New make: Named Kielo dress


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.

Named_kielo1.jpgAnyway, 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!



15 thoughts on “New make: Named Kielo dress

  1. I’m glad you posted your experience with this dress, as I’ve been sitting on the fence about it but might have to bite the bullet and make it. It’s a relief to hear that there are others who don’t have the skill to throw on a scarf and look effortlessly good! You did get those ties looking fab tho.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Siobhan! Oh great – I’m glad this was of some use to you! Gosh no on the scarf front: I end up looking either like I’ve put on a fabric concertina or else the scarf lies limp as a pile of particularly lethargic rags. Either way – not cool. Good job I’m the owner of a reasonably warm neck. I love your blog by the way; I started writing up a comment to one of your Big 4/indie pattern pieces and then my computer crashed. Argghh. I will reply again though – they’re compulsive reading and an informative point of view! On that note, I saw that you’re not keen on anything too heavy on your frame so I suppose that would be the only thing to say about the Kielo. With effectively a double layer, it is a little weightier than the average dress. But I’m sure you thought of that already. 🙂


      1. Oh, thanks so much for that tip! I hadn’t thought of it, actually. I haven’t had any luck finding suitable fabric yet, but now I’ll make sure to keep an eye on the weight too.


  2. I love your version of the Kielo dress. I’ve thought about this whole darts in knit fabric issue and decided that sometimes it’s just smarter to put in a dart than struggle to figure out how to remove it from a pattern. I definitely don’t mind the look of darts in knit fabric and I’ve seen many great makes online that used darts in knits. This dress is one of them 🙂

    I agree with you about the Named aesthetic. I am always impressed with their design ideas though I don’t always find that they would work for me personally. I think they balance simplicity and ingenuity exceptionally well in their designs.

    There are several Named patterns that I find myself swooning over (don’t have any of them yet). The Kielo is one of them. From the latest collection, the Lempi and Helmi dresses (with some doubts whether they’d actually look good on me — there’s some risk I’d look like I’m heading to a morning shift at the factory if I choose the wrong fabric). The Pulmu high-waisted pencil skirt is dreamy and probably the one I’m most likely to buy. I find the Astrid wrap pants and the Alpi chinos pretty brilliant, I also really like the Quinn shirt, the Leini dress, and the Harriet jacket.

    Wow, that’s a long list. I can’t tell you why I haven’t bought any of these. Must be because I’m stingy 😉

    Back to what’s actually interesting: as a person who also doesn’t just effortlessly wrap herself in shawls and other possible layers, I think that strategy mostly works for Pinterest pins rather than real people anyway. With the Kielo you have a real winner — and you’ve definitely figured out how to wrap those tricky ties! The dress looks great on you. And I think the Tuuli dress will suit you too. I’m going here by how much I liked your version of the Colette Moneta.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helllooo! I saw you’d posted the other day, so am going to go and comment on your two lovely skirts this morning. Yes, I agree on the darts front. I did think about it for a while, but I decided that it certainly wouldn’t hurt the dress in any way, unlike the reverse situation of no darts in a woven, plus I was slightly leery of all that horizontal stripe in such a length anyway, so thought it might add a little visual interest. I had a close look at the picture of the long-sleeved version and the darts are definitely there even though it looks like a knit. Ah well, I’m glad to hear you’ve seen it before at any rate – it puts my quizzical mind at rest, haha.

      Onto the Named patterns! Actually, I think you have a fantastic figure for the Lempi and would definitely pull it off, but your fear is precisely the same as my Nurse Ratched idea, although your factory description is much more accurate! (Looks nothing like a nurse’s uniform; I think I was going with the vibe). Lempi is also lovely, but I’ve already discovered somewhat that it’s perhaps not my best silhouette. Tuuli on the other hand did indeed remind me somewhat of the Moneta and I love those pleats, so perhaps that’s the way to go.

      I’ll have to go and look the others up but I do remember the Beignet looking wonderful on you, so I’m quite sure the Pulmu will be just as nice. I have a friend here in Seattle who purchased the Astrid trousers although I don’t think she’s made them yet. Will have to check! They looked really interesting. That’s actually something I’m itching to make: a decent pair of trousers that aren’t jeans. I really just want a semi-straight or even tapered leg with a close-ish fit (but not tight) that I can roll up or leave down and wear smart/casual. I’m struggling! I really like the Republique du Chiffon Emile pants and I’m also thinking about the Papercut Patterns Guise trousers. I had a look through the catalogues at JoAnn Fabric the other day (another crazy pattern sale) but nothing jumped out. If anything occurs to you, do suggest away!

      Hope you are having a lovely weekend!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Claire, thanks so much for the lovely long reply! I actually don’t have any sewing friends I could meet with in person so I relish the online conversations!

