Ok so this dress isn’t actually fluorescent as such, but it’s Pretty Damn Bright. I’m certainly not blending in with anything when I wear it, that’s for sure – but I’m cool with that. Subtle is not a word that’s been used to describe me, like, ever, unless it’s been followed by the words ‘as a sledge hammer’ 🤣
BUT! I digress – what I really want to talk about is HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS DRESS I MADE. Don’t get me wrong, I love making all the things, but it’s some next-level shiz when you create something so awesome that it makes you do this:
In case you haven’t followed the journey thus far: Hello, my name’s Sarah and I’m a Kielo dress addict. This one is my fourth version, I’m currently working on a fifth, and there’s at least five more brewing in my head. I am going to make So. Many. More. What’s not to love? They are quick to sew, pretty simple to make, and they fit me well. Win win win. Also, being a dress it’s a complete outfit in one package – meaning you don’t have the adult job of finding two coordinating items in the morning to wear. You can throw on a Kielo and go. #winning.
If you’re not familiar with the Kielo from Named Patterns, it’s basically secret pyjamas. You can make it from either knitted or woven fabrics (I’m yet to try it in a woven, considering it for the summer), but if you’re making the long-sleeved version you’re limited to knitted fabrics because you need that stretch to get your arms in! The dress has huge ‘wings’ with a tie on each side – you wrap these wings around you and tie the straps. It’s VERY forgiving on fit/size – just make sure you get your bust measurement right and you’re good to go. It’d be a perfect beginners project as there are no zips or complicated bits, and because it fastens with ties you don’t have to worry about your hip or waist measurement – the dress will just form to your shape as you wrap it around. I speak from experience too when I say that this makes it a fabulous choice in outfit for a meal out too – you won’t need to change into your fat pants when you get home, you can just loosen the ties of the dress 👍🏻
After making my pink leopard print version that I love so much, I struggled to find fabrics to make more with. I felt like I’d pitched too high on the first attempt and I couldn’t ever beat it. But then Spoonflower rescued me with this octopus print fabric, and a random lunchtime stroll helped me out with this amazeballs neon leopard fabric.
I bought this fabric last summer from a little shop by Warren Street station in London, that I stumbled across by COMPLETE accident. It’s on Cleveland Street, by Warren Street Station if anyone’s familiar with the area. It’s called Norman Lyons & Co – if you’re in the area with time to kill, GO THERE. They are a bricks-and-mortar shop only, not online, but there are rolls and rolls and rolls of *really* reasonably priced fabric. You’ll spend ages rummaging through the shelves. The guy who runs the shop told me that they commercially print all the rolls of the fabric that they have and supply retail chains, and the excess is sold in this little gem of a shop. I bought this leopard print fabric in both a scuba and a satin – I’ve used all the scuba for this Kielo and the satin version is going to be a Seamwork Catarina. I wish I had bought more, because I love it! I might go back and see if they have any left – especially given that it was the absolutely scandalous price of £3 per metre. YES, THREE BRITISH POUNDS PER METRE. That’s like 5 USD.
**Update – I’ve recently been back to the shop to see if they had any more of this fabric – they did – so I scored their last 5.5 metres of the satin (which had been reduced to £1 per metre, ONE POUND PER METRE I TELL YOU), and another four metres of the scuba. I’ve no idea yet what I’ll make with the scuba, but the satin will probably end up as a coat lining. Possibly a By Hand London Rumana Coat lining. I had to go back and buy it because if I didn’t, I never would have got any more and I’d regret it for the rest of my life.**
OK so the scuba is probably (almost definitely) 100% polyester, which usually makes me go EUGH but it’s not actually all that bad. It’s pretty soft to the touch. I fell in love with the print more than anything else, you know I love a bit of leopard print, and if it’s neon and super colourful? OH YASSS. It’s literally all my favourite colours, and my favourite print, on one fabric. This is the stuff dreams are made of, fo sho.
This is the first time I’ve ever sewn with scuba. I was always put off by the name as I imagined that anything I made from it would look/feel like a wetsuit. I can confirm that this dress does not feel like a wetsuit – other scubas might though, so I’d still like to touch/see them in real life before committing to buying. Just in case. I was worried that the scuba would be a little bit thick for a Kielo, After making my Spoonflower Kielo from a slightly thicker fabric, I knew it would turn out ok – a winter dress without having to line it – winning.
I wasn’t sure whether the fabric would hold up to pressing – would it melt? Will it stick to the iron? – but I had to chance it because when I sewed the ties of the dress, they came out more of a scuba-tube than a flat strap.
