Monday, April 7, 2014

Washi "Muslin"

 I decided recently I wanted to make a dress from a legit pattern. I was in Portland a few weekends ago, and found myself in Bolt fabric store on Alberta.

I flipped through patterns of all kinds. In my heart this is the pattern I've always wanted wanted to make. Simple dress with nice details that fits well. I sold formal dresses for years and know what looks good on my body. Empire waist. Lower neckline. Darted short bodice. Loose skirt, but not too full.
The Washi Dress Pattern is from Made by Rae. Before seeing it in Bolt, I had seen many originals and improvised Washi dresses in blog-land and knew that the pattern was well-made and had some options open to adding in my personal style. After being treated so warmly in Bolt, and getting beautiful black with vines fabric, I was giddy on my ride home. 
I read the pattern the next day. I have never made a quilt or clothing item from a pattern, as you know I am a "do-it-my-own-damn-self" kinda gal. I set out to cut out my size and then decided to read some reviews and tips. I set off starting with her website. Then, I ventured into the world of the internet. It is amazing to me how much crafty folks like to share their experiences.
One tip suggested not cutting the pattern, or any pattern ever, for that matter. Instead it instructed to use Swedish tracing paper so you have a sturdy pattern that can be altered. All the while, the original pattern stays intact for making different sizes later. Against my normal tendencies, I ordered the special tracing paper and decided to wait. Waiting is hard for me and has been the downfall creative nature of quite a few projects. I knew I wanted to make the pattern more than once. I wanted to do it right. Not just fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants like I normally do. 
I waited a whole week while bursting at the seam, no pun intended, wanting to slice up my fabric and pattern and get to the sewing already!

When the tracing paper came, I carefully measured myself and fell between two sizes.  So I traced the bigger size carefully and cut out my pattern from the waist line up only. Focusing on making a muslin of the parts where I needed it to fit the best in the bust area instead of the whole dress, is a must! Another great suggestion. Then, I traced again and made a "muslin" out of super sale blue scrap fabric in the bigger size. The muslin was way to big everywhere, even with my awesome push-up bra on, so I ripped out my basting stitches. I lined up my patterns again and then traced and cut my tracing paper down to the next size and re-sewed the muslin. Still a bit big but under the bust, so I decided to deviate a bit and add in darts in the waist up to the bust. Another rip apart, tracing of a pattern and trimming and re-sewing.
Again, I was glad I reviews suggesting darts under the bust apex. I put on the muslin again and it looked pretty good without the shirring, that would eventually make it fit well.
Then I grabbed the pretty flower vines on black and I cut all the pieces and went to bed. 
The next morning the blue muslin was put on the table when I cleaned up my sewing area. I realized I really really liked it, I only had bit of the blue cotton I got on super sale. So all of it was used to make the top "muslin" of the dress.  It worked well with my Kaffe stripes, this was this by far the best choice. I loved the pairing and knew this would be a great go-to casual tunic dress
Quickly, I found myself making two Washi Dresses.   I put the black one aside and decided to test out all the fittings on the "muslin". 
All in all. 
I love this pattern. I intend on making many more. It fits very well with out a need for major adjustments. Super glad I read the comments and reviews on her website. I hope to buy the expansion pack soon. Lesson of the day: It pays off to make a muslin and if you do it out of super sale fabric you get two dresses!
Woah watch out...its me who you never see!
I was initially daunted by even trying a pattern and then attempting shirring.
The shirring is an easy way to make an elastic area that doesn't need to be encased. It also enticed me to dream up many more items so that I can do more shirring. It makes it the dress comfortable and easy to get on without zippers or buttons. 
I chose to only do every other shirring line so it would be more loose on this casual tunic.

A little stripe binding on the sleeve to make it sleeveless and give it more detail.
Of course this pattern has pockets which was a major selling point. 
Stay tuned for the other one. It's a beauty. 

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