So I’ve made what must be my fifth (Sixth? Seventh? Let’s be honest who’s counting 🤷🏻♀️) Kielo dress.
Yes, I would happily just wear versions of this dress for 90% of the time.
No, I don’t consider myself to have a problem.
My inner finance nerd is particularly happy that I’m maxing out the value for money-ness of this pattern 🤓🤑
In case you’re unfamiliar with the pattern, this is the Kielo dress by Named Patterns. It’s a full-length wrap dress, designed to be made from jersey fabrics (although woven fabrics do work for the sleeveless version – as discovered here). As a rule, I don’t wear wrap bodices (they make my boobs look funny – I mean do you wrap them under or over the boob? 🧐) or wrap skirts (because breezes, and also: getting them tucked in your underpants after having a wee) but this, my friends, is most definitely the exception to that rule. It doesn’t really count as a ‘wrap dress’ anyway, because the wrap is a sort of faux wrap – it’s just ‘wings’ really. If you picture a sugar glider then you ain’t gonna go far wrong.
It also just so happens to be secret pyjamas – the jersey is super comfy and there are no waistbands to dig in or too-small legs to constrict your thighs #winning. I used to *hate* sewing with jersey fabrics and did everything I could to avoid it – but this dress pattern lured me in and I’ve not looked back since 👀
My first few Kielos that I made were short sleeve, because that’s how the pattern is written. Then one day, I stumbled across a long sleeve add-on on the Named website and my mind was blown. This meant I could wear my Kielos all year round rather than just in the summer 🤯 (You can go find that add-on here).
For my first long sleeved Kielo, I bought some beautiful pink leopard jersey which turned out to be WAY. TOO. THIN. I couldn’t bear to give up my dream of the dress, so I steamed on ahead with a stretchy jersey lining. I couldn’t really decide on the best method to line the dress, so I went with duplicating all the pieces from the lining and then basting the corresponding lining piece to the outer piece and using them together as one. In my head, this seemed like a logical approach, but once the dress was finished I realised my error – the leopard fabric draped more than the lining, and at the bottom of the dress there were ripples. Bollocks.
Despite this, I still love the dress and when the temperature starts to fall in London, this dress comes out every year (it’s pretty warm because of the lining 🔥)
I’d been wanting to make another long sleeve dress ever since that one, but struggled to find the right fabric – you know how fussy I am 💁🏻♀️ Along with finding the right print, I also wanted the right composition and weight of fabric – no polyester nonsense, and it had to be weighty enough so that I wouldn’t be showing off my bum to the whole world 👀
I spent so long searching. SO LONG. In the end, I took a punt on some black and maroon jersey from Girl Charlee – out of desperation more than anything, I think, because I wasn’t really 100% in love with the print. They are a well-known store, so I thought (hoped) the quality would be good if nothing else.
I duly ordered my 2 metres of the fabric in the sale and felt pretty pleased with myself. Only then did I realise that I forgot to add on the extra fabric requirement for the sleeves, so I called them up the next morning and the guy on the phone was very helpful and said yes I could add that extra half metre onto my order – just place another order through the website and they will refund me the additional postage charge that would be added. He kept to his word and the postage was refunded sharpish – I was quite impressed.
When the fabric arrived, I was a little disappointed to see that it was indeed quite thin. Much like t-shirt material, where I was hoping for something a little bit thicker. Plus, when stretched, white areas showed through the black. The dress would have to be lined, again. FFS. The pitfalls of buying online, hey. I was even more narked off to find that after I prewashed the fabric, the black sections turned a little bit less black and a little bit more white and fuzzy 😒 Not impressed with this fabric, so far, and not a good start to the dress.
I broke out the jersey lining again, and decided to go for a different approach this time – I planned to make a complete second Kielo shell from the lining, and join the two shells at the wrists and neckline, and hem them separately. SCREW YOU RIPPLES, YOU’RE NOT GETTING ME A SECOND TIME.
To be honest, though, I didn’t really want another Kielo that was lined – but I continued, determined not to be beaten.
I made the lining without the ‘wings’ of the outer – because it seemed unnecessary to have all that fabric on both layers 🤷🏻♀️ (that massive bump on the side is for my ass and hips 😱🤣) The shell and lining came together well separately, but not so well when it came to attaching them to each other. I got the sleeves twisted – more than once – and cursed the bloody dress. The neckline was more of a shambles: So. Much. More. It waved and rippled all over the show. I unpicked it, but the jersey didn’t take too kindly to it. The white bits that I scowled at when the fabric was stretched were back with a vengeance. It just looked a right state. Perhaps I should have used my walking foot. Perhaps I should have used seam stabiliser. Perhaps I should have just bought a better fabric to start with.
I tried the dress on, to try and encourage myself to keep going with it – but I didn’t even like it. The colours were too dull, and the white-stretch hideousness could be seen quite clearly. The whole thing went in a charity bag – whether for clothing or rags, I didn’t care, I just wanted it out of my sight.
