Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Embellished Shirtdress Series - Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress

I've wanted to make this dress ever since it debuted. I hesitated because the plus sizes are in pdf pattern form only and you know I only do a pdf pattern for a very special garment. Honestly as much as I liked it, this pattern wasn't special enough.

...but I really wanted my own version. After A Gathering of Stitches made her version, I thought maybe I could make the paper pattern work. I double checked the finished measurements on the website and realized they were within range of my own. So the next time there was a good fabric sale at Fabric Mart, I bought the pattern and yes that means I bought fabric too *sigh*

Then I saw a picture of a dress in my Instagram feed from Draper James. 

The fabric looked similar to mine and I thought I could use the Myosotis Dress to get a similar look. I know the dress has a skirt that buttons open but that was the element I could overlook for my version. This is where I started my Myosotis Dress Journey.

Supply List ~
- 4 yards of embroidered edge navy 'n white gingham from Hobby Lobby
- 3 red buttons from the button stash
- Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

Pattern Alterations ~
I started with a size 46 and made the following alterations.

1. For the bodice:
My first alteration was to the shoulders.  I narrowed them by an inch. This is a normal pattern alteration for me.

Then I added 1/2" to each side seam gradually from the armhole down to the waist. So that the 1/2" is widest at the waistline. This was done on both the front and back bodice piece.

Finally I slit the back dart open and spread it a 1/2" - to gain just a little more space. I did not add the waist darts to my finished bodice...side darts yes.

2. Skirt pieces:
Three inches was added to the last tier of the dress to gain some extra length to the skirt.

3. Collar changes:
To make this pattern more like the inspiration garment, I needed to add a collar. Since I'm not a patternmaker, I couldn't draft a collar piece. The next best thing was to find a pattern piece that would work. So I went with my TNT Butterick shirt pattern pieces. However, they were bigger than the Deer & Doe pattern pieces. 

I decided to shorten the collar piece by 5/8" in width so it would work with the shorter collar stand. I didn't want the collar to overwhelm the collar stand. Why did I choose 5/8"? Because that's the difference between the two collar stands.

I eliminated the sleeve flounce from my dress. I wanted to use the embroidered edge of the fabric like my inspiration picture. That meant the sleeve pattern had to be lengthened.  Again I turned to a sleeve pattern that I knew worked and fit my bodacious biceps.

The sleeve from my TNT shirtdress pattern - Vogue 2090 - was used to alter the width and length of the sleeve. Although after I cut the pattern piece out, I folded up an inch  before cutting the fabric out. This was so the embroidered hem would not creep into my elbow crease.

Construction Information ~
Getting the bodice to fit was my main challenge because the tiers are gathered and can be made to work. Besides the space I added to the bodice, I also used 1/2" seam allowances though the pattern tells you to use 5/8" seam allowances.

The Collar:
I added a collar based upon my inspiration picture. I was a little concerned if my shortened collar would work but it sewed into the collar band no problem using the sewing techniques that are in my Butterick shirt pattern. I think my collar insertions are so easy because I've incorporated information gleaned from other bloggers. 

For constuction - I notch differently after seeing Emily's version, which of course I can't find now because I'm not sure if I saw it on her IG account or her blog. And I use Cennetta's suggestion of basting the undercollar down, pressing and then topstitching from the right side of the undercollar.

I love the navy 'n white embroidered fabric but for the Draper James dress it's really the red embroidery that's eyecatching. So to bring that red to my dress I added red topstitching on everything...the collar...the front of the of every tier. Hopefully the red pops and adds to the embroidery and gingham fabric as well as reminds you of the Inspiration Dress.

When I make this dress again, I will lower the bust darts since they are a tad high. You have to look to see this but I know it's there. Also, I made my bodice with a closer fit than some of the versions I've seen on the internet. I was concerned that if I made a looser fit that the dress would look like a muu-muu on me since there is sooooo much fabric in it already.

A few pictures ~

Just me hanging out by the garage doors

That close fitting backside

Hands jammed in pockets that don't work

So a few things ~ 
One - I included the pockets and then assembled the tier wrong. I haven't removed them and sewn the seam shut in the pictures above. However, I think I will.

