sweetfrenchtoast » for a modern handmade life

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  • HOWDY.

    Thanks for stopping by sweetfrenchtoast!

    I'm Sabrina, and I love to make pretty things, visit inspiring places, eat really good food, and take lots of photos along the way. Though I live with my husband in Atlanta, GA, I consider the world my home, and I can't wait to see more of it.

handmade: washi dress with tova sleeves

I’ve really grown to love wearing dresses to work way more than pants. They’re usually very comfortable, they don’t require a lot of thinking (throw dress over head, add accessory, done), and they are—if you’re so inclined—infinitely versatile with all the ways you can dress them up or down: with or without tights, boots vs. pumps, etc.

I recently decided to make a cold weather dress (you know, because it gets SO COLD here in Atlanta). I wanted something with long sleeves that I could pair with knee boots or with tights and ankle boots. I had a really nice herringbone wool blend fabric in my stash that I was saving for some dress pants, but I came to the conclusion that making a dress with it would be way more fun.

I decided to give the extremely popular Washi dress by Made By Rae a shot. The empire waist and flattering pleats sounded like they would be friendly to my midsection, where I carry most of my weight, and without any buttons or zippers, it seemed like it would be a quick and easy project.

After considering the sleeves Rae has drafted to use with the Washi, I decided to instead pair the sleeves from the Wiksten Tova top with it. I’m so happy with the result! Especially considering it was my first time setting sleeves. It’s pretty much exactly what I had in mind.

Washi dress with Tova sleeves

I think the pleats on the bodice and the gathers on the cuffed sleeve look really polished. I also LOVE the way the pockets are constructed—super-simple!

Washi dress pleats and sleeve detail

I was pretty pleased with how the Tova sleeve fit the Washi pattern. I simply had to gather the top of the sleeve a tad (not as much as the Wiksten pattern calls for) to get it to fit correctly.

Another change I made to the Washi pattern was simply due to my impatience in wanting to make this dress and finish it—NOW. I didn’t have any elastic thread, so I couldn’t do the shirring on the back. This makes the back of the dress stretchy, which allows you to maintain a somewhat fitted bodice without having to zip or button yourself into it. The dress stretches to fit you perfectly.

Since I didn’t have any elastic thread, I used the next best thing that I had on hand: elastic. I simply stretched the elastic out and sewed it with a long straight stitch onto the wrong side of the dress back. It’s not perfect, and I probably should have sewn it a little lower so it lines up better with the waistline on the front of the dress, but it gets the job done pretty well.

Washi dress sleeve and elastic back detail

I’ve already worn it to work once, and I’m sure it will get a lot of wear until spring. I’m also planning to make another Washi dress soon. The pattern was very easy to follow, and I really like the fit of the dress. I completed the dress over a day and a half (including downloading and printing/piecing the pattern), and finishing the sleeves was a good chunk of that. I’ll adjust the bust darts on future Washis, and I’ll probably make my next one sleeveless or short-sleeved so I can wear it with a cardigan now and without later. I’ll also eventually get some elastic thread so I can try the shirring, but the elastic works pretty well for now!

Washi dress with Tova sleeves

I was pretty pleased with my ability to improvise and stray from the pattern a bit with this dress, and I can tell my confidence is building as my skills improve. Yay!

Have you blogged your Washi dress? I’d love to see yours, so leave a link in a comment if so!

January 8, 2013 - 9:19 am

Ann - Gorgeous!! You are so talented, Sabrina! Love the fabric, too 🙂

January 11, 2013 - 4:05 pm

Kelley - Love this adaptation. I have had my washi dress pattern for a while and have yet to make it. I have a Wiksten tiny pocket tank pattern and love it. So of course, I went and bought the tova top pattern because this looks so good!

January 12, 2013 - 10:47 am

Camille - I love everything about this! I actually like the elastic better than the shirring – it’s less “obtrusive” (maybe that’s not the best word?) You get my drift. 🙂

January 12, 2013 - 12:22 pm

sabrina - Kelley, I adore the Wiksten tank pattern too! I’d love to see how your Washi turns out.

January 12, 2013 - 12:24 pm

sabrina - Camille, I totally get what you’re saying about the shirring. I’m still not sure that I want to add it to my next Washi. I like the simplicity of the elastic. It does the job, it’s quick and easy, and it makes the back look more streamlined!

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