You know, I was thinking the other day whether or not it is worth it for me to write a review of this pattern. I mean, who’s not made it, right? It seems to me like everyone and their mother have made multiples of this pattern. And now that I’ve made both versions – the shirt and the dress – I can see why. But, I have promised a full review, and I intend to keep it. So here we go.
When I first saw this pattern, I thought it was too “out there” for me. I wasn’t sold on the exaggerated back length on all three versions – on me. But after seeing so many gorgeous makes on Instagram, I was intrigued. I should’ve known better, it is after all Heather Lou’s design, of course it looks… shall we say, different? Please note I’m saying it in the best term possible.
The Kalle shirt/dress pattern comes in three views; the cropped shirt, tunic shirt, and the shirtdress. Size range is 0 – 20 or B31″, W24″, H33″ to B46″, W39″, H48″. The pattern has got 9 inches of ease on the bust and 7.5 inches around the hips. So quite generous. The fabric recommendations are: light to medium weight wovens, from viscose/rayon challis, to poplin, chambray, flannel, etc.
I purchased this fabric (and the printed pattern actually) from Sew Me Sunshine UK. I’m sure you’ve heard of this amazing indie fabric shop. The fabric is 100% viscose from See You at Six. I wish you could touch this fabric, it feels sooooo nice and soft. And the drape. Oh the DRAPE!! This viscose isn’t like challis, in fact I’d say it is almost as thick as cotton lawn, Liberty tana lawn specifically, though obviously with more… yeah that word again, drape! I had 2.5m of the fabric, but I only needed 2m for the Kalle dress.
I’d usually link the fabric I used, but I’m afraid I can’t do that this time as this fabric is now discontinued. Such a shame, I’d love another 5000m of this!
Just like the toile, I didn’t change anything at all with this pattern – other than shortening it by 3″ as the pattern was drafted for someone who’s 4 inches taller than me.
Also, I decided to staystitch before anything else. In the instructions, you were supposed to staystitch after doing the burrito method, which means handling and pulling the neckline. I prefer not to take the risk of stretching my neckline.
Note: for the toile (shirt) I made view A with hidden placket, and for this “real” version I made view C also with hidden placket. I am totally in love with this hidden placket thingy. Wonky buttonholes?? What wonky buttonholes?! LOL.
The sewing experience.
The pattern, I think is well drafted; all the notches and markings lined up, though I do have something to say about the instructions. I actually for once read and followed them carefully, and yes I did find something odd. On the hemming bit for the dress version, if you were to follow the instructions and press the bias facing up and then understitch then your understitching would be visible on the right side of the garment. I don’t know if that was a design feature or not, I prefer to hide my understitching. Of course, if you like it and prefer it to be visible, I say go for it. But if you want to hide your understitching, instead of pressing the bias facing (and SA) up towards the skirt, I’d press the SA down towards the bias facing and then understitch. And just proceed with the rest of the instructions. But I’m sure the experienced sewists would spot this straight away.
As much as I love CCP patterns, I must say though, the instructions (at least for this pattern and the Jenny) could be better I think. I reviewed the Jenny a while ago, and I adore my overalls, but I found the instructions to be a bit too much; somewhat too wordy and overly detailed. With the Kalle I found the illustrations can be a bit confusing too. Especially the bit on the hidden placket, when you need to accordion fold the placket, yikes! Took me a while to work that out. It also doesn’t help that the illustrations sometimes are grouped together instead of an illustration or two for each single step. So you’ll find 3 steps of instructions and then the illustration(s), it just doesn’t flow right with me. But, I am seriously nitpicking here.
One (of many) thing(s) I love about this pattern is that all the raw edges are hidden! Praise the Goddess of Neat Finishing! The yokes are constructed using the burrito method, side seams are finished (in my case) with flat-felled seam, hem for the shirt with a facing and the dress with bias binding, the cuffs hide the raw edges on the armholes. Perfecto! *heart eyes*
As I mentioned in my Kalle toile post, I made a size 8 for that one. I do love my wearable toile (believe it or not, this is an understatement!) and I found that I had no fit issues with the pattern even though I went down two sizes.
For my second version, this shirtdress, I decided to only go down one size as I wanted a bit more blouse-y dress. I must say I can’t choose which size I like more. I love them both, maybe because they give me different sillhouetes. My shirt is more structured due to the crispness (is that a word?) of the cotton fabric I used, whereas the dress is more flowy and the fact that it’s a size bigger than the shirt I think is not a bad call. I could be wrong. But hey, I love it.
To be honest, I’d never been obsessed with a pattern/garment before until I made my Kalle toile. That was all I wanted to wear and I kept dreaming of making more of it. The more I wear it, the more I love Heather Lou and her genius designs. The bit that at first I found strange and had even kept me from getting this pattern turned out to be the bit I LOVE THE MOST about this pattern. I have seen versions of even-hemmed Kalle on Insta, and I genuinely thought that too was the direction I’d go with this pattern, but no. I am too much in love with the ultra hi-lo hem now. Maybe one day, for the dress.
When it comes to CCP, I think, Heather Lou loves to design something that’s a bit “different”. And I find that refreshing. I don’t know if you noticed that they just launched three more patterns a couple of weeks ago, and she’s at it again. The unassuming shift dress and top have
their shoulder seams moved to the back, creating a very interesting detail in the back. The details on the skirt and trousers are just… oh I’m just lost for words. Her signature design is in the detail. And that’s one of the reasons why I think she’s amazing!
That being said, I kind of think of the garments I made from her patterns (namely the Jenny overalls and the Kalle) to be more of precious statement pieces. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not really one to make a statement everyday. Some days I just like to play it safe, not really blending-into-the-background safe (one of the reason I always wear my memades is to celebrate my individuality), but a bit less… visible or loud. This means, as much as I adore my Jenny, I don’t wear her all that often. I keep her for days when I feel more… daring? Extra confident? Ah I can’t find my words today, but you know what I mean, right?
I feel the same about my Kalle shirtdress – less so with the shirt, as I can tone it down with humble jeans. I looove the dress – words fail to express how much I love it, and I just want to make dozens more of it, but I’m not sure it’s something I’d reach for every day. It’s very chic, and I feel soooo good wearing it, but it also makes me feel very fashionable in it. It’s not a bad thing, I know, but to me personally, that is – in a way – stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s almost as if this dress demands courage out of me. Is that strange?
So will I make more? Oh hell yeah!! A lot more. This is the ultimate shirt/shirtdress pattern for me. I’m pretty sure I’ll hack it at one point to make a bit more low-key pieces, but yeah I will definitely make more. After I’ve cleared my current queue that is. Guess what my next project is 😉 Yep, it’s the Pietra pants. 😀
Pheeeeww… ramble over. Thank you so much for reading (and well done you for making it this far!). Hope you’re enjoying Sunday and have a great week ahead, I’ll see you again soon. Happy stitching.