The Kielo Wrap Dress by Wanderstitch
Posted in Guest Posts on Tuesday the 5th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I've been a long-time admirer of all the patterns on the Named website, but never actually got round to making any of their designs. As summer slowly bloomed in the UK I kept seeing beautiful versions of their Kielo dress popping up all over social media and decided it was finally time to make my own. I hadn't seen many patterned versions, they all tended to be plain - but you know I can't resist a good crazy print!
You can use a wide range of fabrics for this dress, but the key point is that it must have some stretch to it - 20% to 60% is recommended on the Named website. You could use a lightweight stretch chiffon or crepe (though you may have to think about a lining!) or any jersey that takes your fancy. A word of warning - the yardage stated on the pattern envelope is for uni-directional fabric designs as they instruct you to cut one piece the 'right' way up and then one piece 'upside down'. So if you have a fabric like mine, which has a clear 'this way up' vibe, you'll need to buy extra. One more metre over and above what's stated should do it, or two metres if you've got a large scale pattern that you want to match up.
When I saw this elephant print jersey on the Minerva Crafts site, in those gorgeous bright warm colours, I knew it was destined to become my Kielo. (Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric, but there are loads of other gorgeous Jersey Fabrics
to choose from on their site). It makes me think of lazing on a Thai beach, sun shining, lush green trees all around. Refreshing coconut drink in hand.
Sadly I don't live anywhere near a Thai beach for a photo shoot, so you'll have to use your imagination with this London park instead!
The Kielo is a full length, sleeveless wrap dress with waist ties that you can fasten in a couple of different ways. The waist tie is what drew me to this dress - I need some sort of definition around the middle or I end up looking like I'm wearing a bin liner. You can fasten it either at the front or at the back depending on your preference - It's photographed on the pattern envelope tied at the front but I actually quite like it tied at the back as I feel that it's not so much bulk on my stomach that way!
Named package their patterns in an über-stylish sturdy cardboard envelope, and the pattern itself is printed on white paper as opposed to tissue paper. Seam allowances are included (yay!). Due to the size of the body pieces, you have to trace two separate parts to get the one complete piece which you can then cut out, but this is no biggie. Cutting the front piece on the fold is a little bit tricky so I would recommend tracing a complete front piece (rather than one that is to be placed on the fold) to make it easier to see what you're doing and check that the fabric is where you want it to be. With this fabric, getting it straight was really important as it would be glaringly obvious if the coloured bands were wonky!
The construction of the dress is pretty simple as there are only three elements - the front (one complete piece with bust darts), the back (two pieces, one dart on each joined with a seam at centre back) and two straps. The straps require interfacing for extra support. I don't usually work with jersey so I didn't have any of the recommended knit interfacing to hand, instead I used regular woven interfacing (no stretch). I figured that I probably didn't want the straps to be able to stretch anyway or I'd be wrapping them around me a hundred times just to stop them from flapping about behind - check out the size of the dress when it's unwrapped!
To keep the edges nice and neat on the inside, I overlocked them. Though you could totally use a zig-zag stitch if you don't have access to an overlocker. To hem the dress, I used a normal straight stitch as I don't have a coverstitch machine - because there's a vent at the centre back of the dress the hem isn't under too much strain when walking so I'm not worried that the stitching will break. Working with jersey needn't be as scary as you think it will be - you can get along just fine with only your sewing machine, you don't have to have the other machines. If you've never tried working with it before, this would be a nice easy project to start out with as the fit is very forgiving!
My only special recommendation would be a Ballpoint Needle
(also called a jersey needle) which has a slightly rounded tip to allow the needle to slip past the fibres of the fabric rather than piercing through them as a super sharp needle would do.
The dress is unlined, and there are no facings (bear this in mind when choosing your fabric!). If you wish you can use Knit Bias Tape
to finish the armholes and neck opening (instructions are provided) but I didn't have any of this to hand. I guess I could have potentially made my own, but instead followed their alternative method of turning under the seam allowance twice and then stitching in place. This is the same method as used for the hem of the dress and worked out pretty fine.
I'm really pleased with how this has turned out, and I think the design has massive potential - you could achieve a classy look with a sheer fabric over a slip dress, or add some sleeves and make a winter version from a thicker jersey (which I am totally planning on doing). There is a free PDF template on the Named website for sleeves that you can download, so you don't even have to draft your own!
There will definitely be more of these dresses in my life. I don't usually get excited about fitted jersey dresses because they cling to my stomach, but this one has just the right amount of detail around the middle to not make me feel self-conscious. This dress is a game-changer for me!
As a parting gift, I'll leave you with the obligatory sugar-glider shot :)
Thanks for reading,