Tsuru Washi with a bow


I made this fun Washi Dress for Quilt Market this spring with one of the “Motif Madness” prints from the Tsuru line designed by my friend Rashida for Cloud 9.


The ties got stuck inside the dress the first time I put it on, and when I started to pull them out they made a fun little origami-esque collar…gotta love those happy accidents. I actually wear it that way most of the time now, but I pulled out the ties for these photos so you could see how it’s *supposed* to look! Do you think it looks better tucked in or tied out?


I used a wide piece of elastic in the back instead of the elastic shirring that the pattern usually calls for. This is a nice option for those of you who Fear the Shir. The other thing I did differently on this version was bind the armholes so that the bias tape shows on the outside of the armhole (in the pattern, the bias tape is put on the inside of the armhole so it doesn’t show on the outside).


I’ve hinted in the past that I’m working on an expansion pack for the Washi Dress that includes a tie-neck option. I’m not certain when the extra options will be available, but it’s on “The List”…I just work at my own special pace, which is a slow and steady one. With two small kids, I really don’t see any other way, and that’s fine by me.


I heard a rumor that the Tsuru fabrics will be shipping to shops again in the next month or so, so you should be able to find these fabrics again very soon! You may also remember the Motif Madness Geranium Dresses that I posted earlier this year. Clementine’s big into matching mama right now, so sheย keeps asking for HER dress that looks like this (meaning the red one), but since that was a Quilt Market sample (and they all got shipped back to Cloud 9) I think I’m going to make her another one. I guess I would have thought that was pretty lame in my 20’s, but now I just think it’s cute that she wants to dress like me. We even wore our matching Washi Dresses to the Toledo Zoo last Friday. It was part embarrassing, part adorable…but she loved it, so that made it totally worth it! What’s your take on matchy-matchy? Would you do it??


Also: I was totally into wearing my dresses with skinny jeans this spring. It’s been SO COLD!! I’m thrilled that it’s finally looking a little more like summer here in Michigan!

Want to see what everyone else is making with the Washi Dress pattern? Check out the Washi Dress pool. You’ll be amazed!

49 thoughts on “Tsuru Washi with a bow

  1. I like how it looks tucked in, for sure! Very cool. I bet you could make one of those twisted collars for it…I have a Washi all cut out that I might try it with!

  2. It looks so cute! I like with the bow both ways.
    I sure wish I could get my washi to fit right. I love all the creations. I just need to invest some time into it. My shoulders don’t slope down so I’m thinking I have square shoulders? Nonetheless I have gaping in the neck in front. I will have to tackle it after vacation because I can’t wait to make tons of them!!

  3. I love this version of the Washi. Personally I am not a bow girl, I like it tucked in. My favorite memory of my mom sewing for me was a matching skirt she made with left over fabric from her dress. That was the most fun to dress up like Mom! I
    I just tried my hand at shirring. Love it! I feel I’m ready to make the Washi for my teen daughter now!
    p.s. It was great to meet you at market.

  4. My dtr and I love to match:-). More people realize we are wearing handmade when we do. I love the bow.

    • That’s so true…we kept getting “Cute dresses…did you MAKE them?” the other day


  5. I adore this version of the dress! Although not typically a bow girl, I do like it best with the bow on the outside. Would love to see more ideas for ways to customize the Washi. I have made 4 so far (2 tunics, 2 dresses) and have no plans on stopping. Up next may have to be a maxi version.

  6. Loving the Washi dress with a collar/bow, will look forward to a pattern and tutorial for me as a beginner…xxx

  7. Love this dress – like everything you make. I say go for the matching – like you said, she loves it, and she won’t forever. I never saw what the big deal against matching was anyways, especially since you’re not wearing a baby-ish or inappropriate style, you just have nice, age-appropriate clothes made from the same fabric.

  8. I think I prefer it with the bow tucked in with this fabric. Beautiful either way, though. I’ve had your washi pattern sitting on my desktop for months. Life keeps getting in the way of me finding a tie to sew it!

  9. I made myself not to buy any patterns before all my unfinished projects are done. But when that happens the washi dress pattern is the first one I’m going to buy.
    And hmm, I bought the same shoes as my 3 year old boy. His teacher saw it when I brought him to school. I was also a little embarrassed, but my son was so proud, it was kind of funny ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I say go for matchy-matchy while she loves it, because in a few years she will be a tween won’t want to even acknowledge that you are her mom because you will be so embarrassing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the matching thing is charmingly dorky and cute (and I totally have a couple of things that match one of my nieces.) The bow is excellent and I like the origami look too.

