A little confession before we start: I actually began the process of making this dress back in 2018!
I don’t remember exactly what stalled me at that point – I had the pieces cut, and then just set the entire thing aside for about a year. I even moved house (which means lots of purging on my end) and somehow decided that this project deserved to stay in my studio, despite not having any intention of actually sewing it. It wasn’t until I got a kick in my butt this spring to dig into my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and finish them once and for all. I located the pieces, pressed the creases out, and sewed up the dress in a couple of days.
I used the Deer & Doe Myosotis dress as my pattern, and cut a size 36. The only change I made (well, originally) was to add long and narrow waist ties to the side seams, to cinch the dress in a bit. The dress is quite loose and billowy, and with all the ruffles it just looked like I was drowning in fabric! In these photos, I have the tie wrapped around to the front and tied in a small bow, which is my favorite way to wear it right now.
My fabric is a white rayon lawn from Mood Fabrics and it is soooo nice to wear! Not my very favorite fabric I’ve ever worked with – it was pretty shifty and prone to fraying – but the perfect option for this design as the fit is very loose and forgiving, and the excessive ease and ruffles look fabulous when sewn with a drapey fabric. Mood describes this fabric as having a “waterfall drape” and they are not wrong – just look at that swing! This really is a fun dress to swan around in!
Also, I gotta confess: The original dress looked nothing like what you see in these pictures! For starters… it was white. And it had sleeve ruffles. Here is a photo of that mess:
It’s very sweet and romantic, which are two words that I would never use to describe my personal style haha. Also, the lightweight rayon lawn is basically see-through (as clearly seen on my dressform). I’m no stranger to dressing like an absolute hussy in the summer, but even this was a bit outside of my comfort level (and before you get at me with crazy suggestions like “adding a lining” or “wearing a slip,” let me remind you that summer here is very hot and I try to get away with wearing as few layers as possible, ha!).
I knew I’d never wear the dress as it was, so I decided to experiment with dyeing it using Rit dye! I followed the instructions for doing this in the washing machine, using about 3/4 of the bottle and allowing it to agitate for about 50 minutes. The resulting color is VERY saturated – much more me! – and also takes the edge off the sheerness so that I can wear this dress without looking like I’m trying to win a wet t-shirt(dress?) contest. Since the topstitching was done with polyester thread (which doesn’t take the same dye as rayon does), it remains white – but I actually really dig the contrast! It does mean you have to be super accurate with those topstitching lines, though 😛
With dyeing now a success, I tried the dress on and decided the sleeve ruffles had to go. I cut them off to make cap sleeves, re-hemmed, and ended up with the dress you see as my final result:
Much better! Much more ME!
So that’s the thrilling tale of how I took a UFO, sewed it into a dress I wouldn’t wear, and then reworked it until it was the perfect summer dress! Seriously, the airy lightness of this dress is perfect for the hottest summer days, and the bright coral is honestly one of my favorite colors to wear right now. I’m in love!