It’s no secret that I’m a total fangirl of the Named Patterns Kielo dress. (Actually, ‘fangirl’ might be a touch on the light side, ‘addict’ might be a better word). This dress has most definitely become one of my wardrobe staples, and it’s so versatile because you can make it with sleeves for the cooler months (get the free pdf sleeve add-on here), without sleeves for the hotter months, and you can totally layer these sleeveless ones over a leggings/polo neck in the winter for the ultimate comfy ensemble.
At 19 Euros for the printed pattern, Named’s prices can be a little steep (especially if you live in the US and are used to $1.99 pattern sales) but for me this pattern is the ultimate in value for money because I can literally see myself making 20 of these. So when you look at cost-per-make (yes I work in finance, lolz) it’s *actually* pretty reasonable. This is about my fifth or sixth one, so I’m well on the way to financial happiness! ?
I don’t know about you, but I *hate* restrictive clothing. We all put on a few pounds from time to time (like now ?♀️), and there’s nothing worse than wearing jeans where the waistband has become just that little bit too snug and you have to undo your top button after lunch just to make it through the afternoon. (And while you’re stewing in your misery at having to unfasten the button, there’s also the drama of remembering to fasten it again before you get up from your desk). Life’s too short for that. The Kielo is your saviour- it basically just forms around your current shape and you can adjust as necessary – no tightness if you put on a little weight, and no baggy-ness if you lose it. It will always fit. Not that I’m encouraging you to eat a whole tray of Krispy Kremes, but I’m just sayin’ that if you do, the Kielo will still be there for you. Like a faithful doggo ?
The fabric that I’ve used for this version is from FibersToFabric, which is an Etsy store based in India. I really love Indian fabrics, so when they offered me a discount code to use in their store I jumped at the chance. I actually had quite a hard time choosing my fabric, because there were so many prints that I liked, and since I bought my fabric they’ve added loads more to the store so I might have to go back and get some more designs. The cottons are 45″ inches wide, and beautifully soft – my fabric is cotton lawn weight. I’ve used more expensive lawns that felt horrible, but this one is really nice and the print quality is really good. Shipping from India was actually pretty fast and the rates were very reasonable, but it looks like everything in the Etsy store is free shipping now – yay!
This bohemian floral print (which just so happens to match my hair, #winning) reminds me of something you’d wear whilst sauntering about on exotic beaches. In fact, while I was making it, it brought to mind my trip to Thailand a few years ago (back when we were living in Malaysia, and you could hop over to Thailand the way us Brits would go to Spain), and this one picture in particular that I took after we had made our way up a hill to a viewpoint. I can actually picture myself sitting in this very spot, cool drink in hand, wearing this Kielo. Heaven.
Sadly, I don’t have this kind of gorgeous scenery around anymore to photograph against, so the next best thing I could come up with was the greenery of a park in South East London. Soz about that.
Up until now, I’ve only made the Kielo in stretchy knit fabrics. You totally *can* make them from woven fabrics (the pattern even suggests wovens to be used), but you might need to size up a bit as you’ve got no give in the fabric. I usually cut a 10 for knits, but for this one in woven cotton I cut a 12, to give a bit extra room around the boobs based on other people’s experiences. I’m glad I did, the fit is good, but I wish I had also sized up a bit more on the bottom half of the dress. Turns out that with the jersey versions, the ‘skirt’ of the dress has a good amount of stretch to it and I get a nice wrap. With the cotton version, there’s obviously not much stretch, and I don’t get much of a ‘wrap’ around my huge bee-hind.
Next time I’d probably go up another two sizes for the skirt, but then you have to use more yardage if you’re using something that’s only 45″ wide as it’s a bit of a squeeze to get the pieces on. With 60″ wide fabric you’ve (obviously) got more width to play with so you’re able to add on a bit extra to the wrap skirt into the gap in the middle of the fabric (between the two pieces) without using extra yardage. My fabric was only 45″ wide, and even thought I had three yards of it I barely fitted my pieces on to the fabric as it wasn’t wide enough to put them side by side ?
