Jess makes: Lawn Washi with a Bow

It’s been a good long while since we shared any Washi Dresses here on the blog! I made this summery Expansion Pack version out of Heather Ross’s collection for Windham Fabrics, Sleeping Porch. Printed on a lawn substrate, this is the perfect fabric for a summer dress because it’s so lightweight and soft.

Washi with a bow / Jess makes

Isn’t this bow magical? Rae had to tie it for me before we took the photos, then I carefully folded up the dress and didn’t touch that perfectly-tied bow until I finally had to give in and wash it. (Bonus: Watch how Rae ties a bow so it won’t tilt HERE!)

Washi with a bow / Jess makes

This dress has all the elements of View A of the Washi Expansion Pack:

  • Large bow at neck
  • Bias-bound armholes
  • Elastic Casing in the back
  • Pleated front skirt

If you’re not a big fan of shirring, it’s nice to remember that you can use a simple elastic casing along the back the way I chose to do here. And of course I never skip the pockets when making any version of the Washi Dress.

Washi with a bow / Jess makes Washi with a bow / Jess makes

Washi with a bow / Jess makes Washi with a bow / Jess makes

Ready to sew your own? Here are the Washi Dress original pattern and the Washi Expansion Pack. If you don’t have either pattern yet, you can purchase them as a bundle!

If you need some inspiration, it’s always fun to take a look at the Washi Page here on the blog. There you’ll find links to every blog post featuring this beloved pattern, along with size charts, yardage charts, and some other helpful resources.

We’d love to see all your Washis! Share them on Instagram with the hashtags: #washidress , #washixp , #raemademedoit and #madebyrae.

Super fun facings trick

super fun facings trick

Facings are a great way to finish a neckline or armhole (bias binding is another way — see my 3 bias binding tutorials here!). I like to have beautiful facings without having to fold up and finish the lower edge, which can produce a visible line from the outside of your garment, and I learned this clever trick a few years ago (probably from Karen) and thought I’d share. It uses your interfacing to finish the facing edge, and it’s just as quick and easy as folding and stitching or overlocking your facings like most patterns instruct. It also looks 100% better, as you’ll see in this tutorial.

Step 1. Cut out your facings and interfacings

The front / back neckline facing pattern pieces I used in this example are from my Beatrix pattern. You can see these facings in use in my How to make Beatrix without buttons tutorial. This tutorial would also work with most armhole, hem, or combined armhole-neckline facings as well.

I’m using fusible lightweight interfacing (this is the kind I like), but this tutorial also works with non-fusible interfacing.

Beatrix facings

Step 2. Sew the seams

Most patterns call for you to baste or fuse the interfacing to the facings before sewing anything. Instead, sew the front and back facings together, and then do the same with the interfacings (so, separately). In this example, I sewed the facings together at the shoulders, and then the interfacings together at the shoulders using the 1/2″ seam allowance called for in the pattern.


Press the facing seams apart, but DO NOT PRESS THE INTERFACING SEAM IF YOU ARE USING FUSIBLE INTERFACING. Let’s avoid that sticky glue nightmare on your iron, shall we?

Step 3. Sew the facings to the interfacings along lower edge

Place the facings and interfacings right sides together and pin:


Then sew them together along the lower edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This should be the edge where you would normally fold up and stitch, or otherwise finish the edge of the facing before attaching it to the garment. It should not be the edge that will attach to the garment.

Beatrix facings - sew together

Step 4. Turn right side out and press

Now go ahead and turn them right side out, using a point turner to push out the bottom edges.

beatrix facings

And then press them together!!! At this point the fusible interfacing will fuse to the facing, and it creates a beautiful finish…see? Here’s the interfacing side:


And the facing side:


Step 5. Attach to garment

Now the facings are ready to attach to your garment! You can see how I attached these in this post.

Finished facings - Beatrix

Aren’t they beautiful?

This tutorial works great with my Beatrix, Washi, or even Charlie sewing patterns. Have you ever tried this trick?

Jess’ Boatneck Washi Maxi Dress + how to

Washi Boatneck

When I posted my boatneck maxi version of the Washi Dress a while ago, I promised to share the version that Jess made last summer that inspired me to make mine. This fabric is “Sinister Swarm” rayon from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study collection of a few years back.

Washi Boatneck Maxi

I just love this dress! It’s stunning and flowy and it looks fantastic on Jess. I definitely recommend using rayon if you want to try a boatneck maxi version of Washi because it makes the long skirt drape nicely in addition to being super comfortable to wear.

If you want to make your own, here’s a quick how-to!

