When I was browsing Hart’s website trying to figure out what I was going to make for Sew Your Hart Out September the Dana Jersey line immediately jumped out to me because of it’s contents - 55% cotton, 45% modal.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of feeling modal knit before, let me tell you, it’s one of the softest knits out there. It’s known for being fluid and drapey while remaining cool and breathable. It’s easily one of my favourite fabrics and is something I’m always on the hunt for. I decided on the ocean green colourway because I thought it would work well year-round. Pair it with sandals and it screams summer, pair it with a red lip and you could wear it to Christmas dinner - talk about a versatile hue!
Once I had decided on the Dana Jersey, I had a hunch I should try and make a fall maxi dress with it. After all, nothing screams absolute comfort like being smothered head to toe in modal.The Kielo dress by Named Patterns seemed like an obvious choice - the wrap style looked super comfortable and would highlight the drape of this knit. Plus, I liked the versatility of being able to tie the wrap dress in different ways for a fresh look.
In my opinion, it can be hard to find jersey knits that are appropriate for dresses - especially ones that are form-fitting over the hips like the Kielo (depending on how you’ve tied it). If you pick a knit that’s too light it’s going to cling in all of the wrong places, but if you pick something too thick like a ponte knit it won’t drape properly and runs the risk of looking too boxy. Finding a middle ground can tricky - so I’m happy to report that this Dana Jersey performed perfectly on the dress!
Since it’s medium weight, but made out of mostly natural fibers, it’s warm enough for fall/winter while still being a breathable transitional fabric. This line would be perfect for any of the dress patterns in your stash that recommend a jersey knit. Plus, since it comes in a bunch of colours it can become your go-to knit (I know it’s quickly become mine!)
Looking at the finished dress, I’m obsessed with the versatility of the pattern. I like wearing it tied at the front for a more casual look, or tied at the back for a fancier feel. Regardless of where I tie it, I like to wrap the ties around my waist once more to cinch and shape the dress a little more. Since the ties stretch it’s still comfortable, but I think the extra shaping makes the dress a little more flattering. After whipping up this dress I made another in a woven fabric and, again, found the same to be true.
In terms of construction, I kept things pretty close to the pattern instructions. I cut a size 34 at the bust and graded to a 36 at the waist and hips. I find that Named patterns can run a little small, so when in doubt I cut up a size. I made two adjustments to the construction. Firstly, I raised the back slit up considerably higher than the pattern suggest.This makes the dress a whole lot easier to walk around in. I also finished the neckline using clear elastic instead of bias binding - I hate bias tape, and using clear elastic was an easy way to finish the neckline and keep it stable over the long term.
This pattern was a breeze to fit because of it’s smart design details. For example, having the bust darts ending in the armscye makes it easy to adjust the fit as you go. Having a center back seam and fisheye darts made it easy to customize the way the back looks and feels. A lot of knit patterns don’t include details like these since stretchy fabric is usually much more forgiving to fit, but I think the inclusion of these details makes the dress look a million times better. I really appreciated the way they shaped the final pattern.
Now that I have one knit Kielo, I’ve got to admit… I want a million! Preferably in the black, dusty pink, dark rose, and feather grey colourways. If you’ve been debating picking up some of this Robert Kauffman Dana Jersey, you’re in luck, because it’s 10% off this week for Sew Your Hart Out September - time to go whip up some comfy and cozy fall dresses!