Today I’m sharing a not-at-all-ordinary shirtdress, the Kalle Shirtdress by Closet Case Patterns. Why not ordinary? Well, this pattern is packed with great design details like a dramatic curved hem and an oversized fit. In truth, I made the most traditional version, with sleeves and a button placket all the way down the front. But now that I’ve already tested this pattern once, I’m excited to try some of the other variations. Because they have a lot of details, shirt dresses are fun to sew and a great way to practice new skills. This dress is part of my sewing plans for my upcoming trip to Copenhagen and the pattern is on my 2018 Make Nine list. Two birds, one stone!
The fabric is an olive green tencel that I got from The Fabric Store in Los Angeles. I have an ongoing partnership with them wherein they give me fabric to play around with and I share what I make. I know. I'm very lucky. I genuinely love their shop and their fabric. I always look forward to my visits. The shop is lovely little fabric boutique with the nicest, friendliest staff and just the right amount of fabric (enough variety but not too much to be overwhelming).
This was my first time working with tencel. Before cutting out my dress, I washed and dried it as I normally do, which means I did not take it out promptly and I did leave it in the laundry basket for a while. When I did pull it out there were crease marks that just did not go away. I thought it might be my poor laundry skills or my use of wool dryer balls that caused the creases. But I mentioned it on IG and a few other people said that they’ve had the same experience. I decided to just go with it and embrace the creases. I kind of like that I’ll be able to see the fabric change over time. And it make any wrinkles just look more natural.
I made View C of the pattern and used the Sleeve Expansion pack (the original pattern comes with short cuffs). Heather has a sewalong for this pattern on her blog which is really helpful. I’ve made a few shirt dresses before so I’m familiar with the steps involved and there wasn’t anything really surprising with this one. I did find it really hard to do the burrito method for the yoke because the yoke is rather narrow and I had a lot of dress to roll up inside. If I were making a top, I don’t think it would have been as much of an issue. Also, I used the Archer Shirtdress sewalong for this step because I’ve used it before and it just made a little more sense to me.
I’m pretty proud of the sleeve cuffs. These are not part of the sewalong but I didn’t have any problems. I think this was actually the first time I’ve sewn a tower placket. It doesn’t look 100% perfect on the inside but no one will be able to see that. My buttons are vintage shell buttons from my stash. I inherited a lot of buttons from my grandma and her sisters. I love being able to use them in my projects.
I made a straight size 12, based on my measurements (38.5/28/39). I added 6 inches to the length of the body of the dress but did not add anything to the sleeves. I’m 5’11” and I believe this is drafted for someone who is 5’6”. If I do the sleeves again, I may add .5 to .75 inch in length. The hem is really dramatic, which I love. I wanted the front edge to hit my knee but now that I see it on I think it's too long. I’m seriously considering shortening it 2.5 inches. This pattern, like a lot of others I've seen have you hem the dress before completing all the other steps. I prefer to hem a dress as the very last step because I think you really need to try it on to make sure the length is right. Fortunately, shortening a dress is not difficult.
To be honest, I’m not totally in love with this dress. I love an oversized fit. I mean just look at my own pattern designs, they are very oversized. This one just feels a little dowdy. I think partly it’s the sleeves and partly the length. There’s just a little too much coverage for my taste. I did wear it to work the other day with tights and a coat because it’s been a bit cold here. It was very comfortable to wear all day but didn’t change my feelings about it. I’ll think about it a little more before taking the scissors to it but don’t be surprised if I do. That said I think this is a fantastic pattern and I really want to try other views. Specifically, I’d like to try the popover placket and the cuffs. I think it would be a great basic for warmer months.