I promised my sister a Kielo dress last summer but I didn’t have enough time then to make her one before the weather turned. So I started early this year, trying to make sure she’ll be ready to wear it as soon as the sun comes out!

The Kielo dress pattern is designed for stretchy fabric, either jersey knits or stretch wovens. My sister decided on a non stretch linen fabric for her dress, and while this is not the recommended type of fabric, I have seen enough Kielo dresses online to know that it will work.

After reading pattern reviews for the dresses made in woven fabrics I still wasn’t sure how many sizes, if any, I should go up. Eventually I decided to go with the size recommended on the pattern as if I were making the dress in a stretchy fabric - this was mainly because I didn’t want the shoulders and neckline to be too wide. I cut the dress with a slightly wider seam allowance at bust level, basted it on and the fit was not bad at all! I only had to reposition the darts and scoop the back armholes a little.

I have to say I was worried about using this fabric but  I understand why my sister chose it. The roughly sketched leaves are such an awesome print and purple looks so good on her. Linen is a wonderful fabric to wear, light and cool and breathable - it does wrinkle but I think this print will hide that well! Foliage/ plants/ trees prints are very big now, there are so many gorgeous fabrics using them. I like how subtle this print is, it’s not immediately obvious what it is all about.

I washed the linen twice before sewing it to try and limit any further shrinkage. I think continuous shrinking is unavoidable with linen, but I have advised my sister to wash the dress on a cold cycle and try to keep it away from the dryer.

Linen is one of my favourite fabrics to work with, so easy to handle when cutting and sewing, and a hot iron with some steam will shape it (almost) any way you want. In my case, the neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding. This linen has quite a bit of body and all the layers in the binding can get quite bulky. But a bit of steam and a tailors ham helped a lot. I think those finished edges look quite neat!

I have made my sister a long-distance dress before and it’s wearable, but the fit could be better. With this one I was able to baste and assess the fit before finishing, and that made a huge difference. I love how the dress turned out, my sister does too and I think she looks amazing in it!