Hacking the Maisie DIY drawstring dress

If you remember my last post I made the original Maisie dress from a light woven but only had two centimetres of ease instead of six and it’s a tidge tight, so I decided I’d try it in a knit. I used some gorgeous Liberty jersey that I bought from Shaukat & Co on the Old Brompton Road in London. 


I’m wearing my Naughty Bobbin Pattern, Presto! Popover hacked into a cardigan (see how I did it here) over the dress as it’s been a funny old day in Perth, really hazy with controlled burns in our South West, but still a bit chilly in the wind. It’s finally warm enough for me to wear my sandals made with The Shoe Camaraderie, however. I walked a long way in these and they were so comfortable.


The photograph of the back is out of focus, sorry, but you get the idea. This dress fits me much better although I would risk saying that it’s a little large. I did my own thing when attaching the drawstring placket, but Sarah, the designer behind Pattern Union did her placket a little differently. Instead of just sewing the top to the placket with a one centimetre seam and then sewing it down to the top of the skirt, like I did, she left three centimetres on the bodice before attaching the placket. When it’s folded down it is then level with the bottom of the bodice and the skirt can be attached to the two pieces of fabric.  I’m not sure I explained this correctly, but she’s going to do a tutorial for us at some point. Sarah did me a little diagram which I am reproducing here. IMG_8729

The way I did it resulted in the bodice being longer than I would have wished, so live and learn; sometimes it’s good to follow instructions!

I also hacked the Maisie into a little tie top from a teeny piece of fabric I bought for cents at the op shop. It’s a lovely cotton knit with the length dictated by the fabric. The neck on this one is a bit low at the back, so I’m going to do some redrafting. 


I had to put in a back seam to fit it on the fabric, but it’s worked out well except the little cutout for the front tie is perhaps too high. I reduced it to 8 cm but I’m still showing more skin than I’m comfortable with. It goes really well with high waisted shorts though.DSC01791

I also had a go at a woven top using the same sort of idea, but didn’t increase the size because I cut it on the bias and thought it might give it a bit more ease. It was a good thought but it didn’t work! 


The fabric is the most beautiful quality fine cotton lawn with a very bold pattern on it, running in stripes across the fabric that I bought from Woven Stories Textiles. It was only $5 a metre and I think Liz still has some. I cut the front on the bias to try and tone it down a bit as it’s a really bold pattern! With this one I have a centre front seam because of the bias cutting so I didn’t need to leave much of a gap for the ties. I really like the effect the bias cutting (and, may I say, epic pattern matching) has on this fabric. 

I wore it to the airport to meet my sister who is visiting from the UK and teamed it with purple Pattern Union Phoebe trousers, which need a small amount of modifying to improve the fit. These are made with raw silk I bought in Stockholm and had no idea what to do with (yes, one of those purchases!). 


I cut the back on the cross grain, so the stripes are vertical rather than horizontal, not that it would have made any difference because I didn’t have to pattern match the side seams. I’m waving at my sister here, vainly trying to catch her attention as she came off the airbridge.


And that magical moment when a beloved sister gets spat out of customs!IMG_9858

And yes, she’s a lot shorter than I am even though she is my biggest sister!


In short, the Maisie, a free pattern, let me remind you, is a really useful little number. You draft it yourself, which is quite exciting, particularly if you haven’t drafted a pattern before. Sarah is beginning to share some tutorials on her Pattern Union website to help you with some of the decision making and I guarantee you’ll learn some things.

Just a little note about Pattern Union, which I’ve shamelessly lifted from Sarah’s website:

Pattern Union was created by Sarah Pondevie, owner of Workspace Fashion and Design school, teacher and maker of fashion, who has a passion for pattern making. Her years of working in made-to-measure clothing and teaching has given her the breadth of knowledge to create a range of clothing patterns that appreciates the fact that traditional sizing does not reflect standard measurements.

Pattern Union patterns offer the home sewer a new approach to fitting and designing clothes. The manifesto encompasses the ethos of our brand, which is to enable fit alterations that assume not all bodies are the same, and provide the tools required to easily adapt to the individual.

I really appreciate the fact that Sarah recognises that none of us are the same size. Although she is currently producing limited sizes, it is easy to make the patterns bigger or smaller, and all her PDF patterns use the layers feature, which I think is so useful, and shows a bit of extra effort. 

A final photo of my Liberty knit Maisie dress in the wild. Actually you’re getting three photos. This little minx is Rosie, my step granddaughter, and she was desperately trying to do the rabbit ears thing in the photos and I was desperately trying to stop her. Needless to say I gave up! Please note that our sandals almost match.



18 thoughts on “Hacking the Maisie DIY drawstring dress

  1. The Maisie dress looks really good on you and it was interesting to read your adventures in top making. I particularly like the final top and trousers that you wore to meet your sister. Have a wonderful time together and enjoy one another’s company.

    1. Thank you Diane. The fit is ok, but because I didn’t quite get how the placket worked, the bodice is a couple of centimetres longer than it should be and it’s a bit baggy round the waist. having said that, it’s gorgeous to wear.

  2. I love your dress and tops, all of them are pretty and look easy to wear. Enjoy your special time with your sister and step granddaughter.

  3. I do like how Sarah works the placket – it’s very clever. I’m folllowing her on IG and will watch her tutorials with great interest. As you said, your print matching is epic on the knotted top and these silk trousers are just wow! Your action pics with your sister at the airport convey your excitement and happiness and show how your handmades look great on you IRL. xxx

    1. Thank you dear Hélène, I think I might need a dress cut on the bias in this fabric, it’s by far the nicest way to have it. It’s been so good having my sister about…

  4. i love your versions of this veratile pattern instruction. the bold fabric of the top on the bias is my favorite

  5. I love those pictures, you all look so happy and full of life 🙂
    And your hacked top and dress look great, as expected! I like the extra width of the dress works very well with the fabric!

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