(I know, my ironing board cover is so desperately in need of a spruce up. I just can’t bring myself to sew a new one, it feels so boring, I’ll probably just cheat and buy a ready-made one)
I’m pleased to report that the straps held up to some pretty serious steaming, and it’s stayed nice and pressed despite a couple of washes since. In fact, the whole dress comes out of the wash cycle looking absolutely pristine – no ironing required! I guess that’s synthetic fabrics for you 🤔
I’ve recently embraced the twin needle function of my machine – I must admit that it was only pure laziness that was preventing me from trying it out! Firstly, I had to find where I put the extra spool holder thing, then I had to find the twin needle, THEN I had to figure out how to thread it AND THEN I had to figure out how to stitch with it. Turns out that all of these things were actually incredibly easy and now I’ve done it a couple of times I don’t know what took me so bloody long. If you’re stalling it for similar reasons, honestly just do it once and then you won’t need to look it up again.
Just be careful not to go too fast over the joining seams, because sometimes the bulk can throw your needle off course and you end up with a crazy-crazy line 🤪
The stripes on this fabric actually run downward, parallel to the selvedge. I didn’t really like the way head-to-toe stripes looked on me when I held the fabric up against me in a mirror, so decided to cut on the bias. I really love how it’s turned out. I only had 3 metres of this fabric so it was an almighty squeeze to get it all cut out. Named Patterns draft for 5’9 or something crazy like that so I knew that there was some leeway in the length of the dress pieces – which was needed because the only way I could fit all of the pieces on to the fabric was to shorten the hem by a few inches!
The only other adjustment I make to the Kielo pieces is to take width out of the sleeves at the forearm – I don’t know why but their sleeves come up HUGE on me!
Sewing a Kielo from this fabric was actually quite enjoyable – the fabric behaved, it wasn’t all stretchy-stretchy out of shape, and the finished item is actually quite snuggly and soft. The thicker fabric does give the dress a bit more structure, but not too much that it doesn’t work with the design. The only thing that I hate about making the Kielo is the fact that the pattern pieces are just so damn huge. They don’t fit on my cutting board, and I don’t have a cutting table. I end up having to cut them on the carpet, which I know isn’t the best idea. And inevitably, the dog(s) and/or cat walk over it at least once. In the summer I’d like to try one of the ready-printed ones from Sprout Patterns, which means that I don’t have to trace the pieces – they are printed directly on to the fabric already and I only have to cut them out. Yay! No more cutting out monstrous pieces!
This was another make that I took to Paris to photograph (yep, we spent a LOT of time photographing stuff!) and another one at the Louvre. Honestly that place is just so photogenic 📷 The day we took these the snow was still really bad, and the floor was *literally* an ice rink. Like, I don’t even mean that it was a bit slippery, I mean a layer of water had literally frozen on the floor and I was genuinely standing on a sheet of ice. I had to manoeuvre myself VERY carefully for the photos, especially as (so I’m told) I can be quite clumsy, so I’ll let you in on a little behind-the-scenes secret: In the photos where you can’t see my feet, I’m wearing my snow boots 🤣 The other tourists there must have looked at me being photographed and thought ‘what an odd outfit, is this the newest trend?’ 🧐
I only put my proper shoes on at the last-minute to do the full length shots 💁🏻 (see that layer of ice on the floor?!)
Annnnd so THESE SHOES. Aren’t they just fabulous? Let me tell you their story… There’s a Traid charity shop just up the road from my office, which I often take a wander into at lunchtime. I don’t very often come out with any clothing (however they do have a pile of fabrics which is always worth a rummage), but I’ve bagged a few pairs of shoes from there. Amongst all the black pairs on the rack these hot pink beauties called to me – on closer inspection, I found that they were new (never worn!), my size (yay!) AND reduced to £3 😲 Needless to say, I snapped them up. Obviously I’m not going to be walking anywhere in them – because I’m so over uncomfortable shoes now that I’m in my 30’s – so I’ll just be wearing them for standing and looking awesome in. When I finished sewing this dress I knew that these shoes would be the perfect partner for it, and they didn’t disappoint.
**Yep, my stripe matching isn’t particularly great. But since I only just managed to fit all of the pieces onto the fabric I had, without any wiggle room to allow for matchy-matchy-ness, I’m actually pretty amazed that I was able to get it this close**
So after spending SO LONG looking for fabrics to make more Kielos with after my initial one, this is my second one in quick succession! Let’s have a vote, which one is your favourite out of the three? Also, I’m open to suggestions for what I should use my remaining 4m of this scuba fabric for… tell me your ideas!
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the Panda Pants that I made for the husbeast! Yep, I’ve now added men’s boxers to my repertoire, and I’m pretty happy with them 😍 (guess what that means? Yep, he’s now asked for more). Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!