Kielodoscope Dress (aka The Dress That Taste Forgot)

Hello there!

Somehow, I have made YET ANOTHER Penny raglan:

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Striped Penny, after a full day of wear

I wear that one a lot, too, in case you were wondering.

More miraculously, I have managed to sew a third consecutive pattern from my mega planning post. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? To be fair, had I not started on this dress before our bathroom remodel swung into high gear, it wouldn’t be finished yet–it’s been hectic around here!

One word of warning: this dress is not classic, understated, or tasteful. At all. But I love it!

Behold, the pun-tastic Kielo Wrap Dress which I have dubbed “Kielodoscope”:

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Ta-Dah!!!!

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Wrapping it up!

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Skirt flaps for daysssss

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Wing-a-lings

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Back view of the wing-a-lings

Where do I even start with this one?? I had mentioned in the planning post that I wasn’t really sure if I had a suitable fabric for this pattern: it needs about 2 yards of a light and drapey fabric with at least 20% stretch, and most things I could think of only had about 2 of those qualities. A review of my stash spreadsheet reminded me that I owned this Nicole Miller fabric, and my inner mad scientist began to plot. (Fun Fact: I also totally bought the bright stretch twill version of this fabric, because of course I did. #ALLthepixelatedfabrics) The fabric is described as a chiffon, but it’s not as sheer as I expect a chiffon to be, polyester or not. This polyester/spandex blend has a very “springy” quality to it and the weave is tight, but the fabric drapes pretty well. It IS a woven, and barely has adequate stretch for the pattern’s guidelines. FWIW, I sewed the dress with both my serger and sewing machine. Sewing machine work was done with a straight stitch and a 70/10 Microtex needle.

This project was very much a whim. I got the idea, dug out the fabric and put the PDF together over Labor Day weekend (in between trips to our soon-to-be-remodeled bathroom to work on paint stripping: FML), and cut out the fabric on Labor Day. I worked on it in spurts after that point, but since it’s a pretty quick sew, it came together in no time–I finished it in about 10 days, which for me is pretty quick for a full dress in a woven! All that was left was to make time for pictures, which we did this past Friday!

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Goofing off

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Candid

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Back split

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Portrait pose

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Eeeeew nature!!!

Pattern Alterations

After I got the pattern taped together and cut out, I held the pieces up to my body (which is super scientific, I know) to see how things were looking. It was obvious that the bust point and waist were too high for me (front AND back), so I went ahead and added the necessary 1″ at the bust line on the pattern pieces. This put the bust and waist in the right spots but I needed to re-draw the dart point and legs AND true up the new side seams. Easy enough, but important to consider!

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Revised pattern pieces

However, since Named drafts for a height of 5’8″ and I am at most 1″ taller than that, this added torso length makes the dress almost too long for me. After wearing it for these pictures (in flats), I am happy with the length but definitely wouldn’t want it any longer.

I also changed the slope of the shoulders. Named patterns tend to angle too steeply upward at the inner shoulder/neck for my body, which I notice in my Inaris. (In other words, my shoulders are less sloped than what they are drafting for.) So I made this change to compensate for that quirk.

Finally, I lengthened the tie pieces at the start. They just looked really short to me, even after taking into account that they are cut on the fold. I wrap them around me from the front, around the back, and then tie them once they come back around to the front. As drafted, they measure roughly 33 3/4 inches (not including seam allowances). The final length of my ties is a whopping 49 inches and I love them. 🙂 I actually had to go back and measure those, since I just cut them out on the fly, LOL.

Additional Project Notes

I didn’t really bother with pattern matching with this fabric; I only had the bare minimum 2 yards (Named calls for 2 yards at 60″ wide, and I had 2 yards at 58″ wide) and at first, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough. I did have enough, but only just enough. Plus the cutting person at Joann’s didn’t even out the already-cut end of the yardage before measuring, so one end was less usable for a “cut on the fold” application because of the inward angle on one layer’s raw edge. Needless to say, I laid the two main pieces out on the fabric together BEFORE cutting anything, LOL. That’s what happens when you buy fabric without a plan, folks! 😛 I considered myself lucky not to have to piece the ties together, especially after deciding to lengthen them!

The colors move on the diagonal–I cut this dress on-grain with the stretch–which made it that much more of a challenge to line up the bands of color. Combined with the lack of extra yardage, that meant taking a more relaxed approach to “stripe” matching. So I did! This is most evident at CB, where the diagonal color bands are offset by a few inches. :-/

Finally, I increased the height of the back split: I couldn’t walk in it as it was drafted!! (Well, I could walk, but only Geisha-style.) The original split measures 15 3/4 inches, and mine now measures 18 1/2 inches (both measured from the hem once sewn). I also made my own bias out of leftover fabric, and used that to finish the armholes and neckline. To cut down on bulk and because of concerns about pressing a sharp crease in poly/lycra binding strips, I serged one side of the bias binding before attaching it, and then topstitched from the outside to finish off those areas. Not super classy–what about this dress is?!?!?–but effective nonetheless. 🙂

For the record, all my pattern measurements are taken from the EUR32 size–they may be different on another size.

