So we’re back! Arizona was good. The Ironman went great. The trip was long, and we were all happy to get home!
I was also quite happy to be reunited with Sally, my beloved Singer, who went for her yearly maintenance while we were away. She’s back and humming along better than ever!
But now down to business — Washi!
I finally sewed together my very first Washi dress (the pieces have been cut and sitting on the floor of my sewing room for about 2 months — bad Katie!), and I can say with absolutely confidence that it will not be my last.
Get ready for some gushing (apologies in advance). I love, love, LOVE this pattern. Seriously, this may be the best pattern I’ve worked with, both in styling and construction.
I’ll go through my pros and cons on the pattern below, but one thing I just have to mention — bust darts! These bust darts are perfect. I love the dresses I’ve made myself so far, but I’ve never been completely happy with the bust darts until this dress. These darts hit me in exactly the right place and look so seamless. They add a ton to the professional “storebought” look. I remember Rae posting when she was drafting the Washi dress pattern about her agonizing and rewriting of the bust darts. Well, all that work paid off because they are perfect!
I also love the way the bust darts are drafted in the pattern. I’ve never seen them done this way before. Rather than just having you trace the dart on to the fabric and fold it, trying to line up your lines, etc., the Washi Dress pattern actually has a cut-out where the bust dart goes. This may not seem like much, but it makes for absolute idiot-proof bust darts. No way to place these wrong because the fabric is cut out where the dart goes! Love this. I sometimes have issues with lining up my dart lines (particularly if the fabric and my fabric pen are too close to the same color), or the fabric slipping as I sew, etc. I’m going to start doing this on my bust darts from now on so I can’t screw them up!
I also love the styling. I’m usually not a huge fan of empire-waist dresses. I generally think they make me look pregnant — probably because I wore a lot of them when I was pregnant. But this one is really flattering and actually makes my belly look flatter rather than pregnant. I think that may be because it’s not a true empire-waist dress. The bodice extends a couple of inches below the breasts, which gives nice chest definition and hits at one of the narrowest spots on most women’s bodies. The whole silhouette is really nice.
Pattern: Made by Rae Washi Dress
Fabric: A nice, drapey printed medium-weight linen from Joann’s.
Size: Small (For anyone who may wonder, my bust size is 35.5″, and the bust measurement is by far the most important measurement in this pattern).
Physical Pattern: It’s a PDF, which isn’t my favorite but all that was available when I bought the pattern. I hate cutting out all the pieces of paper. Washi is now available in a paper pattern, which is probably what I would have bought if it had been available at the time. I think the extra $ for a paper pattern is generally worth it.
- Bust darts! These are the absolute perfect bust darts for me! See my gushing above.
- Pockets — the pockets are incorporated into the skirt pattern pieces, so there are no awkward seams where the pocket starts, it cuts down the sewing time, and you can’t screw up placement. I love that the pockets are seamless. You can barely tell that they’re there. I think I’m going to start making this modification to all my dresses and skirts with in-seam pockets, as long as I have enough fabic.
- Sleeves — These little cap sleeves are the perfect size. They give some coverage if you wear the dress by itself but are the size and shape ensures that they don’t bunch up under a cardigan.
- Pleats — Such a flattering alternative to the standard gathered waist.
- Shirring — OMG. Can we say comfy? The shirring eliminates the need for closures (the dress just slips over your head), and makes the dress uber comfy. Not to mention that shirring is ridiculously easy.* This was my first time shirring, and I’m not sure why I was so nervous about it!
*Tip for those with top drop-in bobbins: Most tutorials on shirring (including Rae’s) will tell you not to stretch your elastic thread as you wind the bobbin. But, if your machine is like mine (a Singer 7470), that won’t work. You won’t get any tension in your thread and you’ll just end up with a wonky stitch that doesn’t gather up. Instead, you need to pull the elastic thread as tight as you can as you wind the bobbin. That way, the elastic thread will be nice and tight as you sew and will shir up nicely.
- Cutout — I’m actually not a big fan of the cutout on this dress. I like the cutout with the right fabric, but my fabric was so drapey that the cutout makes the neckline gape in a weird way. I probably should have interfaced the bodice piece around the cutout in addition to the facings. I prefer dresses like this in drapey fabrics, though, so I’ll probably just omit the cutout next time.
- PDF pattern — But now you can buy the paper pattern!
- That’s it. Seriously, I can’t think of anything else that I didn’t like about this pattern.
Overall grade: A+. Rae hit this one out of the park. It has me really hoping for more women’s patterns from her.
Now my dilemma is whether to make a second Washi right away (I have seriously awesome fabric for it!), or try out another probably-awesome and yet-to-be-sewn pattern in my stash. Decisions!