You guys know how much love I have for the Kielo wrap dress. I don’t need to show you all my previous makes – but I’m gonna. Just because they so pretty.
The ones that get the most wear are the purple leopard one with the long sleeves, and the Ganesha sleeveless one. Funnily enough, they were both my ‘firsts’ – the Ganesha one was the very first Kielo I ever made, and the leopard one is the first long-sleeved version I attempted.
It’s a really simple sew – perfect for a beginner level sewist – but HOT DAMN the pieces are mahoosive. You need a LOT of floor space to cut this bad boy out. With most dresses, there’s usually a separate bodice and skirt so you kinda get a bit of relief, but the entire front of the Kielo is one complete piece.
I’ll admit that I do hate cutting out the Kielo, and the last time I made one I asked the husbeast to cut it out for me 🤣 I keep meaning to order one from Sprout Patterns, where they print the pieces directly on to the fabric and all you have to do is cut around the lines, because it would be *so* much easier 🙌🏻
There’s a unique aspect of the Kielo pattern in that it says its suitable for both woven and knit fabrics. Eh? How can something be suitable for both fabrics? Usually, a design will be one or the other – either the garment needs to stretch, or it doesn’t 🤷🏻 But there’s some serious devilry going on with the Kielo, because it does indeed work for both knits and wovens.
**Let me just make clear that this fabric swap-a-roo ONLY applies to the sleeveless version. You ain’t gonna be fitting your arms into a long-sleeved woven version. And if by some chance you *do* manage to get your arms into it, you certainly won’t be doing much moving**
It was the Kielo dress that persuaded me to dive into the world of sewing with knits – something I’d avoided like the plague up until that point – so if I could make a Kielo but still stay safely within my happy place of woven fabrics, this would be a game changer. I decided to give it a shot with this trippy physcadelic-safari-kaleidoscope print:
It’s pretty much as if the film Madagascar took hallucinogens and then printed fabric with it’s visions 🤪
It’s a viscose fabric, and I scored a 2 metre remnant off eBay for something crazy like £8 – which goes some way to offsetting the more expensive fabrics that I like to buy (as demonstrated by last weeks post 🤑)
Had I have bought the fabric in winter, I would have probably made a shirt with the it (and did genuinely consider making a shirt instead of a Kielo) – anyone else get influenced by the current weather at the time they buy fabric? 🧐
I’m glad I made a Kielo with it though, as I do have rather a lot of shirts… but then they get worn most days for work between September and May, so maybe that’s ok. Let’s say that represents 39 weeks of the year, with 5 working days per week. That’s 195 shirt-wearing days. If I had 50 shirts, that means each one gets worn four times a year. Hmm. Ok maybe 50 is a little extravagant 😕 I perhaps have 10 shirts that fit me round the boobs and I wear on a regular basis… so we’re not at shirt-breaking-point yet. (I do maybe have another 6-7 shirts that *don’t* currently fit me… to hopefully be sorted by the new gym membership I signed up for last week – I did a pilates class last Wednesday and now EVERYTHING HURTS. I’ve got a TRX suspension class on Monday lunchtime which I’m actually really looking forward to but the supportive husband just laughed when I told him because he thinks I’m gonna end up with a broken nose or something. Wait till I tell him I’m gonna sign up for kickboxing 😏🤣)
So back to the viscose… it wasn’t too bad to work with, but my overlocker totally pulled threads out of line as I finished the edges 😤 Which might have something to do with the needle size/weight rather than me just pointing the finger at the overlocker… a good workman never blames his tools, right? 🤷🏻♀️
I still haven’t really figured out how to get a nice clean finish on the inside of the Kielo, which frustrates me. I don’t really like leaving the edges overlocked. When I first started sewing – and didn’t even finish the edges of fabric, I just left them raw because I didn’t know any different 😱 – I thought that overlocking was a nice tidy finish, so I saved up for an overlocker. Now, a couple of years on, French seams are my preferred finish and overlooking feels like a bit of a cop out/crap finish 🤷♀️
For the neck and armhole I can use bias tape, or just sew a double-fold hem (which is a smidge tricky, on the armhole). Overlocking does seem to be the best option for the inside seams, even though it would make me much happier to do a French or bound seam.
As I used a woven fabric for this Kielo, I could use bias tape on the hem – so at least that’s one place I managed to get a nice neat finish 👍🏻
I cut the ties from plain black fabric, partly because I didn’t actually have enough of the printed viscose left over to cut them from, and partly because I thought it would look kinda cool to have them contrasting. And they do look cool in the black, even if I do say so myself 🤗🤗🤗
This dress design is a total winner in my wardrobe. I’m not usually one for wrap dresses (see epic fail here), but I figured out it was wrap *bodices* that I don’t like, rather than wrap waists. This dress got worn a lot over the summer and it was lovely and cool to wear to work when we had the Heatwave From Hell earlier on in the year. It did however prove to be quite a lot of colour and pattern for some people in the office to take at 9:30am on a Monday morning before they’d had their coffee ☕
As we move into Autumn, I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I get a long-sleeved version that’s warm enough for the winter. This was my first attempt, last year:
I bought this super cool leopard jersey from Fabric Godmother, only to realise that it was proper slinky and basically see through and indecent. So I set about lining it, with a stretch lining I got from Minerva Crafts. I took the approach of recutting all the pieces from the lining, and basting together the lining and outer fabric individually piece by piece… and then sewed the dress together as normal. For the main part, this worked – but when you look at the hem, you can see that the outer fabric has more drape than the lining and I’ve ended up with this ‘ripple’ effect:
Sort of cool, I guess – but not at all intentional.
So I tried again, with some Girl Charlee fabric which I wasn’t actually overly impressed with. It was a bit thin, and when it was stretched even a tiny bit you could see the white fabric in the gaps. This time I constructed the lining separately from the outer dress, with the intention of sewing it together at the cuffs and neckline (much like you would a coat). This one hasn’t made the blog yet – it’s currently draped over my dress form because the neckline ended up a total stretchy-outy wibbly shambles and I haven’t had the enthusiasm to attempt to fix it yet. I’m not even sure it’s fixable to be honest. I can feel it looking at me now, as I type 👀
(excuse the uber wobbly stitching lol, not one of my finest seams 🤣)
Perhaps I should have stabilised the neckline on that one before attaching the lining and dress together. Or maybe used a walking foot. Any ideas?
After that, I thought I’d try abandoning the idea of making the dress itself thicker, and instead think about wearing a slip for warmth. I briefly spent a bit of time looking at silk to make the slip from, and then gave up and started looking at lingerie shops to see what was on offer ready-made… and quickly found that either you could buy something uber-sensible (think: Marks and Spencer) or something meant for the bedroom rather than outside (think: Agent Provocateur) 🤷🏻 There doesn’t seem to be any pretty-but-still-practical middle ground. Not that I’ve found yet anyway… I might have a look in New York and see what I can find there.
I have also considered making sleeveless versions out of thicker fabric, and layering them over a polo neck jumper and tights… because yep, I get *that* cold.
So even though I have several versions, the long sleeved version still has a way to go before I really figure out how best to make it work in my winter wardrobe 🤔
Guess I’ll just have to keep making them, huh? 🙌🏻🤪
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… I’m talking about the process of the rebrand that the blog and shop has just gone through! (did ya notice?!) ✂️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!👇🏻