With the wrap being a little thin on the ground, I did also wonder whether I could wear it all loose and untied (in a cool artist-stylee), to which the husbeast simply offered the comment: ‘erm, no’.
Ok so perhaps the straps are a *tad* long to leave hanging, but I don’t think it looks that bad.
One thing that I don’t really like about this pattern (OMG! Did I just find fault with my favourite pattern?! ?) is that they’re not really focused on the nice finishes, and the construction of the dress makes it a bit hard to actually do much about that. You can’t French seam anything, because of the vent at the back and the way the armholes are made, so the best I could think of at the time was to overlock. Not brilliant, and a bit meh. Saki Jane went next-level with the finishing on her Kielo (and OMG she used the most *amazing* fabric) so I’m totally going to copy her methods ?
Previously I had used bias tape for the inside of the armholes, but for this version I followed the pattern instructions of simply turning in the hem twice. I did this for the neckline, too, and it worked out ok.
I did debate on using embroidered ribbon for the dress ties, because I thought that would look *super* awesome, but then I actually considered it sensibly and realised that thick ribbon might not tie so well, and if it’s got sequins and stuff on it then that’s not really ideal either because I’ll probably be scratching my arms on it and/or they will drop off in the wash and the whole thing will look crap within a few wears. And then I’ll have sad face.
I didn’t actually have enough fabric left over to cut the ties out, so I cut them from some burgundy lawn that I had lying around – but when I held them up against the fabric, something didn’t feel quite right I didn’t like the way the ties looked against the colours of the fabric, they didn’t… coordinate. It was because they weren’t *precisely* the same shade of burgundy as there was on the dress fabric (yes, I’m that picky). So I dug out my leftover scraps of fabric – because you should ALWAYS keep these, kids; you never know what you’ll need them for – and sewed a few pieces together to make something big enough to cut the ties from. Sure, that means there’s a join in each of the ties, but it’s really not all that noticeable. I challenge you to spot the join from a distance of more than 1 metre ?
This dress has had a lot of wear since I finished making it – the lightweight cotton is just perfect for when its proper hot and sweaty and you don’t actually want to wear clothes. I’ve got my eye on some other prints in the FibersToFabric store, especially this one which I really love – but I’m unsure whether I can pull it off. What I’m picturing is a loose-fitting, strappy dress (perhaps an elongated Ogden Cami?) to wear over a black polo neck and black tights in the autumn, with Dr Marten shoes. What I may end up with, should I choose to make it, might be an unflattering sack made of curtain fabric. It could go either way ?♀️
I’d also like to make the dear husbeast a jacket of some sort out of this woven ikat beauty:
I’m really in love with this dress, despite the fabric being a little different to my usual choices (florals? Who even am I?). It makes my inner hippy very happy. Plus it goes really well with the vintage tooled leather bag I scored off eBay last year, which doesn’t get anywhere near enough use (note to self: use it more).
In true, four-seasons-in-one-day British weather style, the day we took these photos it was warm but crazy windy. In some shots I look like Medusa ?♀️
This Kielo dress is also my entry for the #SewTogetherForSummer challenge, and 2018 is the year of the Wrap Dress. (Last year was the year of the Shirt Dress and I made my awesome octopus print Pauline Alice cami dress, which I’m now too fat to get into. This seems to be the case with some other clothes I wore last summer too, so plans are in action to get my ass moving and shift some flubber). If you’re unfamiliar with the Sew Together For Summer challenge, head on over to Sew Sarah Smith’s post to get the lowdown!
I do also have a sneaky second entry into the challenge, in the form of ANOTHER Kielo dress (surprised? Lol) which won’t be on the blog before the closing deadline of 21st June but will be on my Instagram, so keep your eyes peeled ?
Are you entering the Sew Together For Summer Challenge? You’ve still got time! (If you sew fast, lol). If you’ve sewn the Kielo with a woven fabric, how did it turn out? Did you have to size up a lot? Or do I just have a huge bum? ??
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the lowdown on some East London fabric shopping ?️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!
SUBSCRIBE TO WANDERSTITCH
Book Sleeves now available in the Wanderstitch Studio store - keep your books nice and safe in your bag!