Kia ora fellow sewing mavens!
Being a gal “workin’ for the man” full time, I’m somewhat lacking in sewing time (and let’s be honest, patience), I want each pattern I purchase to work multiple ways, preferably straight out of the packet. I want those garments to work on a drizzly Auckland Monday in July, or a humid February Sunday brunch. Also, obviously, I want to look fabulous the whole time… *cough cough* can’t be that hard surely?
Actually I think I’ve found a wee pearler. The Kalle shirt and shirt dress from Closet Case Patterns started popping up on my radar a while back, although at first, it didn’t really grab me. The dress felt too short , the high low hem too dramatic… and I’m as likely to wear a cropped top as I am to give up cheese & Chardonnay…
BUT, I saw a really quite lovely dress version online I’ve since sadly managed to lose in the ether that is Pinterest. It was longer than the pics on the packet, and the seamstress talked about the VAST amount of ease in the pattern. Interest piqued!
Pattern name: Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress by Closet Case Patterns
Size range: 0-20 which is 31″/24″/33″ to 46″/39″/48″ (79/61/84 to 117/99/122 cm)
What size did you make? I made the 18 which is 44″/37″/46″. My measurements are actually 44″/40″/50″, and it fits a treat. Yep, that much ease!
What are your measurements, height, and body type? I’m 5’5″ (166 cm), and am all about the curves, full bust (16DD), a wee tum and generous hips and thighs (I’m less Apple, more Brie…?). I also have very generous biceps, so often require a full bicep adjustment.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take? For the dress version in blue linen I added 5 cm in length front and back. It was the work of minutes, I just cut each piece at the lengthen/shorten line and measure out 5 cm. Next time I would probably add another cm to the front piece only as I like my knees covered. But best of all? No bicep adjustment!!!
What fabric did you use? The blue dress version is a lovely soft laundered linen, the red tunic is a crisper poplin.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you? Good instructions. Clear, logical, and I was particularly impressed with the instructions for the easy collar assembly, which I would use on other shirts/shirt-dresses in future. I was concerned the bias on the curved hem would drive me to drink but it’s actually really straight forward and gives a lovely finish. The only bit I found slightly tricky was the cuffs on the sleeves, although once I stepped back and stopped overthinking it, they were fine. However its one area I didn’t find the line drawings OR sewalong especially helpful.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape? I love the fit, its generous without being ridiculously loose, skimming over my curves really nicely. The thing I was most concerned with was the sleeve fit: would they end too far up my arm? I think the point they hit means I would actually be comfortable wearing either of these versions without any additional coverage. But the ease means I can also wear the linen dress with a merino jersey underneath, with boots and tights this is a perfect work outfit for a chilly Auckland winter. The fullness in the tunic makes it perfect to wear with skinny jeans!
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make? I will definitely make this one again, I’d like a silky version in pretty rayon for spring (but you won’t be seeing the cropped version in my wardrobe any time soon…).
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up? I found the sewalong on the Closet Case Patterns website really helpful , it’s great indie designers are doing these, it does make a big difference for more visual learners like myself.
However, I think it would be great when doing sewalongs if designers thought a bit more about the contrast between the fabric and thread, particularly view on a smaller screen like a phone, rather than what looks the most visually pleasing. Sewing an example where it’s impossible to tell where the seam is on a dark coloured fabric rather defeats the purpose (which I found on the green cuff example, I couldn’t tell what was going on). I don’t want to sound super critical as often a lot of time had clearly gone into these, but I do think it would be something to consider going forward.
Pattern Rating (1 is the lowest score, 5 the highest)
Size Range: size 20 isn’t great, but do bear in mind the amount of ease!
Instructions: 4 clear, concise and a helpful sew along.
Construction Process: 5 came together really logically, especially tricky things like collars and curved hems
Final Fit: 5 perfect as far as I’m concerned (while acknowledging I added length to the dress, it couldn’t have been easier, and that is personal choice, if you want to go shorter, go for it!)
Overall Rating: 4.5, wish the sizing was more inclusive, but other than that, I’ve made two, and will make more, nuff said!