The original pattern is by Made By Rae, and can be found here:
My first attempt was this dress as a top, and it wasn't particularly successful as I did something weird with extending the bodice. I can't actually remember what I did but perhaps just lengthened the shoulders and sides? I didn't mess with the darts at all. Also I didn't cut the pattern pieces to the 'top' shape, so it's much poofier than it should be! Aaaand I had no make up on when we took the shots... So I shall distract you with my slightly crazy kid.
Anyway based on this I definitely wanted to try the dress! It took a couple of months before I around to it (this top was made in August?) and I wanted to use up some of my vintage fabric that I bought from Madeline at Do Re Mi in Elsternwick. I'm not sure if she sells her fabric to the general public but she does have an AMAZING collection! It's in the back room! You should totally go back there.
For my second attempt, I just moved the bodice front pattern piece out one inch before cutting, which gave me two inches of much needed space across the bust. I added 2 darts under the bust to shape a little, and I liked the results so much that I used it again for the most recent dress. I cut the notch in the front neckline far too wide in dress 2, but rectified that in dress 3! I'm hopeless at shirring and even Rae's painstaking instructions - which have apparently worked for everyone else who made this dress - didn't work for me. So for Dress 2 and 3, I added 1" elastic in the back with a little extra strip of fabric to cover it on the inside. This looks neat from the outside and is still comfortable and easy to dress.
|Dress 3 - to prove I have two legs|
As you can see, my eyebrows have recently fallen prey to eczema and that's just been more traumatising than I can say. Maybe I should go Lisbeth Salander, i.e. cut some very short, sharp bangs? I just can't really see her wearing this dress. However, unless you are in fact a tiny, revenge-hungry, eyebrow-less Swedish mental patient / genius / killer, you will probably enjoy this pattern. It takes very minimal skill to sew, and nothing more than a sewing machine. Rae's pool of photos on Flickr are testament to how many women around the world love this pattern. Also I did not realise until a recent blog post of hers, but she is actually supporting her family by selling her sewing patterns. Well, I have several of her patterns and I think they are all excellent, especially for beginners.
Here's a little slideshow of the Washi Dress Flickr pool!