Friday, August 7, 2015

Mother/Daughter Washi Dress

I stumbled across someone's version of the Washi Dress while browsing Pinterest a month or two ago, and thought it might be a good pattern for Tertia, whose short stature makes it difficult to find adult sizes and styles that fit and are appropriate, yet who is too large for girls' sizes anymore.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, so I ordered the pattern.  We had a wedding to attend last weekend, and while it was an easy matter to find a store-bought dress that Quarta likes and that fits her, I had been looking for months on and off for Tertia with no success.  So I made this up out of some pretty floral quilting yardage I had been saving.  I made the Medium size, but I cut off about 6 inches of length, and raised the position of the pockets by 2 inches; no other adjustments.  This pattern is supposed to have a pretty high waist, but as you can see it is on the low side for high-waisted.  If I make it again for her, I will take it in more at the shoulders, because it tends to gap at the neckline and the neckline is just a bit lower on her than I'm comfortable with.  I might even grade the bodice from a size S at top to M at bottom, while keeping the other adjustments I made.  I was worried 6 inches was too much to cut off, but not really... it still hits her at the knee.
I then made another size M dress for myself, but since I'm shaped differently from Tertia I needed to do something called a "full bust adjustment" (I debated about the propriety of discussing my dress size online, but I figure the Chinese hackers have already got most everything else available about our family through the OPM data breach, so they can eat their hearts out with the knowledge that there is about a 5" differential between my high bust and full bust measurements).  I also followed the instruction videos for putting in a partial lining, and I love the simplicity of this much better than the facing instructions that are included in the pattern.  It does require you to do some origami-like rolling and stitching things into a tube, but it worked so well with the fabric I used.  It is one of my vintage sheets, so fun!  If I make this again for myself (and I hope to), I will probably grade it from a M at the top to L at the middle, and do a smaller full bust adjustment.  And I will add a bit of length to the upper bodice, because those darts were just a wee bit too high the first time.  However the neckline fit me perfectly.  I didn't try the U-shaped cutout this time, but I would like to try it when I make it again.
I like this pattern for a host of reasons:

  • it has excellent support on the designer's webpage, so that a confident beginner/ intermediate seamstress can attempt even the intimidating process of altering a pattern to custom fit.
  • it also is one of those viral patterns online, so there are a lot of other people who have made it and blogged about it, which I think 
  • it has that high-waist, figure-forgiving line.
  • it works really well to flatter a teenage girl with the unique figure challenges of Down syndrome.
  • it also has a tunic-length version, which would also flatter said teenage girl and could be made in a variety of fabrics that she would really enjoy.
  • the designer has made 3/4 length sleeves available, which translate to long sleeves for said girl, and make it a pattern that works for other months besides summer.
  • it's sweet without being juvenile
  • it has NO ZIPPER to put in! (or buttons or other closures)
  • therefore it sews up pretty quickly.
  • it has pockets!
  • the shirring at the back, done with elastic thread in the bobbin, is kind of fun to do, and it's fun to give it a shot of steam from the iron when you're done and see it pull in.
  • there are a lot of different variations of this dress that I want to make, both for Tertia and for me. A Little Black Dress, maybe (for me).  A wardrobe of dressy casual tunics, for Tertia. At least one more dress for Tertia, for dances or parties in the wintertime.
It was a lovely wedding, with a garden reception.  Tertia and I enjoyed our Washi Dresses.  I'm really glad I found this pattern, and grateful to Rae for designing it and giving such good support and encouragement to make it turn out well.

1 comment:

Mardra said...

Love it! You two look great! - Ms