Pattern Review: Helena Dress by Sew Me Something

April 21, 2017   /   byKristina  / Categories :  Feeds

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.

Pattern rating:

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.

This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Curvy Sewing Collective

You may like

Mirambell Skirt from Pauline Alice Patterns

Once in a while I make something and feel like it just needs a little extra zing. Perhaps I chose a fabric that didn’t thrill me, often this happens when it’s something that many would consider a wardrobe basic, in a neutral color. For me that often me…

read more

Second take on V1525: A red Rebecca Vallance pant suit!

EN Summary: I decided to make myself another Rebecca Vallance pant suit for summer (click here for the first version) and this time around I opted for a fabric which I believe is closer to the original model in color and drape. Keep reading the sewing review (or hop over here to see more photos of me wearing this suit).
PT Sumário: Decidi fazer outro conjunto top e calça Rebecca Vallance para o verão (podem ver a primeira versão aqui) e desta vez optei por um tecido mais parecido com o original, tanto na cor como no cair. Continuem a ler o artigo sobre a confeção completo (ou cliquem aqui para verem mais fotos a usar o conjunto).

Read more – Continuar a ler »

Couture et Tricot is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license
read more


I have been accused, more than a few times in my life, of being overly optimistic. You wouldn’t think that such a thing could be a negative, but it works against me from time to time, as I persist (usually … Continue reading

read more

Starting to sew from August Burda

I didn’t keep to my pledge of sewing something from a (new) Burda magazine each month. There were two skirts I forgot to blog about, but even if I count these, there are no 6 or 7 garments from Burda magazines sewn by me this year . The August issue could change the numbers. It’s a great issue with quite a few patterns I’d like to make. After seeing previews and especially after seeing some pictures shared by a friend with a subscription, I stalked the newsagent for this issue. It started with a little disappointment that the jacket I like so much is in the petite size range. Perhaps I will draft the details in my jacket pattern at some point, but not now. I have a nice event to go to next week and thought it might be nice to sew a new dress for the occasion.

This is the pattern I’m using, number 119:


Not a very straightforward dress to sew. After tracing the pattern pieces the first thing I did was trying to “assemble” the paper pieces, based on the instructions and common sewing sense. That is necessary with Burda, their instructions are not always clear. Something is lost in translation probably (I have the Dutch issue, the original is German).

IMG_5352 (002)

There were two things I changed to the pattern:

  • the length of the bodice (common alteration for me) which was less difficult than it may seem from the line drawing
  • the waist piece. That has a seam at the bottom that is showing easily. In the magazine picture the serged seam is peeking out. I moved the seam to the center back of the waist piece. Easy change and I think it looks better the upper ander under side of that piece both have a folded edge.
    IMG_5354 (002)

I think I got how this is intended to be sewn and am ready to cut it.

IMG_5353 (002)

The pattern calls for 1.95 meter of fabric, the length of my fabric is only 1.80 and it works, It’s probably a bit wider than the fabric Burda used.

Hope this dress works well, I’ve been in doubt of posting this already, but it’s a sewing journey and sometimes it works, sometimes not.

read more
Jan 2016 Accuquilt Sale