I was very late to the Kalle party and only made my first version last summer, over 2 years after the pattern release. Despite the fabric I used washing badly I have worn it absolutely LOADS and that’s really saying something as I have barely dressed in anything other than pyjamas for the last 8 months!
Although another Kalle shirtdress wasn’t on my immediate ‘to sew’ list, I had been thinking of making another version for a while and I was keen to try out the sleeve expansion. As soon as Merchant and Mills dropped this beautiful 100% cotton woven in India, I just had to buy some. I knew the indigo blue, red, yellow and peach check on a warm creamy white background would suit my skin-tone perfectly and be the ideal weight for the shirtdress I had in mind.
I thought £12 per metre was very reasonable, so I ordered 2.5m as the fabric is only 116cm wide. I wish I had bought 3m as it took me a FIVE HOUR game of pattern Tetris to cut everything out AND carefully place the checks, but I managed it and didn’t waste a single scrap!
This really was an absolute dream to sew. I knew I was happy with the size 4 fit of my first Kalle, so I didn’t have to think about making any changes or adjustments and printing and assembling the additional sleeve pattern pieces required minimal effort. The drafting, instructions and construction of the pattern are top class and every single notch and seam went together beautifully. I wasn’t in a rush to get the dress finished and I had two full, uninterrupted days to sew, so I took my time and enjoyed every single minute.
I joked on my Instagram story that I had a #sewingboner the entire time I was making my Kalle, but I really did! The way the checks were lining up, the finish I achieved on the collar, the pocket and sassy little label, that curved bias finish hem, not to mention the neatest tower plackets I have ever sewn – all of these details were really getting my motor running!
I’m particularly proud of my collar points as they are the sharpest I have ever managed to achieve. This is down to a very cool ‘thread’ trick I learnt on the Closet Core blog – big thanks to Barbara of Rocking Stitch for mentioning the tutorial on one of her posts! I will definitely be using this method for all future collar sewing.
The icing on the cake is the perfect little buttons. Although I love buttons, I am pretty picky about their aesthetic and I have found it quite tricky to match buttons online during the pandemic. I had 5 of these 11mm corozo beauties in my Sewing Weekender goody bag, kindly sponsored by Maven Patterns and thankfully they still had some stock in their online shop, so I was able to buy another 10 to complete my shirt – thank you, Mrs Maven!
I flipping LOVE my finished dress. Although the fabric isn’t a brushed cotton it’s got a lovely snuggly feel to it and it’s super cosy to wear. It looks nice over jeans and boots for the colder days and there is room for another layer underneath too. I think it will look lovely with leggings and flip flops in the spring and I can see myself wearing it an awful lot, year round. What a winner! Have you made a Kalle yet? Let me know in the comments!