I was going to do a post about Yarn Shop Day wasn’t I? Well time has passed and YSD was a few weeks ago now. Feels like I missed the boat! I did do a podcast episode about it though, featuring my interview with Louisa Harding, so if you want to have a listen to that, here it is….
While I was footering around the internet last week I stumbled upon a sewing pattern called The Washi Dress by Made by Rae. I can’t for the life of me remember how I came across it but I fell in love with it. If you Google “Washi Dress Images” you’ll see loads of different ones, and there is also a Flickr group.
Despite the fact I have only made tote bags, cushion covers, and a stuffy owl, I had to have the pattern and make the dress. (Here is a pic of the latest tote I made for my mum…….)
There are two ways to get the Washi pattern. You can order the PDF version, but this involves printing it out and sellotaping all the bits together after, or buying the ready made pattern. I opted for the second as I didn’t want the hassle of all the taping. The pattern is a bit on the expensive side at £15, (I ordered mine from The Village Haberdashery on Monday night and it arrived Wednesday morning), but the instructions are really clear and easy to follow for a beginner like me. And I love it so much that I will be making more so each time I make one the price of the pattern comes down on average per dress – I’ve convinced myself anyway!
I bought my fabric at Abakhan, which you buy according to weight, and got two different ones for £20. Bargain, considering you need 3m for each dress. I also needed shirring elastic and sewing thread so picked those up too. I bought a purple flowery fabric and a bold print
and decided to use the purple first, as I thought it might be a bit more forgiving of mistakes! So the first thing was choosing the correct size. I tried to measure myself and came out far too big, but luckily a friend popped round in the afternoon (this was Wednesday), and she did them again for me and I came out right this time! That evening I traced all the pattern pieces for my size – hint: greaseproof paper is great for this as it is strong but you can still see the lines through it – and cut them out ready to start properly on Thursday.
After food shopping on Thursday morning, I got down to the pinning and cutting about lunchtime
I was pretty nervous that I’d make a mistake and ruin the whole thing but Jane and Su were on the end of a text to encourage me! The first technique I had to do was sew bust darts, not too difficult and they were fine. Then put some pleats in the front, again not too hard to do. Then shirring!! Well what a revelation that was! It’s amazing. You put shirring elastic in the bobbin of your machine and your normal thread in the top and just sew across. The fabric just starts to bunch as you go. When you come to the second line, you have to pull the fabric flat again and sew across. This pattern called for 6 lines of shirring and when you finish you steam it with the iron and it bunches up even more to give this effect
It’s like magic!
On Friday morning I then had to do facings for the collar, and then make and apply bias tape around the sleeves which I nearly did wrong but realised at the last minute. By mid afternoon on Friday this was the end result ……………
(I don’t know why I look grumpy in the photos!)
And look at my fab shoes!! I think I may have mentioned in the past that I have silly sized small feet – UK 2.5 – and find it hard to get shoes. While I was staying with my mum there was a little shoe shop where I spotted these in a green colour. They only had 4 and up which were like boats so when I got home I checked the wonderful interweb and found them in purple in a 2.5 on Amazon, yay!
So there you go, my first sewn dress and I’m really pleased with it. On to the 2nd……….