Tutorial + Pattern: Long Sleeve for Washi Dress


I’m so excited to show you how to add a longer sleeve to the Washi Dress as shown in the Ruby Star Washi Dress post! I’ve made a pattern piece that you may download for free (yay!!). For your convenience, the instructions for sewing the sleeve are printed on the pattern piece in addition to this tutorial. Please note that the various sizes of this pattern are UNTESTED, so you use at your own risk. Feel free to email me if you have feedback. Thanks!


This pattern piece is provided with the understanding that it will be used in conjunction with the Washi Dress Sewing Pattern. All files and images are protected by copyright law. You may not distribute or reproduce this file. Please link to this post and not directly to the file itself when referencing this file. Thanks!

Download, print, and tape together the sleeve pattern piece
You will first need to download the sleeve pattern piece and print it out (at 100%, remember to check your scale, people!!) and tape the three pages together.  (If you’re having trouble controlling the scale, save the file as a PDF, then you should be able to adjust your print settings more easily from there.)


Adjust size of the pattern if needed
The sleeve piece is for a size Medium, but as you will see, the pattern piece is marked with a line that will allow you to size up/down the pattern piece quite easily just by sliding the two pieces apart/together.


For the larger sizes, where you slide the pieces apart, I would redraw the curve to smooth it out:


And for the smaller sizes, you can just slide the pieces so that the curve overlaps at top:


(but don’t forget to add length at the bottom then!)


It should be noted that the length of this sleeve pattern piece is long enough to come to about elbow length on me when my arms are bent. I have long monkey arms, but even so you may want to add a couple inches to the length of the sleeve if you want it to be a 3/4-length sleeve, just to be on the safe side!

Cut out sleeve pieces

Place sleeve pattern piece along the fold and cut out two sleeves. Transfer dots to fabric with a marking pen.


Gather sleeves

Using a long stitch length and high tension on your sewing machine, stitch between the two dots along the top of the sleeve


Pull threads to gather


Repeat for the other sleeve


Attach sleeve to dress

You’ll need to sew your shoulder seam (front bodice to back) before you attach your sleeve, so do that first:


Then, with the right side of the sleeve facing the right side of the dress, pin the sleeve to the armhole curve, starting at the armpits and moving toward the center. When you get to the gathered part, adjust the gathers as needed and pin excessively to keep your gathers evenly spaced at the shoulder seam. Once you have it pinned, sew the sleeve to the armhole with a 1/2″ seam.


HINT: I like to first machine baste (don’t forget to reset your tension) the sleeve to the armhole, check my gathering, then re-sew with a normal stitch length just to make sure my gathers look the way I want them to.

Now your sleeve should look like this:


Now continue the dress construction by adding the neckline facings (or a lining — check out the video series I made).

I chose to do a lining, so the next step for me was attaching the lining to the neckline. I used an off-white voile lining and cut out an extra bodice front and bodice back. I also made this neckhole slightly larger by stitching with about a 1″ seam allowance at the base of the neck to lower and widen the neckline slightly and about 1/2″ at the shoulders instead of the normal 1/4″ neckline seam allowance called for in the pattern.


In this version I also added an elastic casing to substitute for the shirring in the back. I cut the back lining piece 1/2″ below the lowest shirring line, then folded that extra 1/2″ under and stitched it down to make an elastic casing that ended where the lowest shirring line would have been):



Then I did the armholes using the lining trick shown in the videos, first rolling up the sleeves and sewing very carefully to keep them out of the way.

When it’s time to sew your side seams, you’ll want to sew up the side seam of the sleeve (in the picture below you can see my finished back lining with the elastic casing; if you go with facings you would see shirring there instead):


Once your side seams are finished, you’ll want to make a casing: fold and press under 1/4″ and then again 1/2″ at the ends of each sleeve. Stitch along the second fold, leaving 1″ open to thread the elastic through. Then cut a piece of elastic long enough to circle your forearm + 1″ and thread that through your casing. Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch together, then stitch your casing shut.


OK, I really hope that makes sense! ENJOY!!!

