Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jungle January: Kielo Wrap Dress

Kielo wrap dress?   Certainly.

Jungle print?   Is an Aussie-bush-floral-sort-of print close enough?  With a touch of rope?  The rope part sounds right - but is that going to be enough to swing it?

January?   I finished this dress on the 31st January, and did quite a bit of its sewing in January, but it was started months ago. And it's being blogged in February (only just February though!). Is that January enough? 

Let's have a look at some garment photos, and we'll just assume all the paperwork's in order.

First up, with the ties at the front:

Then with the ties at the back:

And then with the ties as hand entertainment, or <<amuse-mains>>: 

So, as you already know, this is the Kielo wrap dress by Named patterns.   Judging by all the versions of this dress I've seen on other people's blogs, this dress pattern is a bit magical - it works in knits and wovens, full length or cropped, sleeveless or sleeved, and on all body types.

I bought the paper version of this pattern some time last year (or maybe even the year before), traced my size (EUR 38), and then waited to think of the right fabric.  Looking at my traced pattern pieces now, I don't think I added seam allowances - I'd only skimmed the instructions when I traced the pattern, and the snippet about adding seam allowances was in the middle of a paragraph that I didn't read properly - and this is probably why my dress is very fitted around the lower legs. Oops!

Removing about 7 cm from the hemline to bring the dress to a length I prefer to maxi length didn't really help, so if I make another Kielo I'll have to remember to add seam allowances and I might also make the slit in the centre back higher for easier striding.

The fabric is one that I've been holding in the stash for a long time - possibly a few years even.  I bought it from Tessuti fabrics, initially just a small remnant, and then more because I loved it and the remnant didn't look enough for a dress.  It feels soft and drapey and natural, and I vaguely recall it being a silk cotton mix.

My beautiful fabric was too transparent by itself, so under the dress is a 3/4 lining in a medium weight champagne coloured satin lining. The lining was made as another Kielo dress that stops at about knee length, just above the walking slit, then sewn to the dress proper at the neckline and armholes.

If you look closely you can see where the fabric's background colour darkens, below knee length, where the champagne coloured lining ends.

When I was sewing the outer and the lining together my fabrics stretched out in the shoulder straps and neckline, but I took the shoulders up about 3 or 4 cm and that fixed the problems without messing up the design.

My side seams also stretched and moved as I sewed them - I don't sew fine fabric too often, so I was probably being too cavalier with it - and that movement made me decide to skip the back darts. I think their absence is absolutely fine in this light fabric.

The natural rope ties were sewn into the seams, and the points where these ties come through were later hand stitched to the points of the lining.  The ties are wide and made of cotton - I think this a kind of webbing that's sometimes used in bag making, but please correct me if I'm wrong -  and I'm really happy with the way they juxtapose the airy dress.

To save cutting into my second piece of this fabric I pieced the upper back of the dress.  I wasn't able to match the print so I matched the colours instead:

And that's it - an imperfect dress that I'm very happy with!


And now I have a question for you, my clever readers.

I've been invited at short notice to a fancy cocktail party with people I don't know (I'll be going as Mr UpSewLate's plus one), and I'm wondering, would this dress be appropriate, or would it be better to go the traditional route with something knee length and fitted - or something else entirely? What would you wear to a cocktail party?

Happy sewing, and see you soon

- Gabrielle x

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mustard Pants (Burda 7214)

Yesterday was a public holiday in Australia, and although the weather was fine and going to the beach on Australia Day is a very Australian tradition, my kids wouldn't have a bar of it.  The new school year is about to start. and I suspect they are trying to eke the holidays out for as long as possible by avoiding doing fun stuff; everyone knows time flies when you're having fun!

No matter; I spent the day sewing, and finally managed to finish off a pair of pants started ages ago and very nearly finished in December.

This is how they were looking in December - so, so, SO close to done!  All that remained to do was the buttonhole and button:

The pants are now finished, and I'm pleased they're done, but putting them on again reminded me why I hadn't finished them earlier - I don't like them. The colour is not doing me any favours, and the fit on my backside is not good at all.

The fit seems to have got worse since December - it could be that I've changed weight (probably) but it could also be that ironing the pants stretched out the fabric in the backside.

Let me show you how they were looking yesterday afternoon:

In these front / side views you can see the front crotch curve is too long; that's why I get a fold of fabric on my upper thigh when I move:

There's also a lot of wrinkling on the side seams. The wrinkling alongside my knees is fine, but the wrinkling at top of my thighs unfortunately relates to the problem at the back of the pants:

There's a lot of extra fabric there - my backside is flatter than the pattern :(. 

I know what to do to fix these issues; I had to work on exactly the same problems when I did a pants fitting class using a Vogue pattern. I wish I'd compared the Burda pattern pieces to the Vogue ones I'd adjusted to fit, but I was too lazy! Next time... 

Although I'm not very happy with the fit of these pants on me, I think this is a terrific pattern, and I've seen it look great on many others.  I really like the proportions of the waistband and yoke (I hate a long yoke!), and the order of construction is very sensible, allowing you to take the pants in to fit at the CB seam rather than just the side seams. 

Speaking of taking in, I should mention the adjustments I made to view A of this pattern. I started with a size 40 (EUR)/ 14 (US), corresponding to my measurements, and then I: 
  1. lengthened the legs (I don't recall how much, but it would have been at least 5 cm for my 174 cm height);
  2. omitted the knee patches;
  3. omitted the zips on the lower leg side seams;
  4. omitted the zips just below the front pockets; 
  5. omitted the belt carriers because I wasn't liking the pants enough to bother - though if I'd ended up liking these, a belt would have been useful, as the pants sit at the low waist;
  6. took in the pants at the side seams by 1 cm for the full length of the pants, suggesting I should have gone down a size;
  7. took in the pants at CB by another 1 cm, tapering to nothing at the junction with the CF seam; and
  8. removed 3.5 cm in the height of the pockets after pinning the originals in place, ready to top stitch. On fitted pants, my preference is for the back pockets to finish ON the backside, and not encroach into thigh territory. For someone with more curve in their backside than me the original pockets should have been fine. 

There's one other part of the pattern I'd change if I made these again, and that's the front pockets. The pocket bags are deep and their outlines show through the front legs in my stretch cotton, so next time around I'd make the pocket bags from a much lighter fabric and perhaps also make the pants themselves from a heavier fabric.  I'd also change the shape of the pocket opening, as I find it quite low and very wide - I prefer a smaller opening to that pocket.

I'll leave you now with some "in the flat" photos so you can see the details properly, including my dodgy repair to the inside of the waistband at CB where I'd accidentally snipped away fabric, and the place where I left the seam finishing too late:  


Happy sewing!

- Gabrielle x

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