Washi Dress Gone Cottage Chic

Hello everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, recovering from a pretty intense two months of working from home while still doing everything else–mothering, wife-ing (needs to be a word), sewing, blogging, etc. Phew. I really am exhausted. But not too exhausted for this…

A new Washi Dress! Last month Rae asked me to do some pattern testing for her new Washi Dress pattern because my “ladies” (call them what you will) fit a gap she was looking for in pattern testing. *insert silly giggles*

This is actually my second Washi. The first one went a bit awry due to some midnight cutting errors (ahem), but this one, this one I love.

Since it’s really late right now and I just took these pictures in my bathroom mirror, please forgive the shortness of this post and the lameness of the photos. For now I want to tell you that Rae’s pattern is wonderful–easy to follow with detailed directions and helpful photos. I learned a lot from sewing this dress (read: bust darts!). You will come away from sewing this dress with new skills AND beautiful dress. Win win!

On the sizing: Rae had me test this pattern because I am, how shall we say this politely? Not small up top. I could go into more detail, but that would turn this into a whole other kind of blog and that’s not what I’m going for. 🙂 Suffice it to say, I have to make a lot more adjustments to patterns when sewing for myself than the average lady.

Rae has touched on the issue of Full Bust Adjustments on her blog, and let me tell you: learning how to do a FBA is priceless! If you are well-endowed up top, you MUST learn how to do one. But for now, let me give you a little secret. I was able to accomplish almost the same thing as a FBA by doing what I now call a “cheater FBA.”

I blended two sizes together for the bodice by using and XL for the chest area and a M for the shoulders and neckline. I also used a Medium for the front skirt and back pieces. There were some changes I had to make to other parts of the pattern because of this, but I’ll go over those in more detail in a future post.

I had a difficult time getting the bottom of the bodice to hug my body so I simply added an extra 1 1/2 inches of shirring to the bottom of the back and made the shirring lines 1/4 inch apart rather than 1/2″. This pulled the bodice in tighter around my ribs.

Altogether, I think the alterations really worked out well for me. Instead of hemming the bottom I serged it and added a little vintage lace for trim. I added the same lace to the neckline and arm holes.

My Washi is lacking the iconic U cutout of Rae’s originals, but I found that it showed too much cleavage on me. I plan on wearing this to church and with the kids, so… I need to keep those bad boys contained as much as possible.

Oh goodness, it’s late at night and I am saying a lot of things. Better get to bed. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you buy the Washi Dress pattern and love it as much as I do. If you’re looking for help on how to adjust the bodice for a full bust, shoot me an email: cailamade (at) gmail (dot) com. I’d love to help you out!

And don’t forget, Rae’s Washi Dress pattern is on sale NOW!

P.S. I love the dress with this belt!

P.P.S. I’m wearing this on our date night tomorrow (Friday) night and I promise we will have a little photo shoot so you can have better pics of the dress!


  1. says

    So cute!!!! I was wondering if the U in the neckline would reveal too much… and this is funny, but I TOTALLY dreamed that Rae asked me to be a pattern tester and I made a long maxi length like she just showed off yesterday and my fabric was a knit with sunglasses all over it! lol! Pretty funny! I guess a girl can dream! ha!

  2. says

    Yay!! I love it! I am really looking forward to learning the FBA, had no idea Rae had a tutorial on it. It will REALLY come in handy while sewing up some maternity dresses & tops in the next month or two. Who knew this chesty lady could get any bustier. ha!

    • says

      Cassie, I totally thought of you while making this dress! It would be great for you! And with small alterations it would make an adorable maternity dress. Rae doesn’t have a tutorial on FBAs, but she has a whole resources page that will point you to some other tutorials. I can show you how to do it, too. 🙂

  3. says

    Lovely dress! I am also not small on top, and because of that don’t sew much for me. I am going to buy the washi dress pattern as I am super excited about it. I am glad you forged the way for me and I’ll definitely check with you if I have problems. 🙂 Again, I love the dress!

  4. says

    I saw this on Flickr. I love the added length on you. It adds some sweet charm to that print. I’m cutting a Washi dress right now. The fba is a little tricky to get right here because the darts become too big and boxy, I found I had to rely a little on a cheater method too.

    • says

      Thanks so much, Melanie! I found that the proper FBA was a bit boxy on me, too, and needed additional adjustments. I’m still working on an FBA on a different size, and I’ll blog about it if it works out. 🙂

    • says

      Thanks Kell! I widened the neckline a bit to compensate for not adding the U cutout. I forgot to mention that part in my post. 🙂

  5. says

    Just love this, Caila – I’ve been meaning to leave a proper comment for a while now and just haven’t gotten to it! Love the scoop neck and trim on this; such a gorgeous dress on you too! Fantastic work!