Happy almost May! I’m still sewing. I’m also comparing other patterns to my own. They say comparison is the thief of joy, but this is actually a joyful kind of comparison for me, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself.
This month, I’ve been sewing a bunch of hush-hush things for my upcoming trip to California because I’m leaving next weekend to teach more Creativebug classes (if you want a couple of months free, check out this post). Very excited. Earlier this month, in order to get into the sewing groove I decided to play with some patterns that I’ve been wanting to try forever.
First up: The Helmi Tunic Dress by Named Clothing. I claimed that I would sew this many years ago on Instagram, and I had to wade through a crazy number of images to locate the date. June 22, 2017!!! Okay, not forever ago, but almost 6 years ago. Wow.
Well, it was worth the wait. When it comes right down to it, I was intimidated by the hidden button placket, which seems like a funny thing to stop me when I’ve managed far more challenging techniques. And yes, it turns out that it’s not difficult at all. Just a little origami-like folding action and boom: a hidden button placket. I love everything about this dress. It’s kinda uniform-esque and maybe it’s a Japanese thing, but I dig this utilitarian look. In fact, when I was browsing through Kinokuniya the other day, I saw a book entitled “The Factory Sewing Book,” and the patterns seem to be inspired by a variety of uniforms.
I used a lightweight cotton twill with a bit of stretch and it’s a good pairing with this pattern. I love the inky, murky color! I cut a size 8 and the fit is great, except…
I don’t know why, but I didn’t think to adjust the bust darts. The dart is basically announcing, “Hey, here’s the bust ‘apex’! Right here, just in case you missed it!” Luckily, the fabric is forgiving enough to hide this error and the dart isn’t too noticeable. I hope. I mean, from a distance, it’s very cute:
I’m partial to these types of tunic dresses and designed my own for Sewing Love:
I really, really love this dress pattern which I’ve named the “Banded Collar Dress.” It’s super comfy and has pockets! Compared to the Banded Collar Dress, the Helmi is more streamlined, wouldn’t you say? They’re both wonderful to wear.
Anyway, because I liked the Helmi Tunic Dress so much, I sewed up a true tunic version by shortening the hem by about 5 inches; I used a beautiful white linen:
I also made sure to adjust the bust darts. Despite the fact that it was my second time making this pattern, I messed up the curved hem and had to re-do it. Twice. Look, here’s that hidden button placket (I feel quite proud):
I have to admit that I don’t like it as much as the dress version. I’m turning 52 in June, and as my hair becomes more and more grey and my features soften with age, lighter colors seem to wash me out. The fabric feels lovely, though.
I tried the tunic with the Owyn Trousers from Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style book:
The Owyn trousers aren’t very flattering on me. Since I have no butt to speak of, the pants feel weirdly pouchy around my hips.
(sorry for the blurry photos — these are all taken with my phone and a remote and sometimes the focus gets wonky)
I compared the Owyn trousers to my own Straight-Leg Pants (again from Sewing Love), and yup, I prefer my own self-drafted pants. They’re both remarkably similar in design but the construction methods are quite different. Additionally, my version has pockets — can you tell that I have a thing for pockets? Even though I don’t adore the Owyn trousers, I suppose you can never go truly wrong with elastic waisted black linen pants. Is it my imagination, or does one leg look longer? Huh.
It was edifying to see how my own patterns stacked up against other sewing patterns. Because my patterns are based on my slopers created from my unique body measurements, the fit is superior across the board. In ways that may not be obvious, my self-drafted clothes just hug my curves better, even when the garment itself is loose. Love it!
Oh, in case you were wondering, in the very first image I’m wearing yet another Sewing Love item — one of my very favorites called the Minimalist Drapey Jacket. It’s made from a lightweight wool and is in constant rotation. I thought it looked rather chic with the Helmi tunic and Straight-Leg Pants. What do you think? I’ve had that plaid scarf for nearly 20 years! Just goes to show you that certain styles can be timeless.
Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this month, and I better finish preparing for my California trip. I hope you’re all having a lovely end of April and have marvelous plans for May. See you back here next month!