Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt pattern review for #sewmystyle2018

March's #sewmystyle2018 pattern is the Kalle shirt and shirt dress from Closet Case Patterns. I have to say I was really looking forward to this because I love their designs and know that there is always a lot of help and tutorials to match in case I get stuck. Although it was freezing at the start of March, I made a warm weather version, thinking of having something cool and casual for the summer. I'll also put it out there at the start that I'm really proud of how far my topstitching skills have come on - it's one of my favourite features on this make!


Fabric

I really have to stop buying fabric....but when it's in the sale it's so hard to resist! I found this Robert Kaufman rayon chambray in John Lewis' January sale and knew it had to be my Kalle. It's super soft and was reduced to £4.50 a metre. I bought 1.5m, which is less than advised for the most cropped version, but having made a couple of shirts now, I figured it would be okay. If I was going for a longer length or sleeves then I would have needed 2m. The pattern recommends light and drapey fabrics, but I have seen some thicker flannel versions around too.

I also used a contrasting fabric for my collar from my stash - one of those remnants that you don't want to throw away because it seems like a real waste. 2 years later and I found a use for some of it! (the rest is in my Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress).

The only problem I had was that both sides of my fabric looked the same. This meant I ended up with french seams on the outside of one part, and had to unpick. I did mark the fabric but somehow still got it the wrong way round! Since wearing I've also discovered that it creases quite a lot too. You might notice vertical lines on my photos of this shirt from where I had it on a hanger for a week before photographing it.

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt pattern review for #sewmystyle2018

Pattern and Instructions

The pattern has a lot of options that you can choose from. It's a basic shirt that can be a cropped length, a tunic or a dress. (Mine is somewhere in between the cropped and tunic). Other options to choose from include a short or band collar, and a choice of closures from buttons, poppers and plackets. It features a shaped hem, kimono sleeves and a patch pocket. You even can purchase a sleeve expansion pack too. Needless to say, there are more than a few pattern pieces for this - they are clearly marked but do pay attention to which ones you need. For #sewmystyle2018 I'm going with all pdfs and this one does have a fair few pages due to the length of the shirt dress, but it's to be expected!

It's a loose fitting pattern, so the key measurement to go from is really the bust when selecting a size. I went with the size 8 based on this, and it fits pretty well. The instruction booklet is really comprehensive in helping you to select a size, with lots of guidance and details such as finished measurements as well to help. The booklet has lots of help at all stages; it explains sewing terminology as well as giving hints on the best way to execute different techniques for this pattern. That's all in addition to the usual layplans, instructions etc. The instructions themselves are clear, with diagrams that support explanation. They are easy to follow and if is was the first time you are making a short, you would easily be successful because of the high quality information in the instruction booklet.

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt review


I had hardly any issues with the construction itself - well, none based on the quality of the pattern or the instructions at any rate....all entirely due to me not knowing which was the correct side of my fabric. The hardest part for me was attaching the pocket and topstitching this into place (I did this at the very end, when I was sure where I wanted it). The collar and button placket were quite straightforward really - you can see I went for standard versions. I was especially proud of conquering buttonholes for this make (they've been a bit dodgy lately). The shaping of the hem takes quite a while, and I recommend checking out the tutorial on the Closet Case website for this (or any part for that matter!).

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt pattern review for #sewmystyle2018

Alterations

It's not so much of an alteration as a design choice, but I chose to have a contrasting collar stand. I'm not sure if this was a great choice in these colours. I did try it out on the button placket too but it just looked odd. What it does mean is that the topstitching needs to be really good as it shows in a contrasting thread - my edgestitch foot really helped out here!
I also ended up shortening the tunic to a more standard shirt length. I made it to the tunic length to start with but it didn't suit my frame. The highest point of the hem is at the side waist, and this is quite high now, but the front and back could be tucked into jeans if I wanted them to be.

Thoughts

What I like  - is how high quality the pattern and instructions are. You are really in safe hands with these, and I also like how many different options there are to choose from. I like it when a pattern gives you a lot of mileage from one purchase!
What I'm not sure about - is my fabric choice. This rayon chambray feels great but really wrinkles and I'm not convinced that the contrast collar was a good idea.
Would I make it again? Theoretically, yes. It turned out well and could be adapted in a lot of ways for different looks. Practically, I have a lot of shirts right now in my wardrobe, so it probably won't be a for a while!
Would I recommend this pattern? Yes, and if it's your first shirt, it's a good one to start with because there's lots of help throughout.
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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
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