When I became a mom I was quite overwhelmed at how my clothing choices changed almost immediately. I never felt I could find a store that truly called to me. I still wanted to be hip but not 20 year old hip and I wanted to look mature and feminine but not look like I was older than I was. I wanted comfy classic pieces that were flattering. So I started scouring the internet to look for good quality patterns that had a lot of versatility, that could allow me to still look hip but allow me to look and feel my age as well as the fact that Im a mom. This is where the washi dress comes in.
I have followed Made by Rae for a long time and really found her stuff when I was first looking for inspiration for my baby boy at the time. Upon perusing her patterns and such I found her style to be very modern and extremely flattering for woman. I am drawn toward tunics and dresses that are flattering but also give coverage, belly coverage. I found comfort was a huge factor in my clothes.
The first dress I made in the washi was a chambray that I have since grown out of but I replaced that one with more washi’s. Here they are (or some of them):
This one I made for Cavalia, a sort of Cirque du Soleil but with horses. This fabric is from the Fantasia line by Sara Lawson designed for Art Gallery. I made it sleeveless and with an elastic casing instead of the standard shirring elastic. I prefer this method it’s a little bit of a longer method but I do it cause I don’t really like sewing elastic thread. Or I should say my machine doesn’t like it. Here’s a shot of it in action.
This washi I made with a chambray top and this gorgeous woven neopolitan print I believe it might be a Cotton and Steel but I can’t remeber. This one has the elastic thread and is shortened to a tunic length. This one is a real favorite and is worn almost weekly.
My husband and I took our kids to some show in town (mom brain I can’t remember) and I made this dress up for a day date. I tested out the peter pan collar which I love on clothing just not to sure if it suits me or if was that I used a print for it. It has capped sleeves, is pattern length and I used elastic casing in the back. This one is done up in fabric from the Arizona line by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics.
I have actually a few more that never made it to getting photographed on this sunny day but I’m sure you get the hint.
If your thinking about making the washi dress don’t think anymore. Rae has added so many expansions to this dress the possibilities are endless. Sleeves, bow collar, different necklines, make it shirt length, maxi length and more. Oh and did I mention pockets! This dress works well in so many substrates, chambrays, voile, cotton, double gauze, linen pretty much any light to medium weight cottons or blends. Check out the pattern here and if your looking for fabric for your new washi check out the sale I’m having this week on all wovens in the shop here.
Color Catchers. Have you ever heard of them? I hadn’t up until about a year ago when I ordered a tunic top from a wonderful lady overseas who included a few of these lovely bounce looking sheets in with my purchase and a simple note that read “place me in wash and I will catch all that bleeds”. See my top was a dark indigo linen with light colored patch pockets. I had never seen these things before and thought it was a European thing. But I did as I was told and after multiple washings my top had faded naturally but never bled onto any of my clothing or the attached pockets. It had however turned these small crisp little white squares a light blue color. I thought nothing about it for a while until I had to wash some fabric for some orders and noticed that one piece of fabric was a rich royal blue another a rustic orange and the other a cream with bright colored bears on it. First I thought I will separate the white from the colors and toss some salt in the wash. Then I thought what the heck let’s give this a try. Well I don’t know about you but I don’t know where to acquire these lovely little catchers of color and living an hour into the bush you can’t just run to your local Wal-Mart to grab some. So I did what everyone does nowadays and I asked google what it thought about color catchers and this is what I found.
Color catcher sheets absorb and trap loose dyes in your wash be it HE or standard machine, protecting your clothes against color bleeding and helping to preserve original colors. Simply put there is no need to separate your laundry. You can wash dark and light together which saves time by not having to sort and is more efficient by not having to wash small loads.
I spent some time searching the good ol’ interweb for some recipes, how to’s and general info and the one I found that seemed interesting to me was that they used soda ash more commonly known as washing soda in their color catchers. As I have worked with this product before in making my own laundry detergent I felt quite comfortable in using it in my washer and I knew I had some soda on hand.
With my wealth of new color catching knowledge, some scrap flannel fabric and a box of washing soda I got to work. Change up your measurements as you need but I did one tablespoon into a cup of hot water in a large stainless steel bowl and allow it to dissolve. Once dissolved you can add your squares of fabric and let it soak. Once you are pleased with the amount of time your fabric has soaked just take out of bowl, you can either ring out or drip dry and then allow to air dry. Once your sheets are dry you can add them to your wash and once done just keep your fabric scraps and re-soak in a batch of washing soda and water to re-charge them. It’s that easy!!
As with making my own laundry detergent a box of washing soda goes a long way so diy projects like this can be very inexpensive. A box will cost around $7-20 CAD depending on where you go and the brand you buy. But it will last you a long time as well it can be used in so many other ways. Here are just a few: all purpose cleaner, fireplace cleaner, outdoor cushion cleaner, unclog your drains, make your own laundry soap, stain fighter, pots and pans cleaner, grill cleaner, pest control in your garden and so much more. Please do your research before using washing soda in any of these areas as most of the time is needs to be diluted and or can’t be used in some applications.
Have these mysterious color catching sheets worked for you? Do you use washing soda? Let us know!
*Disclaimer: I have done my own tests with washing soda in various areas and have always tested small areas before continuing on. As with any diy use at your own caution and always do a small test first*