Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure trippy hallucinations

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.

Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress

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:

Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress

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:

Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress

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? 🙌🏻🤪

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13 Comments

  1. Helen
    September 16, 2018 / 7:56 am

    Well thid is all rather timely- im about to sew first kielo. Ive bought some stretch crepe and a walking foot. Ive not sewn with stretch before (unless you couunt the pencil skirt that ended up so big it slipped off as you walk!). Im making sleeveless with the hope i can squeeze a layer underneath- I was pleased to see you mention this. My question is- any suggestions on the knit interfacing and knit bias tape. Where do I get such things online? I don’t really know what in looking for. I know you prefer sew on interfacing but I’m still “team fusible”. Helen AKA HP_sews

  2. September 16, 2018 / 7:59 am

    This is a great pattern, you look great in all of them. I’m not going to show your blog to any of my girlfriends, otherwise I’ll end up making Kielo after Kielo!
    Glad to hear you’re gym-ming it… must mean your hip is on the mend, good news!

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 7:59 am

      Haha, the only consolation I could offer if you end up making loads of Kielos is at least they are fairly quick!
      The hip is taking its sweet time to heal, but I’m doing the cross trainer and exercise bike and some easy going classes to encourage some movement. Tried the treadmill last week but still a no-go… but it didn’t hurt nowhere near as much as it did four weeks ago!!
      How long till the cast is off now??

  3. September 16, 2018 / 9:23 am

    Never overlock viscose lol. Slips- try Folkwear 1920s bias cut slip in a nice cupro. Silk is not actually great for slips because it tends to stick to other fabrics, especially tights.
    For a Kielo alternative you can layer, try V1410, I have five of them and love them all. Even quicker to make than the Kielo in my opinion, easy to do with French seams, and a bias bound neck and armholes is better than the suggested fold-and-stitch.

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 8:02 am

      It’s weird because I overlocked another viscose dress and it was fine… however that was a solid colour so I perhaps wouldn’t have noticed if the threads had pulled.
      Thanks for the pattern tip – I’ll check that out! You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve *finally* started making the Folkwear frontier shirt… so far so good 👍🏻
      I think I’ve looked at v1410 before… I feel like I’d need to add a belt, and my word that’s a lot of fabric in the skirt 😱

  4. Brenda Holmes
    September 16, 2018 / 10:37 am

    The Kielo certainly suits your shape; all your makes look fab on you. A walking foot definitely helps with knit fabrics. I have use soluble stabiliser (use in machine embroidery), the fabric type (I like Solvy Fabric) to help with necklines and armholes on slippy, stretchy fabrics. It’s marvellous stuff, as it washes out completely, so doesn’t leave a stiff finish. For hemming knits I have a cover stitch machine, but twin needles work just as well.

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 8:07 am

      Hi Brenda!
      Ahh thank you, I do love my Kielos so I’m glad they look alright on me 🤣 I do have a walking foot… but it felt a bit bulky to use on the edge of the neckline 🤷🏻‍♀️ perhaps I’ll give it a try next time. I do also now have a coverstitch machine but I need to spend some time actually learning how to use it properly 🤣
      I have spray starch… is that the same thing as soluble stabiliser? Or not really? 🤦🏻‍♀️🤣

  5. Jenny Williams
    September 16, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I brought that exact same girl Charlie black and pink fabric and it is awful! I had to completely scrap my project as it’s just so awful to sew with! Hope you manage to salvage yours!

    Do you think it would be possible to shorten the kielo? I don’t wear long dresses but am so tempted by a shortened version or are the ‘wings’ too low? Xx

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 8:09 am

      Hi Jenny 👋🏻
      I’m glad it’s not just me and that fabric… it was the first time I’d bought fabric from them and I just really wasn’t impressed with the quality 🤷🏻‍♀️ strange as *so* many people seem to rave about their fabrics?!
      Absolutely you can shorten the Kielo – I’ve seen people make knee length versions! You’ll just have to raise the back vent a bit – so, you know, you can still walk 🤣 – but it should be fine! 👍🏻

  6. September 16, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    You can buy knit bias binding (it’s not really BIAS – I believe they cut it on the least stretch grain which isn’t really GRAIN….you know what I mean 🙂 ) or simply make your own which is much less expensive since you can use up left over knits that way. I think the best way to finish long knit edges like wrap dresses though is using clear elastic – Maria Denmark has put up a helpful video tutorial demonstrating the technique https://www.mariadenmark.com/2016/01/invisible-elastic-in-the-neckline/. You have to be careful not to pull on that elastic too tight.

    I would also recommend fold over elastic (FOE) which is my absolute favourite finish on knit edges and there are lots of tutorials on how to apply it on youtube as well. Again you have to be very careful not to pull it too tight, taut but not pull. You don’t EVER want to unpick fold over elastic edges 🙂 Practice both techniques a LOT before applying it to your cut out pieces (after all that cutting out!). You can buy some really fun FOE! Leopard prints, polka dots – it’s used a lot in kids clothes so there are loads of possibilities which is why I love it the best.

  7. barbara
    September 16, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    i love that dress but being curvy am afraid of it. you have the perfect figure for it. have you considered an all-in-one facing for the neck and armholes. that’s me favorite facing for knit necklines. since you like interfacing that should be perfect for holding everything in place.

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 8:04 am

      Ah don’t be afraid of it Barbara, I’ve seen the Kielo on every imaginable body shape and size and it looks fabulous on all of them!
      There is a tutorial on the Named Patterns website for a facing… which I think I might try out on the next one 👍🏻

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