If I make this again, I want to re-angle the darts toward the side seams about 1/2″ at the apex (the root is in a good spot). Without getting too gorey here, I will say that the apex as-is is over the edge of the “bullseye” rather than the center of it. 😉 I also have issues with all my bras and this dress!! I have one bra that fits my breasts well (I call it my “Honest Bra” because there is no padding, LOLOL) but it makes me look droopy and sad in this dress. My other bras really don’t fit–they’re too big and the cups buckle due to lack of, er, “filling”–and in this dress, you can really tell unless I tighten the straps up really tight, as we did for these photos. (Yes, “we”: I needed a bit of help with that!) So that’s a bummer, and I may need to give myself a little more ease (width-wise) from shoulder to bust point in any future versions to skim over that problematic area.

Gripes

I think that, as sewers, many of us find comfort in the presence of directions: they help us get from point A to point B as the designer envisioned. But often, it is best to trust your experience (assuming you have it) and think critically about what the directions are telling you to do before you do it. Case in point: the Kielo instructions tell you to finish the raw edges of the side seams, hem, shoulder, and center back seam allowances before you do any sewing on those seams. And, instead of doing what I would normally do–think about it, and decide whether or not I agreed–I did as I was told. This was a waste of time and serger thread and electricity, y’all. I should have just sewn the side and center back seams on my serger to start with, although I did use my sewing machine for the shoulders after serging the allowances separately so they would lay as flat as possible. Luckily, I realized the wastefulness of those instructions before I got to the hem; I turned that raw edge under 1/4″, and then turned up the remaining 1/2″ and pressed again. Much better!

I also should have been more critical of the order of events, but ultimately found those aspects of the instructions much less annoying than the finishing BS noted above!

For all my complaining there, I am a proper Named fangirl–I love their work, their design and drafting sensibility, and pretty much everything about them (especially now that their PDFs come layered). So if the worst thing I can say about their patterns is that I don’t like some of the instructions, I’m still a very happy bear! ❤

And now, for some outtakes!

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Artful (Read: Blurry) backside

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What Tom gets when he says, “Say Cheese!!!”

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Table acrobatics?

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Tangled.

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My favorite pic, tbh…

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The colors!!!!!

So that’s my Kielodoscope dress! Eye-searing, yes, but I like it. And it’s done just in time for cooler weather that isn’t sleeveless-dress friendly, LOL.

What have you been sewing? Do you ever buy fabric without a plan? 

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Double Good Plan Success!

By which I mean, I finished multiple items that were ALL in my planning post!

I know, right? I can hardly believe that either. But it’s true: I have made 3 garments from my encyclopedic planning post. And even though 2 of the pieces are the same pattern made in the same fabric but in different colors, I think that’s worth celebrating!

And now Named has gone and smashed up my planned queue with their Fall collection–I literally only left 1 pattern unpurchased! O_o They get me when it comes to Fall stuff, apparently…Anyway! Back to business.

Penny Raglan x 2

First, let’s talk about the least-exciting of the two patterns: the Penny Raglan. Thrilling she is not, but function is her jam and I can appreciate that. I think a shirt like this can be very wearable with mini skirts, slim trousers, and skinny or boyfriend jeans. Bonus points if you throw in a slouchy boyfriend-style blazer! The trick to this pattern–apart from deciding that an aggressively over-sized raglan t-shirt is the garment for you and rocking the shit out of it–is in the fabric you choose. The pattern hilariously calls for fabrics with at least 20% stretch (maybe I’m being a bitch, but 18″ of positive ease doesn’t strike me as a situation where I need anything even remotely approaching 20% stretch; YMMV), but the most important factors here are drape and weight. If you want to make this pattern, I advise making it up in the lightest knit fabric you can manage. My I-wish-it-had-been-wearable sample was made in a cotton blend jersey–something close to a nice interlock weight, I would say–and I looked like I was wearing a brick of fabric. An unflattering red/navy striped brick of fabric, to be exact. 😦 If I’m dealing with bricks, they’d better be made of cheese or I’m not happy.

Anyway.

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Big ole shirt

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Sheer, too.

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Goofing off

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Back neckband, V.2

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Best Penny!

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Dress form side view

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Innards!

 

Cool, right? At least I feel cool in them. 😉 Both tops are made from silk/modal blend jerseys that I bought at Fabric Mart a couple years ago. This stuff is amaaaaaaazing to wear, just FYI. It’s also the perfect weight for a top this shape. The first three pics are of the pink version, and the rest are the rose gold (aka THE BEST) version.

