Sewing Your Wild Oats Blog

Pattern Review: The True Bias Darla Dress

July 6, 2024

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I am going to start this off by saying I do not have the best luck with True Bias patterns.  However, the Darla Dress is a dream to sew, fits well, and is constructed elegantly.  The Darla Dress was kind of my own personal ultimatum to True Bias, in that if it didn’t work out, I was going to write them off completely and just admire others’ makes from afar, never again trying another pattern.  I’m happy to say that I will be trying more True Bias patterns in the future, especially any dress patterns they may release.

Rainbow Linen Darla Dress with Carly and her dog, Pickle

I was hesitant, as I sewed up the September Sun Dress about a year ago and the fit and construction were… not awesome.  It was tight and loose in the wrong places in the bodice.  The appeal of the September Sun Dress was that it was a sweetheart bodice, which is my favorite.  However, if the choice is to have a bodice that fits well with a straight neckline vs. a poorly fitting sweetheart bodice, I’ll take the straight neckline any day.  This is not a comparison post, though, so the last thing I’ll say is if you’re between the two and you’re on the bustier side, choose the Darla Dress.

I power sewed two Darla Dresses in three days as a vacation panic sew.  I do not normally do this.  In fact, I HATE rushing through sewing clothing in preparation for an event/vacation.  But I didn’t have many dresses, I had a ton of unused linen, and the Darla Dress was just released.  It was the perfect storm.  

The back of the Rainbow Linen Darla Dress, showing the tie back.

Sewing the Dresses

The first one I made was out of burnt orange (or maybe it’s called ‘rust’) laundered linen from Blackbird Fabrics.  Beautiful color (in my Warm Autumn palette), feels great, and is an awesome fabric for summer.  I used my Srirracha fabric for the pockets.  My husband calls them my Hot Pockets.  It ended up looking great, with only a small issue with the sides jutting out a little bit.  A quick fix was to taper the sides in at the top near the neckline, and graded it down since it fit fine on the waist.  

Knowing that was all I needed to do to make it fit perfectly (or very close to perfectly), I adjusted the pattern ever so slightly for my next one, and I took out some of the center of the front bodice.  I still ended up needing to taper it a tiny bit on the sides, but way less than the orange linen dress.  For this second one, I used my coveted rainbow check yarn dyed linen from Blackbird Fabrics.  If you are familiar with Blackbird Fabrics, you know that this fabric sells out basically instantly whenever it gets posted.  I have been saving it for something special, and this was it.  The dress turned out better than I could have imagined, I love it so much.

Construction and Overall Review

The construction of the Darla Dress is excellent.  It makes it feel like an item you’d buy at a store, not ‘homemade’ feeling.  The guts are finished to perfection if following the directions, including the bodice having a clean finish at the waistline.  The instructions also seem better than previous True Bias patterns I have tried, using detailed and logical steps.  The line drawings are great, as well.  The element of this pattern that should not be glossed over are the pockets.  They are HUGE, but in a great way.  They’re not awkward, very deep, and are sewed in a way that they are not visible from the outside.  This is accomplished by reducing the seam allowance when attaching them to the sides of the dress.  They are also anchored into the waistline, making them sturdy.

Pocket pattern piece for the Darla Dress

Overall, I absolutely recommend the Darla dress if you’re looking for a quick summer dress.  The tie back makes for a more forgiving fit, and for a size 10 it uses a little less than 2 yards of fabric.  And, of course, it has great pockets.