Friday, August 13, 2021

Helena Wrap Dress

My wrap dress extravaganza (or wrapstravaganza for short!) continues with a recently/perfectly timed wrap dress pattern release!

This is the newest pattern from Just Patterns, the Helena Wrap Dress.

I've never used a pattern from Just Patterns before and was curious to try, especially after seeing so many beautiful versions of the Helena Wrap Dress on Instagram!

Helena has a deep shawl-collar style v-neck and a wide curved waistband that extends into ties that wrap around the waist. The bodice shaping is achieved with pleats in the front and back. 

It has a gathered skirt and dolman sleeves finished with wide sleeve bands. The pattern includes two pocket options: inseam pockets or large patch pockets.

The Helena Wrap Dress pattern runs up to a size 60, which is designed for a a 57.5 inch bust and 59.5 inch hip. The pattern is split into two size ranges (but you get both when you purchase the PDF), with the larger size range designed for a DD cup. 

For my Helena, I cut a size 52, which is in the larger size range. This size corresponded with my measurements and seemed pretty spot-on.


My fabric is a medium-weight linen blend (maybe linen and rayon? it wasn't marked in English) from my stash; I originally bought it in Bangkok. I love the blue and greyish tan print, and the fabric has really nice drape.

I cut the waistband facings cut from scraps since I only had 3 meters of this fabric and was pushing it a bit (also I screwed up the cutting and accidentally cut the two neck facing pieces out of fabric when they were only meant to be cut from interfacing).

I didn't bother with pattern matching; the zig-zags on this fabric would have made me go cross-eyed if I had tried.

I had a little bit of trouble using this pattern's instructions. I think it was because I've been a bit distracted with work stress (damn you, Delta!), but some of it because there was some information I'm used to with indie patterns missing from the Helena instructions. 

I think others have mentioned this, too, but it would be nice to have the pressing instructions included- like when to press seam allowances open vs back, etc., and when to grade seam allowances. 

Also, I was a little confused by the "stepped" seam allowances on the waistband, perhaps maybe they're so you have to do less trimming/grading of seam allowances? I think in the end I might have applied the waistbands on the wrong sides and totally negated the stepped seams. Oh well!

One additional construction step I took: I understitched the waistband facing to make sure it wouldn't show on the outside, which was particularly important for me since I used scrap fabric for my facings.

I also didn't use quite as much interfacing as the pattern called for; it seemed like overkill. I only interfaced half the waist ties and half the sleeve bands, didn't interface the straight front edges of the skirt or the back neck (I just stay-stitched the neck).

I didn't really understand the instructions for topstitching/edge stitching the neck facing. Mine didn't look good on the right side at all. I considered stitching in the ditch down the front dart and across back neck seam to hide the stitching, but ultimately ended up tacking the neck facing down with invisible hand stitch. 

I cut my patch pockets cut on the crossgrain. I ended up moving the placement of them over so that they straddle the side seams; otherwise one was caught under the wrap, which bothered me. And I prefer them on the side so they're less awkward for me to put my hands in them.

For comparison purposes: the Helena is both similar to and very different from the other wrap dresses I've made recently. 

The Helena's bodice shaping and sleeves are probably closest to the Elodie, but the shawl collar and extra wide waistband makes the look very different! It's definitely more coverage on the chest, despite having maybe the least overlap of all the wraps I've sewn.

I can't decide if I like the ties knotted in the front or back better. I think front. FYI: the ties are not very long and I can just barely get them back around to the front for a tiny knot.

The Helena's sleeves are definitely wide and a little low. I don't think I could do a lot of high-shelf stocking in this dress. 

I do really love how my Helena turned out, though! Very comfy, very cute, quite unique in its look.

6 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed reading and seeing your wrap dresses. Do you have a favorite yet?

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  2. I have enjoyed reading and seeing your wrap dresses. Do you have a favorite yet?

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  3. I love all your makes!! Great color on you too.

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  4. It looks great on you! My eye prefers the ties in front too. Love the fabric choice! Another happy make!

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  5. Beautiful fabric and the dress looks lovely on you. I like the pockets at the sides, it does seem strange that the designer intended one to be under the wrap. I haven't heard of this designer so its always interesting to get a critique from a such knowledgeable and experienced sewist as yourself

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  6. Your wrap dress extravaganza is very timely! I love this one, I like the tie in front also. Your tips are great! I’m looking to make a few. I have this pattern and the Elodie. I just bought linen from several different online fabric stores.
    I’ve looked online but see different recommendations on how to prewash linen. Do you wash in hot, then iron recutting put to minimize shrinking?

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