Kielo Wrap Dress

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the ready-to-wear clothes that I like - garments with interesting silhouettes and directional shapes from places like COS and &other stories - and then I wondered why I don't often make things in these styles. The Sea Change Top was a good intro to sewing in a different style, but after making the Kielo Wrap Dress by Named, I think I've really found my feet.

I'm going to go all out and start by saying, I think the Kielo Wrap Dress might possibly be my favourite pattern EVER. If life had to have a uniform, this would be mine - I'm already planning version number 2 (and there'll probably be a version 3, 4...). I originally chose to make the dress because it's very similar to one of my most loved dresses from H&M, which also has a tie waist, but I think the Kielo actually surpasses it.

I bought the pattern as a PDF and was surprised to find that there were very few pages that needed sticking together. Of course, my joy at this was premature, as I then realised that the pattern pieces overlap in a sort of crazy and confusing Burda way. You have to trace half the pattern, then flip it to find the matching letters for the other half, which isn't all as easy as it sounds when you're working with such large and unconventionally shaped pieces.

Once that was out of the way, everything else was really straightforward. It's made up of 3 main pieces and the 2 laces that are used to tie the dress. There are bust darts and shaping darts at the back, and other than that, it's just plain sewing things together. Zig-zagging all the raw edges took the most time.

The fabric is from a huge amount I bought at a 'fill a carrier bag up for £5' stall at the last Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market. I cut a straight size 12, and then had a slight panic about the bust measurement being too small. Luckily it fits just right. The bust darts come from half way up the arm hole opening and point downwards, which gives shape in more fitted arm/neck area of the garment. The waist it completely loose so you can make it as tight as you want to wear it using the ties.

I was a bit worried about hemming the neckline and armholes as the dress only has a 1cm seam allowance. Because of the squeeze on the bust measurement, I really didn't have any extra to play around with, but I managed the narrow, twice folded under hem just fine. The pattern instructions don't suggest it, but I'd probably try to do the same narrow folded under finish on the back vent too, to conceal the raw edge.

I had to do a fair bit of shortening. The pattern is designed for the average height of 5ft8". I'm not far off it at 5ft6" but I was walking all over it! I didn't quite want it to be maxi length, so I cut 7" off before hemming it (quite generously). I purposely did it to a quite awkward length - neither midi or maxi - but I think I like it. After wearing the dress, I found that I also had to open the back vent up by another few inches too so I could take normal sized steps.

I really like the dress, both as a light summer item and a dress for layering with. It's already my go-to dress, so I'll be making another one very soon.

p.s. Thanks to Chloe for taking pictures of me in the garden

Sewing the Sea Change Top

After a bit of a break from sewing and blogging, a holiday and a house move (hence the absence), I'm back and I have a brand new sewing space (*cough* corner). I felt almost out of my comfort zone starting a new project in a different space. Coincidentally, I chose a to make a garment in a style that's also out of my comfort zone - the Sea Change Top by Lily Sage and Co.

I usually steer well clear of unfitted tops, at the risk of looking like I'm wearing a tent. What swung it for me was seeing Helen from Grosgrain Green blog her amazing version of the Sea Change Top. The image on the PDF pattern shows in made up in stripes - I also steer clear of horizontal stripes (who'd have thought it?) - but I loved the abstract print that Helen had chosen for hers. It helped me to re-imagine the pattern made up in the sort of fabric that I'd use, so I bought it straight away.

I'm not the biggest fan of sticking PDF patterns together, but this one was fairly simple. An added bonus is that none of the pattern pieces overlap, so no need for tracing after. I cut a straight size medium - the top is really loose, with no darts or fastenings, so I think I could go down a size if I wanted a slightly closer fit. There's also the option to lengthen the top, but I was happy to go with the standard version which is slightly cropped. A few alternative instructions and pattern pieces are offered if you want to make it in knit fabric rather than woven, which is also handy.

New sewing corner!
It was so fast to make up, with easy to follow instructions - from cutting out the fabric to finished garment would probably take no longer than a morning. All I can say is be sure to stay stitch your neckline as the pattern advises. I'm so glad I listened for once as mine would've definitely warped out of shape with all the turning in and out before attaching the neck band and concealing all those raw edges.

The billowing kimono sleeves mean that the top uses a fair bit of fabric, but I'm lucky to have a shelf full of spoils to choose from after a fruitful trip to the last Hebden Bridge WI Market - more of which I'll be posting about soon enough. I used this beautiful patterned lightweight cotton.

It took a bit of getting used to wearing such a different style, but I really love how it hangs. I wore it to work on the hottest day of the year in the UK, and it was really light and comfortable. As a word of warning though... I managed to swoop up and knock over a bottle of beer (after work) with the kimono sleeves, so be careful if you're not used to them!

I'm hoping to try out another Lily Sage and Co pattern - the lovely and quite unusual Wonderland Skirt - over the summer, so hopefully they'll both get a fair bit of wear!

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting!