Modified Washi: Wearable Muslin #2

I have to warn you that when it comes to sewing for myself, you’re probably going to end up seeing the same patterns over and over. I’ve realized that I really need to work on understanding fit, and I figure this space is the perfect place to document my tweaks because otherwise it will all dribble away from my sieve-like brain. Though I’m afraid it might be somewhat unexciting for you as I go through iteration after iteration, I’m riveted by the whole process.

I made quite a few changes to the original Washi pattern, and I’m really liking how things are shaping up. My first Washi was decent. Due to problems with the linen stretching out (I stuck it in the washer and dryer a couple of times, but alas, no shrinkage), the shirring being too loose, and an overly scooped neckline, the dress didn’t fit all that well. Also, the photos revealed that the empire waist was much too high for me, and I had a hard time loving the shirring.ย However, I still like it, and I think it would be cute paired with a cardi in the fall.

For easy reference, the left version is my first Washi.ย I like the juxtoposition of the two versions, and you can see how my modifications have changed the shape. The camera focused better last time, apparently. And am I imagining it, or does it look like I have a fake, orange-y tan on the right?

Thank you, everyone, for all your helpful alteration suggestions! Here’s what I did for a better fit:

Better, ย no? ย This version was meant to be a muslin so I used random fabric I got from my mom that happens to be remarkably similar in its grey tones to the original buffalo checks I used for my first version. It has white stripes against a pale grey background and is probably shirting of some sort. There’s a bit of stretch and seems to be mostly cotton.

I ended up liking the fit of the muslin so much that I decided to sew it all up with finished seams and all. I did forget to take into account the pockets, so they didn’t match up too well and my wing-it method resulted in some wonkiness at the side seams. Those pockets are super handy, though, and I’m finding that I stick my hands in them all the time so wonky or no, I’m keeping them as is. Pockets=awesome.

Not so flattering straight-on shot with me thinking,”Man, getting the fit right is so hard…” Or maybe it was “Mmmm…I could use a donut right now.”

The elastic with the casing made a huge difference, and I’m pleased that I look significantly less pregnant in version #2. The one other thing I couldn’t get quite right were the bust darts. The modified positions are good, but the end is still puckering and no amount of pressing fixed the issue. “Mama, your boopies are showing,” K informed me. Undaunted, I wore the dress all day Tuesday and it’s fabulously comfortable. And by the end of the day the puckers were much less noticeable. What do you think of the fit? Washi #3 is bound to be perfect, right?

45 thoughts on “Modified Washi: Wearable Muslin #2

  1. I know what you mean about repeating and tweaking muslins. I think I read somewhere that Kenneth King does a minimum of 2 muslins before tackling the “real” garment. I also remember someone on PatternReview talking about having made 25 pairs of jeans before he was truly satisfied. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are doing really well! Your Washi 2.0 looks like a completely different dress! Lowering the waistline really changes the look, as did tightening the back.

    Re the darts – the dart tip should be 1-1.5 inches away from the bust apex. Also, see the tip from Nancy K on how to sew them to avoid pucker.

    1. Whoa, 25 pairs of jeans!!!??? I don’t know if I’d have the stamina for that kind of muslin-ing. I’m in awe. I keep seeing references to Kenneth King for fit issues, and his video tutorials are on my to-view list! And thanks for the darts tips – I did feel they were too close to — um — the apex originally, and had actually shortened them a touch but obviously need to shorten them some more!

  2. Oh, I love it! And, good for you for continuing to tweak and perfect the pattern. Sometimes I get so impatient (and sad) when it doesn’t work right the first or second time that stuff it into a closet and it takes years to try it again. I’m going to learn from your tweaks for sure, love the idea of an elastic casing…elastic shirring just doesn’t always do it for me. Plus, it isn’t always comfortable to have that elastic against my back!

    1. I hear you, Melissa! This muslin-obsession is very new for me. I used to get so frustrated easily that clothes wouldn’t fit right off the bat, but I’m embracing the idea of taking the time to work out the kinks beforehand — very hard for me to do! I highly recommend the elastic casing, I think it’s the change that made the most improvement to the fit!

  3. *clapping* YAY! The dress fits much better and duh… why didn’t I think of using bias binding?! Love-love it. Hmmm… I can go for a donut myself!

    1. Thanks, Venus! Bias binding can be a nightmare sometimes, but I hid the binding inside, so no crooked/missed spots show! And donuts are always a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’m sewing up my first Washi, and some of your changes are ones I need to make, too. Can I ask — how did you reduce the neckline gaping? I’m having that problem and haven’t found an online solution yet.

