How to Sew a Kila Dress

How to Sew a Kila Dress

This content was originally written for Indiesew and has been adapted for this blog. It was originally published on September 6, 2018.

The Kila Tank has proven to be such a workhorse in my wardrobe that I wanted a way to wear to dress up the design. Today I'm showing you how I modified the Kila Tank pattern pieces to sew both a midi-length, curved hem Kila Dress and a basic mini-length Kila Dress! 

Here's the curved hem, midi length Kila dress:

Midi Length Kila Dress | Sewing Pattern by Allie OlsonMidi Kila Dress | How to Sew a Knit Racerback DressThick Grey Rib Knit Dress | Sewing Tutorial

And here's the black Kila mini dress:

Black Mini Racerback Dress | Kila Tank by Allie OlsonMini Kila Tank Dress | Tutorial by Allie OlsonKila Tank Racerback View | How To ShortenKila Tank Dress by Allie Olson

How to Sew a Midi or Mini Kila Dress

To decide how much length I wanted to add to my Kila Dress, I measured from the hem of the tank top (it hits me roughly mid-hip) down to my lower shin. I decided that an adding 22" to the Kila Tank would create the perfect length midi dress and that 10" would work for the mini.

I also wanted a curved hem for the midi dress, so after measuring down 22" from the center of both front and back bodices, I curved the hem up 4" at the side seams.

For the mini dress I wanted a straight hem, so I cut that straight across.

After making these adjustments, my pattern pieces looked like this:

How to Lengthen the Kila Tank into a Dress

Then I cut out the fabric using these modified pattern pieces and sewed the dress exactly per the pattern instructions.

I do have one tip for sewing a curved hem on a thick rib knit like this. I use Heat N Bond Soft Stretch to tack the hem down before sewing and make sure not to stretch the hem at all during the hemming process. This results in a hem that lays flat and is easy to sew.

That's it! Quickest pattern hack ever.

Tips for Sewing with Thick Rib Knits

Thicker rib knits like these do tend to stretch out more while sewing. I recommend a few things to set you up for success:

  • You may want to size down in your garment one or two sizes. I wish I had sewn a size smaller than what my measurements put me in for the grey midi dress. The weight of the dress pulls it down a bit in the neckline and armscye.
  • If you're using a serger, be sure to adjust your serger settings to accommodate this bulky fabric. Crank that differential feed setting to the max!
  • If you're using a sewing machine, use a walking foot to make sure the fabric isn't stretched at all while sewing.

If your fabric does stretch out a bit after sewing, throw it in a hot wash cycle and hot tumble dry cycle. It will likely snap back to its original state.

Happy sewing!