I’ve had a bit of a sewing spree since the end of the University trimester, I’ve been enjoying spending my spare time in my sewing room (part of me is secretly glad that the weather has been pretty rubbish, because it means that I don’t need to feel bad about not fixing up our jungle of a garden). One thing that I really wanted to get done was a rayon dress made using the Helmi pattern from the latest Named collection. Helmi is a loose fitting dress with a curved hem and a concealed half button placket, and either a two piece collar or a simple band collar. The pattern also has a really interesting shirt variation, which is definitely on my radar now for Autumn/Winter!
It’s definitely a loose fitting silhouette, and I have to admit that I thought it was probably going to be an unflattering disaster as I was sewing it. I was very surprised and very happy about how much I liked it when I tried it on after getting the sleeves in! I think the very soft and supple rayon helps it to drape more flatteringly that it would if it was made in a fabric with a crisper hand. This fabric is the same as the stuff I used for my Ogden Cami, and it’s just as lovely. I have another length in a different pattern in my stash, and I might end up buying some more! It behaves so well, and drapes and presses so nicely, it’s so good to sew.
Like with all Named Patterns, there are some lovely details in this dress. I love the curved hem, it’s just short enough at the sides to stop it being heavy and frumpy, but not so short that I have to think about not flashing too much thigh as I move about! I also love the concealed button placket, it gives the front a lovely minimalist feel. The construction of it made me a bit confused when I was reading through the instructions, but once I had the piece in my hands it became clear. Typically, I think these hidden buttonholes may well be my best to date! I feel like I’m finally getting better at judging the right size of buttonhole to sew, and I’m getting much better at finishing them neatly too.
I used plain black buttons for the placket, and they blend into the fabric nicely when the first few are left unbuttoned. For the collar button I used one of the brass buttons I’ve been hoarding off a RTW cardigan, I love them but I’ve never managed to find any similar in craft shops! I don’t think I’ll ever wear this one buttoned all the way up to the neck, it’s a bit too much fabric with the longer sleeves and hem!
I felt like the sleeves looked a bit plain just hanging at elbow length, so I hitched them up slightly with a faux button loop. I just sewed a narrow rectangle of fabric and hand sewed it to the sleeve with another of the gold buttons, just high enough to catch the hem and add a bit of interest. It’ll be easy enough to remove them if I decide I want to do something else with them.
This was a pretty simple sew, aside from the slightly more difficult concealed placket. The instructions are slightly more minimal than some other indie patterns, but they’re well illustrated and easy to follow. The only change I made, aside from my minor addition to the sleeves, was to top-stitch the collar stand and to take 1.5 cm off the length of the bodice (as usual). I chose to top-stitch all the way around the collar stand as the rayon looked a bit bubbly and soft without it, it sits much better now with that little bit of extra reinforcement. I did take a bit of a risk by hemming the skirt pieces separately before sewing them together and to the bodice, but after the trouble I had hemming the curve of my Melilot shirt hem I decided to follow the instructions and just hope that it wouldn’t be too long. It is longer at the back than I expected, but I like it anyway! The hem definitely sits better on this than it does on the shirt (following the instructions can be beeficial, who would have thought?).
I like the way it looks with a belt as well, it makes it feel a bit more dressy. I think with a pair of heels I could get away with wearing this out for drinks or dinner, but with flats or even sneakers it would be fine for a casual day. I do love a dress which can do multiple shifts!
22 thoughts on “Another Shirtdress for Spring”
I love the minimalist look of this pattern, it’s all about the overall shape and the little details. Looks lovely and fluid in that rayon.
That’s what I like about it too, you’ve described it much more succinctly than I managed to!
The Scandi patterns are so good on you Kirsten, reckon you’ve nailed your vibe here! A note to myself, make the back of the dress shirt longer than the front. I recall when I made the self drafted shirtdress way back, it always felt too short at the back, yet the front was quite decent. I think the high low hem works so well with a shirt tail – thanks for sharing 😉
Thanks Lesley! I can’t take any credit for the high-low hem, that’s just how it’s drafted. It’s a clever pattern!
This dress looks great on you, Kirsten. I love everything about it and like Sewniptuck, must remember to make a dress shirt longer at the back, as it solves the issue of looking decent in the rear, yet not frumpy in the front!
Thank you Sue! It’s a really well drafted pattern 🙂
Fab dress, it looks great both ways and I love your fabric, rayon is hard to find here (uk) there is a lot of viscose but that tends to be fine, shifty wonky grain stuff nothing like the cotton and steel rayon or your lovely fabric. It works like a dream for this dress.
The names rayon and viscose are used pretty interchangeably here (I know there is a small difference between them, but I can never remember what it is!), but there is a huge variation in fabric texture and quality here too! I’m really glad I found this stuff at my local shop 🙂
This dress looks so good on you! It is a perfect pattern for your silhouette and I like how you changed the sleeves. The dress is lovely with or without the belt, so you can change the look. And skip the belt at home to be cozy.
Thanks! I’ll definitely be losing the belt when I’m at home, comfort wins every time!
Looks super on you and works both with the belt and without. Rayon is a great choice of fabric too!
Thank you! It’s coming with me to Melbourne, hopefully I can get away with bare legs this week!
Wow, this dress looks awesome! I really like the pattern an how it matches with the pattern. 🙂
Thank you! It’s a great pattern 🙂
Love it, the fabric’s perfect! I love my first Helmi so much I’m going to make a second soon. It really is an all-season, all-occasion sort of garment, which I adore.
Thanks Katie! I love your version too, the mods you made were great. I think it would be a great pattern to wear with tights and boots for cold weather too.
Kirsten, I love this dress so much! It looks fantastic on you. The fabric you chose is just perfect for it. I have some black and white rayon in my stash that was just waiting for inspiration to strike. I think I may have just found my inspiration!
Thank you! I think rayon is a good match for this pattern, I’d love to see your version of this dress 🙂
Oh man! Now I want this pattern too! Great job Kirsten – it looks great on you and your fabric choice is perfect!
Thanks Heather 😊 your shirt making superpowers would be awesome for this pattern!