27 thoughts on “Tutorial + Pattern: Long Sleeve for Washi Dress

  1. I love that you added sleeves! I’m not a sleeveless person so I wasn’t interested in the beautiful dress right away; now that I see it with sleeves I’m in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Yay! Thank you so much! Printed. Now to finish this dang Halloween costume (and start/finish a flower girl dress) so I can finally sew Washi 3…

  3. Thankyou Rae!!! I made my first Washi, (in fact, first ever garment for myself!) a couple of weeks ago but coz it’s a bit chilly now here in UK I’ve been wearing it over a ls t-shirt. Now I can use the AMH fabric i ordered for Washi2 to make a beautiful Autumnal version. You rock 🙂 xx

  4. You sold me with the sleeves! I just bought the Washi pattern yesterday. I can’t wait to make my first dress with this pattern! If only there weren’t so many Halloween costumes to finish right now.

  5. Wow – thanks for sharing a Washi sleeve with us!!! I LOVE my Washi pattern! My first version was a top, but I can’t wait to make a dress with sleeves!! Thank you, thank you!

  6. Love this sleeve! However, I’d also like to mention how much it always stuns me that people do not use their iron to press pieces before sewing. Not just so photos of the process look nicer, but so that the finished project turns out better. Ironing fabric before cutting is integral to cutting pieces properly. Pressing pieces before sewing is integral to ensuring a good fit.

    I love that more and more and more people are turning to learning sewing and taking hold of the handmade movement for themselves. However, I think it is great to encourage people that following the steps will help you enjoy your finished garments better down the line… no wonky seams!

    Hope this doesn’t sound mean, I don’t mean it to.

  7. I’m wish Kristen on this… I don’t go sleeveless any more, but bought the pattern awhile back because I liked the dress so much. Now I can actually sew one up for me. Thanks bunches!!

  8. Ack! Just printed out the PDF and the rectangle is measuring 7 1/4″ x 9 3/4″ instead of 7 1/2″ x 10″. I have no idea how much to adjust the to get it right.

    Wondering if anyone else has run into this?

    • Hey, Jennie, I would love to know if you have found a solution to the problem by any chance? My scale is 100%, but still, every “inch” on the pattern only measures 7/8″. Help, anyone??!?

      • I was able to fix the problem by opening the PDF in Preview (on the Mac) rather than through Adobe Acrobat. I think Preview is a basic photo editing program so if you have a PC equivalent it might work, too.

    • Hi Jane,

      I don’t know exactly, but I would guess 1/2 yard or slightly more. I’m pretty sure the pattern piece is around 18.” It really depends on whether or not you can sneak it into the current yardage (between other pattern pieces) or if you’ll have to add more fabric.

  9. Wondering how you measure the elastic for the back of the dress as you did here, omitting the shirring. Thanks!!

  10. i really interested to make this dress,please email me pattern and tuttorial of this dress, my size is M, Tank u so much..

  11. I have been looking at this dress and am now ready to make it. I also love all of the different fabrics and am wondering where can I puchase the record fabric for starters.

  12. So nice of you to share this washi sleeve pattern. I just bought the washi pattern, so I can’t wait to find a printed fabric for this project. I haven’t made a dress since high school days so fingers cross that it turns out as great as all the washi dresses from the “washi dress photo pool”!

  13. I love the added sleeves. I am just about to make my 2nd washi dress. I was wondering about the best way to line the bodice while accommodating the elastic back. So pleased to see the instructions for this. This is one of the most comfortable dresses I have worn and one of the easiest to make. Keep the great ideas coming.

  14. Thank you so much for the video tutorials for the bodice lining. I’m about to embark on my third washi dress but it’s been a while since my last one so I was feeling a little unsure. I found your longer sleeve pattern which sealed the deal and now I can’t wait to get sewing. I’m just a ” hobby sewer” but have had so many compliments and comments on my first two washis that I want to make more! My first was sewn from a heavier drill weight fabric purchased from the curtain department and my second was a lightweight floral upholstery fabric. This time I’m opting for another floral in a rayon, perfect to wear with stockings and boots with an added coat for Autumn. It’s such a versatile pattern. Thank you!!

  15. i am very interested in your washi/expansion pack patterns; i have a question first…..do you think it would look ok without the elastic or shirring in the back, giving it a looser fit? i don’t think i’d be comfortable in something fitted around the bust. i used to be pretty small, now…..not so much! maybe i’m totally wrong in how it would look on me, but i don’t care too much for drawing attention to that part of my bod 🙂 thanks for taking the time to answer my question!

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