The rose gold Penny is my favorite not just because of the color (which matches a pair of shoes I have–swoon!), but because I did the best job on it. The pink one had been a highly-wearable trial, and while I wear it proudly, there are some things I could have done better: for one, there is a small tuck at the back of the neckline because I didn’t smooth things out enough when attaching the band. I also set the differential too high on my serger and the side seams look slightly ruched as a result–oops. My final crime is that I did very narrow hems for the sleeves and hemline; they’re fine and un-puckered, but they don’t look as “nice” as a deeper hem would have. I remedied all of these things on the rose gold Penny. For hems, I didn’t whip out my stretch twin needle, even though I have one. Here is what I did instead:

  1. Added extra hem allowance–1″ for everything.
  2. Marked 1/2″ up from the raw edge, then turned that under the final 1/2″ and pinned in place, stretching slightly as I pinned.
  3. Basted the hem in place near the top of the fold, stretching slightly as I went along and removing pins as I moved.
  4. Gave that sucker a good press from the wrong side.
  5. Sewed the hem from the right side at approx. 3/8″ to ensure I caught the top fold, stretching slightly as I went along.
  6. Pressed again.

Since none of my hems need to stretch, that method worked for me. If these were fitted knit tops, I would have tried the twin needle. Failing that, zig-zag or lightning stitch.

Pattern Alterations

As with the last time I made a Grainline pattern, I needed to add some length. 2″ was added at the lengthen/shorten line, plus I cut the pattern pieces at the hemline of the largest size, PLUS I added the 1″ hem allowance to preserve all that extra length. My height is concentrated in my torso, and Grainline tops just hit me at an awkward spot without alterations.

I also brought the neckline up significantly after the “striped brick” trial version. I felt that the original neckline was too droopy on me to be flattering. I added 1″ all the way around and am much happier with the look now. So hooray for 2 whole wearable shirts!! This pattern is super easy to sew up, especially if you and your serger are on speaking terms. (My Juki and I are still in the honeymoon phase…) I got 2 done in rapid succession and have a 3rd in-progress!

Moss Mini Skirt

And now for the exciting piece: a Moss mini skirt!

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Moss mini!! And legs!!!!

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Fly front

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Back view, complete with bunchy, tucked-in tank top

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Sorry for the pose–I was itchy

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Beautiful serged innards!

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Full (fly) frontal

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Back insides; didn’t realize JR was so bodacious from the back!!

I am really thrilled with this one with ONE exception: I wish I had used a jeans button instead of a hook and bar. Without a button it almost reads “Tennis Skirt” and no. Just no. But I can live with it. (Read: I hand-sewed that fucker on and I’m not uninstalling it.) This fabric is a stretch cotton-blend twill from Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics. I’ve had good luck shopping with them for the most part–just BELIEVE their descriptions regarding weight. And swatch if you can if color matching is of great importance to your project. Learned that one the hard way once! You can get some great stuff there though, for sure. The quality of this material is incredible, and I paid $3/yard per my records. Boom.

I would like to take this opportunity to bitch about the zipper situation on this pattern. The instructions tell you to buy a 6″ zipper. My opinion? Buy a 4″ or 5″ and save yourself the waste of having to cut off the top of the 6″ zip they tell you to buy. I cannot for the life of me understand this whole “buy it too long and cut it off” philosophy. We are capable of installing the correct length of zipper to begin with, you guys. We totally are. For the record, I used a 4″ zipper for my skirt. My fly functions correctly. A 5″ is probably okay too in terms of not having extra zipper to cut off, but I will be sticking with 4″.

The pockets, however, are shout-out worthy. They attach in a way that keeps them in place all the time, and it’s awesome.

Pattern Alterations

Once again, length was added. My legs are short for my height IMO, but I wanted to make sure this mini was going to be appropriate to wear at the office. 2″ were added at the lengthen/shorten line. After trying it on unhemmed, I decided to take a 1″ hem (two folds at 1/2″ each) and I’m happy with the length; the pattern has you take two 3/8″ folds for the hem. I will try it at the original length though, just for fun. 😀

I also ended up taking the waist area in about 1″ before installing the waistband. I could use another 1″ removed I think, so I will make those changes before Moss 2.0 is cut out. The pattern sits below the natural waist, and while I thought I might need to make this type of adjustment, I didn’t want to do that before trying things on! Better safe than sorry, right?

I also did some gratuitous topstitching on the skirt (not in the instructions) and I like it. Definitely keeps it from looking like a tennis skirt. 😉

So there you have it! I got some of my planned garments done before Named went and got me all in a tizzy about their Fall line. I’ll still try to stick to the original spirit of the plan, but we may have some last-minute substitutions over here. 😀

Before I go, here’s a gratuitous Mulder pic:

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“Hi, Rhonda!!!” =)

Thanks for reading! ❤

How is your sewing going this month? Do you have one favorite pattern company that just seems to “get” you and your style?