one-piece wardrobe

Named Patterns – Kielo Wrap Dress

Fabric: Silk-cotton blend border print (non-stretch) from Josephine’s Dry Goods in Portland, Oregon
Pattern: Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Clothing
Size: 2

Okay, friends, I finally jumped on the Kielo bandwagon. While this pattern has been on my to-make list for ages, I hadn’t pulled the trigger because I hadn’t had the urge to cut and tape a PDF of this size. However, I recently made it a mission to figure out how to have A0 patterns printed in Germany, and I came across this blog post by Schnittchen Patterns that recommended two companies. I used the latter, Die Plotterei, so that I could simply upload my files on their website and not bother having to write an email in my embarrassingly broken German. And you guys, the ability to print A0 patterns might be the greatest gift to humankind that the internet has ever bestowed upon us. At 1€ per A0 print (and only a couple days to ship), I don’t think I will ever cut and tape another PDF again.

The pattern calls for a fabric with 20-60% stretch, something I didn’t register until after I had cut my non-stretch woven fabric. The fabric is a border print silk-cotton blend from Josephine’s, which was surprisingly inexpensively priced at $16/meter. While I had been eyeing the fabric for a while and had recently put myself on a fabric buying ban, I was convinced to break my ban because Bini was having a 10% off sale on the day that I popped in to say hello. (Yes, even during a fabric buying ban, I still go to my favorite fabric shops to say hello and to fondle fabric. It’s definitely challenging, but it also strengthens my ability to go to a fabric store and walk out with only inspiration and food for thought.)

There isn’t much to say about this dress that hasn’t been blogged about a million times before, so I’ll focus on the construction here. As always, I finished the inside completely so there are no raw edges. I used french seams on the sides, pressing the seams towards the back where applicable and pressing flat the corner where the ties are attached. For the back center seam, I finished the raw edges with a tiny rolled hem before sewing the seam together. That way, the seam could be pressed open without the bulk of a hong kong finish.

The back seam on the pattern piece has a slight concave curve, but because I wanted to match the diamond pattern of the print down the center back, I completely straightened the seam. It adds less than 2 cm max around the waistline, but since the pattern calls for a stretch fabric and I accidentally used a woven, I figured it would work to my advantage. Also, as a standard, Named includes a 1cm seam allowance, but because of the extra fabric necessary to finish the back seam with a rolled hem, I added one extra cm making it a total of 2. And because my seamline was dictated by the print and not the distance from the raw edge, I had no issue with losing the seamline as I was sewing.

One thing that’s difficult about print-matching seams on a printed fabric vs a yarn-dye woven is that you cannot trust that the print was printed on grain — ever. (This is also true for yarn-dyed circular knits, but that’s a different story for a different time). Still, because of the loose and flowy nature of this fabric and dress pattern, I decided to risk it and cut on the print rather than the grain. There are a few spots where I kind-of slightly just-a-little-bit regret that decision (like how the dress doesn’t hang visually straight unless I put all my weight on my left foot), but overall I’m happy with my choice.

In order to take advantage of the beautiful border print, I cut this garment on the crossgrain, and the pattern pieces just barely fit, with parts of the selvedge even making its way into the seam allowance. Never before have I been so happy that I’m not even 5’3”; any taller and I would have had to shorten the dress in it’s entirety.

On a more negative note, I always forget how much I dislike Named patterns when it comes to the actual construction and quality. It seems there is always something in every pattern; an overlooked step or cutting of corners that results in a not fully formed thought. I know this pattern is a cult-favorite —and for good reason! It’s so easy to fit! to make! to wear!— but I really dislike that they seem to release patterns without ever actually finishing them.

