Maisie DIY drawstring dress

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the brand new and FREE (!) Maisie DIY drawstring dress from Pattern Union.

The DIY part of the pattern name is because you have to do the pattern drafting based on your hip measurement.  Once you have your measurement you simply follow the drafting plan, doing some shaping. The exciting thing about this pattern is that it is really hackable, and I will show a hack or two in my next post.


As can be seen, this dress has a gently curved neckline, kimono sleeves, a slightly bloused bodice with a narrow drawstring and a lightly gathered skirt. It can be either maxi or mini, or any length you choose.

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There are currently no instructions for making the dress (Sarah has some planned), but I think it’s pretty basic. I do like to be treated as a sewing adult and frequently do no more than glance at the instructions, but if you need some order of construction this is what Sarah suggested in an email to me when we were discussing this post:


  • Front neck and back neck: overlock and hem/use bias binding/create a bias t-shirt edge/woven: stitch and fray/jersey: leave raw and pull to roll
  • Sew shoulders and overlock
  • Sew side seams and overlock
  • Hem sleeves
  • Fold short edges of waist placket under
  • RST place placket on bodice, aligning folded edges with centre front 
  • Sew placket
  • Turn placket down
  • Sew sides seams on skirt and overlock
  • Hem skirt
  • RST aligning CF, CB and SS, sew bodice to skirt, overlock
  • Turn 1cm hem onto placket and sew to skirt. I also sew a row of topstitching to the bodice edge of the placket to make it look balanced

Ties: sew either as a tube or fold raw edges into centre and fold in half, sewing down the edge, and you can add elastic into the casing to keep the gathers neat.

I made my first version before the pattern was released into the world, as part of the testing process, and the instructions have changed slightly to include more ease, which is rather necessary I think. I’ve been feeling as though the dress didn’t have enough ease across the bust, although it’s not uncomfortable and doesn’t really feel tight, but I will definitely redraft it according to the new instructions.


I considered this dress as a bit of a pattern test, but I’m delighted to report that it’s really wearable. I used some gorgeous cotton and silk fabric from Potters, which has been malingering in my stash for far too long.  I made it back in September but the weather hasn’t been cooperating for photos. It’s now warming up nicely and I think I will be wearing this a lot. It’s cool and very comfortable. DSC01752

Next up is  a knit version, which I think will be excellent with the old instructions, so I will have two versions of this pattern – a woven version and a knit version – I just need to label the pattern pieces properly!


Just a quick note on Pattern Union. It’s a brand new pattern company, but Sarah, the creative talent behind the company is a professional designer, pattern maker and teacher. I have been doing pattern making classes with her for the last three years and I have made some gorgeous things under her tutelage. I am so delighted that she has branched out into commercial patterns so that others can enjoy her creativity. The Maisie DIY dress is a free pattern (use the coupon MAISIE). I have previously blogged the Marnie corset apron, which is another pattern from this designer. There is also a jumpsuit pattern, the Pheobe which is free with the coupon PhoebeFreebie. There are also lots of hacks which Sarah is making available with this pattern.

Sarah’s next pattern to be released is very exciting as I am a collaborator, so I suggest that if you are on Instagram you follow @patternunion to stay up-to-date. You will also see all the amazing hacks that Sarah’s been doing on both the Maisie and the Phoebe.


26 thoughts on “Maisie DIY drawstring dress

  1. This is a perfect little summer dress. I would wear it all the time! I’m following @patternunion on IG and her hacks are amazing. Can’t wait to see what you both together come up with!

  2. it is lovely in all its simpicity. I have downloaded the pattern but for me it is autumn now. If I cannot wait any longer I will perhaps try it as a nightgown . That can make me finetune the pattern

  3. Thank you for bringing this pattern to us, and I have printed it off in readiness for spring,. One small matter is bothering me re the sleeves are they separate or extended on from the bodice, there is no sleeve seam on the drawings, but the instructions say “Sew sleeves to bodice”. As you have made up a very pretty Maisie you are the best one to solve this for me.

    1. Oh you must try it! I have now removed the offending line of instructions – the sleeves are extended! Sarah gave me the instructions, and she has added a longer sleeve as a hack, and this must be what she was referring to!

  4. This is very cute. I read the whole thing thinking your version was in a knit and then discovered it was woven. Great you can make it in either fabric. I will have a go, but might wait to be further inspired by your hacks first!

    1. Haha, did I lead you astray? I am liking this pattern a lot and am sitting in bed right now thinking about a maxi version for some unknown function!

  5. Thank-you for introducing Sarah and her new pattern company to us. This is a lovely dress and I will give it a try as it looks perfect for an Australian summer.

  6. What a great dress for the Aussie summer, I love that you can use a knit or a woven. I’ve just gone to the pattern union site and it is now $5? Still good value with all the different choices, your dress looks great Sue

    1. No, don’t pay $5, just put the word MAISIE in the coupon box and it will still be free. If you make it from a knit, reduce the amount of ease, perhaps.

  7. Thanks for the introduction to another designer and pattern. This looks the perfect think for warm weather travel (it’s rarely warm in San Francisco) or with sleeves for a nice tunic.

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