It feels like it’s been a very long time since I sewed my last Washi Dress. Truth is, I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t fit into my other pre-baby Washis yet (why YES it HAS been well over a year since I had Hugo, let’s discuss that some other time THANKS!!!). I finally found time and made a new muslin to check my new (slightly bigger, ahem) size and then went ahead and made this maxi in a lovely rayon challis from the Field Study collection by Anna Maria Horner. I finished it up at Camp Stitchalot about a month ago (I’d love to talk about that sometime soon because that was GREAT FUN) and now I’m not sure I will ever find a more comfortable dress. Ever. Two people at Camp asked me if it was made out of knit so it must look comfortable as well. It feels and moves like butter.
You may remember the first maxi-length Washi Dress I made; that one was fully lined so the assembly was a wee bit more involved, and I wrote a rough tutorial at the time that is not exactly easy to follow, though surprisingly many others have succeeded in making a successful replica. This time around though, I made the maxi out of three pieces (front bodice, front skirt, back) and some bias tape cut from the scraps and I almost fell over and died when I realized how easy this was. So I’ll just give you a quick how-to; basically you construct the dress in the same way as the pattern with the following changes:
Longer skirt w/ slit: Slash and spread the front skirt to the length you’d like as shown in the section on “adding length” in the Fit Guide at the beginning of the pattern. I used a tape measure to find the distance from just below my bust to the floor, and then added a couple inches for seam and hem allowance. My front skirt ended up 45″ tall (I am 5’9″). I left off the pockets because I was short on yardage (see below), but that’s up to you. Slash and spread the Back by the exact same amount along the tunic cutting line. Add a 14″ slit to the side seams. Longer if you want to make it more sexay. You know the drill.
Wider neckline: Scoop out a little more from the neckline and top of the armholes. I cut the bottom of the neckline 1″ lower, and the sides of the neckline 1/2″ wider. I also shaved 1/2″ off the outside of the armholes at the shoulders and tapered that down to the sleeve marks; sleeveless looks better if you narrow the shoulders, I think.
Gathered skirt: I gathered the front skirt between the two outermost pleat marks instead of pleating the skirt. I find this works nicely with rayon because even when gathered rayon has zero stand.
Bias finish rather than facings: Use 1.5″ wide bias strips to finish the armholes and neckline. I attach the bias to the outside of the garment first, flip to the inside, and then topstitch from the outside (this is the technique I have illustrated in great detail in the Ruby Dress, so if you have that pattern, use it for reference).
As far as the amount of fabric, I used 2 yards of 54″ wide rayon challis which I probably shouldn’t admit to since it took some Tetris-Master-like skills to wrangle this dress from such limited yardage so I’m don’t recommend that; do yourself a favor and buy at least 2 1/2-3 yards of 54″ wide fabric if you plan to try this yourself at home.
Anyway, I heartily recommend this version as the new Summer Dress of 2015, perfect for poolside and date nights. I have plans to make about 10 more of these. If you need the Washi Dress Pattern to get started, you can find it in my pattern shop. Oh!! I almost forgot: Jess made a rayon Washi maxi with a boatneck that you absolutely must see — it’s gorgeous!