Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Closet Case Kalle Shirt Dress // Rayon + Linen Stripe

Last summer, I made the cropped version - View A -  of the Closet Case Kalle Shirt + Dress twice, and this summer I've decided to give View C - the dress - a try.

This was one of the last patterns I printed at home and taped together, and since it's been sitting rolled up for the better part of the last year, it was not fun to trace off of at all. The tape was starting to come undone, the paper was wrinkled and crinkled. Ugh. If I decided to ever trace this pattern again for any reason, I'm going to get the large format version printed and recycle the current paper mess I'm working with. Update: later in the day I was at the print shop to have a few other patterns printed, and decided to have them print Kalle for me too, just in case.

I cut the size 18 and because it has quite a bit of wearing ease, I've also opted not to do a full bust adjustment.  I did the FBA on the cropped version, and it was a gigantic pain in the butt to do without darts.

The fabric I'm using is a 60% rayon / 40% linen I bought from Fabricana in Richmond, BC in the spring. I thought I had 2 meters - needed 2.75 meters for the dress - but thought I might be able to overcome the lack of fabric with some creative cutting and shortening the length a bit, since I'm only 5'4".  I didn't end up doing this because it turned out I only had 1.5 meters of fabric, and I was able to find more at Blackbird Fabrics.  I was able to cut all the pieces out from the original 1.5 meters of fabric, minus the back piece. The back piece is just over a meter long, which meant I had to order another 1.5 meters of this fabric, since Blackbird Fabrics sells in .5 meter increments.

While I waited for the new batch of fabric to arrive, I was able to interface the pieces that needed interfacing, attach the button placket, and sew together part of the collar. I used the Kalle Sew Along that Closet Case did for this pattern.

Once the button placket is attached to the right side of the dress it gets pressed and then the raw edge is pressed over by a little bit to conceal the original seam from sewing on the placket.  I wish I had pressed the button placket in the final fold over amount before I sewed it on.  I seem to remember pressing before attaching on the last one I made. It was just a bit tricky to get it folded over that small amount after having it attached to the rest of the right front.  I think I could have gotten it more even if I had pressed before. That being said, it's hardly noticeable and on the inside.

This fabric was really tricky to cut and and keep from pulling off the straight of grain because it is so fluid.  I'm having to do lots of pinning to keep the stripes lining up. I'm glad to have the stripes though, because they help me keep everything straight and make it really clear when something is pulled out of shape a little bit.

Unfortunately, my collar pieces look a little wonky from not being completely perfectly cut, due to the fabric pulling off the straight of grain. They're not too far off, but in hindsight I probably should not have cut them on the fold with this fabric.

Once the new fabric arrived, I got busy cutting out the back piece and attaching the yoke. The fabric really doesn't have a right side and wrong side, which led to a bit of a comedy of errors. I sewed the yoke on the wrong way 3 times before I got it right!  Especially embarrassing since I've done this part on my two previous Kalle's.

It was a combination of not having a right and wrong side and also that previously I'd done a box pleat, and this time I did an inverted box pleat, so to me, the wrong side really looked like the right side!

Despite having done them twice before, I also struggled with the sleeve bands...I just couldn't get them to be a mirror image...even cut another set of front and back pieces...on my second time of ripping out the stitches, I realized I just needed to flip it around after it'd been sewn.  Face palm.  Apparently I have reaped no benefit from having made this in shirt form before. lol.

When I attached the sleeves, I pressed the inside edge down before sewing the sleeve bands on.  After I sewed on the bands, I used wash away wonder tape to make sure the folded inside edge was just on the seam line. It held brilliantly!

The bias binding on the hem worked like a charm. It was easy to apply and gives such a nice polished finish. 

The collar was easy to put on, using the Kalle Sewalong from Closet Case. It was one of the easiest things about the whole dress.  The effort to results ratio is very good with this collar. Low effort, extremely high results.

The buttonholes seemed to take forever, even after I figured out how I wanted to mark them without permanently staining my fabric - previous blog post here.

NINE BUTTONHOLES. NINE.  I don't breathe when I make buttonholes, so they seemed to take extra long. I had good results though.  I used 12mm buttons (that's half an inch) and 15 mm buttonholes (that's an extra 1/8" total). I would not have wanted the buttonholes any longer.

For the buttonhole placement, I used the buttonhole guide from the pattern, and marked the top of each buttonhole according to that, then marked the bottom of the buttonhole 15 mm down, to make it the length I wanted the buttonhole to be.

I used my sewing machine to sew on the buttons, but I was at a bit of a loss to figure out how to keep the button in place in the right spot.  I closed the button band, placed a pin in the middle, opened the button band, then put a teeny tiny square of wash away wonder tape right in the middle of where the pinpoint had been.  I put the button on the wonder tape, and it held well.  I had no problems sewing the buttons on in the exact spot I had intended.

After sewing on all the buttons, I used a hand sewing needle to bring any threads that remained at the front of the button through the holes and to the back.  Once each button had all the threads at the back, I tied a couple of knots at the back of the button to secure the threads a little better, and gave it a dab of Fray Check. 

Overall Impressions
First, I think the fabric choice really made this project. It's drapey and floaty, and the stripes are fun. The neutral grey/cream combo adds a bit more of a 'grown up' feeling to it.  The linen and rayon make it cool and a pleasure to wear. 

No matter how nice it is to wear, subjectively it really is not very flattering.  It's wide, boxy, shapeless, and the shapelessness can't be overcome by conforming to my own curves, because it is so wide.  It doesn't really touch me at all!

That being said, I think due to the fabric content, I do feel really good in this. Hopefully some of my confidence of feeling good outshines some of the boxyness.

Looking at versions of the Kalle that other people have made, I think that shortening it so the front comes above the knee would help with it being a little more flattering - so a couple of inches. This makes sense, since I am 5'4" and the pattern is drafted for those who are 5'6". 

I would also like to make a blouse length Kalle with a straight, or at lease straighter, hem. 

Even with all those buttons, I'd like to make it again.

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