Saturday, May 14, 2016


I have a problem which is reasonably pronounced. Apparently I am incapable of not altering things:

This is the Kielo Wrap Dress - really.
Even before (perhaps, especially before) I make a first muslin, this is what happens. Every time.

Sure, part of the issue is the inevitable scrap paper heap that comes of putting together a pdf pattern.

But if you look closely, there's more:

It occurred to me that there would be little point in just altering the armscye curve (which isn't particularly straightforward with this pattern, even if there are lines that delineate it for you).

It's drafted for a gazelle or a woman of 5"9'. With a long waist. Whatevs. I cut a modified Eur 40 / US 8.

Pre-Construction Pattern Alterations:
  • I removed 1 5/8" length from the waist (waistline is marked on the pattern). 
  • I also removed 1 5/8" of depth from the armscye (also marked on the pattern but tricky to feel comfortable about in advance of constructing the garment).
  • Then I hacked off the bottom (it's a maxi dress) so that the end result should hit slightly above the knee, once hemmed.
  • I had to shorten the back dart by lowering its upper start point, because I took the length out of the upper back by removing it from the armscye depth. 
  • I don't know if I'm going to need to dart the front because I worked hard to get the necessary width at the full bust by comparing it against my sloper. If I do need to dart, I'll prob pick it up on the fly, first time around, cuz I can't predict how long or deep it will need to be - nor do I know where to put it. 
  • I trued up the sides to maintain the size 8 width.
  • It occurs to me that I should probably remove a wedge of 1" from the lower back, tapering to nothing at the side seam, to account for the additional front length I need to deal with the boobs, vs my short waist and back body. Since the back piece isn't cut on the fold, this won't be an issue. It might also be overkill given all of the other alterations I've already made, on spec. Mind you, I've seen some versions of this that are too long in the back - albeit, more in the upper back than lower, given that there are waist ties at the low back to obfuscate that issue.
For starters - way to cut down on fabric consumption! I bet I'll be able to make this with 1.5 yards of fabric. I'll let you know.

Secondly, it's not a quick sew if I spend 2 hours modifying the freakin' pattern. (Now I've got to wait a while to ensure that I consider what I've done because I've cut into my fabric, immediately, too many times not to realize that I generally need to fix something after letting things sit for a while.) No question, I'm not quick at sewing, but I'm that much less quick because it takes me forever just to get to the point when the sewing begins.

You may say: Kristin, you're so considered. This will make your finished garment so much better. The truth is that, yeah, sometimes that's true. And other times, it just turns into its own sort of mess. So I can't really rely on that assumption - though in some ways I do or I wouldn't bother to constantly amend things before I start.

At any rate, wish me luck.

And while you're at it - please tell me whether you do this insanity too.

(PS: I do this crazy sort of alteration with knitting ALL the time and I still manage to be relatively quick at the craft. I wonder what it is about sewing that keeps me slow??)


  1. Sometimes I suspect that I enjoy the pattern tracing/altering process more than the actual sewing. After all, my alterations are perfect until I disprove it by making a poorly fitting garment...

    1. "After all, my alterations are perfect until I disprove it by making a poorly fitting garment..."

      birdmommy, LOL!

      Kristin, you are nuts. That's what makes these sewing posts exciting to watch, like a murder mystery. The viewer roots for the victim/garment. Suspense builds during the twists and turns. Everyone roots for a happy ending!

    2. Hilarious! Given that the procedural crime drama is my fave genre, I love this analogy :-)

  2. Lord - that's genius! So true!

  3. I make a lot of preemptive alterations, but not as extreme as you! And, sometimes they bite my in the butt. On the other hand, when they do create their own issues at least they're different from my usual fitting issues. ;)

    1. What a good way of looking at it! :-) More like research than fitting.

  4. I'm modifying this right now, too, and I agree with you that it's not a very quick sew! I've been a fan of Named for a long time, but I've found that they don't provide as much modification support as other independent pattern companies. It's not that they don't put out good work, but their patterns are a little trickier to alter.

    It's a good thing that this dress is so popular and it seems like many of us need similar alterations - especially those of us shorter than 5'8"! Your construction notes have been very helpful as a comparison tool, thank you for being so detailed!

    1. Happy that the notes were useful! Enjoy your wonderful dress.