Hummingbird Shirtdress

I’ve got one of my summer makes to show you today! I have talked before about my struggles with “hot weather”-makes. Those struggles particularly translate in motivational issues as I don’t get as excited about the planning and making process as I get with most other makes and frequently I’m also less excited about the finished result. With so many record breaking warm summers though, it’s basically becoming a necessity to learn to like making summer clothes and I feel my efforts last year where my best as of yet. This year I had gaps to fill in my wardrobe across the board, so it would’ve been easy to skip fixing my summer wardrobe, but in the end I found it as easy to get motivated for summer makes as last year, so I call that a win. In any case this Kalle shirtdress is part of my summer make efforts for this year.

The Kalle is a versatile pattern, depending on the length it can be a loose shirt, a tunic or shirt dress with a standing collar or band collar. The pattern comes with options for a button, hidden or popover placket. It features short dolman sleeves, but there is an expansion available for longe sleeves. I went with dress length, standing collar, short sleeves and regular button placket but between the different options that come with the pattern and further hacking you can do yourself I feel this is a pattern that can take you many different directions. Initially the pattern only came in a small size range of 0-20 with a b cup but it has been available in an extended size range of 14-30 with a D cup for some time and very recently a size 32 was added to that size range.

I feel that my love for shirtdresses and button ups is quite well documented on this blog. I’d almost say that if you stick a full or partial button placket on whatever I’m fairly certain that I will like it, haha! So it is not a surprise that I like the Kalle which is essentially a lengthened button up. In fact, I made this dress before, a couple of years ago.

On the surface I made it pretty much the same as my previous version but there are some important differences. I briefly debated sticking long sleeves on it but then had a stern talk with myself to remind me that this was meant to be a summer dress and then moved on. The most fundamental difference is that I went for the D cup size in this one instead of the B cup (the former wasn’t available back then). With almost all pattern brands that come in different size packages with different cups I pretty much always inhabit the exact middle and therefore can go with either size range (I know, it’s confusing, but note that B and D cup does nor refer to bra cup sizes but refers to the difference between high and full bust). I’m glad more and more indie companies come out with different bust cup packages, admittedly that is also out of self interest as on paper higher bust cups should fit me better without having to tinker much on it myself.

Since Closet Core kindly sent the extended size range to anyone who previously bought the pattern, I could put that theory to the test and see if indeed it is a better fit for me. On paper, based on my measurements, the D cup should fit me best and I think in reality that’s also the case though admittedly with a loose garment such as this that’s perhaps less set in stone and more a preference thing. That said it has reinforced my hunch that when given the choice it’s probably better for me to go for the larger size bust option with sewing patterns. So while it was a lot more work to print out and tape together the new size range rather than tracing the old pattern I still had, the work has not been for nothing!

Another difference is that I added a bunch more pockets this time around. I added two breast pockets, like most of my button up shirts have, instead of the one. I eyeballed the placing while holding the pockets in front of me, but in hindsight wish I had put in a bit more effort as I put them a smidge to high for my taste. I’m not going to rip them out and then sew them in again as the fabric is quite fragile and it doesn’t irk me that much but definitely a lesson in “not everything that can be eyeballed gets better for doing so”. Additionally I added in-seam pockets to the dress. They are not included in the pattern as to not tamper to much with the silhouette, which on my first take I agreed with but I almost instantly regretted it after finishing the dress and putting it on. So a few years later, having become wiser and telling the silhouette to sod off, I have added them.

Finally I didn’t do the bias band edging as this fabric is too shifty and thin to take well to it. So instead I just made two narrow fold-overs and stitched that. If I remember correctly I also had troubles with the bias band finishing on my first Kalle dress even though I used a (slightly) more substantial fabric for that and ended up doing the same.

I used a thin summery viscose from my stash, a fabric I have used before and like for summer sewing. The background of the fabric is a warm toned off white with brightly coloured orange, purple and blue birds, I think hummingbirds, printed on. The combination of background and bright colours made it particularly suited to summer, which made me more determined to find a nice summery pattern to use it for. The previous times I used this or similar thin fabric for projects I used darker fabrics and I had not taken into account the effect of the light background colour making what I can wear under it quite restrictive (unless I want to make a smashing statement!).

I went through my button stash to find something suitable, but wasn’t terribly optimistic to find something that suited in terms of colours in large enough numbers for the entire placket. However the button tin proved me wrong as I found these small red plastic buttons that blended in brilliantly with the rest.

Ultimately I’m quite pleased with this summer sewing effort and think it will get a lot of wear. The silhouette is super wearable and brings some variety to my wardrobe and I think layering will broaden its scope somewhat despite the limitations with the thinness of the fabric. Sewing went quite swift as this is my second time visiting this pattern, and I’d almost say that all the preparation, i.e. printing, taping, fabric cutting etc, took longer than the actual stitching but that is perhaps pushing it.

I made this dress at the start of summer but took the photos about a week ago in late summer. We’ve had a warm and wet summer so everything has grown tall and is green and beautiful. We saw lots of birds while out there, spotted a few wild deer and two not-so-wild horses lazily grazing in the sunshine. My bird dotted dress didn’t exactly camouflage but I will say I felt quite at home there strutting in-between the tall grass and the wildflowers!

Speak soon!

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