Hi again folks – another cool pattern that I’ve been meaning to try for ages is featured in #sewmystyle2018 this month. Now, I’ll admit that the Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt/shirtdress was a slow burner for me. The first iterations I saw were of the longest dress version and that particular view is a style that doesn’t do much for my shape. However, once the other versions started appearing, and particularly when I spied the chambray tunic version on Heather’s website, I started to come around.
So why have I made the cropped version? – I hear you ask (not really, but let’s pretend). Well, despite some misgivings about the shape of the top on a big-bust figure (more on that later), I also wanted to try this pattern out in quilting cotton. It’s one of the potential patterns I listed in my recent post on Indie patterns you can use with quilting cotton (check it out for a lonngggg list) and so I wanted to give it a go to verify it was indeed suitable. I really thought the main contender for quilting cotton was the cropped version because of the crisp shape, plus I figured it might work as a wearable muslin.
And you know what? I absolutely love the result. I can’t say it’s the most flattering shape on me (as above, I figured that might be the case), but wow, what a beauty of a design. It’s all sumptuous curves and huge swooping facings (the Porsche of crop tops, if you will). It’s really a pleasure to look at – and even more in this case because of my ombre, or non-ombre experiment.
For the top I decided to use a Cotton and Steel periwinkle ombre quilting cotton I had stashed away. I love the Pigment series and couldn’t resist picking up this delightful blue number, but I confess I really didn’t know what I was going to do with it – until I thought about this crop top. Now, you can probably see where this is going, but I had in my head that the top would be ombred (is that a word?) from top to bottom. When I got ready to cut it though, I realised the ombre went the other way – across the fabric. Since I was already using a quilting cotton, I decided that cutting on the cross-grain could be a very bad idea, so I decided just to hack and hope, as it were.
You can see the ombre effect better from the back, but the way I cut out the pieces meant I had two opposing ends of the colour spectrum for the front. This isn’t how I would have cut it intentionally, but that’s all the fabric I had, so when I realised what I’d done, I figured I needed to just go with it. I feel like it does give the shirt a kind of 80s Two-Face vibe, but ahhhh, the 80s are in again, right? And Batman villains are always in. It informed some of my other decisions too, like using the wrong side of the fabric for the top of the pocket and mixing up some of the smaller pieces.
The little pink ceramic buttons I had in mind from the start, and managed to find the perfect set at the Puyallup Sew Expo exhibition that was on last week. There was a fantastic vintage button stall there and I was quite sad that I didn’t have any other sets in mind for particular projects, because I’m quite sure I would have found them there!
Anyway, as far as construction goes, I used the full Kalle sewalong on Heather’s site for the project, but also referred to the instructions at points as there were a few little extras in each medium. Both were very thorough and I managed to get through the make fairly smoothly using the dual resources. I chose the cropped version (obviously), with a full button placket and a box pleat at the back. There are also options for an inverted pleat, a band collar and both a concealed placket and a popover placket. Lots of choices! Closet Case Patterns also recently released the full-length sleeve add-on if that’s of interest.
My only little issue came around the facing. The cropped version uses a wide curved facing and this does give the top a beautiful finish. However, facing such an extreme curve requires some precision and I don’t think I was precise enough with my markings, to be honest. It looks nice in the end, but there are some rather obvious inaccuracies when you look at the inside. No big deal and I’ll know better next time. The collar went in well and my sleeves turned out much better than on the very similar Deer and Doe Melilot sleeve treatment.
As far as adjustments go, I made a 14 and used a 1″ full bust adjustment, which is very well covered in the sewalong. I went for the non-darted bust adjustment in the spirit of the design and it worked nicely. I feel like I’m getting the hang of fitting the front of my body and next need to tackle the back. I definitely need a swayback adjustment in most kinds of woven top and also need to take a closer look at the shoulder width of shirts. All to come I guess!
Which brings me to my final assessment. The top actually looks much better than I expected from the front. I think this is due to the extreme curve crop which actually (somehow) highlights my waist-hip size as I move. It’s a clever design. My worry was always from the side and I suppose it’s pretty much as expected. The problem with big boobs and a crop top is it looks a bit like a shelf falling from your chest. My tummy is slightly tauter than it was a few months ago, but still not small by any means, so it’s a look that leaves me in conflict.
My original plan was to make the tunic top and I AM going to make that next after a swayback adjustment (in a fabric with more drape), which will solve this issue, but, nevertheless, I do LOVE the shape of the Kalle crop top. I’m pretty sure I’m going to wear it regardless of the profile view. I’ll just shuffle along like a crab.
I can also give it a resolute thumbs up for the quilting cotton aspect. I’m not sure I would use the substrate for the longer versions, unless it was a very soft example, but it’s a good match with the crop top. If you have any other recommendations for patterns I haven’t covered in my round-up, do drop me a note to let me know.