more to enclose the raw edge, and sew ¼” away from the folded edge of the hem.

Press and admire your handy work!

Enjoy your new Fishtail Darling Ranges Dress!

this tutorial was created for Design Diary by Curry Made. Thanks honey!

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  1. says

    bravo and bravo! I give you a standing ovation!

    You know what I like about this tutorial? Some tutorials I’ve read on creating hi-low hems suggest adding to the front, then to the back, and then to the side seam – they don’t butt the front and back patterns together to create the hi-low hem – the create the hem separately on each pattern piece. THIS IS SO BAD because it doesn’t ensure a smooth transition from CF to CB.

    Oh, and did I say bravo?

    • MegMeg says

      Hehehe honey you are just the sweetest!! I totally agree – i’ve seen that method too, and it makes me crazy!! (ps. i really really need to email you back!!! been doing so much for the sewalong, :) xoxo)

  2. djuna says

    that is a lovely variation to the dress and goes perfectly with those shoes. p.s. you often include information about your accessories but i cannot find any for those must-have shoes. x