Sharpen my ax and call me Pauline Bunyan!
Behold, it’s my “lumberjill” Darling Ranges dress! When you think about lumberjacks, you think about flannel. So a flannel dress OBVIOUSLY screams lumberjill.
This is the cold-weather counterpart to the linen-blend Darling Ranges dress I sewed last summer. Let’s explore this wintry wonder together, yes?
My Darling Ranges lumberjill dress is made with blue buffalo check Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel (affiliate link), and it is GLORIOUS. It’s super soft, heavy but not too heavy, and a pleasure to sew.
My Lumberjill Dress Modifications
I added 2 centimeters to the back width. When I sewed my summer Darling Ranges dress, the back was too tight, so I added width by making the sleeve seam allowances smaller. This move created yucky tucks at the sleeve seams. With the lumberjill dress, I learned my lesson and gave myself more room to move at the MIDDLE of the back bodice!
Normally when you add width to a back bodice, you add width to the back skirt piece, too. But, because the back skirt is gathered (and already generous in width), I didn’t add 2 centimeters to that pattern piece.
I lengthened the sleeves because this is a cold-temperature dress and I get cold! If I were to sew another winter Darling Ranges dress, I’d take the time to draft a proper button cuff with a placket.
Related: If you weren’t keen on a plain long sleeve or a button cuff, just imagine how cute this dress would look with a dramatic bell sleeve! Statement sleeves FTW.
I have a deep and abiding affection for pearl snaps. They’re so shiny and smooth, and when you take off your shirt or dress for the day, you can rip apart your snaps Incredible Hulk-style with a series of satisfying pops. Does that make me easily amused? (Obviously.)
I knew my lumberjill dress would be a great candidate for pearl snaps, so I bought black pearl snaps and snap pliers (affiliate links) and got busy.
I used the summer Darling Ranges dress as a guide for where to place my snaps, and if you have observant eyes, you’ll notice that the spacing between the snaps on the bodice and the spacing between the snaps on the skirt is different. These spacing arrangements worked best for my body, and there’s no rule that says all your buttons must be evenly spaced. Place closures where you need the most security — specifically, between your breasts and at the waist. You can work the other buttons, snaps, etc. around those critical points.
The snap-pliers combo worked great, in case you were curious. I only had one snap that gave me trouble. There was a bunch of bulk at the waist/button placket, and the male half of the snap (the non-decorative snap component) couldn’t puncture all the fabric layers. I unpicked 1-2 inches of the button placket in the offending area, the trimmed bulk, and sewed the placket back down. The pliers then were able to puncture the thinned fabric layers without issue.
Following are Amazon affiliate links chosen for you! If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!
Dritz Sheer Press Cloth, 22 by 30-Inch – Protect your projects while pressing! Using a press cloth has helped me avoid shiny spots on my clothes.
Rowenta DW5080 Focus 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron Stainless Steel Soleplate with Auto-Off, 400-Hole, Brown – This is my iron, and it’s a BEAST. It’s heavy, produces a lot of steam, and heats up fast. I had an earlier Focus model that lasted almost 10 years! (P.S. I reviewed several irons under $100 on Amazon in this iron buying guide.)
Dritz Pearl Snap Fasteners – Black – 7/16 Inch – 12 Count – I’m loving these pearl snaps. They hold fast and are fun to snap and unsnap!
Dritz Snap Fastener Pliers – These easy-to-use pliers make installing snaps a… wait for it… SNAP! (Oooh, that’s baaaad.)
Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Amazon search – If you only click one link, make it this one! The Mammoth flannel comes in a colorway for EVERYONE. So, so pretty!
Dritz 406 1/4-Inch by 10-Yard Wash Away Wonder Tape – Oh Wonder Tape, you’re the extra finger that every sewist needs! I used this tape to position the back ties on the lumberjill dress and to help hold the neckline folds. So useful.
Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner Blue – This is my favorite marking tool! It marks with ease and brushes off easily.
Medical Pattern Paper: 21″ x 225′ Single Roll of Patternmaking, Drafting, and Tracing Paper – When you cut pattern pieces flat (vs. on the fold), you can’t be without tracing paper.
American & Efird Mettler Metrosene Thread Gift Pack, 28 Colors – I bought this thread pack because I was tired of going to Jo-Ann for every project for thread. Now I should have a color for pretty much anything I’d like to sew. I chose Metrosene because it’s the preferred thread of the ladies over at the Sewing Out Loud podcast.
More Thoughts on Construction
The Joy of Cutting Flat
To ensure my plaid “stripes” were centered, I cut the back bodice flat instead of cutting on the fold. Cutting flat also helps maximize fabric in a cutting layout.
Yes, it takes a little bit more time to trace off the mirror image of a pattern piece and tape the halves together. But, when it comes to sewing patterned fabric, it’s worth the extra step. There’s no more wondering how the pattern piece is going to turn out. Let yourself see 100 percent of the pattern piece!
Reminder About Gathering
If you’re sewing this view of a Darling Ranges dress, remember that you DON’T have to gather over button placket. There are marks on the pattern pieces to remind you of this, but it’s an easy detail to overlook. I sort of punted on this with my lumberjill dress (not that it’s terribly obvious).
Over to you, my dears: What’s your favorite cold-weather dress sewing pattern? How do you feel about pearl snaps? Do you also love flannel, or does it feel too ’90s grunge for you? Please sound off in comments! Thanks for reading! 💙🖤💙
P.S. Here’s my last post, in case you missed it: An Update: Coming Out of Hard Times.
P.P.S. It’s true story time! A pair of my great-grandparents met working at a lumber camp in northern Wisconsin! Grandpa worked on a steam engine, and Grandma was a cook in the camp. My love of the woods literally is in my blood.