A parade of Washington dresses

Hello Lovelies

When the Washington dress pattern was first released I wasn’t 100% sure if I could see myself wearing it but as a loyal Cashmerette fan I had to buy it on the day of its release.  I hung onto the pattern for a couple of weeks until a few blog posts started to appear and I could start to visualise how the dress might work for me.

My first version of the Washington was made in 100% ponte, I skipped the woven skirt (blog post here)  As soon as I put the dress on for the first time I knew it was going to become a wardrobe staple.

My teal ponte version did come out a little on the large side, a combination of me picking the wrong size and also changing the woven skirt out for a knitted ponte.  So for my second version (blog post here) I went down a size, added in a full bottom adjustment and shortened the bodice by 1 inch.  I was really pleased with the fit and there began my love affair with the Washington.

During the last two weeks I have made up four new versions and I already have another two cut out waiting to be sewn ……….

I won’t go into the nitty gritty of the pattern itself, the alterations I made or the construction process as I covered all of that in detail in the two blog posts linked above.  This post is mainly to show you my new Washingtons and provide details of the fabrics used and to also tell you about the mishaps which happened along the way.

Washington Dress version 3


Fabrics used:

Top: black viscose jersey from The Splendid Stitch:


This is a lovely, lightweight fabric which drapes beautifully and feels great to wear.  It is 93% viscose and 7% elastane and has a 50% 4 way stretch.

The fabric is slightly sheer when used on the Washington bodice because is it designed to be close fitting and hugs the chest area fairly tightly compared to more drapey tee-shirts.  Having said that, it isn’t sheer enough to cause any embarrassment.

I paid £13.40 per meter and purchased exactly 1 meter.  It did shrink by about 5% when it was pre-washed and tumble dried (eek I know I shouldn’t tumble dry my knits).  The colour also bled – which I found out to my cost when I washed it along with the fabric used on the next Washington dress below.

Yolk: Black ponte from my stash, originally bought from Minerva Crafts:

https://www.minervacrafts.com/shop/fabric/dress-fabrics/roma-m-ponte-roma-heavy-stretch-jersey-dress-fabric?colour=Aqua (I can’t get the link to show the black version).  I paid £13.99 per meter for this but it is currently showing as £12.99 on the site today.

It is a heavy weight stretch ponte, composition 74% polyester, 23% rayon and 3% spandex and it is firm enough to feel like it is smoothing out some of my lumps and bumps in the hip/tummy area.

Skirt:  This lovely red and black floral design is on a stretch cotton (97% cotton, 3% elastane).  It is from Ditto Fabrics (see here).  I bought 1.3m (148 cm wide) at £8.99 per meter.


I really love how this dress turned out.  the stretch cotten is beautiful quality and hangs really well.  The top is beautifully stretchy and extremely comfortable to wear.  If I were to change anything then perhaps in hindsight I would have used a very dark grey ponte for the yolk section just to break up the large amount of black.

Total cost to make:

Top: 1 meter of black jersey – £13.40

Yolk: 1/5 meter of black ponte –  £2.80

Skirt: 1.3 meter of stretch cotton – £11.69

1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70

1m of clear elastic – £0.87

Total cost  of this dress: £30.46


Washington dress version 4


Fabrics used:

Top: This lovely pale grey jersey was from Ditto Fabrics:


The fabric cost £8.99 per meter and I purchased exactly that amount for the top (150cm wide)

It is 95% cotton an 5% lycra and has a 50% 4 way stretch.  It is beautiful fabric, it feels such good quality and it drapes really nicely.  And being cotton based it will be comfortable to wear.

It did shrink about 5% during the pre-wash and after tumble drying (tut tut) the edges curled up but not significantly enough to cause me any issues.

Yolk: Black ponte from my stash (as per dress version 3 above)

Skirt:  I bought this black and white (see note below) fabric from The Splendid Stitch


It is a stretch cotton (97% cotton, 3% elastane), 145cm wide and £9.80 per meter.  I purchased 1.25m for this dress


This dress makes me feel so smart and I love it teamed up with my new jewelled scarf – perfect for my upcoming cruise!

Now I wonder if you spotted my major faux pas?  If you followed the link above (to The Splendid Stitch) you will have noticed that the fabric was originally black and very bright white.  However, it is now black and pale grey.  A lesson to myself, do NOT pre-wash white fabrics along with other black and red jersey fabrics for other projects.  They both bled in the wash, turning my sparkling white splatters into grey.  Having said that, I actually like the black and grey version and it perfectly matches the pale grey of the top.  And at least I know that no one else will be sporting the same colours.

Total cost to make:

Top: 1 meter of grey cotton jersey – £8.99

Yolk: 1/5 meter of black ponte –  £2.80

Skirt: 1.25 meter of stretch cotton – £12.25

1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70

1m of clear elastic – £0.87

Total cost  of this dress: £26.61


Washington dress version 5


Fabrics used:

Top: I really struggled over which colour to choose for the top.  There are so many amazing colours in the skirt I could have gone with any of them.  I very nearly chose turquoise but as soon as I spotted this bright red cotton jersey I knew it would be perfect:


This fabric is 92% cotton, 8% elastane and is a fairly heavy, stable jersey which drapes beautifully and feels even better to wear.  It has a 50% 4 way stretch.  The fabric is 170cm wide and cost £10.80 per meter – I bought 1m.

It did shrink about 5% during the pre-wash and it bled – see my comments above about my former black and white (now grey) splatter fabric.

Yolk: Black ponte from my stash  (as per dress version 3 above)

Skirt: I bought this stunning multi coloured stretch cotton from The Splendid Stitch


It is 145cm wide and £10.00 per meter.  I purchased 1.25m for this dress


This is my absolute favourite out of all my Washington dresses – I really adore the colours.  It is certainly a ‘look at me’ dress!

