washi testing!

washi dress pattern testing

i’m not a very selfish seamstress. frankly, it’s because i’m intimidated. i don’t like how much yardage adult lady patterns require, the patterns seem too complicated, and you just never know how the fit will work. i seem to have just as many failures at sewing clothes for myself as i do successes. i actually own a good number of adult patterns that i’ve never even opened. they just freak me out!

washi dress pattern testing

but not the washi dress. i LOVE the washi dress. i loved it when Rae posted about it the first time, and the second time, and every time thereafter. i knew i wanted to get my hands on the pattern as soon as possible. lucky for me, a well-timed email to Rae (where i just happened to offer my services as a pattern tester once again) turned into me sending her a couple very personal measurements and it just so happened i filled the size gap she needed. i got to be a washi tester!

washi dress pattern testing

it lived up to the hype. if you have always wanted to sew yourself a dress and you’ve been scared, this is definitely the pattern to try. Rae’s patterns are always clear and logical to follow, and she just keeps getting better! she has enlisted her sister to help with the technical pattern design parts and the washi pattern is so professional with great little diagrams instead of photos. Rae was definitely up to the challenge of making an adult lady pattern in a wide range of sizes, which i consider just incredible. she includes a fit guide that makes a lot of sense, when usually pattern alterations would scare me off. i made a medium, and the fit is pretty much perfect.

you can make the washi as a dress or a tunic, with sleeves (shown) or without, and once you have the fit down, it seems so easy to tweak a bit for different looks!  and hey, it even has pockets!

washi dress pattern testing

i really enjoyed the process of sewing the pattern, too. you know how some have “that one step” that you dread or hate, maybe it’s the zipper, or 20 buttons, or a ton of bias binding? the washi has a little of many different techniques, so you never get bored or tired of what you’re doing. it’s a really fun sew! the ONLY thing i was worried about was the shirring. i have a basic brother machine and those are notorious for not shirring easily; i’d tried a few times and it had never worked.

but i figured it out – and to do it, you’ve gotta break a rule (see my evil smile?).

washi dress pattern testing

okay first, go buy gutermann brand elastic thread like Rae suggests. they sell it at joann’s, and when i went they had it on sale. the stuff just FEELS higher quality than other brands, and it seems to makes a huge difference. second, you need to wind it onto the bobbin with some tension – this is the rule you break, because everyone tells you to wind it without pulling. if i did that, it wouldn’t work – it just left me a mess of elastic underneath. but if i wound it with a little tightness, it seemed to work every time. don’t stretch it to the point of almost breaking, just pull a bit and wind it tighter than you should, like you’re rewinding a yo-yo. thirdly, if you have a drop in bobbin with the auto feed, don’t let the bobbin thread cut and retreat back into the “gully.” leave it so you can still see some tail out the side. if i cut the bobbin thread like normal, it snapped back in and wouldn’t catch when i started sewing.

shirring tips with a brother

finally, PRACTICE. i found i didn’t need to change my tension and i just increased my stitch length to 3.0. it worked! use scraps and try different things. what worked for me might not work for you, but i really didn’t want to mess with tightening bobbin cases and then loosening them the perfect amount again, so i was happy to figure this out without that.

and by the way – a dress with shirring in the back? SUPER comfy to wear. i’ve worn it to work, on a date night, playing with the kids, etc. i wished the bodice was just a tad longer and the skirt too, but Rae heard that from many testers and the final pattern will remedy both of those concerns.

washi dress pattern testing

this wraps up my washi post! keep your eye on Made by Rae for the official pattern release (any day now! i’ll update this post when it happens) and while you’re waiting, go check out Emily’s THREE washis, Cherie’s blue eyelet version, and Holly’s classy gray washi too! there’s also a washi flickr pool.


PS – the fabric for this dress is denyse schmidt for joann fabrics. i like that it looks a bit like a vintage feedsack.

PPS – I’m already most of the way through washi #2! i NEVER sew the same pattern so quickly, but i’m really excited about it so i had to!


51 thoughts on “washi testing!

  1. Jane says:

    Ahhh, I have been drooling over this dress since Rae first posted it!!! I love yours!! It looks great! I really am hoping to hop on and buy the pattern as soon as it is available and make one for my anniversary/date night with my husband at the end of the month!! 🙂 Great job!