    1. Hi Michelle! I constantly have gaping neckline issues, and have been reviewing a bunch of techniques. This tutorial is the one I referenced and found it helpful and easy.

  5. Awesome fit adjustments! Your V2 suits you really nicely. I love hearing about/learning about fit, so please keep on sharing your process. (And I let out a chortle on the bus when I read K’s comment on “boopies.”)

    1. Thanks Morgan! That boopie comment cracked me up too! I started to explain a bust dart, and quickly gave up as she continued to look at me disapprovingly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Version 2 is very nice, but I love to see you in brighter colours. I think it fits fantastic. It is amazing how little aletrations can make a diference. Thanks for documenting the process! I have my pattern printed but I have not attempted to cut my fabric. That and also I hate make muslins, Im a bad girl.

    1. Muslins can be such a pain! But now that I’m seeing how alterations can really make dramatic differences, I’m sort of hooked. Since I’m starting to think about fall sewing, you’ll be seeing more variety in colors for sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You look fantastic ( I don’t think you have a weird orange tan at all) and the dress looks great on you. I am very excited to join you in the alterations of selected patterns and especially happy that the Washi is one of them- as I have that one too. Mine make me look pregnant too but are so comfortable that I wear them all the time anyway. Next time I will try your new tips. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much Laney! The Washi is so very, very comfortable, I love it. I can see myself making one over and over ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to see your Washis too!

  8. Oh Sanae – you look radiant in that last photo! So gorgeous! And kudos on sticking with the Washi pattern and liking version #2 much better! I wish I could give some bust dart tips, but I have not yet ventured into the realm of for-me sewing yet. No bust darts for my girlies – yet!

    1. Blushing! Thanks Lucinda, and you should definitely sew for yourself. The clothes you make for your kids are so amazing, I can only imagine how fabulous your own sewn wardrobe would be!

    1. Thank you, Mayda! The fit is definitely getting there…just a little bit more tweaking, and I think it might be ready for some nice fabric!

  9. I loved version 1 (I totally heart that fabric), but the tweaks you have made look great on version 2. I am about to try my first Washi (tunic), and it’s interesting to see what you’ve changed, because I think my body shape will require similar changes.

    1. I really love the linen fabric too ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to try a tunic version of the Washi as well — maybe in a more drapey fabric. Looking forward to seeing your version, George!

  10. I am inspired by your willingness to make mock ups. I KNOW I should, but I find 1000 reasons to NOT do it.. I do like the changes you made to the second one and like it better with your changes to the top. I need to find more internal willingness to try and have it be ok if the end product isn’t perfect, which is NOT easy.


    1. Thank you, Michelle! I’m an instant gratification kind of person, so it’s very much out of character for me to take the time to make a muslin. But I’m learning a lot about construction and it’s pretty exciting to test things out. I have high hopes that one day I’ll be able to create a perfect-fitting wardrobe! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It’s so tricky navigating all these curves, Rachael…geometry was never my strong suit. ๐Ÿ™‚ as the fit of things get better, I do feel like I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for my body, though!

    1. Adding length to the bodice was really key to a better fit ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the sweet comment, Liza Jane! The shoes are Ecco brand from Nordstrom Rack – comfy and leg elongating, the ideal combo!

  11. beautiful! the fit looks perfect! okay, now i’m feeling inspired to make this dress work for me – i totally looked pregnant with the empire waist!

    1. Thanks Mae! The Washi is a great pattern to experiment with – I highly recommend it. I’ve already made more tweaks since this post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks for sharing all your tips on the washi versions. We often see so many great washi dresses but we don’t know the alterations that has gone into it to make it a better fit for the person. The slightest changes can improve the fit so much. I just bought the pattern but I’m now worried with cutting up the muslin for the bodice, but better stuff up the muslin that the actual fabric!

    1. You’re very welcome, Vivian! Out of my three Washis, I only wear one regularly (the brown polka dot), but now I have a better handle on how to change the original pattern.

  13. Hello, I love the changes you made to it. I just finishing up on my 4th washi dress. And they are so comfortable. But, the changes you made are terrific, I think I will try them out. Thank you for your post, 4yrs ago, and it still is very relavent. I would like to see your 3rd dress version. Sent it to me, or post it. I am new to sewing and get many tips from pinterest.

    1. I donโ€™t think you could ever be too old to wear what you like, Vicki! The Washi (now Trillium) is great for everyone!

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