Two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) of Mo and W in their 1T' crystalline phase host the quantum spin Hall (QSH) insulator phase. We address the electronic properties of the QSH edge states by means of first-principles calculations performed on realistic models of edge terminations of different stoichiometries. The QSH edge states show a tendency to have complex band dispersions and coexist with topologically trivial edge states. We nevertheless identify two stable edge terminations that allow isolation of a pair of helical edge states within the band gap of TMDs, with monolayer 1T'-WSe2 being the most promising material. We also characterize the finite-size effects in the electronic structure of 1T'-WSe2 nanoribbons. Our results provide guidance to the experimental studies and possible practical applications of QSH edge states in monolayer 1T'-TMDs.