Two - while this is longer than pictured on the envelope and shown on the internet, I want to add at least another inch to the hemline to insure that it hits that sweet spot on me which is just below my knees.

Three - I didn't use the three tiers in the Inspiration Dress. I worked it out in my head but decided to baste the last tier on and if it was too short, then I would cut the middle tier. Since the two tiers worked and I was sick of gathering, I went with it.  I would like to try a three tier version, though.

Four - I'm trying to use my gathering foot more so I become proficient with it. The gathering on this is not as much as I thought it should be and when I used the foot, I ended up with too much gathering. I'm sure that there is an adjustment to be made but I need more practice with the foot. When I fell back on my normal gathering method, it worked just fine.

Five - while I added several rows of red topstitching to the dress, I'm not sure they are visible from far away.  But I'm glad I added them. 

Wearability Factor ~
I wore this to work on Monday and got a lot of compliments on the dress...from several strangers...just people on the Macys...even my Lyft driver. This dress is a winner! However, I had one challenge with the dress, when the wind blew up against the dress and raised it above my knees it made me self conscious. Although I did receive one compliment when standing at the corner waiting for the light to change and the wind blew up under the dress and created the nicest fullness. 

Conclusion ~
This is an easy sew and I recommend buying the pattern if you're looking for a loose, cool and flirty dress for summer.  I made a few alterations to the pattern to get my version of the inspiration dress.  However, about halfway through I thought if you're a plus size gal, it would be just as easy to start with the Lenox Shirtdress bodice and add the tiers. You'd have to do some math to figure out the tier length and width (why I didn't go that way) but it is doable.

At first I thought I wouldn't make this dress again.  Then I tried it on and oh my goodness, the heavens opened, the choirs sang and I was a convert. This dress is EVERYTHING! I want another one in rayon and a tunic top. Just have to figure out how to make it not look maternity.

I know I can sometimes seem anti-indie BUT if you create an amazing indie pattern that I can purchase in a plus size pattern, I'm there for you. I don't mind making normal alterations, I just hate having to grade up a pattern after paying the patternmaker for said pattern. And yet again, may I state I'm not a PDF woman. There is no conversation/argument that can convince me that paying to download a pattern, printing, taping and cutting out or sending it out to be printed is cheaper than buying one of the Big4 on don't waste your breathe...I'm solidly in the paper pattern camp.

Okay after that, may I say I love this pattern and the subsequent dress and there will be more of them in my future! always more later!


  1. You sewed a Fantastic dupe and your dress is comfy & chic. Enjoy. . .

  2. Looking great, love the fabric. I am not a real fan of the pdf pattern either...

  3. This is such a great summer dress on you! If you hadn't pointed out the "missing" tier, I don't think I ever would've noticed. The eyelet edge seems to provide the "essence" of another tier. Well done Carolyn!!

  4. Great iteration.
    I never would have looked twice at this ...even with the inspiration photo but your version shows it can work well...
    BTW: After a PDF's and a couple of good pattern sales, I have decided I am a paper pattern camper too.

  5. I'm with you on the pdf patterns...they are way too much work for me. This dress is so cute on you! I love your fabric choice, it's perfect for summer. I hope you do make another one. I also agree with you that we should be able to start with a pattern in our size range. I hope more designers will consider that. It makes a lot of business sense, in my opinion, because there are a lot of us out here sewing. Happy sewing!

  6. Adorable dress, Carolyn! I'm definitely not a pdf fan. I want to spend my time perfecting the fit of a tissue pattern not printing and taping it together from the start. Karen

  7. That last paragraph...all that. I need Indie patterns to be special to compel me to buy and I hate wasting good sewing time assembling paper together. And while I sent my last batch of PDFs to be printed, still, that is an additional expense.

    At any rate, I LOVE THIS DRESS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It looks SO good on you. The fit is everything and the fabric is fun and screams summertime.

    1. Keisha - I knew you'd understand! LOL! I understand why some sewists like pdfs because I'm sure it's due to availability - they can get stuff faster by downloading since some pattern lines aren't sold in their countries - but I don't have that challenge. And no one can convince me to spend $20 on a pattern with one garment in it, then send it somewhere to be printed for an additional $5-10. That's $30 before fabric!!!

