I have sewn a couple of Named sewing patterns recently, namely the Inari and Leini dresses. The Inari was a bit of a no-brainer, shall we say? I was very late to that particular pattern party and had seen so many versions on Instagram that I was pretty sure I’d love it. The Leini worked well for me too, although it felt less familiar. I made these during an ambitious pre-holiday sewathon and never got around to blogging about them, but here are my two Inari dresses and one lovely Leini.
I dithered for a while over what fabric to use, thinking a solid colour would work well, perhaps a crepe. Or maybe a more casual chambray. But then this beautiful, drapey, peachskin fabric with it’s bold ikat pattern called to me from my toppling fabric stash. I first saw this fabric when Karen used it to sew up a beautiful Inari. So when I saw the same fabric for only £4.99 a metre at The Textile Centre I couldn’t get it into by basket fast enough!
The hem is actually sewn before the sides of the skirt. The instructions suggest a 2cm hem turn-up and as the skirt section is so curved I was worried about how this would work out. You can see in the image below left that this kind of turn creates quite a wave. But with some careful steaming, pinning and basting (told you I took great care with this dress!) things worked out just fine.
It was nice to get the hem finished early on, but this is definitely not a dress where you can chop some length off later if it’s too long on you. Fortunately the length, for me, is perfect.
In fact, over all the fit is pretty good for me. The Inari had an issue with the sleeves being quite restrictive. Fortunately, due to so many people going before me, I was aware of this so redrafted the sleeves before sewing those. The sleeve fit of the Helmi is spot on. Comfortable, yes, but also the amount of ease is perfect. I have made a few other tops and dresses recently where there is so much ease added to the sleeve head that it’s a miraculous feat to set the sleeves without unintentional gathers. Colette’s Laurel springs to mind. Not so, Helmi – a row of basting stitches gathered just a little, and the sleeves slipped in happily.
When it was time to attach the bodice to the skirt, I basted these together so that I could try on and check the fit. Now, this is where my version departs a little from the original Helmi style. Although I know it’s meant to be a loose tunic dress, it just felt a little sack-like on me. In fact, what it really felt like was a nightshirt! Perhaps the bold pattern didn’t suit this style after all. I decided that I needed some light shaping at the waist, so I took in 2 centimetres at the waist (1cm each side) and I also added darts to the back bodice and back waist, before sewing the bodice and skirt together properly. This has streamlined the fit on me, which I think I prefer, although I won’t rule out making the looser version next time. I also decided to make a self-fabric waist tie, which is nice to have as an option.
I put the collar in last, which was a little out of order, and again, the instructions for this step are precise, and resulted in a neat finish. I don’t think I’ve sewn a collar in this way before. It’s nothing revolutionary, but the way that you press up the seam allowance of the inner collar before sewing the pieces right side together, works nicely.
This dress feels lovely to wear – really relaxed and comfortable and the fabric certainly feels more that 10 quid’s worth!
I notice in the photo below that the bust darts are a little high actually, but on a brighter note can we take a moment to check out the pattern matching?! This pleases me – did somebody say seam? What seam?
I don’t have a great shot to show the slight waist shaping that I added, but you can see from this shot that it works pretty well. Before I added the darts, the back just billowed out a little too much for me.
And here it is with the waist tie. I think it works with, or without, but it’s nice to have the option there for a more fitted look.
So the Helmi is definitely a keeper. I will have to try out the Trench blouse soon, but I would also love a shorter version of the tunic to wear with jeans. I think I might give myself a break and use a plain fabric on the next one!