I was getting all geared up for Spring sewing until the Beast from the East and Storm Emma made my plans feel seasonally inappropriate! I had purchased this lovely cosy brushed cotton from Croft Mill a couple of weeks ago and it just seemed perfect for another Helmi Tunic Dress. As you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve sewn this Named Clothing pattern a couple of times in dress form, as well as a shorted shirt version. The first dress is blogged here.
And these are a couple of unblogged versions:
I thought I’d quickly ‘whizz up’ this new Helmi, as it’s usually quicker sewing something familiar. However, where checks/plaids are involved things slow down significantly when you get into the pattern matching! It’s so worth the effort though and I’m pretty pleased with how this came together – no mean feat considering that I only had a 1.5m length of this fabric. I didn’t even have enough for the full length sleeves so had to fashion a wide bound cuff, which of course I really like!
Here’s a tasty pattern matching photo. The waist seam only matches at the centre, but there’s only so far you can go with pattern matching – the seam is a slight curve so you can’t match all the way along. But the centre front, collar and bust darts are pretty accurate!
I had planned to use a remnant of lining fabric to line the front skirt so it hangs well and avoid that annoying riding up effect when worn with leggings. However, I actually found that I had enough lining to line everything except the sleeves. The fabric is a truly awesome stretch viscose lining from Croft Mill. Not at all slippery, easy to sew and breatheable.
Thus began another ‘slow sewing’ step as I chose to underline things. In a nutshell, this means that you cut your lining pieces exactly the same as the exterior, and baste/tack things together at the edges before sewing the garment together, treating the layers as one. This is one of my favourite dress-making techniques and it has worked a treat on this Helmi, adding a lovely weight to the dress.
This photo shows the inside of the dress:
As I mentioned above, I didn’t have quite enough fabric to get the full sleeves cut out. After sewing the dress together I made wide cuff bindings, which look really nice turned up.
As I’ve made a couple of dresses sticking to the pattern, I decided to make a few changes to this version. The original pattern has a hidden placket at the front, but I just cut the bodice fronts the same and made a standard placket so the buttons are visible. I also straight-lined the hem and when hemming I chose to leave a side vent and hem the front about an inch shorter than the back. I really like this feature.
And finally, I added a full collar, rather than the simple stand included with the pattern. This was a super easy adaptation – I just use the collar piece from the Grainline Archer shirt.
I absolutely love this pattern. I don’t often make multiples of anything, but I can see myself making this again and again. I tried it on during fitting before I’d added the sleeves and reckon it would look great with a tweak to the armhole to leave it sleeveless for the summer.
Here are the rest of the photos from my little ‘shoot’ with my lovely daughter, who has a great eye and seems to enjoy ‘directing’ me!