Finding Named shapes

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I’ve been making a concerted effort to churn through some of the many half-finished projects taking up space on my sewing table (if only because at some point I guess the sewing machine should return from the dining table to its rightful place…). One of the makes that should have been a simple, super-quick sew was this Named Kielo wrap dress. Should have, but it’s sat there for about three months with just the shoulders and half a side seam sewn up.

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This was nothing to do with the pattern or instructions, which are fairly straight forward, and everything to do with my having a tantrum at the overlocker unthreading itself about six times within 10cm of sewing. I just had to put the whole dress aside and come back when we were both, the overlocker and I, in a better mood. Took a while, as it turned out. But really, this is very easy – a couple of darts, two ties, shoulder seams, two side seams and hems.

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I was initially hesitant about the Kielo because I wasn’t sure how its shape would suit me. I love the interesting styling and silhouettes of Named’s patterns but so often they feel a bit too fashion-cool for me; not quite my aesthetic. But a bit of blog searching turned up a few versions which pretty much convinced me it would be ok. And the forgivingly adaptable shape does make it a good option for maternity wear.

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Instead of the traditional, DVF-style flat wrap-dress shape, Kielo is basically a diamond sack and you wrap the points around to the front or back depending on what you like the look of best. It kind of reminds me of when I’d change my doona cover as a child by climbing right inside it and pretending I was Alfred the water bottle. You can sew this in either a stretch or woven fabric, which makes sense because all the shaping happens in the wrapping (though there are bust darts and back fisheye darts) without needing to stretch things to fit.

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This fabric is a cotton jersey knit (*possibly* a Cloud 9 design) from – where else? – Spotlight. I liked the watercolour effect and it’s pretty soft to wear. Definitely a secret pyjamas feel going on here. (You can see above where I used the selvedge when cutting the ties to make them long enough and it’s not holding up well, but I intend to unpick the seam where they’re attached and take them in a little bit.)

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There are only two things that annoyed me about this pattern (separately from the overlocker issues). One is having to add seam allowances when tracing. I ordered a printed pattern and it comes with the pieces all printed on a single sheet of paper. Because the front and back are just a single piece each (no waist seam) they’re quite large and Named saves paper by breaking them in half so you have to trace to join the parts together. It’ll make sense when you do it. I usually trace patterns anyway so didn’t mind that, but find it annoying having to remember the seam allowance. The second thing was turning the straps. Those things are long! In fact, if you don’t have quite enough fabric to make the recommended length I wouldn’t be too worried about lopping off as much as 10cm.

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This was in fact the second Kielo I made, having sewn one in a much stretchier fabric as a Christmas present for my (then-pregnant) sister-in-law last year. For me, I cut a straight size 46 (based on finished measurements) and made no adjustments other than shortening it substantially to be knee- instead of ankle-length. It doesn’t play terribly nicely with bra straps though, and could benefit from having a couple of bits of ribbon and press studs sewn in at the shoulder seams to hold them in place. Overall I’m glad I gave this shape a go – and came back to it instead of abandoning yet another unfinished object.

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