PJ Harvey inspired pattern hack

All of my recent makes have had musical ties - either made for a musician (more on that in a future blog post) or for me, with a musician in mind - and this one's something I've had saved up in my head for a while. It's a Kielo Wrap Dress pattern hack inspired by PJ Harvey's stage outfits for her latest round of shows - think black, navy, drape-y, layered, flowing fabrics. When we saw her earlier in the year, she was fab, but in all honesty, I spent her whole set distracted by thoughts of how I could recreate the dress she was wearing. This is what I came up with...

A Kielo Wrap Dress pattern hack!
And here's the inspiration for my slightly less 'stage-y' version...
PJ Harvey at Primavera Sound 2016
If you're a regular reader then you'll know that I've made the Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress many times - this one's my favourite! - so it made sense to use that as my TNT starting point. I altered the shape of the dress first to cut my base pattern, and then cut a second longer front and back piece to get the layered effect. This meant that my pattern pieces looked something like this:

Base and overlay pattern pieces - I also cut two waist ties (not pictured)
I skipped the back darts, and removed the big triangles that wrap around the waist - you can see them folded in on my pattern pieces - by straightening the side seams from the armhole downwards. The base dress is cut just above knee length (this was a bit of an accident as I wanted it slightly longer) and the overlay pieces are midi length, and slightly wider as I included an extra 1.5cm allowance for hemming the side seams.

Base pattern pieces
First up, I hemmed the sides of each overlay piece, as I wanted them to hang freely and separately during wear. This also means that I can style the dress differently - e.g. belt one overlay piece in and leave the other to hang loose - but more on that in a bit! I sewed the bust darts on both of the front pieces as normal. Then I basted the two back pieces and two front pieces together at the neck lines, shoulders and arm holes.

The finished side seams of the dress
I stitched the shoulder seams together, treating the basted base pieces and overlays as one. I sewed the side seams of the base dress, being careful only to catch the overlay sections in at the very top, just under the arm opening (see the picture above). The dress has waist ties inserted into the side seam like the regular Kielo does.

The finished dress, worn with the front overlay half tucked in the waist belt
I added a little extra to all of the edges when cutting as the Kielo has a small seam allowance (1cm) and I knew I'd be working with a bit of extra bulk due to the layers. I could only turn the neckline under once due to the bulk, but luckily my fabric didn't fray one bit. It's a black, poly/synthetic, slightly sheer, one way stretch, with a bit of a shine to it - the sort that fills me with dread after a difficult experience working with something similar when making the Driftless Cardigan. In the end I got on just fine using the finest needle I had and a walking foot.

Strange draping from the back seam, we'll call it a design feature...
I really love that the finished dress can be worn in so many different ways - something I hadn't really considered when working out the original concept. There's the fairly conservative day dress, the 'high fashion' tent, the 'little bit PJ Harvey/little bit Vivienne Westwood' look(s). There's also an ever-so-slightly 'Strictly Come Dancing' look when you wrap it some ways - I think this might be the sheen of the fabric, and yes, I'll probably be avoiding this look!

Just some of the ways the dress *could* be worn
I'm thinking of wearing it to a September wedding, which feels very prepared for me - I was sewing my Martha dress and culotte jumpsuit right up until the last minute for the other weddings I've already been to this year. It's also a good thing that I'm prepared for once, as I'm very lucky to be off to Chile with work this week, so I'll be spending a bit of time away from my machine (*sob*).

A windy outtake - I definitely has the desired movement!
I'd be interested to know which way people think the dress looks best! Please leave a comment and let me know :)

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