WIP: The Picnic Dress

I’m calling this dress the Picnic dress or really should be called The Copycat Dress.

I’ve been debating for several days whether I was going to blog about this project or not.  I have very strong feelings about sewing this dress, some positive feelings and some guilty feelings.  I’ve gone so far as to check with Stephanie first since I never want to illicit negativity on the web between us sewing bloggers.

You see… Stephanie of Star Spangled Heart blog had sewed up an incredible dress last week.

I feel head over heels with the print that I (guiltily) went and hunted down the same fabric to use on a dress of my very own.

The pattern that I’m using is Marian Martin 9227:

So, you can already see… it’s looking more and more similar to Ms. Stephanie’s dress.

The catch is that she spotted this fabric on a OTR dress and had went about recreating it for her very own.

The Bernie Dexter dress looks very similar to Gertie’s new dress pattern too.

Here’s the link to fabric.com if you want to get some of this awesome fabric for yourselves!  :)  Yarr… It’s on sale now too for $7.63 a yard.  I missed it by that much.

This could be a really perfect one to use too:

Michael Miller Ahoy Matey

So I’m having lots of guilty feelings about this dress since I feel like I’m basically ripping off another blogger, who was also putting her own spin on dress she saw in a shop. I’d feel much less guilty if I were recreating something I saw mass produced but I do know it all boils down to the same thing.

I know this post is really loaded with all sorts of ideas like consumerism, copyright, crafter’s free license to create, etc.

But the one thing that is ticking in the back of my mind is: I’m doing all of the work and fitting sewing this dress up for myself… so technically it’s my own dress, kinda…. right???

When I don’t think about all of these topics, I’m having a really fun time sewing up this dress for myself. I haven’t made a summer, sleeveless dress in well… forever really. Most of my dresses either have cap sleeves or short sleeves attached since I’m just shy like that. I’m not used to showing off my shoulders/arms. But this dress makes me feel flirty and ready for a summertime picnic.

Here’s my my bodice muslin:

And the back has a surprise:

Shirring!  This addition was all me.  :)

I got all of my pattern pieces cut out, but the only assembled piece I have so far is the bodice back:

The shirring took quite a long time.  I didn’t bother to match up the pattern since I thought it would be too busy anyhow.  But after looking at the back bodice, I wish I had matched up the patterns at the center back.

I was going for functionality over beauty since the center back will have a zipper and I wasn’t sure if I had to add/remove more fabric here for a better fit, after all is said and done.

Getting back on topic…

So having such happy feelings about this dress, I wanted to figure out a way to share it with you all in a transparent way.

The only thing that makes this all okay in my mind is the fact that I love Stephanie’s dress. I loved hers so much that I wanted one for my very own.  Mega compliment for Stephanie!  But there are peeps out there that would get really offended and territorial on their creations.  Heck… I would if someone recreated something I’d made (but not given me credit).

And I think that’s the thing!  Giving credit where credit is due is the key.  It’s one thing to be inspired by something and it’s another deal to 100% copy a design.  But in either situation, I think the key is noting the original to give credit where it’s due so that you’re not trying to take all the credit and pass it off as YOUR original creation.

Yay’s/Nay’s? Thoughts?

Note: I know this will illicit very strong thoughts in either case, but please be polite as you guys always are. :)

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (19)

  1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making the same thing as someone else.

    If she’d made it in solid blue or something and you made the exact same pattern, also in solid blue, would you be asking the same questions?

    I mean, sewing blogs are there for inspiration, aren’t they? That’s the whole reason I go to them! And people super helpfully list the patterns and fabrics they use…

    I do agree about credit, of course. Admitting when you’ve been inspired by someone else is absolutely key, but in general I don’t find it to be objectionable at all.

  2. Lauren May 22, 2013 — 10:47 AM

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “ripping” off another blogger’s design… I mean, hell, I do it ALL the time, so maybe I’m just trying to reassure myself :) But, I mean, I’ve also had it happen to me before and it doesn’t bother me, as long as credit is given where credit is due. Maybe not so much using the same pattern/fabric (because, let’s face it – even if you dupe those two, you can still end up with different looking garments depending on fit and embellishments and such), but at least when it comes to using the same trims and buttons or whatever. I think it’s all fine as long as you say where you got the inspiration from and link back :) It’s just a nice thing to do!

    And, honestly, if Stephanie is going to make a dress THAT beautiful, she just needs to be used to people copying her ;) hahahaha!!!

  3. I think you’re right – it’s about giving credit! I’m sure that stephanie will be flattered (and you’ve exposed her blog to potential new followers like me). Her dress is gorgeous and yours will be too! Fab print!

  4. ClaireE May 22, 2013 — 11:00 AM

    As I was reading through this I couldn’t see what why you were worrying so much but I can see both sides.You gave credit to Stephanie, and even checked that she was happy, and that, to me, is key. I feel that we all inspire each other and if you spot something you must have then it is ok to recreate while crediting. If someone contacted me about recreating something I had made I would amazed and flattered. Good luck with the rest of the dress, it is looking great already.

