Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I remember when I first came across the Kalle Shirtdress pattern by Closet Core Patterns and I thought that it would never be something that I wore because it was too loose. Fast forward about 30 pounds, 1 pandemic and 3 lockdowns later and it is now one of my most treasured makes to date.

I purchased the pattern two years ago (or more!) and thought I would get making something right away. Then I went on a shopping spree at Fabricland with tons of ideas of what all the beautiful fabrics would turn in to…one day.

Well, friends. It’s 2021 and things are happening. I got off to a great start this year and flew through this Kalle shirtdress pattern in no time. I decided to use the softest chambray fabric one ever did see.

I even made it a size larger than probably needed, because I’m a planner and who knows what 2021 and this pandemic will bring!

The pattern was super easy to follow and worked up quite quick. I am in LOVE with this fabric. I bought it so long ago so all I can remember about it is it was a cotton chambray from Fabricland that was on sale for more than 60% off!

Image of fabric and pattern layout
Laying out the pieces

I usually play it safe and lazy and just try to get things done as quick as I can. But I promised myself that for 2021, it would be quality over quantity. So I even challenged myself by doing a bias binding hem finish and french seams. I have never done bias binding before, and I love the clean look it gives. For the same reason, I chose to do french seams (for the side seams) because I don’t love the messier look of serged seams.

Sewing my first bias tape hem
Sewing my first bias tape binding for the hem!

I think the most painful part of the whole process was making the button holes. My sewing machine is probably 2 decades old and isn’t the nicest for finishing button holes, and it makes it so painful I’m often left with a bunch of buttonhole-less garments for months on end. I left this one one the dress form for about a week before I forced myself to bite the bullet and deal with the button holes. Thanks to the lovely people at Nova Sewing and Repairs here in London, I FINALLY learned how to use the buttonhole maker on my machine. It really makes a difference when you know how to use the functions of your machine properly. But I still struggle to figure out the right tension, stitch width, etc. So I usually create the button hole, cut it open and then just go over it again with a narrow zigzag to reinforce it. It takes much longer, but is much more stable.

Dress on dressform
Almost there – just needs button holes!
She’s done!

I think I really struggle posting pictures of finished products for two reasons. 1. I have zero confidence in my photography skills and 2. I hate being in photos. BUT, our newly renovated sunporch provided the PERFECT set up for this photo! It actually turned out really well! (Despite the plant behind me hanging on for dear life!)

Finished dress on maker
Finished product!

So there you have it. One of my #makenine2021 projects completed. AND I’m actually wearing it. For the cooler months, I am pairing it with leggings and my newly knitted Lilian cardigan (more on that coming soon). But I can’t wait for it to warm up and lounge out on the patio sans leggings and sweater…with sunscreen of course!

Bottom line: I can feel a few more Kalle Shirt/Shirtdresses in my future!

-e

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