  2. Carolyn says:

    I don’t believe that you’re afraid of adult clothes…you’re my sewing super-hero! The washi dress looks gorgeous on you! Such a fantasic fit and I love that little rounded detail in the front. Oh, and I’m all for pockets!

  3. jessica says:

    Whoa girl, look at your gams in those killer red shoes! This dress just seems so universally cute and flattering on everyone. I love yours and can’t wait to make mine.

    • kristin says:

      you’d be amazed how much play those red patent leather pumps get – i wear them to pretty much every fancy occasion! red shoes go with everything. 😉

  4. Emily says:

    What a very pretty dress! The fit looks fantastic! Shirring is definitely something I avoid. Ha. I will have to try your tips though. 🙂 PS love the hair and shoes and pics.

  5. Laura says:

    This turned out great, Kristin! I have sworn off elastic thread on my psycho-computerized sewing machine but maybe I’ll give it another try.

  6. Caila says:

    Great work, Kristin! It’s beautiful. My first one got bunked (my fault, I made a bad cut and couldn’t fix it), and now I’m working on my second. Can’t wait to finish it!

  7. Stef says:

    You look spectacular!! Love the shoes with that fabric – I think it would look super cute with a belt, too! Way to rock it! And you’ve worn it to work AND a date night!! That’s awesome, Kristin! Maybe this will be the pattern I finally try for myself.

  8. Brooke says:

    I am so jealous you got to be a pattern tester! I have been impatiently waiting for this pattern to come out ever since I saw the first washi dress! Love that material- I actually used the same fabric to make myself a Tova top and I love how comfy it is!

  9. Ash P says:

    I love your dress!!!! I agree that it looks like it should be a little longer in the top, I think it’s still cute though. I seriously love it and I like that vintage feedsack look too….but then again I might be a red neck…so I’m not sure if my opinion counts 😉

    I can’t wait to try making this dress for myself!

    -Ash P

  10. Cherie says:

    Nice work, girl! Love the fabric and those awesome shoes!! It really is a fantastic pattern, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see everyone’s versions once the pattern comes out. Now I gotta get started on Washi #2 and 3 and . . . How many is too many?

  11. Lucinda says:

    yay for sewing for yourself! and even onto the second dress . . .even better! Loved your “evil” smile when sharing the shirring rule to break:) And this dress sounds super flexible – able to wear it to many different occasions. Thanks for the review, and congrats to Rae for designing such a great dress!

  12. rachel says:

    This is super cute on you and those shoes, too – ack! love them! i feel the same about sewing for myself. and nursing puts the kibosh on dresses for now. but i do love this dress. gorgeous and very flattering. i love your fabric choice too! nice work!

  13. gail says:

    I’m so excited for this pattern! You look utterly fabulous and I know it’s been said, but those shoes are spectacular :). Great job on the dress and way to master shirring!! Can’t wait to see washi #2!

  14. Jess says:

    So cute!! I love it. Wish I didn’t have a huge belly so I could sew it up…maybe someday! I love the fabric, too. I have some, hoarding it for a rainy day, I guess.

  15. Delia says:

    Gorgeous! And great tips for shirring with a brother. I too don’t like the idea of tightening the bobbin case. I just use my old kenmore just for shirring! 🙂 But I might just try shirring with my brother using your tips.

  16. shannon says:

    gorgeous!!! everything you said at the beginning i can totally relate too!! people ask why i don’t sew for myself–well, because i have! and it’s so frustrating to spend time and money and effort and get to the end and think ‘if i saw this in a store i would NEVER buy it!’
    so way to go–the dress is great! and seriously, can we talk about your LEGS for a second?!?!?!? hubba hubba! 😉

    • kristin says:

      totally true! the “would i pick this off a rack in a store?” test is HUGE. i think the washi dress passes that test – i’ve gotten complimented on it a few times and only once was i asked if i made it! that’s good, i say.

      i played soccer a good part of my life…even though i haven’t a couple years, apparently the soccer legs remain. hehe, thanks!

  17. Beth says:

    Wow – thank you SO much for the info on shirring on a Brother machine, Kristin! I have never been able to do it successfully. I’ll give your suggestions a try and see if I can get it to work. Sure hope so because I just got the Washi pattern and already have my fabric!

  18. Danielle says:

    Yes ditto to everyone. Darling dress and very cute legs! I am tempted to try this and do the full bust adjustment…I feel like I saw that she has that option. Otherwise it would never fit just like every other pattern. Love it!

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