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Washi Dress

Pattern: Washi Dress by Rae Hoekstra
Fabric: 2.5 yards Washi Tape by Rashida Coleman Hale in Charcoal Grey
Time to Complete: One week – approx. 2 hours cutting, 5 or so hours sewing
Favorite parts: The cluster of bright colors at the left shoulder, pockets!

I was able to steal enough 30 minute chunks this week to make myself a dress. I love it!

I wore it all day yesterday, including on our regular Sunday morning visit to the farmer’s market, and I felt comfortable and pretty all day. The only drawback is the lack of nursing access, but that won’t be an issue for too much longer.As I mentioned in my last post, I recently bought Rae Hoekstra’s Washi Dress pattern. I have to say that I wasn’t super excited about the original dress, which was in the beige version of this same fabric, but I’ve seen many lovely dresses popping up on different crafty blogs of late. It was Skirt as Top’s sweet shirt, made out of charcoal grey washi fabric, that inspired me to go ahead and order this fabric and the dress pattern.

I made only a couple adjustments. For the first time in my life, I made a muslin of the bodice out of cheap fabric to check the fit before cutting into my expensive fabric, so I already had a sense for how it would turn out.  In the interest of modesty, I made the cutout at the neckline a little smaller, sewing on the original cutting line, which made the cutout a quarter inch narrower and shallower. I also made the dress one and a half inches longer. Otherwise, I followed the instructions exactly, which were very clear. The biggest hassle was dealing with the pdf pattern. While it’s nice to be able to download a pattern and print it at home, I despise cutting it all out and taping the pieces together.

The back is shaped with shirring, i.e., rows of elastic thread that gather the fabric just so and make for a very comfy fit. I laid down rows of blue painter’s masking tape on the fabric to help get the lines nice and straight. You use regular thread on top and elastic thread in the bobbin, and it turns out like this:

In this picture, you can see one of the parts of the pattern I was surprised by, which is that you use bias tape to finish the underarm seam, enclosing the raw edge where the sleeves are attached. To do this, you have to sew the bias tape down by hand or machine. I hate to finish things by hand, and I’m not very tidy with it, so I did it with my machine. This leaves a row of stitching a half inch in from the shoulder seam. At first I thought it looked strange, but I’ve come to appreciate this little detail. Getting it straight was tricky, and my least favorite part of the sewing. It’s not quite perfect, but I’m letting it go.

I’ve been sewing garments for about 20 years now, and it’s only in this past year or so that I’ve become very concerned with making things look professional inside and out. This time, I serged all exposed seams as I went along.

I’m very happy with this project. Sewing is sooo much faster than knitting!



  1. This is adorable- I’m kind of kicking myself now that I only bought enough fabric to make a couple of tunics…. Oh well. Now I need to find the chunks of time to get through it! I too, despise cutting and taping PDFs- but this pattern looks worth the trouble. 🙂

    • Samantha Godbey

      Thanks so much, Erin. I definitely think this pattern is worth it. I’m planning to use it many times. I want to make another, but even finding the time to get fabric is tricky!

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