Determined to have my long sleeved Kielo, I began the search for fabric again. This time, I picked up some uber-loud jersey from fabric.com. The colours would compensate for the failings of the Girl Charlee dull-fest. When it arrived, it was just as loud in real life as it looked on screen – but it was slightly thinner than I’d hoped. To be fair, it was a standard weight jersey – I was just used to the double-layer snugness of my first long sleeved Kielo. It would do. It wasn’t see through, at least, and the colours were 👌🏻
This was all happening in the run-up to our trip to New York (yeah, I’m that behind with blogging this, and I still have more NYC pics to come 🗽), so the husbeast volunteered to cut it out for me. He’s a good’un, that one. That’s why the pattern matching on the back is on point – he’s OCD like that 😂 The front, though, is a slightly different story. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR PATTERN PLACEMENT GUYS – so that you don’t end up with what looks like boobs on your boobs 👀
Ah well. There are worse things in the world 🤷🏻♀️🤣
If you serge/overlock the edges of the Kielo, the whole thing comes together pretty damn quick. There’s the back vent to navigate though, which can make overlocking that edge a bit tricky – but it can be done.
Just be sure to earn your ‘Good Sewist Badge’ and finish off the ends of the serger threads! My fave method is using one of those big-ass blunt needles to take the ends back on themselves, through the seam.
The adjustments I make to the Kielo pattern are to lop about four inches off the bottom, and a good couple of inches off the sleeves – I swear these dresses are drafted for a giant 🤔 (I’m 5’6 ish, for reference). For future makes I might take some of the volume out of the lower back of the dress (there are darts there, but perhaps they need to be a bit bigger as I always have some excess fabric going on there) and I’d like to make the neck of the dress a little less boat-neck-y, and more like a T-shirt. Or maybe even a polo neck, for the winter versions at least (because cold ☃️) – the summer ones can still have the larger neck opening.
I find that even though you have to redraft the armholes to attach the sleeves (don’t worry, the new cut lines are provided in the sleeve add-on), the sleeves still have a tendency to pull that neckline even further towards the shoulders 👀 I’m just not a fan of really wide necks, and it bugs me when bra straps are showing 😒
I used a double fold hem on the neck (is it still a hem if it’s on the neck? I dunno 🤷🏻♀️) whereas on the leopard one I used non-stretch bias tape. Both methods work if I’m honest – probably as good as each other. The only thing I worry about with this one is that the seam will break under pressure – it’s just a regular straight stitch 🤔
This is the first Kielo that I’ve made since I had my coverstitch machine (there’s a blog post coming on my new machines soon, y’all 🙌🏻) and it has totes upped my hem game – you just have to make sure you secure those ends because they unravel like a bastard if they get going 😱 I’m wondering whether I should have used it on the neckline too, rather than the sewing machine, to give it a bit of stretch 🤔
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I Just. Can’t. Get. Enough. Of. This. Dress. Seriously, they are SO comfy, and it makes cycling to work that much easier because my backpack is lighter from carrying just the one dress rather than jeans and a T-shirt (I have to think about these things now 🙄). I’ve got two more cut out and ready to sew, using a couple of fabrics I picked up in New York for that particular purpose – they are both summer ones.
This dress saw a fair bit of action in my Me Made May efforts, which highlights the fact that I really need to make more long sleeved ones so that I’m not wearing the same one over and over and over… but that means finding more nice fabrics 😫 I’ve got a little bit of a head start there though because I recently bought some AMAZING rainbow leopard print fabric from a new-to-me fabric company: Enchanted Fabrics. They’re based in Lincolnshire in the UK, and I was so in love with one of their prints that I was tagged in on the ‘gram that I bought it in cotton jersey, bamboo jersey AND sport/swim jersey too 😨😂 But honestly, it’s SUCH an amazing print:
I mean, RAINBOW LEOPARD PRINT 😱😍😱😍😱😍 LOOK AT IT.
I’m figuring I’ll just take the Rowan tee pattern front and sleeves as they are, and chop the back in half (to allow for the back vent of the Kielo). I’ll merge it into the Kielo from the armpits down. Simples, right? Fo sho though I ain’t gonna test it out on the leopard print (just in case it doesn’t work in reality the same way it works in my head) so I’ll nab a couple of metres of something else to do a test run.
In other news, it was the doggos’ birthdays a couple of weeks back – they are nine years old now 😨 We’re not sure of their exact birthdates, because of their street-dog origins, but we guessed Leela’s based on how many teeth she had when we found her (a few, so we assumed she was about four weeks old 🤷🏻♀️) and we did Fry on the same basis 😂 Neither of them is particularly photogenic, but I do think Fry looks extremely wise and majestic (for once) in his birthday hat so I just had to share 👀😂
Handsome, right? Just a shame he doesn’t have the smarts as well as the looks (he stoopid 🤪)
We’re just about surviving the cycling to work (SO tired atm) but it’s uber-nice to be out in the sunshine instead of being stuck on a gross commuter train. I really want to get into sewing my own activewear for the gym/cycling, I’m midway through my first pair of Avery Leggings, and I’ve just bought the Greenstyle Creations Endurance Sports bra – this maker’s version is GOALS, amirite? 😍
So many plans, so little time 😫
I’ll leave you with some more pics of what shall forever be known as my boob-on-boob Kielo, courtesy of a nice little spot in New York’s Central Park 🗽🌳
Happy sewing Sunday! ✂️
Next week on the blog is another NYC shoot (trying to get these all up before it reaches the point of being an embarrassingly long delay 🤣) – it’s the Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte Skirt, denim edition 💙Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