Purple Washi Dress by Karen

You didn’t think Washi Week was over, did you? There’s MORE WASHI this week, the first is from my friend Karen! I made her come over the other day for a quick photoshoot so you could see one of the many amazing Washi dresses she’s made for herself:


In addition to being great friends, Karen and I teach sewing classes and run crafter meetups together here in Ann Arbor. She is usually the first person to test my patterns. If you know her in person you know that in addition to being endlessly cheerful she is also incredibly generous. She sews up multiple versions of the patterns before they are released in order to help me evaluate various aspects and she gives fantastic technical feedback to boot, having spent the better part of last couple years designing patterns for the book Sewing For Boys and for the now-discontinued children’s pattern company, Patterns by Figgys (which she co-owned; the other half of PBF, Shelly Figueroa, rebranded last fall as “Figgy’s” and has released two pattern lines so far that are also really fresh and modern). I am constantly asking Karen about this or that or the other thing when it comes to patternmaking.


Karen and I also happen to wear the same size on top, but we have completely different body shapes. Karen is super-curvy and I, well, I am pretty much the opposite of curvy. So when Karen tested the Washi Dress for herself I really wasn’t sure if it would work. Don’t get me wrong, I knew *she* could do it technically…but whether she would have to completely redraw all the pattern pieces for a different figure was more the question. She amazed me by not only making multiple versions of the Washi for herself and completely rocking all of them, but doing it with some pretty basic adjustments to the pattern. Which was a relief honestly because at first I was worried that this dress might only look good on small- to average-chested persons such as myself.

Karen’s dress is made with the same Echino double gauze as the aqua washi dress I posted last week, which is incredibly soft and has a wonderful drape. Totally recommend! And doesn’t this purple version look stunning??


I made Karen write down the modifications she made to the pattern in order to get the fantastic fit you see here:

“You easily could have called this dress “Love at First Sight.”  I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.  Every time I make it, I cannot wait to make another.  It’s so versatile, and lends itself really easily to customizations! I have found the best fit for me by making some tweaks:

I start with a Size Medium, because my upper bust is 35 1/2″ and the shoulders fit perfectly.  Then perform a full-bust adjustment to make the front bodice more accommodating width-wise and also lengthen it a bit.  I added 2 more inches to the length of the front after the FBA because I wanted to hit the narrowest part of my waist…I still need to add about another 2 inches to accomplish this, but I love the two dresses I made so far. Of course, I added 2 inches of length to the back above the shirring lines so the front and back would match at the side seams.  Lastly, I added about 6 inches* to the skirt below the pockets on both front and back so I could have a knee-length dress with a nice, deep hem for the double gauze,  I love the way it hangs this way.

Maybe I’ll make a solid color next? (It still blows me away that we start from the same base size in this dress.)”

*Note from Rae: Since Karen made the dress pre-testing we’ve added a little over 2″ to the overall length of the pattern; so adding 6″ would no longer be necessary to get this length + deep hem, it would be more like 4″ now, plus the amount added during the FBA.


I am super jealous of how photogenic she is. And her hair (of course). Do you think I could pull off purple? This one looks sort of like a glamour shot, but I love it because you can see her nose ring.


And finally, a note on bust adjustments: I want to really encourage you ladies with more up top *uh-HUH!* to read up on full bust adjustments and give it a try! In a nutshell, an FBA adds more fabric to the bust area and lengthens the bodice to make more room for your bust. You’ll find that making more room for The Girls will not only allow you to make a smaller size (yay!) overall, but also will get the bodice of the dress to completely clear your bust so that the dress can hug your figure around the rib cage for a MUCH more flattering look — when it hangs off of the bust you get that “maternity” look that is only cool when you’re actually preggers. I’m working on making some sort of video or tutorial on how to perform an FBA on the Washi Dress pattern specifically, but in the meantime, you can consult the “Fit Guide” in your copy of the Washi Pattern PDF (walks you through making a muslin and choosing size), or go to my Washi Pattern Page and scroll down to the Resources section for FBA tutorial links.


18 thoughts on “Purple Washi Dress by Karen

  1. Oh I love it! This post may be the inspiration I need to actually purchase the pattern! I’m bigger and have been hesitant, but I’m loving everything I see!

  2. wow, thanks for this. I had completely ignored the washi dress hoopla because I *knew* it wouldn’t work for me (small back, large breasts, wide hips). I’m reconsidering… The longer bodice with darts might work.

  3. Karen is such a cutie and, you are right, such a lovely and generous person. 🙂

    I think she rocks that Washi like nothing else.

  4. she is so pretty, looks great karen! You guys are so so lucky to have each other nearby. cut out my washi last night and can’t wait to sew it up!

  5. Thanks for this post!
    I’ve been drooling over this pattern, but wasn’t sure how it would work with “the girls”.
    A picture says a thousand words and these speak volumes!
    Guess I just need to order it and start sewing!

  6. Stayed up late last night to put my Washi together. It fits SOOOO well. I always have to make major adjustments but I only had to make a small one this time. Also, kudos on the pattern coming together so easily for the user. I don’t think I have ever had a pattern fit together on the first time.

  7. Ok, I am even more excited to make my own Washi dress now. The top fits your friend’s bust perfectly. I’m so excited to see that the dress looks absolutely fabulous on a fuller figure too. Now I just need to save up for some double gauze; I love the idea of a beautiful dress feeling like a nightgown.

  8. oh, my!! it’s gorgeous!! karen rocks it out!! so nice to show this on different figures. thank you so much for that, rae.

  9. Purple is my favorite color so I am crushing on both her dress and hair! 🙂 how great to have a pattern that is flattering on so many different figures.

  10. Please please please do a video of the full bust adjustment. I have read your page on it but still dont understand (a newby to sewing my own clothes) and have the big boob small back issue so everything i have tried to make doesn’t fit – i guess this adjustment would help with arm holes being 2 big aswell.
    Pleeeease !!
    thank you from the UK

  11. Wow! I thought that this dress might not work for me because of the bust issues, but I’m thoroughly intrigued now! I’ve been seeing it all over IG and now must order the pattern! Are quilting cottons too heavy! I know the gauze and voile are so nice.

    • the quilting cottons are a bit heavy but they work OK…they just have to be broken in a bit. 🙂 Some manufacturers are better than others; Art Gallery for instance has really soft fabrics, as does Cloud 9 and Birch. Andover, Moda, and Free Spirit manufacturers tend to be “beefier” and not as soft.

  12. Karen is beautiful and so is the dress! Did she line the dress too? I found some of this fabric at imaginefabric.com and can’t wait to make another Washi.

  13. Nice! I was hesitant to buy the pattern before I saw these pics. I have a less than slim (plus busty) figure and wasn’t sure how it would play, but man, she makes it look great! Gives me hope!!!! Thank you!

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