Dancing with Helena

Helena 2 231
Those colours!

That thing when you make something you are really pleased with, and have several strangers stop you in public & ask where you brought your dress, and you try and be all modest/cool saying “oh I made it myself”, when really your doing a deeply uncool “whoop whoop/solo high five” inside and feeling like a sewing ninja/fabric whisperer/superstar. Yep that thing.

So after the success of my last Helena , I intended to make a plain shorter version to wear with jeans or skinny pants. Then I saw this amazing fabric by Karen Walker , (a designer I can neither fit nor afford) AND it was 50% off. I was so taken with the colours  I brought it despite being polyester. I didn’t actually notice the wonderful ladies until I got it home. We were in Drapers Fabric and while my husband was being chatted up by all the females in the shop, in about 10 minutes I managed to purchase three knits, a cotton and the most lovely silk you will be seeing here soon! Thanks ladies, diversion tactics!

Helena 2 228
All the single pretty ladies!

Now I’ll be honest, I would never normally buy polyester. It makes me sweat. Actually , when we were kids in the 70’s here in the Antipodes, we were taught females didn’t sweat, they “glowed”. Either way, given I live in a city that has a mean humidity in Summer of about 98%, my purchase was probably more a triumph of hope over experience, but whatever, I’m a (glowing!) optimist.

Helena 2 222
Oh hi you lovely boots.

I left the pockets off this time, the fabric is stiffer than linen, and given the busy print, kept the sleeves simple. Have I mentioned how much I love I dont need to do a bicep adjustment for this pattern. If not, consider it mentioned.

I did find the neckline does not sit as flat as the linen version, I’m not used to sewing a polyester fabric like this (its quite thick & slightly slippery), it also has zero natural stretch.

Despite this, I think it looks fab, and huzzah, wearing it with leggings and boots I can avoid the dreaded “chubb rub” (goodness, we’re all about the sharing today kids!) I have chunky calves, so boot buying was always an epic fail, until I came across this UK company . They are not cheap, but they are really comfy and the quality is fantastic, I have pairs over five years old that just require resoling every now and again. It opens up a whole world of winter dress wearing , and I can run for the train, result!


Helena 2 192
Spotted the snafu yet…?

Now, the elephant in the room. The sleeves. Continuing my longstanding habit of making the simple into something ridiculously difficult, I managed to cut my sleeves upside down. Yes, really. I then compounded the issue by being completely clueless of this fact until AFTER the sleeves were not only inserted, but hemmed, ironed & being admired by yours truly. After consulting the lovely ladies on the rather awesome Curvy Sewing Collective, we decided to consider it a design choice, which would also have potential for fabulous hands in the air dancing. I fully approve obviously.

Helena 2 198
Throw ya hands in the air, like ya just dont care…(with apologies to the neighbors, and passing birds temporarily snow blinded by my milky white arms…)

Apparently black is “slimming” . Possibly, but I’ve decided I’m just fine with the amount of space I occupy (and quite frankly, I wear lovely perfume, clean clothing & have few sharp angles, if only every commuter on public transport was as considerate!). Some days a loud print just makes you smile. Now, I feel an interpretive dance coming on…

Kristina xxx

Helena 2 232
I’m calling this one “Have I left the oven on?”


  1. Rhonda L says:

    Perfection! Truly fabulous.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thank you!


  2. Chelle says:

    I think I need to make this, you are completely owning it!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks! Go for it, it’s a lovely dress to wear (& dance in!)😉


  3. Teresa says:

    i’ve just found your blog through CSC FB page, I love your style! I’m in Auckland too (North) and I never knew about Drapers Fabrics in Newmarket, I’ll definitely be checking it out next time I’m down that way. Looking forward to seeing more of your creations!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thank you! Although I should probably also apologize in advance, trips to Drapers Fabric can be way too tempting!😉🤗


  4. Sarah says:

    I’m loving your Helena, have been considering this pattern myself. I do love the Sew me something patterns, as you’ve seen by my blog. Anyway yours looks gorgeous on you and I would not have noticed the upside down ladies if you hadn’t mentioned it! Why oh why do we do this? I do it myself all the time, always point out the flaws whenever someone admires something I made…


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks! I know, it’s crazy isn’t, not one person would notice (ok, except my Mum…)😣


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