How to make a Boatneck Washi

You will need:
1 yard of extra fabric if you’re also making a maxi version (optional!)
swedish tracing paper
clear ruler + pencil
Washi Dress Pattern

First you’ll need to trace a new Front Bodice Piece with the following modifications:

1. Extend the center front (fold) line up 4″ at the top, then square the corner at the top. This corner needs to be 90 degrees so that it doesn’t create a peak or a dip when it’s cut on the fold.

2. Mark the midpoint of the shoulder edge. This will be the new neck edge of your pattern piece. From this point, measure out 2 1/4″ along the top of the shoulder and mark. The new shoulder line will now extend a little past the previous shoulder edge of the pattern.

3. Draw a new armhole and neckline. For the armhole, draw a smooth line that eventually meets up with the original armhole close to the sleeve notch marking. For the neckline, connect the new neckline shoulder point with a curve to meet the center front at a 90 degree angle.

In this photo, the green lines are the original pattern piece tracings, with mods shown in pink.

Next, use the new Front Bodice as a template to modify the top part of the Back Dress, making sure to change the neckline and armhole in the same manner as shown above. You want to make sure front and back match!

Now you’re ready to cut out your pieces and assemble your dress using the Washi Dress instructions.

To make the boatneck into a maxi, follow my Washi Maxi Dress Tutorial to lengthen and slightly widen the Front Skirt and Back Dress.

To add a lining, follow the Washi Dress Bodice Lining Videos for instructions on how to use my “sausage” lining method for this. If you wish to line the entire dress, the Maxi Dress tutorial linked above has notes about how to do that (we lined just the bodice for this dress and my Observer maxi dress.)

Even with the added width in the skirt, I’ve found that leaving side slits from just below the knee down to the hem makes walking a lot easier in such a long Washi Dress. Here’s a great tutorial to make side slits.

Washi Boatneck

I know that’s a ton of details to apply to one pattern modification. Honestly it’s almost entirely a new dress pattern, so I’d really only recommend this if you really feel comfortable hacking patterns and you’ve made the Washi Dress before! Please leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions or need clarification. And as always, I love to see what you’re making with my patterns. The #washidress tag on Instagram is full of awesome versions of Washi!

Washi Boatneck Maxi

Observer Maxi Dress

Observer Washi Maxi

Observer Washi Maxi

I’m so excited to be a part of the Observer fabric blog tour today! I’m showing off this lovely voile indigo-shibori print from my dear friend April Rhodes’ latest line of fabric for Art Gallery fabrics, Observer. After having a chance to try shibori dyeing in Palm Springs earlier this year, I was so excited when I saw this print in the lineup! This print really looks like it could have been hand-dyed.

Observer Washi Maxi

I felt that a print of this scale deserved a garment large enough to show it off, so a maxi dress was a natural choice. Jess had made a boatneck maxi version of the Washi Dress last summer that I absolutely loved (I haven’t blogged it yet, but I will!), and I really wanted to copy that design with this fabric, so we used the same pattern adjustments for mine.

Observer Maxi Dress

I realize it is a bit crazy to call this a Washi Dress, since it bears so little resemblance to its Mother-Garment, but the Washi dress pattern pieces were indeed the starting point. I’ll share tips on how to modify the Washi Dress bodice so you can make your own boatneck version when I post Jess’ dress. Stay tuned!

Observer Washi Maxi

The bodice of the dress is lined, and since any voile with a light background is fairly sheer, I do wear this with a slip (note to anyone else dreaming up garments with this lovely print!). Another option would be to line the skirt, but that creates more bulk, so I opted for just the bodice lining.

I’ve always loved Art Gallery’s fabrics, and this voile is so lovely and silky and light that wearing it is a dream. This fabric would also be absolutely perfect for pillows or breezy curtains or a gathered skirt. I would die to have a sheet set out of this print!!

Observer Washi Maxi

One other little thing to add: since there is some symmetry in this print, strong angular lines, and alternating light and dark areas (love!!), I personally prefer not to center the axis of the print directly over the central axis of the body; in other words, placing the print off-center seems like a good idea so that certain areas don’t get accentuated accidentally…ahem. This can be an issue when you’re trying to wear any large-scale print, so keep that in mind! You’re welcome.

Washi Boatneck hack

The entire Observer collection from April is absolutely brilliant, and includes a handful of knit fabrics as well as a great selection of quilting cottons. April also sent over one of the knit prints from the collection to, so if you come back this afternoon for my Observer Bonus Round you can see the dress I made out of that one too! PS. I was feeling a bit like an overachiever, and almost didn’t post both, but then yesterday Christine posted two outfits for her stop on the tour, so that just goes to show that I’m not. Or we both are. Probably the latter.

