Maternity Washi dress from curtains!


I'm really blessed with some lovely friends. One of those friends thinks of me whenever she's got a sack full of fabric to give away, thank you Di!

This fabric was a large door curtain and I kept it because it was in immaculate condition, a good thick cotton and I thought I could use it for making a muslin one day. The fabric is 'The Country Classics' by Ashley Wilde.

I'm going to hazard a guess that it was produced around the 1980's. It's just got that sort of chintz chic look about it.

I'm eagerly awaiting a package containing some voile from Sara Lawson's new Jungle Ave collection and I have a Washi top in mind for it. I thought I'd better make myself a muslin first before it gets here to check fit and make sure I don't completely ruin the new fabric from Sara! That's where this home décor fabric comes in. Ker-ching!

I wanted to make the dress length to check it for future dresses (even though I've a tunic in mind for the Floral Asphalt voile) and didn't have quite enough for the whole dress out of the curtain fabric. Once again my never diminishing stash stepped in and provided some beige linen for a front bodice. I wasn't intending this dress to be worn but once I put the two together I decided I really liked it and hence forth it became thought of as a wearable muslin.

Yes, my legs really are that pale, do not adjust your screens!
Because of my ever expanding pregnancy belly I made the following adjustments to size which might be helpful to anyone else who's planning on making a maternity Washi.

Based on my bust and upper bust measurements I was spot on the largest size in the Medium size range. I cut the back of the dress in size medium. I cut the front bottom of the dress in size large. I used a marker then to match the size medium arm holes (sycthes?) to the size large side seams and bottom seam. Size large bust darts too.

I used an elastic casing on the back rather than shirring because a) the fabric is very heavy and b) I have a drop in bobbin Brother - notorious for shirring issues and I really didn't fancy having to adjust the bobbin tension! Next time I'll cut my back elastic to the large size though so it's not as tight.

I'm only 22 weeks pregnant in these photos and I want my Jungle Ave tunic to last me through to the end of pregnancy and possibly nursing if I can follow Rae's nursing alteration tutorials.

I think I made the right decision with the size adjustments, there's enough space for a slightly larger bust and a very much larger belly but the back isn't ridiculously over-sized. I didn't have any issues matching the two different sizes of the front and back.

There is a slight gape at the neckline so next time I'm going to stay stitch the neckline as soon as I've cut the pieces rather than in step 6 as instructed. I think because I didn't make it up in one go and instead folded it up and put it away, then got it out another day, repeat etc, it must have stretched out slightly.

I wonder if I should also consider moving the seam up an inch or two if I make another Washi with contrast bodice/skirt so that it hits above my bump, but I think on one that's the same fabric it won't matter so much. The same with the rather obvious darts!

I didn't really feel my bump was that large before taking these photos, I'll blame it on the heavy drape of the fabric coupled with the extra bump growth room!

It's not really warm enough for summer dresses here yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as it is, this wearable muslin will be making it's fair share of appearances! Who knows, if I get a nice little amount of sun you might be able to see where my legs end and the cream of the fabric begins!

Some of you already know this, but sewing clothing scares me some-what. I'm happy to tackle the most difficult pattern of anything but when it comes to clothing I like to stick safely in the 'beginner' camp. I was pleased with how easy it was to follow this pattern and I'm really pleased with the result. Onto the next Washi!

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  1. Ah, you and Baby are looking just wonderful! And your post reminds me of Maria von Trapp! :-)

  2. I don't like making muslins because it seems like a waste of time to me, so it's great that yours is wearable- crazy technical to get it to work maternity wise though.

  3. It looks so cute! Hooray for curtains, they make the best clothes :D

  4. It's very pretty! I try my best not too buy maternity wear though as I tend to wear my clothes till they have holes in them! I managed to get through the last two pregnancies with only two maternity trousers(and lots of hair bands to make normal trousers bigger!)

  5. You are looking FABULOUS Samantha and you've have done a great job making the dress...I don't know why you are chicken to tackle more advanced patterns! ....and I wouldn't have guessed you used a curtain if you didn't blab! LOLLL...As a teenager I used to sew all my own clothes....then I lost interest in clothes and haven't sewn any since, apart from some nice comfy baggy pj's for me and my girls, BUT lately I am feeling the urge to make some clothes.....which is really strange because I didn't think I would ever want to sew clothing again! LOLL I should have been making my own maternity clothes waaaayyyy back when I needed them because it was extremely hard to find anything around here even remotely comfortable!

  6. You look great and the dress is just lovely. Great choice for the bodice. You have a real talent, indeed!

  7. Your dress looks great and you look amazing. Your dress is pretty and feminine and really suits you. the style is similar to what I made for maternity dresses and wore to death during my pregnancies. By the time I had my baby I was so sick of those dresses since I wore them EVERY Day for months. (Money was too tight to make lots of clothes for a short period of time). In retrospect it wouldn't have hurt to have a few extra garments.
    Gotta love it when a muslin turns into a wearable muslin. I usually use cheap fabric that I like for a muslin and hope that it is wearable; it has worked for me more often than not worked. You sure can manage all kinds of sewing - anyone who can do the kind of sewing that you do can handle clothing sewing. The sewing isn't too hard - the fitting is the tricky part. Maternity is good for learning as it isn't too closely fitted. ;)
    Curtain and furnishing fabric is often good for clothing articles, particularly for things like overalls (especially kids ones), shorts, skirts and vests. I even used a lovely decorator weight polished cotton to make the vests for the guys for our wedding... looooonnnnnggggg time ago.
    It seems like you are finally able to begin to enjoy yourself a little more during your pregnancy. Here's to hoping that this next phase does something to make up for the misery of the last phase...

  8. You look adorable in your new dress. I never would have guessed it was curtain fabric. Just hope you don't visit anyone wearing this who has them hanging on their window. LOLL Thanks for the instructions on how to do the alterations hopefully I'll never need them LOLLLL

  9. Oh aren't you cute!!! Looking good Mama. Love the fabric, and the Washi !!

  10. You are so talented!! What a great maternity dress, and I agree with Christine above, never would have known it was curtains. I can only imagine the cute baby clothes you will tackle next :)


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