Grown up lady dress

You know how sometimes you get outfits that you can put on and immediately feel polished? Clothes that make you feel like you’ve got your shit together and can manage pretty much anything? I’m not exactly sure why, but thats how this dress made me feel when I wore it out yesterday. Like I was going to get stuff done! (I got lots of eating done, but thats another thing this dress is good for.)


This is the Kielo Dress from Named, with the sleeve add on they released earlier this year to make it winter friendly. I made it up in a cotton/lycra blend ponte from The Fabric Warehouse, I love the print! I realised when I was organishing my fabric a few months ago how few patterned fabrics I own (except for stripes, of course), so it was nice to use this one! 


The pattern was so simple to make up, once I got past the dreaded tracing/ adding seam allowance stage. The sleeve pattern incorperates a new armscye shape to trace as well, but it was all very straight forward. Sewing was simple as well, I didn’t make any changes for sewing a knit instead of a woven except for using my overlocker for the main construction. I sewed the darts with a straight stitch and used a twin needle for the hems and neckline. I really like the double ended darts in the back, it gives it such a nice shape. I thought I had increased their depth (and shaped the CB seam) enough to fit my sway back, but looking at these pictures there is still a bit of fabric pooling above and below the ties. Just as well I can’t usually see it!

I did make a few changes to the pattern itself, other than adding the sleeves and lopping about 10″ off the hem. For some reason I didn’t consider the distance between the shoulder and waist before I cut it out, so it did what every wrap dress I’ve ever tried on does and bloused terribly in the upper body if I tied it at my waist (or sat unflatteringly at the widest point of my hips if I tied it where the fabric wanted to go). Because of the shape of the wings I ended up with big scoops of fabric between my armpit and waist, not quite what I was going for! In desperation I ended up shorteneing the length of the wings by 2.5 inches on either side, tapering to nothing towards the hem. This helped reduce the excess of fabric, but does mean that they only just meet at the centre front, rather than the more dramatic overlapping shape they had before. But I’m much happier with the overall silhouette, so I’m ok with that!


Token blogger-in-a-Kielo-Dress shot! You can see that the wings look much shorter than every one elses…( I keep calling them wings in my head, how else should I describe them?) I felt like I was pulling a flasher pose here, hense the ridiculously hammy face!

I also changed up the neckline a bit, I felt it was too high with the long sleeves and relatively long hem. I just eyeballed a more scooped shape, about 2 inches lower at the centre front than how it’s drafted. I ended up drafting a facing for the neckline too, as I thought turning and stitching as instructed wouldn’t work on my now significantly more scooped out neckline (though I haven’t had great luck turning and stitching boat necklines either, to be honest). I treated the facing like I would a woven one, stitching and understitching it (though with a zig zag stitch rather than a straight stitch) and then topstitching it with the twin needle. I’m really happy with how it turned out, no waving or sagging to be seen!


The only downside to this dress is my incessant need to fiddle with it. I’m always smoothing the fabric under the wrapped sides, or adjusting the ties. Its not sitting perfectly in these photos either, probably because we’d just had lunch and I was full of delicious food and not worrying about it! I guess that makes this a more accurate representation of how it looks when being worn…


So there we go, my grown up dress! I think it must be the sleeves and the just below the knee length that make me feel like a proper adult… Does everyone else have clothes that make them feel like that? I’m sure it can’t just be me!

27 thoughts on “Grown up lady dress

  1. I have a navy pencil skirt I made, when I wear it with a matching navy top and heels I always feel like a very important person… doing important things. This is actually the outfit I wore to get my current job šŸ˜‰

  2. I love it and you look stunning in it! Well done. After seeing your version, I’ve just put Kielo on my summer/winter holiday sewing list (South Africa and Europe). Thanks for the insight on changes, I will have to make some of those too… Should we run into each other sometimes soon, I may ask if I can heave a feel of your fabric, I still find selecting the right fabric the hardest…

    1. Thanks Kristina! The fabric is pretty soft for a ponte I think, they have quite a few similar bolts at the Fabric Warehouse. Its so hard picking the right fabric, it gives me so much trouble!

  3. I love the fabric and you do ‘lady that lunches’ so well Kirsten. When I saw the ‘wings’ open an empire line dress popped into my head. I wonder if it’s because dresses that hit below the knee require a lass to don her heels? I tossed my ‘going to the gyno’ dress because the dart was ridiculously optimistic, but I do miss it.

  4. Love the shorter length! I do enjoy a garment that makes one feel like a superwoman. My ninja jumpsuit and recent DVF wrap dress have that effect on me too! Kickarse!

  5. Lovely and tres chic! Actually I fee much the same about my Kielo-which-isn’t-actually-a-kielo (the very similar Style Arc Celine) in dark green ribbed knit, so maybe it’s the whole wrappy thing.

  6. This looks a fab pattern and I’m so temped after seeing this, it’s lovely to know what changes you’ve made as I wouldn’t know where to start on a pattern like this, everybody needs some wings in their wardrobe.

    1. Thanks Lynsey! Its a great pattern. Looking at the photo of it unwrapped made me think of a stingray, which made me laugh! Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to label them wings…

  7. I think it looks great! The fabric really suits the dress. As for it being fiddly, what about a line of vertical top-stitching separating the wings from the dress? Maybe that would hold things in place better? Or instead of top-stitching you could just add some tacks, and it would be basically invisible.

  8. Hi Kristen – this Kielo dress is looking great. I totally agree with your on having clothes that just make your day start off on the right foot and getting stuff done! I pretty sure I had the pleasure of meeting you this weekend at the Ngaio Vintage fair….it was crazy busy, so I apologise for running around like mad woman! I’m sure you’ve got some lovely projects planned with your new fabric… Emma

    1. Thanks Emma! Yes, I was there buying your pretty things šŸ™‚ It was super busy at the fair, I was so glad you had alternative means organised for payment, as I couldn’t get any of the shops in Ngaio to give me cash out! I have all sorts of things planned for that lovely fabric, bring on the warmer weather…

  9. The length is perfect! And I totally understand the fiddling thing. I do that with my Papercut Clover dress, because I cinch it with a belt, then I adjust it every 10 seconds… šŸ™‚ I need to make this dress too and I guess I’ll be fidgety but if it looks as good as yours does then I’ll be happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s