Truly, though, one of the things I love about April’s designs is how clearly you can see April’s aesthetic shine through them. She is a talented and passionate artist who pours her heart and soul into her art, and it’s so incredibly inspiring to see her clear point of view communicated in her beautiful collections. I’m so grateful to call her a friend. Thanks so much for inviting me on your Observer tour, April!


You can find the whole list of stops on the Observer fabric tour here, or see what’s happening on Instagram. Noodlehead is the next stop on the tour on Monday, September 26. I can’t wait to see what Anna’s dreamt up for Observer!

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Feather Washi Dress


This lightweight feather lawn caught my eye when I taught the Luna class at Dry Goods Design in Seattle last month, so I bought a few yards along with a handful of other lovely fabrics. Keli finds some really amazing apparel fabrics and they often move fast, so it’s always a good idea to pounce when you see something you like. A few days ago I got inspired and turned it into a tea-length Washi Dress with a bow.


I am so thrilled with how this turned out. I was worried that the fabric might be too busy for a big bow (from the Washi Expansion Pack), but I shortened it so it can hang down without being tied and I love it.


I’ve been sewing a lot this week at the expense of many other things that need to be done, but being able to fully immerse myself in creative work is restorative. Creating beautiful things is exhilarating for me. It reignites my passion for my work and reminds me to be grateful to be able to do it. Creative work is such a luxury, and such a gift, isn’t it? I am fully aware that as such, it is also temporary.



The dress is a slightly modified version of View A from the Washi Expansion Pack, with the main changes being length, some width in the front, and a shorter bow. Here’s a quick recipe for this dress!

You will need:
Washi Dress Sewing Pattern
Washi Expansion Pack (“XP”)

Cut the following pieces from the Washi Dress Pattern:
1 Back, extend length of the skirt by 11″
1 Front Skirt, adding 3″ at the fold to add 6″ total to width, extend length of skirt 11″
(see the pattern instructions for how to add length to the dress)

Cut the following pieces from the Washi XP:
2 Bow bodices
2 large bows, subtracting 6″ from length of each
bias strips for armholes (I made mine 1.5″ wide)
1 elastic casing

Follow the instructions for View A from the expansion pack, except gather the front skirt instead of pleating it, as shown in the View B instructions.


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Wear Your Washi Contest Winners!

We’ve had quite a bit of fun celebrating my Washi Dress Pattern’s third birthday, haven’t we? (If you’d like to catch up on details, here’s the original post.) I am amazed at how many Washis you’ve all made made (it’s good to know that not only my closet is bursting with Washis), and I love that some of you have pretty much made Washi your uniform.

If you followed the Wear Your Washi Contest until the end, you’ll see here that I declared a tie between Karie and Rachel on Day 25. DAY TWENTY-FIVE, people. These ladies each wore a different Washi every day for more than three weeks, and they both still had more in the wings! Not to mention, they were prepared to crank a few more out if they needed to. Gotta appreciate the competitive spirit! Here’s just a small sampling of their posts:

Karie / karie_twokwikquilters:


Rachel / marmaladeinstead:

marmalade instead

I’m putting together a box of treats to mail to each of our ambitious winners. Thanks for the enthusiasm, ladies!! Congratulations!

I also want to give honorable mention to Allison and Niku who stayed in the game for a good long haul. Check out a few of their Washis!


photos used with permission (Allison’s Instagram feed is now private)

Niku / xostitches


A bunch of the tops and dresses that people posted during the contest were made using the Washi Expansion Pack. I love all those collars and bows, and it’s cool to see how different styles really resonate with different folks.

Even though the birthday party is over, we can all post Washi photos for all time using the #wearyourwashi tag, and of course #madebyrae and #raemademedoit are fun tags for any of the things you sew using my patterns. Thanks for all the Washi love!

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Happy Birthday, Dear Washi

happy birthday washi Day 1

Just a quick reminder that today is the day to enter the Happy Washi Birthday giveaway over on Instagram; just post a pic of you wearing your Washi and tag it #happywashibirthday!! I’m wearing mine (see slightly nerdy pic, above)…are you?? Also: If you’re playing along with the Wear Your Washi contest, today is Day 1. Otherwise, just post your pics with the tag #wearyourwashi just for fun. Check out this blog post for all the details!

PS. Want to have a chance to win a print Washi pattern of your very own but don’t have a Washi to flaunt yet in order to do so? Don’t fret, we’ve got a giveaway planned for you on the blog, soon. Stay tuned!!

Get ready to parrrrtay.