  8. Super cute, looks great on you and such a nice fabric choice.

  9. Love the dress, looks comfy and adorable on you! So agree with you view on the pdf patterns, did so many back when I was using pattern software sewing for my plus size daughter, just forced me to learn more about alterations on paper patterns, now can do those faster than messing with a pdf

  10. This dress is so pretty and looks like a summer picnic. Great job.

  11. As always, you are an inspiration! This dress look ah!mazing! I am with you in PDF patterns..there is a dress pattern that I want to make...available as as a PDF only now (used also have hard copies) and I just cannot bring myself to get it....foolish...but there you are , I am still an analog kind of gal...

  12. Love, love, looove this dress Carolyn!! I passed that fabric at Hobby Lobby and now they're sold out!!! As for the pattern, it's very tempting but I haven't pulled the trigger yet!

    1. I rarely go to Hobby Lobby so getting this was a treat AND when I bought it, the fabric was on sale!

  13. I love this dress! It's fabulous. Makes me want to get out my embroidery unit and make some really special fabric and a dress. g

  14. How fun and summery is this dress??? You look so comfy and happy which are not always the 2 things we get from a project. I'm with you on PDF patterns...we do all the work, they keep the money and then spend hours altering and sizing up or down...who needs that? We have a new Hobby Lobby coming to town and that should perk up the only fabric store in town...yes, JoAnn's...the warehouse of polar fleece even in summer. Just when we think of gingham as little girl dress material you spring this on us and we gasp...OMG...I want one of these for myself!!!

  15. I am such an "inspiration at 2am" sewist, PDF patterns are my JAM, my Jelly, my toasted crumpet! Also, I am the kind of sewist that leaves Planned Parenthood flyers in the Hobby Lobby. And this is why it is such a wonderful and wide world for you and me and everyone else.There is room for us all.

    Even at half off at a closing sale, I just couldn't get over how much this pattern looks like so many other patterns in my hoard. Take away the tiered skirt and...yup. And unless it's a patio dress with a million miles of rick rack on the skirt, I'm not a tiered skirt gal. After your shirt dress debacle, I was a little surprised at this in your to-do stack.

    And it really works for you. Cute but not cutesy. Charming but womanly. You look like a grownup in summer.
    It is splendid. Except for the pockets. I am sad for the pockets.

    I have an office job question: do you have an office cardigan/sweater/shawl for the air conditioning blast? Does anyone else? This is the next PR contest I think.

    1. SJ - I know you love pdf patterns and I totally agree about different strokes for different folks! I just am clarifying my stance on pdf Patterns. Also this is not quite an empire waist dress which is why I like it. Finally yes I always have a cardigan with me cause the bus is colder than my office!

    2. 'Cute but not cutesy. Charming but womanly. You look like a grownup in summer' -- I like the way you said this! It's all of this...

  16. Love, love your version of the dress. And yep to everything written above about PDF. It's rare that you can't find something similar in a paper pattern and do your own changes. So good tip about Lenox shirt dress. Jean

  17. You know that shirtdress a few posts ago that was ... fine ... but just wasn't you? This is the opposite. This is so, so YOU! It's breezy, cool, and grown-up hip. You nailed it.

    1. Thanks! It really is much so I have one or two more planned! 😉

  18. You look great in this outfit. Love it.

  19. This is my favorite thing I have seen on you! It suits you beautifully, and I can understand why you got so many compliments!

  20. Love it look beautiful in this dress!

  21. Omg! I love everything about this dress.

  22. This silouette is very flattering on you. More waistlines and skirts!

  23. Perfect. The navy and white gingham is so fresh and the embroidery is pretty. You have fitted the bodice so well and the contrasting gathered tiers contrast beautifully. Not to mention your red details ! Yet another fantastic sew !

  24. Beautiful dress! I was so interested to see where you added, graded etc. I have the Lenox pattern (do I own all the Cashmerette patterns? I dare you to ask me :) ) so that was a GREAT idea! I'm with you on PDFs!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated!


Related Posts with Thumbnails