Fitting my Washi tunic

Well, I had decided to make the Washi dress/tunic.  And I was halfway through making the muslin using the full bust adjustment as suggested by my old reliable, Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  When I saw a post from Rae, the Washi-patternmaker, noting that even she has a problem getting the bust darts to lie flat.  Gulp.

So I read the links she suggested–umm, not too helpful, since they discussed a regular dart, not a French dart as in the Washi dress.  Cue the  continuing searches.  First stop, Gertie’s blog for better sewing.  A few tips about getting them to lie flat, but difficult to picture.

After that, I hopped onto I must say, this is an awesome site, and I hardly use 10% of it. It’s great for previewing patterns you are considering and seeing what others have experienced, whether they be the Big Four or independent pattern makers. You have to login to see some of the content, but registration is free.  Although there are some Washi dress pattern reviews, I didnt see many details about the FBA.
Unfortunately, I still was not any further ahead on my fitting issues. I finished the muslin, and decided that the top was definitely too tight. My upper bust measurements had me right on the upper edge of the XL size, and I had thought that doing the full bust adjustment (FBA) would be enough.

So I talked myself into jumping in with both feet–since I was running out of time to get my tunic made in time for the Say it with Flowers blog hop.

I followed the directions on Megan Nielson Design Diary, and added 3/4″ width (I wear a D-cup), and the corresponding length. I cut the shoulders and armholes at the XL, but then added a seam allowance to make it 5/8″ (Rant: what is it with half-inch or quarter-inch seam allowances from independent pattern makers? I only have 3/8 and 5/8 on my seam guide. End rant.) I cut all the remaining seams at the 2XL mark. Then during construction, I moved the bust dart lower by about a quarter inch.


My very critical assessment:
Technique: The 5/8 seam allowance at the arm seam was much easier to deal with than the 1/4 in the pattern. In addition, I still do not have my bobbin tension right after putting in the shirring, so I think I will use an elastic casing in future.  See my previous post for how I finished the sleeves.
Fit: It rides up, which unfortunately makes it gape at the neckline when I bend over. I think that if I release the curve of the armscye a bit (go back and look at the photo of the bodice pattern), this will help. The 2XL is a bit generous, so I might be okay with the XL once I get the FBA figured out.
Length: I actually lengthened this by 1″. I am only 5′-4″, but the tunic hem otherwise was hitting me right at the widest part of my hips.

Will I make it again? Yes! I am reviewing my stash now…

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Linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.
fabric tuesday


  1. Not only did you make a BEAUTIFUL shirt (wowsers!) but you also shared all your tips with us. Now that’s a great post! Thank you, and enjoy wearing your new (and improved 🙂 tunic.

    1. Thank you, I will!

  2. Thank you for the great post on your experiences with the Washi tunic – I would love to try to make one also but was worried about getting the sizing right across the bust.

    1. PS – your tunic looks lovely!

    2. I made a full muslin, which helped with my confidence, even though I did the FBA differently…and ultimately I told myself that if it didn’t work I could cut it up and turn it into a quilt!

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