It’s certainly not your run of the mill garment, but I’m having so much fun wearing it around Boston. For some reason I’ve always been more courageous in dressing than other aspects of my life. I think sewing and the almost absolute freedom to create any garment has been a big part of that. Despite being quite shy around classmates back in high school, I didn’t seem to have any problem prancing down the hall in a backless halter dress. How was I allowed to wear such a thing out of the house let alone not be kicked out of class I have no idea! However it happened and I still have the lime green Vogue 9668 view B to prove it. I’ve kept that me-made as an heirloom.
But back to the garment at hand which started with an image (above left) that I found while trolling Pinterest. I just love the entire oversized and cozy look. After a long search I dug up the origins of this dress, Celine Fall 2013 (above right), so you can see it without a coat. However I didn’t find this image until after finishing my dress so I had no idea those ties were actually modified sleeves! Ultimately I prefer the ties, but you can find some pretty fascinating and unusual details in Celine shows. The skirt folds are also quite intriguing when there isn’t a coat covering them up.
As I mentioned I had only the left image when I was planning this project so I was in search of a pattern with a high neck and narrow silhouette that I could add chunky ties to at the side seam. I found one better though because the Kielo wrap dress pattern by Named had all these features plus wrap ties already drafted. Win. I’d planned to buy fabric more true to the original inspiration, but then I saw this gorgeous loose weave wool while shopping at Mill Ends and plans changed.
The Kielo size EUR 34/US 4 fit almost perfectly without alterations however I went ahead and made a couple of modifications to rip-off my inspiration image.
- Ties – These made the most dramatic visual change to the dress. I shortened and widened the pattern piece significantly to 10 1/4″ x 14″. These modified pieces were folded in half, sewn, and attached as described in the pattern.
- Back Vent – I found that the length of the back vent needed to be increased by 3 inches to walk comfortably. I also converted the vent to a kick pleat by extending the vent seam allowances to 2″. I love this threads tutorial for sewing sharp kick pleats. The interfacing really makes a difference.
- Lining – This was a must with itchy wool! The dress is fully lined, but because the pattern pieces were quite wide to allow the dress to wrap around the front I couldn’t finish the armholes with a traditional method. Fortunately Sewaholic came out with this post right as I was puzzling through this problem and I used her bias tape method for finishing.
- Hand Tacking the Wings – To keep this thick wool lying nicely when tied I hand tacked all four layer (wool front & back + lining front & back) together along what would have been the side seams if this dress were not a wrap. If that sentence doesn’t make any sense to you check out the picture below where I’ve open the ties. A couple strategically placed hand tacks help to keep the dress smooth around my body when tied and the wings/ties lying flat and neat. Nice thing about wool, the hand tacks disappear into the loose yarns without any trouble.
- Hem – No tricks here simply shortened the skirt to mid calf length.
- Back Zip – I know, what the!?!? Yes I accidentally put an invisible zip in a dress that didn’t call for one. All I can provide in my defense is that I went on auto-pilot after a quick skim of the instructions. I’ve made a fair number of dresses so if nothing strikes me as out of the ordinary in the prescribed construction I don’t follow the instructions step by step while sewing. I guess this could be a good argument for starting to do that again. Ha! Now I have a useless back zip, super.
Oh and one last note, this pattern has 3/8″ seam allowances. That always gets me!
Anyone else trying new silhouettes lately? Happy sewing.
Supplies: Kielo Wrap Dress Pattern, 2 1/4 yds 60″ wool, 3 yds 45″ gold lining, 1 pack gold bias tape, 1 yd touch of gold II interfacing, thread. Styling: Clip on ear cuffs thrifted, 1950s gold shoes thrifted.