Lili-Kielo maxi dress

This one starts with a big old celebrity fabric crush. Atelier Brunette rayon/modal in “Lili” has earned a lot of internet love, and rightly so. It’s a lovely understated print: black with little mustard seed heads blown about in pale grey and red. But the cincher is how it wears. It’s soft and silky and cool to touch, feather-light but drapey and opaque. A dreamy combo. I stalked it and pinned it and kept coming back to it for weeks/months before finally taking the plunge.

Having splashed out on the fabric, I then spent further weeks/months agonising over which pattern to choose to show it off. I ended up settling on the Named Kielo Wrap. I knew I wanted a maxi and this seemed a good choice for a lightweight fabric.

The pattern only has three pieces (front, back and ties) so should have been a quick sew. However this was my first time working with rayon, and I have to admit is intimidated me. I got all spooked by the way it shifted around during the cutting, and then left it cut out for over a month whilst other cotton projects jumped the queue. Finally I womaned up and got stuck in, giving myself a full empty weekend to take it slowly.

Construction started well. I staystitched the neckline and treated the pieces carefully, trying not to stretch anything out. I marked my notches with tailors’ tacks and everything seemed to match up well. BUT the neck and armhole bindings were a reeeeal pain in the backside. I just could not seem to get them in without puckering. I unpicked parts of all three, and one armhole I completely re-did and is still far from perfect. I’m not really sure what I did wrong, but if anyone has tips on inserting bias facings with slippery fabric I’d love to have them!

That being said, I love the end result. It feels elegant and cool in style, yet uber-comfortable to wear, even in CAR where we’re currently averaging 35c (arrrrgh, send ice!) A genius-simple design, which has definitely encouraged me to try more Named patterns. In fact I bought the Helga playsuit pattern last time I was home.

The backdrop for the photos, in case anyone was wondering, is beautiful Segovia in Spain. We were recently there on holiday. It is home to both a Disney-esque castle (in fact one of the castles that is said to have inspired Disney’s design) and this incredible Roman aqueduct. I hiiiiighly recommend a trip for anyone staying in the Madrid/Salamanca area. The food is delicious too, mmmmm jammmmonnnnn…

Siobhan xxx