  5. I think the key here is that you contacted her and let her know how great you thought her dress was and that you planned to create a similar (copy) dress. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery… unless you copy something and try to claim it as your own original idea… that’s when it falls into the category of “not cool”. I’m excited to see your version. I think it’s going to be gorgeous!

  6. I almost used the Gertie dress pattern for mine but I couldn’t figure out how to do an FBA on it. Love that you used shirring! It’s perfect for over eating at bbq’s. :)

    1. Liz May 22, 2013 — 12:14 PM

      YAY! Thanks for chiming in Stephanie!

      I too like Gertie’s pattern, but I’m much too modest to show so much cleavage. I even had to add an extra inch of fabric for this pattern so it wasn’t quite so low and lamb. heh

  7. I completely agree with you about giving credit. I’d be really unhappy if someone decided to re-create something I’d made and pass it off as entirely their own, but absolutely elated if someone re-created that same thing and linked to mine as their original inspiration,

  8. cathy May 22, 2013 — 2:57 PM

    I think you already did a great job of acknowledging and contacting your inspiration! Nothing wrong with that. I also think that it is near impossible to create something, anything, 100% from our own brains – there’s always something, whether from the past or present that has inspired us. After all, the best inventions are copied from nature’s designs!

  9. Hmm. Your post has stuck with me and after mulling it over some more, I came to the realization that my happiness over someone liking my work enough to re-create it would really only extend to the person who was sewing it up so they could personally have one of their own. If it turned into one of those things where someone decided they’d re-create it en-mass for a profit, perhaps only linking back so they wouldn’t have to sew up their own sample, then I’d be absolutely in a rage unless they’d asked my permission and been granted it. Maybe it wouldn’t be entirely legally wrong, but it would feel like exploitation nonetheless. That scenario doesn’t apply to your situation at all, but I could see where other people would draw a different line than I would.

  10. Great question! I think I agree with most people that if you let them know, and link back to the original inspiration, it’s fine! I found myself in the same situation where I saw someone’s version of a pattern I had and went out and bought the same identical fabric to make the same identical skirt :)

  11. Rachel May 22, 2013 — 9:40 PM

    I can sort of see where you’re coming from, but agree with the point you made at the end; if you credit where you got the idea/inspiration from then I think it’s ok. It’s not like you’re making it to sell, you’re making it so you can wear one too.
    You should make it and wear it with pride! It looks like it’s going to turn out absolutely stunning,

  12. Lithia Black May 23, 2013 — 2:33 AM

    I believe that as long as credit is given and you are not making money of the garment copying, being inspired of other peoples creations and somewhat copying them are OK.

    The only time I have been offended is when a person told me she loved a corset I made and then asked me if she could get the pattern and the instructions for make one exactly like it for free. I’m a designer/seamstress and I’m trying to live of my skills, so her assuming that I would give all the work invested in drafting the pattern, sewing the garment and figure out the embellishment for free kind of blew my mind…


  13. Francesca May 23, 2013 — 4:44 AM

    Since you are blogging about it, giving credit is helpful to your realationship with the other blogger. But since I’m not a blogger and don’t post my sewing creations up on Facebook or anything, I wouldn’t bother telling everyone who complimented me where I got the inspiration. (I generally don’t even tell people I made something.) I believe it was Coco Chanel who said, “Without copying, there is no fashion.”

  14. Rachel May 24, 2013 — 12:16 AM

    I agree- so long as you give credit where credit is due, then where is the problem? :)

  15. Sara May 26, 2013 — 2:05 AM

    You paid for the pattern and the fabric so you’re not really taking a free ride. People don’t sell inspiration, they give it away for free on their blogs. Think of the person who designed that fabric – how would he feel if one blogger made a fabulous dress with it and then all the other bloggers and home-sewers refused to buy it because they are afraid of looking like copycats?

  16. Tiff May 29, 2013 — 9:23 AM

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with what you did – especially since you’re being very transparent about it. In this case I don’t think it’s any different from seeing someone else wear a dress you like and finding out where you can buy it yourself. The only difference is you’re seeking out the pattern and fabric used. It may be a different story if Stephanie had designed the print of the fabric herself and you blatantly copied it, or if Stephanie had designed the pattern herself and had it for sale (which isn’t the case). Both fabric and pattern used were readily available for others to use.

    Think about it this way: what if you accidentally bought this fabric and this dress, sewn it, and THEN saw the blog entry?

  17. Ah!! I’m so glad you posted this b/c I’ve been dying to “copy” the same dress! AND I’ve been on the fence about it as well. But you’ve inspired me to order that fabric and give it a go. Thank you for this post!

Leave a Comment