        I just finished a dress that was on the edge of factory worker chic. I’ll take photos if the sun ever comes out again. We’re in what I call “the gray part of the year,” so blogging is about to get even harder for me than it’s been in the past few weeks.

        After making that one pair of linen trousers/pants (pardon my attempt at “inclusive English”) last summer I haven’t taken the plunge yet again. I definitely needed some comfort sewing in my life, hence the skirts and “repeat pattern offending.” But I need to challenge myself to fit (gah!) and make a nice pair of pants for colder weather.

        I’m definitely stocked in the pattern department thanks to Joann sales. Here are some easily forgettable numbers, then, since most of the pants patterns I own are from the Big Four. Currently at the top of my fantasy queue is Butterick 6183, a Lisette pattern. There are pockets and a side zipper, and I like that combination. Another favorite is Burda 6856 (view A). Pockets again, and really nice pleats. In my head they make me look like a shorter yet still stylish Katharine Hepburn (did someone say “unrealistic expectations”?). I also like Vogue 9155 and McCall’s 7445. The latter, though, while it has exceptionally appealing styling on the pattern envelope might not exactly be my style, so I’m really on the fence. I also have Simplicity 1696, which is one of their Amazing Fit patterns. I’ve seen some lovely versions of this one online. Finally, one I muslined and it did not work out that well: New Look 6231. These pants came out enormous. The sitting ease they assume is the same one for the pants as for the skirt, so that’s part of the problem, I think. I don’t feel like playing with the muslin more right now, so I’ll just let it sit.

        I hope that wasn’t too long and boring. Fingers crossed for your trouser journey!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oooh thanks so much for that! Lots of great ideas! I confess I only looked at the McCalls catalogue the other day as that’s what was on sale and I didn’t even see the ones you posted here, so that shows you how invested I was! 🙂 I very much like the Burda ones (they are absolutely Hepburnesque) and the Simplicity Amazing Fit ones look very interesting too actually. I have one of the dresses from that range and although I haven’t made it, I like the concept. So, on reading your email, I just popped over to the Simplicity/New Look/Burda site. I’d read that website was a nightmare to navigate, but they must have fixed it as I didn’t have any issues. I also didn’t know Burda was part of that group, so there you are. And I must say I found quite a few pairs of trousers/pants (maybe I’ll just call them trants or prousers) I liked! Particularly from Burda it must be said. Now just to wait until that sale comes along. Do they even do sales on Burda? I’m not sure… actually they’re not even that expensive on the site, looking at it. Hmm. So thank you for the direction!!!

      I’m looking forward to seeing the factory chic dress. I’m sure you’ll look admirably feminine, factory or no-factory. I’m thinking glamorous 40s munitions factory worker? (I’m sure that was very glam – not). You’re in the States as well aren’t you? I’m remembering east coast, although I could be making that up. In Seattle the days have just this week become autumnal and I do love autumn. Not so much the nights getting darker, but I love Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night and I guess Thanksgiving now too! 😉 Hope you get at least some non-grey days…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m on the East Coast. Upstate NY, to be more precise, far, far away from the Big Apple. It’s beautiful here when the leaves are turning, so I can’t complain too much about the season, especially right now 🙂

        Burda patterns are on some sort of “permanent” sale at Joann’s — they’re discounted 30 or 40%, I think. And they’re generally a bit cheaper, so they end up being between $6 and $9, if I remember correctly. The PDF patterns you can buy from Burda Style, usually at $5.99. The PDFs come without seam allowances, though.

        The finished dress does not give that factory vibe, I’m happy to say. I’ve been wearing it all the time, and I need to write up something for the blog — probably this weekend. I might make it yet again. We’ll see. I didn’t expect that particular pattern to be the gift that keeps on giving, but here we are and I’ve now made three dresses from it 😉


    3. Oh yes, and Lisette. I like Liesl Gibson a lot actually: I’ve had relative success with her patterns. So although the trousers are a different shape to what I’m looking for, I will file them away in my brain. I’m actually doing a coat class starting next week with her Lisette coat pattern B6385, so looking forward to seeing how that goes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I giggled when you started describing the assembly of the giant pattern pieces; I don’t understand how people can cut these patterns out either, or even have the patience to print all of the pages out! Simple patterns are such a mixed blessing.

    Anyways, I love your Kielo dress! Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to assemble my own…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it was slightly morbid I suppose, but that’s honestly what I was thinking!! I live in a fairly small house, but I’ve definitely lived in MUCH smaller apartments before and I have NO idea how I would manage. Maybe I’m just bad at space management. And, in the end, you make do with what you have of course. I just never see anyone mention it and it’s a major PITA for me. 😀 Anyway, you should totally make one – I think you’d find it a cinch! Thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathy! Thanks so much! 🙂 I didn’t do an FBA, and, anecdotally at least, I can’t remember reading about anyone who did for this particular dress, at least in its knit version. Hope that helps!


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