Casual Kielo

I’ve had about six weeks away from sewing, and frankly I lost my sew-jo.  I knew I wanted to sew something, I just didn’t know what.. I’ve also set myself a task to only buy ethically sourced fabric (more of that in a future blog post), so I knew I needed to use something from my fabric stash. Inspired by Rumana’s (@thelittlepomegranate) plethora of beautiful Kielo Wrap Dresses, I decided to give the pattern another go…

The Pattern.

The Kielo is a wrap dress pattern from the amazing ladies at Named Patterns.  It’s designed for fabrics with a bit of stretch, and I love how versatile it is – you can tie it in the front or the back, loose or tight, creating multiple different looks.

I’ve made the Kielo before, but in a woven, non-stretch fabric which didn’t work brilliantly (I eventually donated it to a charity shop).  The main reason wasn’t necessarily the woven fabric, it was more than I cropped the length to above the knee; I found, with this pattern, it’s really difficult to get a straight hem if you chop it at a shorter length because of the wrap nature of the dress.

So, for my second try, I went for a midi length and added on sleeves, using the the free add-on pattern.  The dress is designed to be maxi, with a vent in the pattern; that being said, I’m really into midi lengths at the moment, and thought I’d get more wear out of it that way, so I decided to chop off a few inches and omit the vent.

The Fabric.

As I said, I’m trying to think about my sewing in a more sustainable way, and my first step is to shop my stash.  I had a grey bamboo jersey that I bought from What Katie Sews’ Instagram destash, which I thought would work perfectly for the sleeved version – Named Patterns suggest you to use “a knit fabric with approximately 50% stretch”.  It has great drape and it ended up working really well for the Kielo.

The Make.

All in all, this is a pretty quick make.  The Kielo (with sleeves) only has 4 pattern pieces:

  • Front (cut on the fold)
  • Back (cut 2)
  • Ties (cut 2)
  • Sleeves (cut 2)

I made the UK size 10, without any adjustments and it fits perfectly (I guess aided by the wrap/jersey nature of the dress). I think the most fiddly bit about the Kielo is the pattern adjustments you have to make when you add the sleeves.  The Kielo wasn’t originally planned to have sleeves, so you have to make some adjustments to the armholes.  That being said, Named have some pretty clear instructions for how to adjust the main Kielo dress.

I serged the whole dress, apart from the darts and the hems.  For the darts, I used a straight stitch (after a bit of trial and error); despite being a stretch fabric, a slightly lengthened straight stitch seemed to have the best results. Given that there won’t be much strain or stretch on those darts, I thought it was worth the risk.

For the hem, I used a small zigzag stitch; I realised I lost my beloved Heat-n-Bond soft stretch tape in my many recent flat moves (sob!) so in a ploy to get the dress finished, I tried out using strips of stretch interfacing instead and surprisingly it worked really well (no wavy hem!).  That’s not to say I won’t be buying another lot of Heat-n-Bond, but it’s a good alternative if you’re in a bind!


Overall, I’m SO pleased with how this turned out.  I like it so much more than my previous woven Kielo – the midi length works so much better and it’s much more my style.  Plus, the multiple ways you can style the Kielo is genius – the fact you can tie it a bit looser if you have a bit lunch is a big bonus 🙂 I can’t wait to make another version.


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