Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Berry Merino Kielo Wrap Dress

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

This is another project that has shot straight to the front of my blogging queue ahead of the intended schedule because I'm so happy with it! So happy in fact I wore it to two parties on the trot last weekend. You can't beat an interesting dress in one of your favourite colours, which you feel great in and also feels as comfortable as your pyjamas because its just knit fabric wrapped around your body. Also this has the added bonus of being toasty warm while you wait for the train there as its made in merino!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I first made the Kielo Wrap Dress from Named a couple of years back and whilst I loved it the fabric didn't hold up so well and it didn't get a whole lot of wear. Every time I see one someone else has made in my feed or on Instagram though it makes another little leap up my sewing queue and I've fully intended on making a couple of other iterations since I finished the first. Named released a sleeve expansion pack for the dress around the same time which sold me on whether the design could work for winter too. Rumana has made some amazing sleeved versions of this pattern. It is a really great design, simple yet clever and unique, which Named seem to do best. It is fun and straightforward to assemble with only pattern pieces for the front and back and the ties to contend with plus sleeves and binding if you opt for that. The dress can wrap at the front or back which gives two quite distinctively different shapes and looks; I love that if you're feeling self conscious about your tummy you can conceal it with a front tie, or if on another day you're not loving your butt you can tie it at the back for a bit of extra coverage! Or if you're feeling particularly wild you can go full on flying squirrel...

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I knew I wanted a length of merino in a knock out colour to be part of the last order of my run of few months as a brand ambassador for The Fabric Store and originally opted for a Prussian Blue which I was gutted to discover they didn't have enough stock of. But it must have been meant to be as I am delighted with what I ended up choosing instead which is this Fucshia in their standard weight single jersey. Despite the name this isn't actually too hot of a pink which I was relieved about! It has a gorgeous rich and warm tone which has a real vibrancy to it without being shocking. You definitely can't beat natural fibres like wool and silk for taking a real bold colour of dye.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I thought the fabric would either make a great winter wrap dress or an amazing dramatic long cardigan for spring and presumed the obvious choice would come to me when the fabric arrived. But I loved it so much I wanted both and had to resort to an Instagram poll to help me! It was a close run contest but wrap dress won with 55% of the vote and I had an excuse to tick another project off my #2018makenine challenge grid. The dress was absolutely the right choice as I think the jersey would have been a bit flimsy for the kind of cardigan I was after but is a perfect match for the Kielo. Its light enough not to make the wrap too bulky (there are quite a lot of layers going on once you get tied up) but has enough body and weight to hold a nice shape in the folds and drape of the skirt. I'm now looking for something a bit more weighty but in an equally bold and vibrant colour to make my dream maxi cardigan. I'm thinking maybe one of these lovely lightweight boiled wools from Dragonfly Fabrics. I've seen some samples of them and they have a lovely soft drape and more movement than a standard boiled wool.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

The pattern is intended for fabrics with some element of stretch in them but as numerous people have I made up my first version in a woven which totally works. However, making it in a knit means it sits slightly better on the body and stays there as you move around. I'm definitely much happier with this than my woven version. I'd also be concerned about how well the sleeve expansion in particular would work in a woven, I imagine you might have some trouble setting in a smooth sleeve that fits neatly. Interestingly, considering its designs for knits a lot of the construction elements I would associate more with working with a woven fabric such as the bust darts.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I have seen the instructions for Named patterns get mixed reviews but I generally find their more recent collections to be excellent; thorough and easy to follow. This particular dress though I have a very old copy of so the instructions are fairly brief and I had the layered and split pattern pieces to deal with. Man are all those criss crossing lines where the pattern pieces overlap confusing! Named have updated this pattern since I first bought it and their pattern pieces nowadays are much easier to handle so you don't have to trace after assembling the PDF. Looking at blog posts from sewists who have made this dress recently it seems the instructions now include a lot more information such as the recommendation to interface your ties and the suggestion of using bias binding to finish your neckline instead of just turning in and stitching as my copy says. I interfaced my ties anyway as a little bit of knit sewing experience made me think that the ties could probably do with a bit of extra support to prevent them stretching out with extended use. It also means they keep a nice flat rectangular shape along the length of the tie rather than collapsing in on itself. I didn't want limp looking stringy ties! I used a very lightweight fusible interfacing along the entire length and width so there is a double layer of it in the assembled tie.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

As for finishing the neckline I deliberated over this for a while. I felt like just turning it under and hemming wasn't really what I wanted and felt like it might need something more robust going on. The bias finish seemed more appropriate for a woven fabric and I wasn't keen on using a band as I didn't think it would suit the style or want to add any height to the neckline. In the end I attached a doubled strip in the same way you would a band but then turned it to the inside and stitched down like a bias facing for a clean finish. I used a twin needle to match the way I had finished the cuffs. I was worried about the neckline stretching out of shape so was really careful with how I handled it and it actually sits nice and flat against the body. I like the width and height of it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 38 as I always do with Named patterns and got away with using just 1.75m of jersey as the fact that I wasn't using a print meant I could top and tail my pieces. The dress is obviously pretty easy to fit in the most part as you just wrap it around your body as tight as is comfortable! You do however want those bust darts to sit in the right place and the most trouble you'll probably have is with the armhole. A few people have mentioned that they find the armhole quite low on the sleeveless version and I think it is a fraction low on this too. The new armhole pattern pieces that come with the sleeve expansion pack extend the shoulder seam along to the armhole and change the shape of the armsyce ever so slightly but don't really do anything about the height of the armhole. I did however find working out the position of the new armholes on the original pieces a little confusing so perhaps I didn't get them quite in the right place! I used 1" for the hem of the sleeve and didn't remove any length but did slim them down by 1/2" on the double from the cuff up to nothing at 11" up the sleeve. I have tiny little wrists and like my sleeves skinny!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

The first time I made this pattern I cut it to hit just above the knee but then ended up shortening it to more of a mini length as that seemed to work better on me proportionally. I expected to end up doing similar on this one, especially to balance out the extra coverage of the long sleeves but ended up loving the midi length! I'm really pleased I cut it long so I could play around with the length rather than going straight for short. There's something that feels effortlessly sophisticated about the wrap style with a sleeve combined with the midi length. If you're planning on making this and would like a reference point length-wise I'm about 5ft3" and I initially took 30cm off the original maxi length of the pattern. After trying it on I removed a further 16cm and used 2.5cm for the hem to get it to hit that sweet spot just below the knee which is most flattering on the leg.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

I was really concerned when I cut into the merino that this wouldn't turn out as well as the image in my head and I'd feel like I wasted the fabric when it would have made a beautiful cardigan but I love it soooo much more than I thought I might! I'm definitely going to be making a sleeveless maxi version of this in jersey in the summer to replace my favourite French Connection maxi which has seen me through at least 5 or 6 warm seasons before I finally had to admit I could repair it no longer last year. I will have my eyes peeled for the perfect drapey jersey with a small rich print. I adore this solid black bamboo jersey version by Erica and think bamboo might be the ideal slinky and breathable choice so will check out what Offset Warehouse have in. Jasika's maxi version is a complete knockout too. Its going to be a hard choice to make...almost as hard as deciding on my favourite way to wear this one!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Fuchsia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

30 comments:

  1. Oh Fiona, what a wonderful dress! The colour is amazing and the pattern is fabulous! xB

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    1. Thanks very much Bianca, I'm delighted with it

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  2. Beautiful Fiona! What I like about this pattern is that you can dress it up like you've done here in high heels but it also works in a more casual knit for just hanging out at the beach making it really versatile. I've seen it too on many different body types and it always looks so nice!

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    1. So SO versatile! It is a completely different dress depending on the fabric you choose, length, sleeves and how your style it. Really happy to have it in my wardrobe!

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  3. It looks great! I really love the colour,

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  4. I've been teetering on the edge of buying this several times. I LOVE your version. And the wool too!!

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    1. BUY IT! You won't regret it! I can't believe I didn't think about making this in merino before, it is such a great match

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  5. Beautiful! I was just looking for a pattern to try for all the jersey fabrics that have piled up and this might just be the one!!

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    1. Absolutely! Every piece of jersey I come across now I'm thinking 'could this make a good kielo?!'

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  6. Every time I see this dress I think I should make it! This is gorgeous and I love the colour!

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    1. Make it!! Make it two or three times like I'm about to!

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    1. Thanks Rachael, it turned out even better than I had hoped!

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  8. Oooh I was looking for a fab pattern to try out some of my jerseys on - aaaand I pinned a dress just like this for myself! Excited to try this. (Ps aaaand thank you for the Offset Warehouse shoutout 💕😘)

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    1. Try this pattern! You won't look back! It will be a gorgeous match for some of your jerseys
      You're very welcome!

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  9. Wonderful dress! The colour really suits you! Isn't merino knit a dream? I can recommend woven merino highly too:). Dragonfly Fabrics boiled wool is gorgeous, I can recommend it. I prewashed gently and it only shrunk a little bit and has gorgeous drape.

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    1. I could sew with merino all day long, it is so wonderful to work with and wear. I've never tried the woven but now I'll be off to track some down!
      I made a cocoon coat for my mum from some Dragonfly boiled wool and loved it, really want to try out their lightweight version now

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  10. I bought that Fuschia merino a year or more ago and I have to tell you that I love it. I also bought (sorry) the Prussian Blue and, yeah, I love that too. They are having a huge sale on their merino right now and it's all I can do to avoid their site completely!

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    1. Ah I'm so jealous that you got some of the Prussian Blue! It looked like the most amazing deep and a vivid colour. I had to stay off the site while the sale was on too, couldn't trust myself!

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  11. And......I forgot to tell you I love your dress!!!! Doh!!!! I tend to not wear merino as a full body because my body is a bit...full. So, I love seeing it in dresses that I can at least admire from afar. That color is just so alive!

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    1. Thank you very much, I absolutely adore it! I get what you mean about using the merino for a full dress as it is quite fine and can cling, but for this wrap style it is great!

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  12. I bl**by love Kielo....one of the best patterns of all time for beginners......Ive made two as summer maxis but I cut the ties as sort of "kipper ties"......I feel the wider ties balance the dress far better(ly?).

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    1. I totally agree, such a great beginner pattern for anyone who wants to be a but creative. Love your idea of changing the shape of the ties, I've seen a couple of versions with wide ties which I like. Perhaps something to try on a future version!

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  13. I sewed a neckline very similar to this today. Do you feel like it’s too thick/bulky?

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    1. I was worried about that Marissa but I feel like it has turned out ok. I made sure to keep the binding piece fairly slim and trimmed my seam allowances right down before I turned it under, trimming one slightly smaller than the other to prevent any bulky edges. Were you sewing with a particularly thick jersey?

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  14. Gorgeous dress. I have bought the same merino in teal for my first Kielo. How did you stabilize the whole thing? For shoulder seams-clear elastic? And what about that huge side seam cut on “the bias”??? And would you recomend finishing the seams with zigzag? I dont have an overlocker. Thanks for your answer. 🙂

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    1. I have been tempted by the teal colour many times!
      I didn't have any car elastic so used some narrow cotton twill tape to stabilise the shoulder seams. The seam cut on the bias doesn't need stabilising. You might want to think about that if you are making it in a woven but knits don't stretch out the same way on the bias. I always sew up knit garments with a narrow zig zag stitch on my regular machine. Knit fabrics don't actually need finishing as they don't fray like a woven so you can just leave the seam allowances raw. I tend to finish mine on the overlocker just because I like the look of it!
      I hope you enjoy making it up. Its a really fun design!

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  15. The hem looks so so good without the slit and with the hi-lo effect that tying gives it. V. on point.

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    1. That is actually the one thing I'm not sure about with it being this length so I'm so pleased you pointed it out as something your liked! I wasn't sure if it just looked like wonky hem!
      Thanks!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!