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Hacking diaries: the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress hack inspired by an RTW dress

Tell me, how many screenshots of RTW clothes do you have on your phone? As a sewist (and I’m sure I am not alone in this), I have a whole different outlook on fashion now. It’s not just about liking or wanting something. What I’m interested in the most are the style lines, the seams, the construction, the fabric, and whether I know a pattern that I could replicate it with.

In the summer, Instagram kept showing me an ad for this Reserved dress for so long, I fell for it. But not in a way that would benefit the clothing brand, haha. I decided I really liked the style lines of this pattern – the button band, the grandad collar, the front and back yoke with gathering in the front pieces, the gathered sleeves, the tiered skirt… And I thought the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress could be a good starting point, mainly because of the similarity in the neckline.

I know the Myosotis has been immensely popular in the sewing community for a few years, but I was never that drawn to it. Firstly, for a long time I avoided gathered skirts, so that put me off a bit, as well as the loose fit. But with this project in mind, I finally bought the pattern, plotting the alterations I would need to make to combine the pattern with the elements of the inspiration dress I liked the most.

If you compare the Myosotis with the Reserved dress, you will notice that the Myosotis has no front and back yoke and that it has both a bust and a waist darts. The button placket does not continue on the skirt, the sleeves are different, there is no waist tie, and the bottom tier of the skirt is significantly shorter.

As I was not planning to make an exact replica of the inspiration dress, I was not going to alter everything to match it. Now, I am by no means an expert on this, so I cannot vouch for my methods, but here is what I did.

Button placket

I had a white fabric with tiny navy spots and a subtle gold stripe from my stash in mind for this project, but wanted a contrasting waist tie and button placket and collar, which meant that I had to make the placket into a separate pattern piece.

As the pattern includes seam allowance, I started by drawing on the seam allowance on the outside of the placket, then drew on a parallel line at the width of the finished placket, and then another marking the seam allowance on the other side. The straight red lines in the left picture show you what the finished placket will be, while the dashed lines mark the seam allowance. I traced this piece off and then cut it off (unfortunately forgetting to take a picture). You can see the finished front bodice piece on the right. Notice I cut it off where the placket should begin, forgetting to add seam allowance to the new centre front seam, so I had to do that on the fabric.

Front bodice & yoke

The front bodice needed a bit more work to make it look the way I wanted to. The inspiration dress only has a bust dart and a little bit of gathering at the top that goes into the yoke.

First, I needed to mark where I wanted the yoke – I marked it about a third of the way down from the shoulder to the armhole. I marked the seam allowance (1.5 cm up from the line for the bodice piece, 1.5 cm down from the line for the yoke piece), traced the yoke off (again excuse the absence of a picture), and cut it off on the line marking the seam allowance for the bodice.

Secondly, I needed to transfer the waist dart into gathers at the top of the new bodice piece. To do that, I marked a line from the top of the dart up to the yoke (the dashed line in the picture) and cut it from the yoke down to the blue dot. Then I cut one leg of the dart up to the blue dot, taking care to leave a little hinge. Then I closed the dart, and transferred the volume to the top.

Back bodice & yoke

I repeated a very similar process on the back, where I first marked where I wanted the yoke to begin, marked its seam allowance, traced off the yoke piece, and cut it off. Then I transferred the waist dart into gathers at the top the same way as on the front bodice. Although, as the dart is very long, I first lowered the top of it – you can see the new tip of the dart marked by the blue dot in the second picture, and redrew the dart legs. Only then did I slash & spread.

Sleeves

The sleeve was a bit of an improvisation. I think I traced the top of the sleeve to have the correct shape that would fit the pattern’s armhole, and then I took my altered pattern piece of the Selkie London dress sleeve and traced the sides and bottom of that, but again, I do not have a picture and cannot take one at the moment. (Let me know if you need it, once I am back from my Spanish adventure, I can add it.) Instead of the proper cuff on the inspiration dress I opted for finishing the bottom with a channel for an elastic.

Other changes

As the button placket did not go all the way down, I put in an invisible zip into the side seam. I cut a waist tie in the contrasting navy fabric. I also kind of botched the skirt and did not make the bottom ruffle wide enough because I was trying to save fabric. But it looked bad, so I had to take it off and extend it by another piece, which means there are three seams instead of two on the bottom tier and consequently don’t line up with the side seams, which bothers me a little, but not enough to recut the bottom tier completely.

The final dress

Et voilá, here’s final dress! It came out almost exactly as I imagined it would. I love the white & navy combo and I am sorry the gold stripes are not really visible in the photos, because they make it look even better. The buttons I used are pearly with golden edges and are from a big stash of buttons I got from my friend’s mum. It always makes me happy when I can use such treasures.

That said, I’m sure you can see there is room for improvement. I should know better by now that I need to lower the bust point on almost every pattern, but of course I wanted to make the dress so badly I didn’t here, so the bust dart is way too high. I also should have made the sleeve a bit longer to make it a bit more poofy. I wanted it to sit at the elbow, like it does, but making it longer would mean more fabric above it, hence more volume.

What do you think? Did my hack inspire you try one of your own? Or have you hacked something to make a RTW-inspired garment? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time,

Magda

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