It's not illegal, and some argue it's even good for the industry (listen to Kal Raustiala, co-author of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation on NPR). Pattern companies are likewise on the copycat bandwagon.
For example, remember this dress?
The garment in question is a black silk tunic by Lauren Moffat. I love this detail on the back:
The front view is pretty simple:
So I drafted a flat pattern, using the original as my guide:
|Unintentional photobomb by Ryan|
It's looking a little tortured here, which is both the result of inadequate ironing and probably not quite the right fabric (this is the silk crepe de chine I had leftover from sewing Simplicity 1872, which I recently gave away):
I carefully ripped out all the top stitching. I decided it just didn't work. Or maybe I am just terrible at it. Either way. It had to go. The back looks even more tortured in this photo, but mostly because the sleeves were still pinned at that point. The fit on me is actually really good, though it looks like it's pulling in numerous places here:
For a simple looking top, it was hard to figure out how to construct this thing. It's like facings upon facings...and then sleeves? It turns out ripping something off can be extremely difficult. Figuring out what to sew first was like a puzzle.
It's nearly done, after a week of sewing in short fits and starts (My time to sew over the past 7 days was minimal thanks to Hurricane Sandy, which knocked out power to both my kid's preschool and my husband's office for five days — and shut down the subway system and just about everything else. So that meant we three were all home for days upon days. Even the playgrounds and parks were all closed due to danger of falling branches. You might think that would mean lots of sewing time. You might, if you've never spent any time around a stir-crazy four-year-old.)
It's just waiting now for the buttons, which I bought on Etsy: