The washi dress in blue – a made by rae pattern

Well it’s a big welcome to the Washi dress by Rae into the online store this week, and as part of ordering, a pdf of the pattern was sent to me to make up a sample, and I love it.  This washi dress was made up in blue, with bias tape hidden away everywhere.

Lately I’ve found that my sewing has been veering toward fussier fabrics and techniques, and with summer occasionally popping in to say Hello in Melbourne, the washi is the simple we’re off to anywhere dress.  Perfect for a day to the park, catching up with friends, I’d even sneak her into work on a casual friday with a cardigan and a pair of heels.

Honestly?  I’m delighted with this pattern, even though there were a few adjustments to be made.  It’s so fast to make though that even making three muslins for me was all done in one baby nap.  The references on the Washi page here really sped up new techniques for me, as Rae did a roundup of plain english tutorials.  Hooray!


To make my perfect Washi, I made three muslins.  The “as the pattern decrees” muslin, the “one inch FBA” muslin, and the “two inch FBA and a marker” muslin.  I’ll just talk about the third muslin, as the other two were efforts in optimism.

The front skirt hangs out very far, which is great if you are skinny, pregnant, or a combination of the above.  Three muslins were made to get the fit right, but they were simple adjustments.  Firstly I added a two inch FBA to the bodice front, giving a 4″ total adjustment.  The instructions say you can get away with maybe not making one, but if you have a small ribcage (or as mentioned above are not currently gestating), I found much too tight and unflattering.  The 2″ FBA for me made the front bodice the right length, and even so it cut right under my chest after adding some length.  I’m not a huge fan of waistbands always on the waist, so this was just right.

Except it hung out from my chest.  To taper in the sides by grading down to my rib size (not a real measurement by the way) I would have had to slice in 2″ to remove the effect of the FBA.  The easier option in this case was actually to add in under bust darts, which were contrived by the highly technical method of pinching fabric together to get the desired result and using a pen in the mirror on my muslin.

The neckline was nice, but not my personal style so I ended up dropping it down, and going a little crazy with the marker trying to work it out.  That was the easiest of the three adjustments, but even so the others seem daunting but were super easy.


The blue fabric looks like a cotton linen from a distance, drapes nicely and is easy to sew.  There are a few flaws in it which is disappointing, but considering it was a lovely gift from my Nana to my stash there are no complaints here!


After Kimberley’s great post on garment quality here, this dress was always going to be tricked out.  The whole thing was sewn up very quick at Saturdays social sewing, but I took it that little bit further.  The pride I feel in the dress is kind of amusing.  At the moment, it is hung inside out on a clothes hanger, so every time the wardrobe is opening you can see the seam finishes.  We can be a special bunch.

All the seams are bias bound.

The neckline is a contrast bias neckline.  Funkbunny pointed out at social sewing that the dress was nice, but a bit plain.  It needed something to pop.  So off downstairs to storefront of GJ’s fabric to find some bias tape.  After taping the neckline and arms, there was enough bias tape to finish off the hems.   The final finishing touch was catchstitching the hem in place with a two inch hemline rather than my roll, sew, press and wear that so many garments in our house get subjected too.

All simple details that took a little longer to do, but look at the finished product.

Future lessons

This was the first time I had ever done shirring, as it seemed very tricky like most sewing techniques.  I’m calling bullshit on this one.  It was SO EASY.  I mean really super easy.  Like why do I ever use zips when there is ELASTIC THREAD.

Just a few quick tips if you are going to try this – hand wind your bobbin without stretching the elastic.  As Kristy and I worked out, that makes shirring…just a line of thread.

After sewing a line a shirring, when you pull the threads away from the machine to snip them…pull quite far before cutting the shirring elastic.  There were a couple of instances of the elastic snapping back to the bobbin, me swearing then having to pull the bobbin out and re-loop my bobbin ‘thread’ back up.


I also found it was much easier to sew faster than slow, the lines were straighter, the shirring more shirry.  Let’s put this down to the mysteries of the universe.

And finally?  If you’re doing more than one, I found one bobbin of shirring elastic got 10 lines of shirring, which was just over 1.5 muslins.  Wind up a couple if you have plenty of bobbins.