Here’s my gripe about this one:
Named offers the option of using bias tape (store bought or homemade) to finish the neck and armholes: okay, great. I love bias binding and I seriously don’t mind (and actually prefer) making my own in self fabric. The instructions on how to finish with bias tape tells you in basic terms how to use bias binding: also, great, no complaints there. However, with the way the pattern is drafted, the arm holes are actually slits in a seam at the armpit, not a circular hole, which makes using bias tape in a clean way pretty tricky. But Named, of course, doesn’t provide any actual instruction on how to finish a binding on a slit.

When I got to finishing the arm holes, I was a little baffled. It gave me pause for a night, and I took a step back and really thought through how to cleanly finish the armholes on this slit-seam that I had finished together as a french seam. I eventually landed on snipping the frenched seam allowance to the seam, pressing it towards the back, and “mirroring” the slit of the armhole to sew a slit in the bias binding, similar to how I finished the bottom hem of my Bridgetown Backless Dress Romper Hack. I doubt my explanation makes much sense, and I can understand why Named would opt to skip over explaining it as well. But it’s the job of the pattern company to explain how to use the pattern; it’s not mine, and it’s not really something you can ‘opt’ out of. I think that’s where I have difficulty letting this (and every other weird skipped step) go.

Am I happy that an on-trend pattern company like Named exists? Yes, completely. I think companies like Named are a part of what is bringing sewing back to younger generations. Do I feel like they ought to be doing a better job than they are? Yes, of course. Will I still be buying and sewing up Named patterns? 100 times yes. Will I still complain about it on the blog? Despite largely feeling like dwelling on this isn’t good for my heart health— probably.

Can you tell that I’m full of mixed feelings about this? And in writing this, I realized one reason why these patterns feel rushed is because they very well could be. With only 2 (or 3?) employees coupled with releasing at least a couple seasons of patterns a year (and several looks within each of those- making 10+ patterns annually?), it would be easy to overlook small details in order to just get the job done. It does give me some empathy for how hard they must be working, but again, I just feel like if I’m paying for a product, it would be nice it it were complete.

With that said, I’m really happy to be adding this garment to my spring and summer wardrobe; I really feel like this is a dress I can wear for years to come. I love that it can easily be dressed up or down; it can be worn to weddings or to picnics. I love that I can wear it tied to the front or the back, although contrary to most other bloggers that I’ve read up on, I think I prefer it tied towards the back a bit more. I love how the pattern is placed, and how the way it falls makes the dress look like loads more work than it actually was. To top it all off, I had multiple friends comment about how this dress makes me look much taller, which is a compliment I’ll happily hold on to. And I’ll be heading to Sicily next month, and I can’t wait to wear it while enjoying the Mediterranean sunshine and sea breeze. As a side note, does anyone have any fabric stores (or activities in general) to recommend around Palermo, Trapani, and the island of Favignana?

I hope everyone has a fantastic week ahead. Thanks for reading, until next time!

24 Comment

  1. Wow, your Kielo is one of the best versions I have seen on the web. Congrats on the pattern matching. Its impeccable! I have read about various version concerning fabric. Some wrote older version of the pattern only recommended stretchy fabric, the newer version wovens as well?! Its one of the “not quite thought through” problems of named. Anyway, if you ever need help with you German (in regard of sewing or otherwise), let me know! Btw. Die Plotterei is my favourite place to order A0 patterns as well.
    Greats from Munich,

    1. Anna, thank you so much! I think I heard the same thing that older versions recommended stretchy and newer ones didn’t, and I think that’s why I didn’t double check the fabric types. Also though, I just bought my PDF copy last month, so I have no idea.

      And thanks also for offering to help with my German — I’ll probably take you up on it sometime! I’ll also be in Munich a little later this year; perhaps we could make a sewing meetup happen then!

  2. Beautiful Kielo wrap in this gorgeous border print. When I first saw it I thought you had blocked the pattern and was frankly a little stunned at the work that must have been!! Regardless even pattern matching those enormous pattern pieces took some planning and careful execution but the result is stunning!

    1. Thanks Kathleen! Oh my, if I had actually blocked that entire pattern… I don’t know if I have the patience for that at the moment. The fabric definitely made it a low investment, high reward situation.

