Starry silky Helmi


This project skipped to the top of my queue, and I’m so happy with how it turned out! It’s the Helmi dress from Named’s latest collection, in some star-printed silk crepe that I bought at Mood Fabrics in New York City last week while there on holiday. I had to make this dress happen pretty soon after I got home because I thought it’d be a fun sew and real autumn wardrobe winner.


After the big win that was the Inari, I was willing to pay £15 for another Named pattern, and I immediately fell in love with Helmi when their AW16 collection launched. I bought it in printed format from Backstitch. It’s got a gorgeous blouse variation with trench flap detailing that I am definitely going to make sometime soon as well.


I cut a size above my measurements (42/UK 14) and the fit is just how I’d like it. The collar, installed with The Andrea Method, slotted together perfectly and I like how it looks both fully buttoned and at half-mast. I even maintained the set-in sleeves for once because they fit so comfortably and I love the elbow-grazing length (rolled up in these pics).


Being me, there is a small list of other deviations from the pattern: a normal button band instead of concealed placket; used the full collar from View A instead of the Mandarin one; extended the button band all the way down the skirt instead of just the bodice; and took 2″ off the skirt length. Fun fact: the pattern’s name Helmi means Pearl in Finnish, so it seemed fitting to use little pearly buttons.


This fabric is sooo delicious. I always like to stock up on silk prints at Mood because they have much better range than I’ve found anywhere in the UK. Sadly the GBP > USD exchange rate is pretty dire right now so I only bought three pieces of fabric on this trip, but I’d been looking for a cool star print for ages so was very happy to bring this home for $16/yd. I can’t see it on Mood’s site to link to I’m afraid.


Guts! Despite being entirely French-seamed inside and made in slippery silk, this was still quite a fast sew; a part-time weekend sort of jobby. It’s deeply pleasing to be developing a sort of muscle-memory precision when it comes to things like collars, curved hems and challenging fabrics. Things that used to give me hell are now meditatively satisfying to work through.


I get the sense that this dress will become a firm favourite. It’s casual enough for work and weekends but the silk means it could work for an evening event too. The looseness makes it really comfy and it looks good both with tights and without so will be a year-round wear. I think I might make one in the lightweight denim I picked up from Purl in NYC next.

27 thoughts on “Starry silky Helmi

  1. AvatarJennifer

    Beautiful! Taking note of all your mods. A pretty silk print is not to be passed over, they’re hard to come by.

  2. AvatarChloe

    I’ve been waiting to see this dress made up – excellent result! Mood has excellent silk prints, such a great selection, and so much cheaper than here in Canada. You scored with the stars, they are awesome. The sewing list for 2016 is jam packed, but I’ll have to find a way to squeeze this one in!

  3. AvatarSam

    This is fantastic Katie. A perfect match of pattern and fabric and it looks so “you” as well. I wasn’t sold on this pattern but you might have changed my mind.

  4. AvatarKirsten

    Gorgeous! I love that fabric so much, I’ve never found a starry print that I’ve liked. I really like your mods too, the full length button band looks great.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I love it too because it’s more abstract and scribbly – I don’t like straight/regular star patterns!

  5. AvatarClaire

    I was hoping you would do the Helmi and I had my fingers crossed you’d make some mods, like swapping the collars! I love your version of this dress – was it straightforward to substitute the collars?

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Oh yes, they’re 100% interchangeable as the bodices are the same – you can just choose which you’d like.

  6. AvatarJillian - SewUnravelled

    Looks fantastic! Is that full length button band also functional or partly decorative. I notice the pattern has a skirt and bodice, with the placket only functional for the bodice. Did you create more of a shirtdress style??

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      It’s functional in that it’s real buttons/buttonholes all the way down, but you can definitely still get it on and off by just buttoning to the waist!

  7. Avataremily marie

    Oh, this is so wonderful, those stars are super fun! I’d be wearing it everyday/night, too! Will put this one in my queue for sure. Just finished the Talvikki sweater & am wearing it right now… RECOMMEND. :)

  8. AvatarJenny

    Love this – it looks great on you. I have almost bought this pattern a few times! I think yours is the first I’ve seen made up, might need to take the plunge.

  9. AvatarJane

    I like this very much Katie and it looks beautiful in silk. Nice to see your clogs in action too, I bought a pair after seeing yours on Instagram! x

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  11. AvatarHeather

    Another gorgeous make Katie!! I love it and that fabric!! I’m swooning once again. I also think it looks fab with your clogs. I’m excited to see your shirt version too!

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  13. AvatarSally

    Hi Katie,
    After seeing how you recreated the Helmi I was encouraged to purchase the pattern. I particularly liked the way you continued the button placket the entire length of the front. I know it has been a while since you made this however, I am wondering if you can offer some advice for how you did this?

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Hi Sally, you basically want to cut the front skirt as two pieces rather than on the fold, and add on the same width as the bodice button bands so they match up. Then you’d sew each side of the bodice to the corresponding skirt piece and press/sew the button band along the entire length of the dress. Hope that makes sense.

  14. AvatarGemma

    I love this dress, you look great! I would really love to make this dress but like you I would not want a concealed button packet, was it easy to just make it a normal button band?

  15. Avatarvera

    I am vera and I live in Brazil, I follow your sewing, I learn a lot with you. I feel like we are very friends. Thanks a lot for your webside

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