Helena wrap dress
I’ve seen so many lovely Helena Wrap Dresses by Just Patterns since its launch and I finally made my version! This black and white ikat from A&R Fabrics is so perfect for the Helena and I’m glad I made the effort to line up the squares when cutting. This fabric is so soft and light, making this a perfect summer dress.
For the bodice, I cut a size 34 graded to 36 at the waist, and a straight 36 for the waistbands and skirt. The fit is nice overall, but the front wrap is a bit loose when seated. I could do with a small bust adjustment, but I’ll have to wear a singlet underneath anyway because of the sleeve design so I didn’t bother :).
This is such a cool dress, I love the pleated bodice and gathered skirt, decent-sized pockets, and the waistband is so unique, I haven’t made anything like this before!
I’m not sure I liked the instructions though. I would say that this pattern is not for beginners because there is assumed knowledge. There are no instructions for pressing, so you need to know when to press and in what direction. I’m not new to varying seam allowances. Actually, I prefer them, but I had trouble understanding the varying SAs of the Helena, especially when sewing the neckband. I tried to follow the instructions (which I clearly misunderstood, but I don’t know what I did wrong😅) and was left with some rather unattractive corners at the neckband.
I could have fixed it but unpicking black thread in black fabric is tricky, and the fabric is not that tightly woven. A hole is worse than some untidy seams! I also stitched in the ditch for a lot of the steps instead of top/edge stitching, I think stitching in the ditch is a lot tidier than edge stitching from the wrong side.
I’m always careful with transferring markings and notches, but with this dress, you must be precise and pay close attention to the diagrams and instructions especially when sewing the waistband. In my opinion, if the curved waistband pieces are just straight 1cm SA, it could avoid a lot of confusion!
The sewing process could have been smoother but overall it worked out nicely and I love the result. And now that I know what I’m doing, if I make it again it’ll be smooth sailing all the way :). The coverage of the midi length skirt is good and it’ll make a nice work dress. I also love the silhouette which adds volume to my narrow shoulders and upper body.