Named Helmi tunic dress made of Spoonflower Cotton Poplin Ultra.
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Helmi dress with Spoonflower Cotton Poplin Ultra

What if you could design a print and have it printed on fabric? With digital printing, it is now possible to print small amounts of fabrics, so anyone can be a designer! Spoonflower is a company that specializes in printing fabrics, wallpaper and gift wrap either with customer’s own design or with hundreds of thousands of readily available designs on their site. (I checked and there were currently 23 525 pages of designs with 30 prints on each…) I was lucky to be sponsored by Spoonflower to test their Cotton Poplin Ultra fabric so that I could share my experiences with you, my dear readers. To test the fabric I made Named clothing Helmi tunic dress. So, here it comes!

Cotton Poplin Ultra by Spoonflower

I chose Cotton Poplin Ultra since it is very easy to use for different projects. You can make it into skirts, blouses, dresses or home decor projects such as curtains. This print called Entangled by heatherdutton was the one I selected after hours of searching among all the options. It is a yellowish-green or greenish-yellow design with crisscrossing white lines and oval dots. It reminds me of raindrops sliding down straws of hay or perhaps those little nests that some insects make for their eggs.

The fabric arrived quickly and I immediately washed it at 40 degrees Celcius and dried it in my tumble dryer. Before anyone asks, unfortunately, I forgot to measure it before the wash, so I can’t say anything about the shrinkage. The website says it estimates 5 to 6 % of shrinking in lengthwise and 3 to 4 % in the other direction.

I ironed it from the reverse side with the cotton setting and with steam and all the wrinkles came off very nicely. This is how the fabric looked like after the ironing:

Spoonflower cotton poplin fabric unboxed.

As you can see, the print doesn’t reach all the way to the edges, since the printable width of the fabric is 107 cm. This must be taken into account when estimating the amount you need for your project. I ordered 3 m for my dress and had just a little bit left over.

The fabric feels smooth and crisp. I couldn’t see any change in the print after the wash which is good. I could easily use this kind of fabric for 1950s dresses or skirts and crisp shirts. The fabric isn’t suitable for anything that requires drape. However, I think it would make an amazing circle skirt.

Helmi dress by Named clothing

I wanted to make Helmi dress by Named clothing. The samples on the Named website are made of drapier fabrics but I had an idea of making a crisper 1960s styled dress with the same pattern.

Helmi has two versions a tunic dress and a blouse. I combined the two versions by selecting the tunic length but using the collar and the sleeves from the blouse.

Helmi dress comes in size 32 to 50. After some consideration, I went with the size 36. This was a good decision although, in retrospect, I might have used a small full bust adjustment.

Sewing the dress

The fabric was very easy to sew. I interfaced the top collar and the inner collar stand plus the parts of the hidden button placket. I finished the seams with my overlocker. The fabric didn’t luckily fray much.

I had to switch between the instructions for the blouse and the dress but that didn’t matter very much. I didn’t have suitable D-rings for the sleeve ties, but I found these metal buckles that I thought would look interesting.

When I fitted the dress I saw some need for adjustments. The skirt was a bit too long for my figure. Thus, I shortened it for 3 cm at the waistline.  I then debated with myself for a while whether or not to add darts at the back. Finally, I tried basting them on and then that helped me to decide and put on the darts. As the cotton poplin doesn’t drape as much as the fabrics used in the Named samples, the dress ends up looking a bit baggy without any waist shaping. I still left quite a bit of ease to conserve the original relaxed look of the dress.


Helmi tunic dress with darts.


The Result

This is how the dress looks from the front. There is one button missing from the front opening. I managed to lose it just when I was sewing them on and didn’t bother to look for it. Finally, I found it yesterday by accident and I have to sew it on now.


Another picture of the Helmi dress with Spoonflower.


I think I managed quite well to create the look I was after. It is sort of a modern interpretation of the 1960s shirtdress. It has the short look and the silhouette but then some of the details, like the buckles at the cuffs and the print are modern. I can wear this dress with tights or leggings.



I was happy with the fabric, too. I have encountered poplins that were hard to iron and became super wrinkly very quickly. However, the Cotton Poplin Ultra behaves nicely and I will definitely consider using it in the future! I am already thinking that I could order some to make a shirt for my husband for Christmas.

This is all for today. The next time I will tell you about the progress I have made with my winter coat project! Subscribe to stay tuned! Happy sewing!





I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


  • Tzipi Glick

    First of all , you review of the fabric and pattern are very helpful and inspiring. 2) Tge fabric is adorable! I love it! 3) The pattern is amazing. I have made a similar dress by taking a shirt pattern and just lengthening it and also adding the darts. 3) You did a terrific job sewing. How are you with stand up collars? I have a made a few but find them very challenging. Any tips? I’m always nervous to start a project with a collar and collar stand. I wish there was an easy way to sew this.
    Thank you for all of your posts! I subscribe so i get your emails which makes it easy to follow you.

  • Karin

    Such a cute fabric! I think the idea of being able to design/choose your own print is awesome, but somehow when the possibilities are limitless, I get very stressed out :’)

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