Closet Core Patterns – Kalle Shirt and Shirt Dress

Check out Lauren's different versions and see top fabric recommendations

I’m sure you know the feeling, when you find a pattern that you really love and you end up making lots of different versions of it! The Grainline Linden sweatshirt is a classic example for me, I’ve probably made about 10 over the past few years!

After another version of the Closet Core Patterns Kalle Shirt ran off my sewing machine a few weeks ago, I realised that it’s become one of my tried and testes patterns two. I’ve now got 5 versions, so I though it would be a great time to show you how it can work with different variations and different fabrics.

I get asked a lot about fabric recommendations or how are you supposed to know if different fabrics will work for the same pattern so I hope this gives you an idea of how different the same pattern can look with just a few tweeks, customisations and a variety of fabrics.

You can see my versions and how they move in real life in my lastest vlog below, or read on to see more pictures and details including fabric links

Firstly, if you aren’t to familiar with the pattern itself I’ll give you a quick run down.

It has a loose fitting, body-skimming silhouette with lots of interchangeable features.

Length – choose cropped, tunic of dress length. It’s also easy to alter the length to your particular preference too.

Hem – there is a high front, low back hem line which has a facing for the cropped length. Again it’s fairly easy to alter the balance of the hem to your preference.

Collar – choose between a standard or band collar. The standard collar is pointed but as you’ll see in some of my versions its really easy to round it out.

Button placket – choose between a hidden placket, standard or pop over.

Sleeves – all versions have a subtly curved yoke with kimono sleeves and arm cuffs. You can also buy an additional sleeve expansion pack which is a available as a pdf from the Closet Core Patterns website (link here).

Optional extras – Opt for a breast pocket on one side, both or not at all. The centre back has a pleat, which can either be inverted or boxed.

The recommended fabrics for the pattern are;

"Make a fluid, drapey Kalle with soft fabrics like tencel, linen, rayon challis and silk crepe de chine. Crisper fabrics like poplin, chambray, voile, flannel and traditional shirtings will create a more structured silhouette."

Here are my different versions, all broken down by key features and fabric type. All my versions are a size 6 (which is a US size 6 so remember to choose your size based on your body measurements!!)

Cropped in Songbird cotton lawn fabric

Key features

  • Band collar
  • Cropped length with faced hem
  • Lengthened front and back by 5cm using the shorten/lengthen lines of the pattern
  • Hidden button placket
  • Inverted pleat at centre back
  • No breast pocket

Fabric used

I used some of our songbird cotton lawn, which is lovely and light weight and would fit into the ‘crisper fabric’ recommended by the pattern. I’ve linked to some other similar cotton lawns below as I made this version a while back. It was easy to work with as it presses well and doesn’t slip around as you work with it. It feels light weight to wear and not bulky at all under the arms.

Cropped in palm leaf cotton lawn fabric

Key features

  • Standard collar rounded off instead of pointed. It’s a personal preference thing for me, I just like rounded shapes rather than pointed.
  • Cropped length with faced hem
  • Lengthened front and back by 5cm using the shorten/lengthen lines of the pattern
  • Standard button placket
  • Inverted pleat at centre back
  • No breast pocket

Fabric used

This version is really similar to the first one apart from the collar and the button band. This particular cotton lawn feels just a little bit heavier weight than the songbird one, even though they are from the same supplier. I think it must be to do with different batches of fabric, maybe? Anyway, it still feels nice and light weight to wear and hopefully gives you an idea of how the standard collar sits with this type of fabric.

How to round off the collar

It’s really easy to make this simple adjustment to the pattern. I still cut out and sewed the collar with the pointed shape as I find its easier to keep the seam allowance consistent on straight lines. Then once I had that stitched in place. I just used something rounded I had, and drew round it to make a new stitch line.

Cropped in viscose/linen fabric

Key features

  • Standard collar rounded off instead of pointed
  • Cropped length with faced hem
  • Lengthened front and back by 5cm using the shorten/lengthen lines of the pattern
  • Standard button placket
  • Inverted pleat at centre back
  • Left sided breast pocket

Fabric used

For this version I used a viscose/linen mix, which would fit into the ‘soft fabrics’ category recommended by the pattern. The fabric has more viscose than linen so it has a lot of drape and movement and slips around quite a bit as you work with it. I've linked to similar fabrics below along with some 100% viscose ones that would give the same effect.

I had to use lots of extra pins to help to control the seams as I stitched them. This type of floaty fabric gives the shirt a different feel. It’s much lighter in weight and you can feel it move and swish around as you wear it. The ease and looseness in the pattern at the back and under the arms drapes a lot more and I think it makes the shirt look really different from using a more structured fabric

Tunic/cropped length in medium weight cotton fabric

Key features

  • Standard collar rounded off instead of pointed
  • The length on this version is between a tunic and cropped version . I lengthened the front to be 8cm longer than the cropped length and the back to be 5cm longer than the cropped length. I then rounded out the bottom hem as it met the side seam so that there would be a gentle curved split hem at the side. I overlocked the bottom hem and pressed it up once to the width of the overlocker stitches (so about 3/8") and top stitched it down.
  • Pop over button placket
  • Inverted pleat at centre back
  • No breast pocket

Fabric used

For this version I used some of our medium weight cotton sashiko style fabric, which would fit into the ‘crisper fabric’ recommended by the pattern. It has more weight and structure to it that the cotton lawn I used before. It holds its shape much more, especially under the arms and it feels a bit bigger and looser to wear than the viscose/linen one. This is probably the thickest type of fabric I would use for a pattern like this because of its loose style. I also found that I had to be quite, assertive, shall we say when it came to pressing the popover placket to make sure that all the folded layers would lie flat before I top stitched them.

I still love it and have worn it loads, it’s just different from the other versions, especially the viscose/linen one.

One thing to watch out for with this button placket option is to pay close attention to the side of the placket that you iron the interfacing onto. I did it on the wrong side and had to squeeze out a new placket from my scraps which meant I shortened it by about an inch.

Dress length in viscose fabric

Key features

  • Standard collar with pointed shape
  • Dress length unaltered from pattern – so high at the front, low at the back and scooped at the sides.
  • Standard button placket
  • Box pleat at centre back
  • Breast pocket on both sides (they blend into the fabric really well so quite hard to see!)

Fabric used

For this version I used the Atelier Brunette Halo viscose fabric, which would fit into the ‘soft fabrics’ category recommended by the pattern. It is floaty and drapey, probably not as much as the other viscose/linen fabric I used though. It was a little easier to handle though and presses well which make the collar and button placket easier to sew. In a dress length, it does feel quite loose and baggy – not in a bad way I hasten to add. It’s just the look and feel of that design and something to be aware of. I think a lightweight fabric like this will help to keep bulk down and ensure it still has a breezy feel. If you used a thicker fabric for the dress, like the sashiko one for example, it would feel much more baggy and ‘tenty’.

Other fabric options

I've also seen quite a few lovely versions of this pattern using cotton double gauze fabric, which is lovely and light weight but does hold its shape and structure a bit more than a viscose will. I've not made a version like this - yet! I think it would look lovely though so here are a few double gauze fabric options too.

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