December 1, 2015

Washington tunic hack & colour blocking ideas


Hey lovelies, thanks so much for all your lovely words about the Washington Dress!

Before the sewalong and contest kicks off, I wanted to give you a bit of inspiration about the many different ways you can adapt the Washington Dress using colour blocking or by hacking it into a tunic – the three sections give you tons of opportunities, and it’s  possible to make it look quite different!

Colour Blocking

First up, let’s talk colour blocking. If you like a strong look, then go full on and use three colours! I adore Meg’s version – she cleverly picked a bodice and yoke colour which pick out colours from the woven skirt, giving it a really cohesive look. The black yoke is also fantastic for nipping you in at the waist.

Cashmerette Washington Dress

However, there are many other options! Here are just a few:

From left to right:

  • This could be colour blocked like Meg’s dress, or the bodice and skirt could be the same colour with a contrasting yoke.
  • Or, you could go for a drop waist look – like Elaine’s dress below! Just use the same colour fabric for the bodice and yoke.
  • Next up, make the skirt and yoke from the same fabric for a two-piece look.
  • And finally, there’s no reason you can’t make it monochrome! The skirt can easily be swapped out for a knit, and you’ll end up with a chic and well-fitting dress.

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Here’s Elaine’s drop waist version made with stretch lace, no less!

Elaine Washington 1

Turn the Cashmerette Washington Dress into a tunic

Next up, a hack inspired by Elaine: you can turn the Washington Dress into a tunic!

This is pretty easy: simply take the skirt piece, and cut across it at the length you’d like your tunic to be (remember to allow 1 inch extra for your hem). You can choose the shape you’d like – straight across, curved down, or anything else you can imagine! Make sure you make the adjustment at the same height on the front and back skirt pieces.

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You can also make it sleeveless! First, make up the bodice without adding the sleeves. See how you like the fit at the shoulder – often you’ll want to narrow the shoulder a bit for sleeveless tops, so if necessary you can cut a crescent off the armscye. Then, you can finish the armhole either by turning and stitching, or you could use knit binding. Either way, I’d recommend using a bit of knit stay tape or stretch interfacing on the armholes first so they don’t stretch out.

Here is Elaine in her roaring drop-waist tunic, and her sleeveless blue velvet holiday version!


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Coming up later, I’ll show you how to hack the pattern into a maxi – another idea from a tester!

Do you have any other creative ideas for hacking the Washington?

18 thoughts on “Washington tunic hack & colour blocking ideas

  1. robbie says:

    Really great hacks!

  2. Cadi Young says:

    Really loving the new pattern, there are so many things that can be done with it. Might just be the ultimate stash buster!

  3. Smucky says:

    I’m debating turning the top part into a regular t-shirt, but with enough boob room, unlike most t-shirt patterns! 🙂

  4. Neenie says:

    What a fantastic pattern… just about to purchase now. All the testers look fantastic!
    How easy would it be to hack pockets into it? Maybe invisible pockets into the front skirt/lower yoke seam join? hmmmm
    Loving your work !

    1. I haven’t tried but that does sound interesting! As the yoke is knit I would hesitate to put them into the side seam, but the front curved seam could be great! Let me know if you do it 🙂

  5. Wow! Some great hacks!

  6. I am really curious how important using a thicker knit is for the yoke versus using the same material as the bodice.

    1. Elaine says:

      I did not use a different fabric for any of my 2 makes. So it makes no difference unless you want the effect.

      1. Thank you! That was my guess from looking at your versions (especially love the lace), but was worried there was a strong reason for the ponte yoke.

  7. Kristen says:

    I’d love to see a v-neck variation for those of us who don’t like scoop necks.

    1. Elaine says:

      Find a V necked Tshirt you love and just transfer it to this pattern!

  8. Janet Berezowecki says:

    I’m a straightforward girl, so here goes….I am rather lumpy and bumpy. I’m concerned about how the knit fabric would look on all my lumps and bumps. I know I could wear a spanx, which I probably would, but do you have any testers who might look a bit like me, so I could get an idea of how flattering this dress can look?

    1. Hi Janet – all three of the models shown (including me) have a significant tummy and various lumps and bumps, but the dress has been designed in a way so that it skims over things. If you want a bit more room, I’d suggest going up a size in the bodice. That said, if you never wear knit dresses or tops, then this dress probably isn’t for you!

    2. Elaine says:

      Janet, I have lots of lumps and bumps! ;-). My measurements are 45-41-48! So I have a belly. The pattern envelope put me in a 18CD. I chose to make a 20EF so I had extra room and less negative ease! At my age I felt this was wiser than choosing my size by measurements alone. Also these picture where taken without spanx! The fabric just skimmed over the lumps in my opinion!

  9. Debbie Jones says:

    Hi Jenny. My pattern arrived today and I’m looking forward to getting on and making my first version. In a comment above you mentioned that it was possible to swap the skirt and use a knit rather than a woven. Given my penchant for knits I’d rather do this if at all possible. However, I was just wondering if I used a stable ponte, would I need to adjust the skirt pattern sizing it downwards because of it being more stretchy than a woven? Or would I be ok to use the skirt pattern as is with my ponte?

    1. Hi Debbie – yes you can definitely use a knit! I would say it’s preferable to use a ponte, and you can use the same pattern piece as it’s already got a bit of positive ease in it. Same size will work!

      1. Debbie Jones says:

        Thanks so much for answering my question Jenny. I’m going to cut out and start making my first Washington dress this evening – very excited!

  10. PsychicKathleen says:

    I am slowly falling in love with this dress! The more renditions and expressions I see the more I’m lured 🙂

Let me know what you think!