  11. My vote is for the bow. I don’t think matching dresses are dorky. . .I love it! I bought both of your dress patterns with that in mind. My daughter loves to copy me and I don’t know how long that will last. I am going enjoy every dorky moment I can get. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Love the twisty collar! Might have to try and give this a go—I’m thinking the twisty collar and long sleeves for the transition into fall!

  13. I love the twisty collar and the bow both, but I think twisty wins with this print. On one of those very first washi versions you did, I remember really liking the bow though, so it might just be dependent on fabric? Like a more “romantic” fabric might look better with the bow?

    Anyway, Em and I totally wore the Washi/Geranium combo yesterday. Mine was my tester version and hers was the one with deer on it, so they even looked similar, color wise! She loved it. And I thought it was fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Oh, I love the bow- it’s totally cute. And I’m really digging the armhole binding on the outside. Geeeenius, you are.

  15. I vote for tucked in–it’s cool! Serendipity (hope I used that right). Also, good yoga arms again! I just went to a craft night, and my friend was wearing a Washi shirt–looked so good!

  16. I think that matchy is good, but I’m not sure I’d have the guts to wear it out! Especially since I would have to match BOTH of my girls… hmmm… maybe a bit much?! Love the bow version.

  17. Love the bow version and look forward to the add on coming out. My daughter is 36 and not sure she would be too happy with the matching dress bit now!!!

  18. Its beautiful. I love itยท
    Learning to sew myself, 1 project at a time. Looking forward to singlehandedly making a cute dress like this

  19. Rae,

    I can’t do shirring on my machine, and I was thinking of several rows of elastic instead, or just one row of a wide elastic, as you did it…. My question is, how do you measure the lenght of the elastic that you are going to use it?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Tatiana,

      So I take the elastic and I stretch it across my chest (below the bust), from one side seam to the other. I basically want it a little tighter than no stretch, so I guess a little. For me, I like it about 4″ less than half my chest measurement. But it really depends on the stretch of the elastic and personal preference. My suggestion would be to start with 1/2 chest (not half bust) and pin one end in place, then tighten until it’s where you like it. Then write that number down and save it for next time!


    • Hi Tatiana,

      The best thing to do is to cut the elastic to half your waist measurement, then pin one end in place inside the casing, try it on, and adjust it until it feels comfortable. There is no set number for each size, as comfort varies with the type and width of the elastic!

      Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. What a great dress and fabric choice! Love the bow tucked inside or out.

    I just wanted to say I’m a person who has only ever worn dresses when pregnant or going to a wedding but this week I took the plunge after recently learning to sew and made myself a washi dress. Thank you so much for creating a fantastic pattern. I wore it to work tody and got lots of compliments and I’m already planning the next few dresses I’m going to make. Good luck with expansion pack you’re planning. I can’t wait to try out some different variations. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Ooo, do so wish I had such delightful happy accidents while dressing! Like both the looks… the bow reminds me of a secretary’s blouse. Not sure why really as I’ve never seen such a stylish secretary!

  22. really excited about an expansion pack! I just found out that I’m pregnant though…so I need to read up on the ways that others have turned it maternity! Really love this pattern.

  23. Thank you for the Washi dress, it’s a really great pattern. I have never downloaded a pattern before and was really impressed. So far I have made a tunic for my Sister and I hope you don’t mind but I adapted the pattern very slightly to make a ‘fitted’ version of the Washi dress for myself (pictures on my blog – http://louisefrost.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/washi-pattern-from-made-by-rae-adapted/). I really like the versatility of the pattern and the different necklines that you have come up with. It was nice and simple to make and your instructions are very comprehensive. Will be recommending it to other friends that sew! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I love that version very much, I did the same thing with the bias tape on the arms for mine, except its contrasting color.
    Very nice the bow, I will try that next!
    How hard would it be to add a version of the upper bodice with a collar like a mens shirt?

  25. Hi Rae,
    Great look on the washi neckline. I like the bow on you, not a bow girl myself buty you can so pull it off.
    Also go for the matching, I miss match my boys when ever I can, same material slightly different accents or style. If they wanted me to match them i’d be up for it.
    Think everyone who see you will know how much it means to a little person, same as when we wear home made by toddlers sparkle bead jewlery to really important meetings.

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