The Kielo dress is one that is popular with sewers, and I always think that must be for a good reason. I, along with many other others, am a big fan of Named’s aesthetic, although I’m not always convinced it’ll look too good on me. Usually it takes a few makes from other people before I take the plunge, and so it was with the Kielo dress. I was particularly sold by this version from verypurpleperson and I saw the other day there is now a second version to covet too. I also very much liked the long-sleeved version from Named themselves, rather than the pattern cover version, even if I wasn’t necessarily planning long sleeves myself. Love those bold stripes – just love ’em.
Anyway, I actually planned to make the original short-sleeved maxi length version for my holiday, but didn’t quite make it in time. If you’re not aware of the Kielo dress, it’s what I would say is very typical of Named Clothing’s design. That is, it’s a deceptively simple maxi dress, but it has some great design details – and the most prominent are the two huge bat-like wings that tie in front (or behind) to give you a modern sort of wrap dress affair. I’m not familiar with all their patterns, but the ones I’ve encountered thus far have all had that in common – a simple basis, but with very clever drafting and design details that set it apart from other similar garments.
Preparation-wise, I have a couple of comments. First, I have one printed pattern from Named Clothing – the Inari dress – and a rather annoying detail was the fact that seam allowances weren’t included in the pattern. I know some people prefer this, but I found it a little frustrating to have to add them all in. Not the end of the world by any means, but the good news is that they are already included in the pdf version of the pattern. Yeehoo!
Second topic: knits or wovens? I’ve read a few blog posts from other Kielo makes and several people mention that the pattern is drafted for wovens. But on my pattern and the website it says: “Choose a light and drapey fabric with approximately 20 – 60% stretch. For example jersey or stretch chiffon.” Then I noticed that the pattern had bust and back darts in it. I said to myself, “Hmm, I thought a knit pattern doesn’t usually have darts because of the stretch?” Maybe that’s what the other sewists meant? And so if it were drafted for wovens after all, should I then go down a size? So many questions folks, but in the end I decided to continue in the same size AND add the darts. That’s probably weird, but I actually rather like the end result in the stripey fabric! 🙂
Alrighty, onto construction. The good news is that this pattern has three – yes, a total of only three – pieces. The bad news is they are bloomin’ massive! I felt like I was marking and cutting out my own material coffin on the floor. Something to do with those bat shapes, I think. I haven’t heard anyone else talk about this, but how do people cut these things out? I ended up on the kitchen floor with my husband holding the piece steady while I marked it out with my trusty Crayola felt tip pens. I meant to get a picture since it was kind of funny, but I forgot. Sorry. Here is a pic of the massive bat wings though…
This is definitely the most difficult part of the whole thing, so I took a wee break and had a glass of wine after completing this task. Suitably relaxed, I then got to sewing the thing together. Ah yes, the fabric – I forgot. I used a black and white striped jersey knit that I got as part of a Craftsy kit, which is 95% rayon with 5% spandex and has a lovely cool feel to it. I cut the largest size, a 14 (it runs from 0-14) for which you were advised to buy 2 3/4 yds of fabric. I normally don’t use as much as the recommended amount, but in this case I did. Unless you’re a small size I think you’re looking at a minimum of 2.5yds for sure, and 3 to be safe.
Anyway, the construction is very simple, owing to the small number of pieces. The ties are interfaced and darts sewn and pressed.
I then finished all the raw edges with the serger and sewed the long centre back seam (3/8″ seam allowance). The back has a centre seam to allow for a long vent at the bottom of the dress for ease of movement. In retrospect, I should have used my regular machine so I could press the seams open. It would have made preparing the vent slightly easier. Ah well – it worked out in the end.
It turns out that I probably should also have gone down a dress size as I felt a tiny bit swamped by it all. But I think it might also be to do with the fact that the pattern’s drafted for a 5’8″ lady. I’m 5’6″ but had to take off around 6 inches for the dress to still sweep the floor. This also meant that the vent is quite a bit shorter than intended, but it’s still plenty long, in my opinion.
I did leave the dress to hang for a while and it’s obviously quite a heavy dress with all that length plus the extra wings, so it could have dropped a bit. This might also account for the fact I had to close the armholes a whole 2 inches higher than the markings. I have seen other people mention this though, so perhaps it’s drafted that way. They were quite low before that and showed off a lot of bra. Now I mention it and compare pictures, the darts are also in a slightly different position to the line diagram. Hmm. I guess I should definitely have gone down a size. No matter.
The weight of the dress also led to another decision to add neck and armbands. The instructions suggest just folding and hemming the neck and armholes, or using bias tape. I felt the dress needed something a little more supportive, but wasn’t sure I wanted to faff with actual binding, so went with the serged bands. I very much like the contrasting stripes that resulted: I feel like they add a bit of extra interest and break up all that horizontal stripe action. Finally I hemmed the bottom with a twin needle after chopping the excess off. I clearly haven’t pressed the hem in these photos, but I will now I’ve seen them! Sheesh.
What else? Oh yes – tying the darn tie things. So, look, I’m not one of those women that can effortlessly throw on a scarf on the go and look like I just stepped out of a magazine ad. I look completely ridiculous if I attempt this. Maybe those people do actually practice in a mirror at home, but I’ve never been that fussed. I did, however, spend a bit of time fiddling with these ties. Obviously there are quite a few positions you can tie them in, but I found the one in photos to be best for me. The drape of the jersey means you don’t get the acute angles I’ve seen in some other versions (which I rather like actually, but hey) and the knit version is a little clingy for me to tie it to the back and feel comfortable.
BUT: after all that – this dress is SO comfortable. It makes me feel quite put-together and I’d be equally happy dressing it up with heels to go out as I would be to throw it on with some flip flops and head to the park. In addition, the husband LOVES it, which is nothing to be sniffed at in my book. I’m not even entirely sure why, but I’ll take it! I’d be quite interested in making a woven version some time as I do also like those angular wings, but even more so, I like the shorter length, long-sleeved version at the top of this post. Named Clothing released the sleeve pattern and a reworked armhole revision for free on their website to achieve this, so I may give it a go sometime. For now though, I have plenty of A/W plans to be getting on with, so it will have to wait. What about you? Any big A/W plans right now?
To finish, I should mention Named’s new patterns in the Evolution Theory collection and say that I absolutely ADORE the Tuuli dress/bodysuit. I will freely admit that the fabric choice is adding to my love, but I think the pattern looks so versatile and perfect for autumn. I also admire the Lempi buttondown dress. Those over-sized buttons are gorgeous. I suspect I might look more like Nurse Ratched from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest in that style than the sylph-like model, but a girl can dream… what are your picks from the collection? Or anything else for that matter? This has turned into a somewhat lengthy post, so I’ll leave you to your Wednesday evening and wish you a good one!