Monday, 30 March 2015

A Gingham Washi Dress

It's been a year since my dressmaking odyssey began, and it all started with some red spotty poplin and a Colette Sorbetto. Since then I've made a few skirts, some cardis and even some dresses. I still haven't made anything with a zip in it. I'm definitely going to get myself an invisible zipper foot for my sewing machine and give it a whirl. I have the fabric, zips and thread for three projects, I just need to grow some balls and get on with it.

But I've been having plenty of fun making dresses WITHOUT zips. This is by far, my greatest dressmaking achievement. I've been wanting to make Made By Rae's 'Washi' Dress since I started sewing, and now I've finally made one. 

I spent many happy hours this week in my sewing space, taking my time to perfect each technique. I learned facings, a rather tricky set-in sleeve technique and shirring! I love that this pattern uses the bust dart and binding skills I learnt during my very first 'sew'. 

Here are my happy pics of me wearing my washi the other day...

Can I just say? I LOVED making this dress! And I LOVE the dress. It's perfect. Pockets? Check. Roomy to disguise great big tummy? Check. Flattering neckline? Check. I will DEFINITELY make another of these...perhaps even two or three? I'm thinking a chambray version with sleeves and a sleeveless mustard version with green bias bound armholes and neckline!

Things to note:-

  • The fabric is cheap as hell and as a result it frays like hell. Meaning this will probably fall apart. But it cost £3.99 a metre. I think it might be a poly cotton as it doesn't crease very much and I felt a bit scared pressing it in case it melted. I got it from one of those fabric shops where everything is piled up in a precarious fashion. But it's GINGHAM. Consider this a very wearable toile.
  • Yes, my pattern matching is shocking. But who cares? Not me.
  • I decided to gather the fabric at the front instead of pleating. I prefer the gathered look and also it cut about 4 days off the time spent making it... 
  • I liked shirring, and I think I will do two extra rows on my next version and it's slightly loose around my underbust. 
  • The sleeves were quite tricky, due to the curved edges. I also did not enjoy binding the raw edges and seam allowances. I really hated that. 
  • The facings flap about a bit. I did understitch them to the seam allowance but they still flap. I've also stitched them down to the shoulder seam allowance. But hey ho. 
  • The seam allowances for this dress are really quite tiny so go slowly and take your time. 

I wore my smashing new dress with my teal tights and my handmade crochet cardi. I'm pretty chuffed and proud with how far my handmade wardrobe has come in the last year. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Thank you ALL for your lovely comments on my sewing room. It's a lovely sacred space and I've cherished every moment I've spent in there so far. Yippeeeeee!



  1. You look adorable! and did you say 'set in sleeves' ? well done to you!!
    you are doing great.....bestest as ever D xxxx

  2. This is wonderful - well done you! Checks? Check! Can't wait to see what else you sew in your new space. :) x

  3. Looking good lovely, and the mustard one, well, what can I say?!

  4. Gorgeous! Lovely with your mustard cardy. I am rather tempted with this pattern... As someone who avoided shirring I made a dress with shirring earlier this year and love the magic that my sewing machine performs! I want to do more!

  5. OMG you are amazing! Look at that ruddy spectacular dress! (Skips off to investigate a pattern purchase) xxx

  6. Beautiful Kath, you look glorious, I like the look of this pattern and might need into looking it up xxx thanks for all your making tips too, fan x

  7. Just gorgeous, you are creating a stunning bespoke wardrobe for yourself!

  8. Just gorgeous, you are creating a stunning bespoke wardrobe for yourself!

  9. 1) Dress: perfect, joyous, flattering
    2) Cardi: STUPENDOUS

    *skips off very happily indeed*

  10. Hello Kath, I've just discovered your lovely blog via Just Pootling. Your dress is wonderful and it looks lovely on you, sounds like you have some great dressmaking skills under your belt already. Is the pattern for your cardi from Nicki Trench's Geek Chic? I started one of these myself but got a bit stuck on it and haven't touched it for ages - must have another go. Have a lovely week. Jane


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