Sommerfrische ball: Luise of Prussia dress + Nehelenia Patterns review

Today I want to talk a little bit about the dress I wore to our Sommerfrische-ball.
I have a love&hate-relationship with this dress because of the bad experience I had with the pattern and Nehelenia itself but I still love the look of the dress.

But let’s start from the beginning. A while ago I bought two patterns from Nehelenia. Their own short stay pattern for € 17,99 and the Luise of Pruissa dress pattern for € 18,99.
It was easy to order and everything arrived on time – so far so good.
I made the short stays and they were okay. Not bad, but not perfect either. The bust gussets only come in one size and it seems like the measurements of the size charts are wrong.
Since I wasn’t planning to sew the Luisa dress immediatley I put the pattern away and made another regency era dress with Patterns of Fashion 1.
After about half a year I found a light green cotton fabric I wanted to use with the Luise-pattern.
Since the stay pattern seemed to fit my body quite nicley I decided to cut the dress directly out of my fabric. I also had enough of the fabric to recut the top part, if there were any major fitting issues.
And this is where the problems started to show up. I started sewing the bodice part and wondered why it was so big and wide.
I read through all the instructions and checked my pattern if the seam allowance was already included. But I found absolutley nothing about it. Not even on the website.
After wondering, thinking and talking to sewing friends, I decided to resew the bodice. I undid all seams, cut away my own seam allowances and tried sewing the bodice with 1,5 cm seam allowance.

And surprise, surprise! It did fit much better. But this still wasn’t it.
While sewing the bodice for the first and also the second time I had a lot of problems with the seam lengths. Nothing seemed to fit together. Even the skirt side seams had a difference of more than 3 cm.
Also the back and side back parts had a difference of about 3,5 cm lengthwise.
At first I wondered if I mixed sizes but after checking and also measuring the pattern itself I found those differences there too. This sewing pattern is not usable at all if you’re a beginner or don’t know a lot about pattern construction!

Since I wasn’t a sewing beginner it was easy for me to change the pattern but when I came to the sleeves I already was super pissed about this pattern.
The sleeve head was too big. Not just a few centimeters. No. More like 15-20 centimeters.
This was when I decided to contact Nehelenia, asking if maybe the printer screwed up the pattern somehow.
I sent them pictures of the back and side back difference and listed all of the other seam length differences.

When I got their answer I was really shocked. They tried to blame all of the problems on me and said I should ease in everything. Even straight skirt seams! I also could gather the sleevehead to make it fit. I was super frustrated and answered them that I don’t want to do this because it is not shown in the drawing of the dress and if I pay such a high amount of money for a sewing pattern, I want to get what I payed for.
They never answered on this email although I asked them a few things in this e-mail again.
I tried to contact them again a few months later and they still were rude and didn’t want to help at all. It would have been so easy to say ‘Sorry, can you maybe send the pattern back for us to check?’ or ask to send them some measurements from the pattern so that they could check their own measurements. But no, they decided to be unfriendly.

I’m really sorry to say this, because I really wanted to support a european webshop with historical sewing patterns, but I cannot recommend Nehelenia patterns at all and I won’t ever purchase from them again because their customer service (if you could call rudeness so) was awful.

But now back to the dress itself and how I safed it.
After putting the sleeveless dress away for a good while I pulled it out last year to finally finish it.
I had to draft completely new sleeves and set them finally in. This was an easy process and took me maybe 4 hours.
And after this was done the dress was finished!
The fit is okay and I was happy to finally be able to wear it.
I never got the chance to wear this dress to an event so when I planned my outfits for the ‘Sommerfrische’ I pulled the dress out, embroidered a little flower on both sleeves and sewed a satin ribbon on the waistline to make it more suitable for our ball.
It was confortable to wear but next time I won’t make a train..I tripped over it while dancing quite often. 😀
But still, I like the dress, it is light and flowy and I love it allthough I had so many problems with it!

And here are a few pictures from our ball. We held it privatley and had a lot of fun while dancing and also later while lounging around because we were so tired from the whole Sommerfrische. I had so much fun to see all of them again and I can’t wait for our next meet ups!

And again: Laura made a video of our dance! 😀

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