Total cost to make:

Top: 1 meter of red jersey – £10.80

Yolk: 1/5 meter of black ponte –  £2.80

Skirt: 1.25 meter of stretch cotton -£12.50

1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70

1m of clear elastic – £0.87

Total cost  of this dress: £28.67


Washington dress version 6


Fabrics used:

Top: Royal blue ponte from Abakhan:


This is a lovely ponte, especially considering its very economical £5.20 per meter price tag.  It is 150cm wide, has a 50% crosswise stretch and is made up of 70% polyester 27% viscose and 3% elastane.  I used 1 meter.

I originally purchased 3m with my plan being to make the Washington dress completely in royal blue ponte – much like my first version of the dress here

However, as seems to often be the way with the best laid plans, disaster struck yet again during the pre-wash stage.  I have no idea on how it happened but somehow a biro got into the wash.  It has never happened before and why oh why did it have to happen now?  When I took my fabric out of the machine it was covered almost all over in small biro splodges.  Try as I might, I could’t get the ink out.   I had a big struggle to even find large enough sections of stain free fabric to make this top – and I had 3 meters to choose from!  On a positive note, at least it happened with fabric that was fairly generic and inexpensive and not some of my more precious stash.

Yolk: Black ponte from my stash  (as per dress version 3 above)

Skirt:  This was made using cotton poplin from Croft Mill:


The fabric cost £6.95 per meter, I purchased 2m but only needed 1.25m for the skirt.

This is probably my least favourite of all my Washington dresses.  After having made the above three using stretch cotton I can really see a difference with the cotton poplin version, it just doesn’t hang as nicely and it creases an awful lot more.

Also, I have some stretch lines across the bust area even though I have used the same size bodice pattern as the other three versions.  This makes me think that the stretch lines are down to using a heavier, less stretchy ponte fabric rather than the very stretchy jersey that I used for the other versions.

Having said that, it is comfortable to wear and I will definitely make use of it.

Total cost to make:

Top: 1 meter of blue ponte – £5.20

Yolk: 1/5 meter of black ponte –  £2.80

Skirt: 1.25 meter of cotton poplin –

1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70

1m of clear elastic – £0.87

Total cost  of this dress: £19.26


Sorry for the very long post, I hope I haven’t sent you to sleep yet.  It just made sense to me to put all four dresses together rather than writing a separate blog post for each one.


13 thoughts on “A parade of Washington dresses

  1. They all look lovely, versions 4 and 5 are my favourites though. I really love version 5.
    I have only made a christmas version so far as a Washington, I need to see some more, I only work 2 mins away from Ditto fabrics so I should pop round for some nice posh cotton to make another.


    • Hi Nikki. Yes versions 4 & 5 are by far my favourites. I can really see a difference in the way they feel and look having paid that little bit extra for good quality fabric. You are so lucky to be so close to Ditto fabrics – I’m beyond envious! They have some fabulous fabrics – there is some gorgeous blue bluebell patterned fabric that is next on my wish list. x


  2. You’ve been on a roll! They’re all lovely and so different! I really love dress number 4, so chic with the scarf. Perfect for cocktails on a cruise ship 🙂


  3. Thanks Marianne. I picked the scarf up at M&S last week, I had no idea what I was going to do with it but it works perfectly with my grey Washington dress! Only 12 days to go now – I’m getting very excited 🙂 x


    • Hi Jenny. I’m really pleased that you like them – it is a fabulous pattern. Yes, I’d be delighted if you were to share some of them 🙂


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  5. Love all your versions! You nicely demonstrate how different one pattern can look depending on the blend of colours and fabrics. A great reminder that you don’t need umpteen patterns 🙂


    • Hi Kathleen

      I’m so sorry for the very late reply, I’ve been on a cruise and away from home for the past 5 weeks and access to the internet has been extremely limited

      Yes, you are spot on with your comment. It is so easy to think that you need lots of different patterns to make a diverse wardrobe but making the Washington has gotten me to start thinking more carefully about how I can just interchange fabrics instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of a new pattern but there is a lot to be said for making something that you just know fits and always works for you.

      Debbie x


  6. All lovely and thank-you for sharing your thoughts with us. I am about to make the dress and am wondering if the bodice is too short after all. Where is it supposed to sit? From photos it seems to sit above the waistline.


    • Hi Dimorr

      I’m so sorry for the very late reply, I’ve been on a cruise and away from home for the past 5 weeks and access to the internet has been extremely limited

      With all of the versions I’ve made so far of the Washington I found that they sit better when the bodice is slightly higher rather than sitting on my natural waistline. My first version I originally made the bodice longer and that seemed to do something very strange to the hip area, it just bagged out. Once I removed an inch and brought the bodice up higher it sat really nicely. Hope that helps

      Debbie x


      • Lucky you on a cruise! Thank-you for your reply. I looked at lots of Washingtons and decided the bodice did sit just above the waistline. I have made one and am happy with it. I’ll need to make some adjustments to size next time I make one, taper it a bit more at the waist…I’m learning that this is ok to do when we make clothes for ourselves.


      • Hi Dimorr

        I’m so glad that your Washington dress turned out ok. Like you, I have been altering the fit of mine on subsequent makes, that is fairly standard practice for most patterns as I rarely get the fit I want first time around. When I started back dressmaking again it was a real lightbulb moment to realise that it was ok to alter patterns. When I learned dressmaking at school (many years ago) the pattern was considered to be sacrosanct and no one would have considered altering it. Things are so much better these days and there is a wealth of information around to help you get a good fit.

        Debbie x


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