Hello there! I’ve only been sewing a couple of years and I haven’t had a lot of success sewing dresses for myself. (Several will never see the outside of my sewing room!) However, I was cautiously optimistic when I came across UK-based Sew Me Something and the lovely Helena dress. I even had the same mustard washed linen used on the pattern picture in my stash, which I thought looked wonderful. I’ve also since made it in a printed polyester, with shorter sleeves and no pockets, for a different look.
Pattern Name: Helena by Sew Me Something
Size range: The size range runs from a size 8 to 22, that’s 32″/26″/35″ up to 46″/41″/49″.
What size did you make: I made a straight size 20.
What are your measurements, height & body type: My measurements are 44″/38″/48″, putting me pretty much bang on the size 20. I’m 5’6, a pear with narrow shoulders and generous upper arms.
What adjustments did you make: None! This is thrilling for me as I usually always have to adjust for my 16.5’ biceps. I’ve made both sleeve variations and they fit well without any adjustments.
What fabric did you use? The solid fabric is a lovely soft washed linen, while the print is an unusual textured polyester with slightly more body that the linen. This extra body means that the dress sits a bit more stiffly in the print dress.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense? The pattern designer also teaches sewing and I think it shows, as the instructions are clear, user friendly, and logical. The only potential sticking point is the enclosed yoke. As pointed out in the pattern, it’s fiddly! However, it does give a really nice finish to the inside of the dress, so follow the instructions and you’ll be fine. Despite everything seeming really awkward, it’s worth persevering.
How do you like the patterns fit? Do you think the design works well for your body shape? I love the fit of this dress, relaxed without being too tent like. I’m a pear shape with a high waist that doesn’t really suit elastic around the middle. It tends to ride up even more & I’m left doing a grumpy Jane Austen impression as my waist disappears into my boobs (Yes, those are the dresses not coming out of the sewing room!). Bust darts give a nice fit to the Helena, while the shape of the dress ensures pleasing movement and “swish.” The pleating details adds interest without being fussy, and the neckline and shoulders are not crazy wide , so I don’t feel like this is a pattern that has just been sized up indiscriminately.
Will you make this pattern again? I am really pleased with both versions and I fully intend to make more. With boots, leggings, and a scarf this is a great “no think” winter work outfit for me.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? The fit is meant to be very relaxed, but do bear in mind there is a LOT of ease in this pattern. While the size range isn’t as broad as some other pattern ranges, it would be a relatively easy pattern to grade up. The pattern is available as a printed version and a PDF. I used the PDF, since one disadvantage living at the bottom of the world is postage costs! But the pattern was easy to tape together, with clear markings to match up each sheet.
Size Range: 3.5– Could be broader, but potential to grade up easily.
Instructions: 5– Excellent & clear.
Construction Process: 4.5– Logical
Final Fit: 5– Works straight out of the packet!
Overall Rating: 4.5 Overall I’m really happy with this pattern, it looks great, is relatively easy to put together, is lovely to wear and can be given different looks with the choice of fabrics. I took off half a point for the size range, otherwise I highly recommend.
Note: I purchased this pattern with my own hard earned dollars, all opinions are mine.