  3. I absolutely LOVE your version!! It’s so amazing! It looks fabulous on you, that fabric is just TO DIE FOR.
    Your finishes are next level on this! Especially that armhole! Agreed that it’s a total faff to finish the bit at the side seam because like you say, it’s not a complete circle. I finished a Kielo at the weekend and went with the bias tape route, and I must admit I just kind of blagged it over that join!! 🙂
    I too straighten out that back seam as well, but that’s just because I prefer a straight line rather than an ever-so-slightly-wibbly line. And like you say, you can pattern match so much better!
    Isn’t it totally annoying when stuff isn’t printed on the grain? I mean, like fabric printers have ONE job, y’know…

    I think this is my most favourite Kielo… I really do love it!! 🙂

    1. Sarah, you are so kind! Thank you! I love seeing all your beautifully colorful (and pink!) makes. Thanks for being such a vibrant part of the sewing community 🙂

  4. Lovely Saki! I admit I was pretty bummed by the ambivalence of the finishing options at the side seams too, especially as in a knit the armhole can drop alarmingly low… but as it’s a pretty rad pattern otherwise I also forgave them…. 😉

    1. Sarah, I totally know what you mean! Did it work well for you for maternity? I imagine it could be hit or miss, but with how free the tummy area is, it could work, yeah?

  5. This is so, so beautiful, well done! I have Kielo taped and ready for fabric cutting, and I really appreciate your frankness about the instructions – it’ll be my first (and not last) Named project, and I’m glad to approach it with realistic expectations.

    1. Thanks Lisa! I can’t wait to see your Kielo… how is it going? Named really does make some beautiful and unique patterns. I’m glad you’re giving them a try 🙂

  6. This has got to be my favorite kielo dress I’ve seen yet, and that’s saying a lot as I love the pattern! Very nice going, I hope it sees plenty of wear as it deserves to be seen!

    1. Heather, that is so kind! Thank you so much 🙂 It will definitely get a lot of wear as the weather warms up! Such an easy dress!

  7. Hey thanks for being honest! I have had a scratch my head moment with a named pattern too but fortunately I knew how to handle the situation. Could you do the bias in the armhole like you would a v neck? Basically, you tuck the end of the binding under the one anoterh and fold the end under. Hard to describe in a comment perhaps.

    1. Doing the bias in the armhole like a V neck is an interesting suggestion! I have a feeling that since the bias tape meets in a parallel and not in a perpendicular as it does in a V, it may not work as intended, but it’s definitely worth a shot!

  8. I have to completely disagree with you about Named. Have you only sewn patterns from their older collections maybe? I’ve been a pattern tester for them for the past couple years and their instructions have gotten much more detailed. They definitely take our feedback into account (they were one of the first major companies to offer layered pdfs, for example) and their instructions are now way more in depth than they used to be.

    1. Lindsay, that’s a really interesting thought and I’m glad you shared that with me. You’re right in that I’ve only made their older patterns (I think I’ve made four to date), but all of them had drafting or instructional issues which have left me not so enthusiastic about trying more of their patterns. I’m happy to hear that they are getting better at drafting their current and future patterns, and I’ll have to give them another shot. Thanks again!

  9. Hi – I love how your dress turned out. Did you end up having to shorten it at all? I saw another blogger around the same height said she shortened it a bit but also printed the pdf at 92% instead of 100%. However, I am about the same height as you are. So I was wondering if you were just able to use the pattern as is.

    1. Hi! Thank you! I believe I shortened the dress by 5 inches but I don’t remember exactly— I cut the dress on the cross grain and basically shortened it to the exact length of my fabric width. Hope that makes sense!

  10. What a lovely dress! I’ve been eyeing this pattern for a while and finally took the step and bought all the materials. I’m just a bit worried about the lenght I’m just 5’2″. Did you have to shorten the hem or rise the waist line?

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