Closet Case Kalle shirtdress three ways

Closet Case Kalle - three versions

My love for Closet Case patterns  is well documented in other posts- the combination of style and fabulous pattern drafting is a winner for me… see my Ebony tee and dress,  houndstooth Clare Coat, Carolyn pj bottoms in a knit and a pair in flamingo cotton. I also have 2 pairs of Ginger jeans which I’ve never got round to blogging because so many others have done it so well. The Kalle has a special place of it’s own though. Number one is the shirt length in a crisp cotton and number two is an embroidered shirt dress in a red and white gingham. Below are numbers three, four and five and I’m certain there will be more. Like this number six, a six- long-sleeved and embroidered version.

For each of these I kept the pattern changes made in the gingham version.

Here’s the how…

Number three is in a very drapey shirting bought from The Cloth House.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in pinstripe rayonCloset Case Kalle shirtdress in pinstripe rayon


  • I’m not 100% certain of the fabric content on this one but it definitely has a good amount of viscose/rayon (depending on your continent) in it.
  • It was super wide at 60″ and I bought 1.5m. Once I’d made the bias binding for the hem there was very little left.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in pinstripe rayon

  • The stripe was horizontal. The front and back were cut on the crossgrain and the outer yoke, patch pocket, placket and cuffs on the straight grain.
  • The in-seam pocket placement was 2″ above the side seam notches this time- much better.
  • I changed the collar shape a little making it slightly bigger and pointier.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in pinstripe rayon

  • The red bar tacks were more for decoration than need- one on the patch pocket and a long one above each in-seam pocket.
  • This version gets a lot of wear to work.


Number four is made in silk, another Cloth House purchase. This one was made for a wedding but the style of this dress means it can be very much dressed up and down easily. This one is very much for wearing and not sitting in the wardrobe. This isn’t the best quality silk so it was a bit easier to work with being slightly less slippery.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in silkfullsizeoutput_525

  • The fabric is quite light and slightly see through so I underlined the front and back in white silk habotai. The two layers were cut separately and then hand basted together with silk thread for accuracy.
  • The interfacing on this one is silk organza which I used a combination of Wonder Tape and silk thread to baste into place. I also used silk thread to trace stitching lines and mark notches.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in silk

  • I beaded the butterflies wings on the front, collar and yoke.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in silk

  • Given silk’s massive fraying tendencies and light weight I did use French seams on the side seams and pockets despite the underarm curves. I trimmed them to 1/8″ before sewing the second seam and the seams look fine- no puckering and pulling (using a 2mm stitch length).

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in silk

  • Hemming was challenging due to the two layers of silk. It took a few attempts, whilst the dress was hanging on the dress form to get the layers to lie evenly and not pull. I basted and trimmed them to get rid of the many, many fraying ends before attaching the binding. I made mine visible on the outside.


  • After lots of button hunting I went with covered to match and used six instead of four.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in silk

  • This is not a shy and retiring dress!

Number five is made in properly scary silk- really high quality Italian silk bought from Joel and Sons. It feels incredible and is probably the most challenging fabric I’ve ever worked with.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silkCloset Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • Although this would be a dry clean only I hand washed it before staring then starched it to make it easier to work with. I’m not a fan of dry cleaning anything and didn’t want to risk water spots during construction.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • I only bought 1.5m of this at 1.4m wide and just squeaked it out of the yardage with the back and front cut on the crossgrain. I used squared paper underneath to keep everything on grain.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • Silk organza and silk thread for basting were used in this version too.
  • This one is partially underlined in silk habotai (dyed with black Dylon hand dye). The black isn’t the same as the main fabric but it’s on the inside so that’s fine. Partial underlining made hemming the dress much easier because there is only one layer of fabric to work with at the dress hem. I just hemmed both underlining pieces before basting them to the outer fabric at the start.
  • I took the David Page Coffin Craftsy class ‘Shirtmaking Details’ before starting this Kalle. His explanations for constructing plackets and collars are fantastic and I used both in making this version. Turning the collar using tweezers or a haemostat is genius! He doesn’t use a cross to finish the bottom of the placket but a square- easier in this fabric.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • French seams were used again for the side seams and pockets in this one.
  • I made a template to get the curved seam line of the collar exactly the same on each side and traced the stitching line on before sewing.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • This stuff frayed like a beast so I opted for using bias binding so encase all raw edges rather than a baby or hand sewn rolled hem.

Closet Case Kalle shirtdress in dandelion clock silk

  • You hardly feel this dress when it’s on- I love it more than is probably reasonable and plan on wearing it…a LOT!



8 thoughts

    • Goodness thank you so much again! Yes, I’m pretty pleased with how that one turned out. The one I’ve worn the most of all my Kalles is the embroidered one in the check shirting- it’s so comfortable and easy to wear. Happy Kalle sewing! 🙂


  1. very nice dresses.It is nice to see the same pattern made in different fabrics, great inspiration for us to re-use patterns because they can get better with each version.


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