Kielo Wrap Dress Nursing Hack

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Today Elizabeth is sharing her brilliant nursing hack of a very popular pattern, the Kielo Wrap Dress. It’s an easy one and we’re certain you’ll love it!

It’s often said that “necessity is the mother of invention”.  The sewing community has come up with countless clever pattern alterations to make beautiful clothes practical for nursing.  I’m delighted to share with you an easy hack for making a nursing friendly Kielo Wrap Dress.

The Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Clothing is one of the darlings of the indie sewing world.  The pattern’s concept is simple but the wow-factor and elegance of the finished dress is almost off the charts.  The Kielo looks fabulous on all sorts of body shapes and sizes and works in a range of fabrics. As Lisa highlighted in her most recent blog post here, the Kielo is completely adjustable at the waist and quick to sew making it an ideal maternity garment.

I’ve admired the Kielo since I first discovered the online sewing community in 2017.  There was only one thing holding me back. Wearing the Kielo as drafted would definitely make my milk bar “closed until further notice”.  I kept an eye out for Kielo nursing hacks online but found a surprising lack of resources on this topic. The Kielo was cast into the “one day after nursing” section of my sewing list.

And then this summer we were invited to a wedding on a beach in New Zealand.  A maxi-length Kielo immediately sprung to mind. I envisioned the iconic flying squirrel pose. Nursing access was a nut I had to crack. Necessity required invention.

A number of sewists have added pockets to their Kielo and their modifications inspired my nursing hack.  I left a small section of each “wing” unsewn in roughly the same place as others have added inseam pockets.  To feed our baby, I simply loosened off or untied my dress and moved the unsewn section across my bust. He was able to latch through the gap in the seam.  When the dress is tied again, the unsewn section is barely noticeable in the magical Kielo wrap.

How to Sew

  1. Finish each of your “wings” separately between the armscye and tie insertion point.
  2. When you join your front and back wings, leave a small section unsewn.  My unsewn section was 5.5” long and centered between the armscye and the tie insertion point.
  3. Stitch down the seam allowances within the gap.  This step helps the two sides to lie flat together when you wrap your dress.  I used a zig zag stitch on my busy floral fabric but you could slip stitch the seam allowances by hand for an invisible join.

If you’re an avid fan of the Kielo and already have one, two or more in your wardrobe, you could easily make them all nursing friendly.  Simply unpick a small section of each wing. There are some excellent tutorials online about how to unpick an overlock or serged stitch. It only takes a small gap in the wings to open up the milkbar in the fabulous Kielo Wrap Dress. That’s a win for mother and baby squirrel alike!

Thank you for sharing your hack Elizabeth! Want to make your own Kielo, for maternity or nursing? Find the pattern in our shop!

Chime in!