Hi all! It's Holly here for another Sewalicious pattern and fabric review! I hope everyone is getting along ok so far with their 2018 sewing plans and not feeling the winter blues too much!
For this project I picked the Snow Leopard print crepe, I had my eye on this fabric for a while and spent quite a lot of time thinking about what to make with it, but decided to sew the Named Clothing Helmi Tunic dress. In the winter months I love wearing a tunic, tights and boots combo so this seemed the perfect option to try with this gorgeous fabric!
It's a lightweight crepe and ever so slightly sheer but lovely and drapey, and very soft - the print is gorgeous too and will be great to wear this time of year with a vest underneath and warm cardigan! I think this fabric is unfortunately sold out now but there are plenty more gorgeous crepes online here.
The pattern comes with two variations: a blouse with full length sleeves, D-ring detail at the cuffs and a little back cape addition, or a tunic style dress which has a mardarin style collar, a covered button placket half way down and curved hem skirt. I decided on the tunic dress as it's a slightly more basic design and as the fabric was quite slippy - I thought I'd probably have enough challenges!
I have to admit to not washing this fabric before starting (very naughty sewist!) but I have washed the garment since making it up and have had minimal shrinkage issues. It was lovely to cut even if a little slippery, to combat this I got it all lined up, then stuck the sides (apart from the fold line) down with some tape to help keep it all in place whilst I cut away.
This was my first time trying out a Named Clothing pattern and I have to say it was very straight forward with some excellent, easy to follow instructions. They seem quite lengthy but it's important to read all of it as it explains exactly how to print the pattern and initially (in my haste) I actually ended up printing the whole thing wrong!
I looked at the final measurements of the tunic and decided to cut out a size 6, the only alteration I made to the pattern was to shorten it by 8cm at the level of the hip notch. I then just redrew the curves of the side seams.
The images in the instructions were also very clear and I came across no major problems sewing the whole thing together.
The collar I stitched first, as I'm relatively new to collars I wanted to spend plenty of time getting this right. It was a little fiddly (mainly because of slippy fabric) getting the edges of the collar the same shape but I got there. The next fiddly part was the covered button placket but again the instructions were great at taking you through it step by step. I used two widths of seam tape interfacing to strengthen the button stand instead of 2.2cm wide interfacing and I think this worked really well! I didn't want to waste time finding that specific interfacing size or cutting my own down into long strips so this seam tape interfacing was a great alternative!
After this was done it was pretty much plain sailing, I took my time attaching the collar and when topstitching it down I unpicked parts a couple of times until it was perfect but overall it came together really nicely.
Once the top and bottom were attached I had a quick try on and found that the length was perfect but the width of the tunic was quite wide and looked a bit too baggy on me. So I decided to place the tunic on top of a shift style dress I already own to see the width difference and then take my tunic in a few centimetres each side from there.
I ended up taking it in 4cm each side at the waist (2cm seam allowance) and grading it out to the underarm and hip level of the tunic. This just gave it a bit more shape which I think looks better.
I also decided to make a tie belt out of two long strips of fabric I had left over - if I feel like having a more fitted look!
The only other thing I did differently was to omit the very top button. I didn't think it really needed it and as I chose quite weighty gold buttons, I thought it would end up weighing the collar down too much!
I'm really pleased with how my tunic came out, I love the button detail at the front, the curved hem and above all I think the fabric is gorgeous! I will be wearing this a lot this season and for many more to come!
I would highly recommend this pattern, it's a real any season garment and could be made in a wide variety of rayons or crepes. Alternatively, give it a go in a cotton lawn for a simpler make and to get to grips with the collar and button placket if you're nervous!
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Happy sewing everyone,