Hello Internet friends!
Today I’m sharing my latest Kalle Shirtdress make, an actual shirt dress version this time! If you’ve been lurking my Instagram @beccamadethat you’ll have seen this make a few times now. It all started off with a poll in my stories where I asked my followers if I should turn this lovely rayon cotton voile (which I got as a 2m remnant during the Love to Sew podcast/Spoonflower meet up at Blackbird fabrics HQ earlier this year!) into a Kalle Shirtdress from ClosetCase Patterns or a Fringe Dress from Chalk and Notch. The Kalle Shirtdress was the overwhelming winner so into the sewing queue it went!
Now at this point I’ve made about 6 different Kalle Shirts; both long and short sleeve versions, cropped and tunic length, full collar and band collar, full placket or pop over or hidden placket, (seriously this pattern is amazing for all the different combinations that you can do!). The biggest modification that I’ve done with all of these iterations is to shorten the pattern at the waist (about 1.5”) and to shorten the back length of the scoop since having such a drastic hem tends to look weird on my short frame. For this dress version I opted for short sleeves, hidden placket, and full collar :D. Since this pattern has been so well used you can imagine that my pattern pieces are looking a bit ragged at this point, especially since instead of printing out separate copies of each version I use washi tape to hold together the different length pieces. Up to this point this has worked really well for all of my shirt versions, but I ran into some trouble with the dress version….
Since I didn’t like the very dramatic low back hem with on the tunic version I shortened the back hem considerably while maintaining the scooped shape by tracing out the scoop and then moving it up the hem until I liked the overall length. This worked fine for my tunic length shirts since I had previously measured to make sure that the side seam length remained the same…..what I hadn’t taken into consideration was that the extra low back hem accounted for some of the side seam length when making the dress version, so when I simply taped the ‘dress length’ piece back onto the back piece I didn’t really have the full length so the dress back ended up being too short at the side seam! Of course I didn’t realize this until after I had cut all my pieces and sewn the button placket and yoke……So at this point I had two options, 1) re-fashion the dress into a tunic length top or 2) try to add length to the back. I opted for option two, with the additional fun of making the addition run with horizontal stripes since I knew I didn’t have enough fabric left to line up the vertical stripes precisely.
I attempted to add the additional length at the back two ways because the first was a flop. I tried to keep the curve of the original hem I had cut and simply make a second hem with a curved portion to fit right in. It looked horrible and puckered like crazy, probably due to the steep curves at the sides of the hem. For the second attempt I chopped off the curved portion of the original back hem making a straight seam to sew on a new hem panel with the curve, this worked out perfect and is what you see in the pictures! Now that I have the dress with the horizontal back hem I absolutely love it! It breaks up the long lines of vertical stripes at the back and actually provides this very subtle ‘bum shaping’ when the dress is belted (or at least i think it does anyway lol). It also looks completely intentional which is the best kind of ‘sewing oops turned sewing win’ in my opinion!
Two additional modifications have made this Kalle Shirtdress top notch for me! I added inseam pockets using a pocket piece from another pattern (I can’t remember which one any more but most inseam pockets are around the same shape anyway if you wanted to do this yourself) To figure out the placement I sewed up to the point of inserting the yokes and ready to sew the side seams. I then tried the dress on and figured out where on the side seam would be best for pockets. The other modification was to make a matching fabric belt, I used the waist tie pattern piece from my Zadie jumpsuit to get a good estimate of width and made the total length the width of my fabric (~56”). I had originally thought about adding thread chains as a way to hold the belt in place but after wearing the dress out and about I don’t think they are necessary :)
Now, if you’ve been on my Instagram you’ll have seen the ‘pocket vs. no pocket’ debate! It started off with another poll in my stories, asking if I should add the pocket or not……while the most votes did go to pocket, one person commented that I should consider if I would want to wear the dress belted most of the time or not. Since I typically like having a bit of waist definition when wearing a dress I knew I would probably wear it with a belt more often than without. I tried wearing the dress with the belt around my apartment both with and without the pocket, and found that with the belt on it looked much better without the pocket but without the belt the pocket option looked a lot better. So for now this dress will be breast pocket pocketless….I’m keeping the pocket I made just in case I decide that I would like to have the pocket option in the future (or if I can figure out a way to have a detachable pocket!!)
That’s all for today’s post! Let me know in the comments a time when you made a sewing mistake and the fix ended up being better than the original intended plan :D