Can you believe that Washi is three years old?? Whaaaaat. How is that even possible? The Washi Dress was my very first garment pattern for women, and when I released it back in August 2012 I was so nervous I almost threw up. I was so worried no one would like it. I never in a million years anticipated how well it would be received, or that it would still be such a hit to this day. The response to Washi was so encouraging and gave me confidence to work on other women’s patterns, and now look at the collection we’ve gotBianca, Ruby, Josephine, Beatrix, and even a Washi Expansion Pack (aka “Washi XP,” a companion pattern with bows and collars and linings and more)! Sometimes I have to pinch myself, it’s kinda crazy.

It’s clear you guys love Washi. So to celebrate three years of this pattern, next week I’m throwing Washi a birthday party on Instagram. The party will start on Monday, August 10. The party will have two three parts:

Wear your Washi

I’m adding this after-post because I realized that many of you may have a Washi but a) might not be interested in entering the giveaway/contest (see below) or b) prefer not to post on a deadline. So if you just want to help celebrate, wear your Washi any time you like and post it with the hashtag #wearyourwashi! I’d love to see everyone’s wonderful Washi creations!!

The Happy Washi Birthday Giveaway

Next Monday, August 10, wear your favorite handmade Washi dress or tunic and post ONE picture on Instagram with the hashtag #happywashibirthday. I’ll randomly pick one of the photos; the winner will receive a printed copy of the Washi Dress pattern and a printed copy of the Geranium Dress pattern. **Note: All photos posted on Instagram before Midnight EDT on August 10, 2015, will be considered.**

Won’t it be fun to see how many people wear their Washi dresses on the The Same Day? So pull those Washis out of your closet (or finish up that one that’s been waiting for a hem) and get ready!!!

The Wear Your Washi Contest

Since there’s no denying that there’s still a little Washi madness going around, I thought it would be fun to see how many days in a row people can wear a different Washi dress or tunic they’ve made. I know many of you have made at least two or three. Some of you Crazy People have even made more. So let’s have a Wear-Your-Washi contest! This is similar to a dance-off, so to participate you must not only START on Monday (August 10th) but you must also wear and post one different Washi DAILY on Instagram until you run out of Washis. No repeats, no skipping days, and please make sure you show the WHOLE garment in your photo. All of your Washis must be made and worn by you.

Each entry photo must also include the following info in the photo description in order to be in the running (feel free to include other info as well, but this is a MUST):

  • the DATE
  • the DAY (of the contest, to help me keep track)
  • the hastag #wearyourwashicontest

Example: “Aug 10 /  Day 1 / #wearyourwashicontest”

The contest starts on Monday, August 10th, and will run until the last Washi-Wearer runs out of Washis to wear (so when the last person — who started on Day 1 and posted daily — posts their final photo). That person will be the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. If there is a tie, I’ll figure out some way to break the tie. I reserve the right to use my own judgement and discretion when determining a winner for this contest. I reserve the right to declare the contest over early and select a winner from the remaining contenders. I reserve the right to choose more than one winner. If it gets too crazy, I reserve the right to pull the fire alarm, call the cops, and slip out the bathroom window. I don’t even know what this is gonna look like, but I think it could be really fun.

What is the prize, please?

WHAT? You don’t think that Enormous Honor and Privilege that comes with winning is prize enough?? I’m sure we can all agree that alone would be pretty awesome. But OK, you’re right, it would probably be even more fun with a little prize. I’ll happily send the contest winner a sewing-related grab-bag of goodies which may or may not include some printed patterns and some of my fabric.

Details, Schmetails

Yes, your first (August 10th) post for the #wearyourwashicontest should be the same post as #happywashibirthday if you want to participate in both the contest and the giveaway, so include both hashtags if you like.

Yes, Washi Expansion Pack versions of Washi count for the contest and giveaway

If you’ve hacked the pattern, it needs to resemble the original design enough to be recognized as a “Washi.” I love a pattern hack as much (if not more) as the next gal, but please don’t include pattern hacks that no longer resemble Washi. I know that’s a bit of a grey area; please feel free to check with me if you’re not sure!

Yes, both the contest and the giveaway are open to contestants outside of the United States. We will ship prizes internationally if necessary.

All garments must be finished and not “in progress.” That means hems, facings, bindings, people.

Your photos must be on public profiles so we can see them.

Please keep things light and cheery! This is meant to be GOOD FUN!

The giveaway and contest winners will be determined at Rae’s discretion and contacted to provide a postal address. Void where prohibited by law.

OK, any more questions? If you need any clarifying details, please post in the comments or shoot me an email. I’m trying to keep this really chill, so while I do not want to get caught up in all the details, I want to make sure it’s also clear.

Please TELL YOUR FRIENDS and get those Washis ready!!!

Washi Maxi with bias binding

washi maxi dress with bias binding

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.

Made By Rae Washi Maxi

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!