Easy, breezy – – the Kalle Shirt Dress

I didn’t set out to become a fan girl of Closet Case Patterns, but that’s what seems to have happened!


After making Closet Case’s Charlie Caftan twice (here and here) and loving it, I decided I had to give Heather’s other patterns a try. I chose the Kalle, although at first glance, it didn’t seem to be the pattern for me.  The pattern envelope drawing wasn’t that appealing to me to be honest.

Kalle_Shirt_Shirtdress_Pattern_Envelope_cover-01_c93b1b82-07e4-4b1c-985d-e5fc30ac905b_1280x1280Then there was the description of the shirt/dress as loose fitting… always bad news for a smallish person like me. But then, I saw a Kalle shirt on a sales person at one of my local fabric stores that was so, so cute, I had to have it.


I do admire Heather’s design. The pattern is a great contemporary update of the traditional shirtdress. There’s so much to like about this pattern. The sleeves are cut as part of the bodice, which makes construction a breeze. You can make choices to modify the pattern to fit your mood; a hidden placket versus a regular placket? A band collar or standard collar? It’s all up to you.


As luck would have it though, my concerns about the style were realistic. The fit is very loose and boxy, which meant that even the smallest size was a bit much for me. Here’s my first version. I thought I’d figured out how to make it work, when my husband said, ‘hey, great fabric, BUT isn’t that dress WAY TOO BIG?” (Gutsy guy, don’t you think?)

IMG_0629 2After snarling a bit, and explaining to him that ‘this is the way it’s supposed to look’, I took a snap shot of myself. Darn, if he wasn’t right!! It looked big, but not in that, ‘oh, i just picked up my boyfriend’s shirt from off the floor’ way. So, I went back to the drawing board, adjusted the side seams, and smiled about the whole thing.


My fabric is Cotton and Steel from last season (Fabric Depot), and the cotton is really nice…not too stiff or heavy, but it isn’t as flowy as rayon or silk would be. I mention this because I believe my fabric choice contributed to the boxy look I experienced before my modifications. I think the Kalle would be great in a soft linen, or maybe a rayon or silk.

Besides taking in the side seams, I also modified the length of my Kalle. I didn’t think I would love the look of what seemed to be a exaggerated high-low hem. So I added 3 inches to the front. It is still pretty short on me, and I am 5’4″. Not sure what it would have looked like if I hadn’t lengthened it, LOL!


With those modifications, this dress is now in the category of ‘love’. It will likely move quickly into my shirt dress hall of fame. It’s fun to wear, and fun to sew….there’s something so satisfying about sewing a shirt – the placket, the collar, even the button holes are so gratifying. It’s almost as good as the smell of a new book when you first open it, don’t you think?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!




14 thoughts on “Easy, breezy – – the Kalle Shirt Dress

  1. It looks great – I like loose fitting things, but I had paused over the unflattering pattern envelope. But I might try it too with some modifications. And BTW, I loved your caftans – made me think twice about it too. You should get a cut from Heather!

    1. Ha! I’ll give her a call! My interest in a pattern is so strongly influenced by the illustration on the envelope. It’s too bad she chose that one for the Kalle. It makes no sense given all of the cute versions I’ve seen of that dress! The caftan is such a great pattern…there may be another one in my future 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you re sewing a shirt! I discovered that early this year and got STUCK on it and continued making AND making AND making shirts and shirt dresses. It was getting silly 🙂 Finally I stopped after making myself a Kalle which was a total fail I’m sad to say. I tried everything to try and get it to work for me but it was a no go. It’s not a pattern you can do an FBA with (I know Heather Lou has an FBA demo on her blog) but mine just didn’t work and when I tried it on it was a complete disaster. So I tossed the whole works into the bin and moved on to sewing something different. It ended shirts for me for a while anyway 🙂 I’m looking forward to sewing some KNITS! 🙂

    1. Yes, I can see myself following your example, filling my closet with every shirt variation there is:) Sorry your Kalle didn’t work, but knits are so fun too and there are some fabulous ones that scream Fall.

    1. Thanks! It’s always tricky when a dress is unstructured, but that’s the advantage we have as seamstresses. We can modify to fit our figure and mood!

    1. Thank-you! It’s fabulous fabric which I think makes the dress in this instance. I love this fabric so much, it sat in my closet for quite some time because I couldn’t bear to use it. Now I’m glad I did.

Leave a Reply