Girl Detective (Named Helmi Trench Dress)

Thank you to Indiesew for providing this pattern and thank you to y'all for supporting this blog's sponsors!

I think I mentioned before that I am super interested in outerwear this fall... and it appears this obsession has even extended to my non-outerwear sewing. I'd never really looked at the Named Helmi Trench Blouse and Dress on Indiesew because I don't love the samples--the tunic view is a little plain for me and the cute trench details are hidden by the print on the blouse--but this year it totally clicked! I made a hybrid of views 1 and 2--the tunic bodice but all the details from the blouse. Who can resist that trench-style overlay, sweet collar (that I made in white for a little contrast) and unique cuff details? Not me!

Although I went for a blush shirting for year-round wear, this dress would be super gorgeous for fall in an olive green tencel or rayon--something drapey--or done up like a proper trench in khaki. (Also in a leopard print? Shut up.) I wanted more of a shirt dress look, and I think the waist definition (I added some elastic to the waist seam allowance and popped a self-fabric belt over top) and contrasting white collar achieve that look. A note: the tunic length fabric allowances does not include the trench flaps or long sleeves, so order extra if you want to combine the two looks like I did here! I also made a few other changes to the pattern: I rotated the bust dart into the waistline, added a gathered skirt (the Sewaholic Rae, actually), and cinched it all in with some elastic (zigzagged to the seam allowance, my favorite way to do an elastic waist) and a tie belt! Finally, I decided last-minute (I cut them out and sewed them and everything) that I didn't want to mess around with the D-rings and sleeve cuffs that are written, so I added some simple removable ties for a similar look. (This is a trendy look right now, so #yearofthesleeve I guess!)

In the midst of sewing, I was worried that the cute Peter Pan collar and pink fabric, paired with the girly pattern modifications I was making (adding a gathered skirt and cinching the waist) would make it a bit too girly. I was really tempted to make sleeve ties and waist tie out of some Rifle Paper floral that I had on had and which match perfectly, but I didn't want to go too far.  I also didn't take into consideration that the tunic buttons all the way down the front, while my alterations meant that I couldn't open it up and would have to shimmy into the dress. Since I had rotated the bust darts into the waistline, I can get the dress on and off with ease, but it's something to keep in mind--if you want to make similar alterations, you may also want to add a side zipper or continue the buttons down the skirt front in addition to or instead of rotating the bust darts.

I've seen this pattern loads of times and never thought much of it, but for some reason this year the trench details really popped out at me. Does that ever happen to you, or do you always fall in love with your patterns at first sight? If you're a pattern hacker, do you plan out your hacks in advance, or make them up on the fly? (Usually I'm the former, but not for this project apparently!)


ps: if you are unfamiliar with taylor swift, girl detective, rectify that immediately.

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  1. It's funny but until I saw yours I didn't really GET the whole "trench dress" notion! I had a beige trench coat just like this when I was in my twenties ('70s) that I loved to death - in fact I totally wore it out. But for some reason the details you've added (many of which of course are your own!) missed me. I think it suits you perfectly especially in that lovely pink and highlighted (colour blocked) collar. Beautiful!

  2. Very lovely! Definitely your style.

  3. I would never have looked twice at this pattern! Your version is amazing. It makes my inner Nancy Drew Fan Girl jump for joy.



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