I’ve been itching to sew some garments lately and I feel like I’ve had some dismal failures. Much of it because I’m using materials I’m not used to anymore and learning new tips and tricks. But I did finally complete a garment for myself so I thought I would share. (I’ll share those dismal things too, I just need to show a “success” first).
So I decided to try my hand at the ever popular Washi Dress by Rae of Made by Rae. You can purchase the downloadable pattern on her site and start it tonight if you want. I’ve seen a LOT of versions of this so you probably have too. If you recall, I was thinking of working with some voile I have and was looking for a pattern for that. Well, I thought the Washi might be a contender but didn’t want to cut into the more expensive fabric, so I made a version in cotton first. I used a lovely Art Gallery Fabric from their Rapsodia collection. It has a great hand to it and is a fresh bright color that I thought would be perfect for our upcoming Caribbean vacation.
You’ll probably notice right away that I made a sleeveless version of the dress and I didn’t do the U cut out. I personally find the U to be a bit deep for my conservative bones and found that simply leaving it out left me with a very comfortable height neckline. I followed Rae’s videos for creating a lined bodice rather than making facings because I know I like the look of lined garments better. The videos are very helpful, so I suggest watching them if you want to do that! The back is shirred which is a new technique I learned this past week or so and have already used on 4 garments! lol
I thought the pattern came together easily. The directions are very much step by step, so if you are a complete beginner you can definitely tackle this. I ended up making a size small with no alterations other than a slight trimming of the outer sleeve as recommended by Rae for making the sleeveless version. And as mentioned, I forgo using the U cutout and did the bodice lining rather than the facings. So, in that sense all is well and easy peasy.
But here is where my struggle comes in. I still can’t decide if I really LIKE the dress. The pattern is fine…but do I like it? I’ve made enough clothing that I knew that I might not. I don’t find this dress flattering on everyone who makes it…especially those of us who are not tall and leggy. This dress QUICKLY turns into pseudo maternity wear, prompting me to think “is she pregnant or not”. This is largely due to the placement of the bottom bodice seam directly under the breast into a pleated front skirt. A gust of wind blows this dress out from your tummy and becomes distinctly less flattering. I had about 30 pictures of myself in this dress and I would say at least half of them made me look 8 months pregnant. No joke. You can see just a HINT of this below (vanity prevents me from putting up the truly unflattering ones…sorry lol).
When the waistline of the dress comes in, the dress is cute and casual and fun. See the right picture. Whenever I stood back with my shoulders back, the dress billowed in front of me causing a more “bell” shape in the skirt. I know. It doesn’t look *horrible* in the one on the left, but I don’t find it particularly flattering. If I was going to buy the dress from a store, there is no way I would buy the one on the left.
These pictures were taken just seconds apart which shows me that it can look both cute and not on the same person with the same styling in the same lighting. Slightly different posture takes this dress in completely different directions.
You don’t see it in the pictures, but I also find the lower back of the dress not particularly flattering. But I know that again, the pattern is fine. I’m just looking for something with more shape to it. I personally would be very interested (when I get better at working with them) in making this dress in a knit. I think the drape would help out a lot and give more interest to skirt especially. In fact, I really want to see if making the skirt on the bias would give with completely new life. I don’t know if anyone has done this yet. But it feels like a pattern that should be made in knits given that it is closure free and already uses elastic and stretch to gain its shape.
If I made it again, I would alter the neckline more…not for the U shape cut out but I would open up the interior sleeve more. I’m very glad I trimmed the outer sleeve, but that inner sleeve could use a little more shaping…possibly because I don’t have the added interest of the U cut out. I hope to revisit this and try it with knits when I’m more comfortable with that. In the meantime, I plan on making my girlie a little dress from the same fabric and be matchy matchy mommy and me on our vacation. My daughter will be THRILLED. seriously. I’ve got to take these moments when she wants to be like mama! 😉