Now that I’ve finished making the Helmi Tunic sewing pattern from Named Clothing, I actually love it and think it will be a great addition to my wardrobe. The fabric is very comfortable, and since I lined it, I won’t hesitate to wear it on its own. It also looks good with leggings so overall this pattern + dress is a winner! Longer pattern review below…
Assembling the Tunic
Cutting the fabric was pretty straightforward – I cut most of it in one layer to ensure I liked the flower placement. While pinning it together to try on, I noticed the white portions on the fabric were a little sheer. Would I wear it on its own if it was kind of sheer? Honestly, probably not.
So then I decided to line the whole thing – making this quick and easy project double the work! At least I didn’t have to make buttonholes – it fits over my head and I just sewed it halfway (lining photo below is before I sewed the button area up) so it doesn’t gape open. I used silk for to line the top and some knit for the bottom skirt. The silk came from a shirt I made (and never wore), so I was glad to repurpose it.
I made a few errors which were my own fault. Make sure you don’t cut the two front sides the same width – one side will be much wider because that is the side with the concealed button placket! Also determine if you want to underline the dress, before you have cut out and sewn a great deal of it…
I really like the side view where you can see the curved hem and slightly longer back view. In the future I may add a button to the very top in case I want to emphasize the stand collar, but not a priority. I hemmed the sleeves to elbow length to try and hit where the waist seam hits.
I recommend this pattern from Named Clothing as something well-drafted, wearable and looks modern but not so trendy that it will be out of style soon. Instructions were pretty straightforward but I did have to re-read the collar instructions and puzzle them out. The sizing was very accurate for me and I didn’t have to make any fit adjustments, especially because this was not a form-fitting garment. I am really pleased by this addition to my wardrobe – it is a winner winner chicken dinner!
I’m not really a dress wearer as my wardrobe planning is indicating, and though I like loose silhouettes it may be more flattering to have waist definition. So I think/hope the neutral colors and print of my Helmi tunic dress will make it something I will be happy to have in my wardrobe. Good thing I have enough fabric to make a self-fabric tie for more wearing options.
Using a PDF Pattern
Assembling the PDF pattern was easy; I don’t mind putting together PDF patterns and Named Patterns had many useful features. First off, the entire pattern fit on 36 pages which was great because I have printed out 60+ page patterns. There was a layered PDF option, which meant you could just print out one size and save ink (though I didn’t realize this until I read their instructions afterwards). Their seam allowance is 1cm, which saves fabric.
I assemble PDF patterns by cutting one long end and one short end off, and then glue stick the pages together. I prefer glue stick because otherwise you use too much tape and liquid glue gets gloppy. Just remember to print the PDF at “actual size” not “fit to print.”
On Shopbop.com I discovered what Phillip Lim used the matte rayon jersey fabric on – their Surf Floral dress and top. I must say, I much prefer my use of the fabric. Looking closely they cut out the flowers, removing the white fabric areas, to let underlying fabric show through. The yellow one I think could be a statement piece, but the teal/orange/pink one is pretty out there…
I paid $27 for the fabric, and the yellow dress is $696… Even though I’m used to buying fabric cheaper, since I’m aiming to buy more selectively (and not just hop on online fabric sales), buying in-store, especially at good stores like Mood Fabrics, is usually more expensive. It’s hard to determine how much my dress costs, since I don’t count my own labor costs. And it is not like I’ve saved $600+ by making this dress, since I wouldn’t have purchased the designer dress in the first place! In the end, my opinion is my version > designer version…