Closet Case Kalle (and working with cupro)

This is the Kalle shirtdress by Closet Case Patterns. I sewed up View C (dress-length) with the standard collar and regular placket, in a size 8 with no modifications. I used a luxurious black cupro/viscose blend from Blackbird Fabrics.

Click through for more details!

This was the #SewMyStyle2018 pattern for March and one of the patterns that had me convinced to sign up for the year-long challenge; I love a good button-up, and this pattern is made all the easier by it’s short, kimono sleeves.

I bought this luscious fabric during a sale from Blackbird Fabrics (they’re based in Canada, but I had it shipped to my parents’ house in the US to grab during a work trip! The shop is beautifully curated but the shipping would be way too much to send to Belgium). Even with the sale, this s**t was expensive! When I got home, prewashed it and catalogued on my Trello board, I remember thinking, what did I buy this for?!

Luckily, it fits perfectly as a dress-length Kalle, but working with this shifty fabric taught me so many valuable lessons.

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The fit is okay. The back feels a bit tight (I think a broad-back adjustment will become a standard for me), the shoulders slide back (maybe because the back is tight?), and it is just the slightest teeny bit too short, especially considering the curved hem. For next time (and I’m already planning a next one), I’ll try some fit adjustments to address those.

Working with this fabric, my goodness! While trying to align everything for cutting, it slid off grain if I sighed too hard (which, considering the circumstances, I did quite often!). I ended up trying to power through, but first valuable lesson when working with shifty fabrics: if you f**k up the cutting, you can’t really fix that, so take your time and get it right!

This fabric also has a really beautiful sheen that unfortunately (during the sewing process) is super similar front to back. There’s not actually an obvious wrong side, one is just slightly more matte than the other. I made the decision to have the shinier side face out as the right side, but I should’ve marked it more clearly on the pieces which side that was. I do most of my sewing at night, after the kids are in bed, and after I successfully conquered the burrito method and came out with a totally encased yoke, I realized the back was reversed. Argh! I couldn’t bear the thought of unpicking all of that, especially at the risk of chewing up this precious fabric.

(If anybody ever notices, I’ll say it was on purpose.)

I used wondertape (double-sided water-soluble tape) to keep the placket in place while stitching and that worked pretty well.

The “many” valuable lessons for working with tricky fabric can really be summarized like so: pay attention for the sake of accuracy. Several steps I insisted on pushing through to get to the next step, and it’s not my proudest make because of it. Many sins are hidden by the black fabric, but I still know!

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For future floaty, fickle fabrics, I bought a can of spray starch at the grocery store and have been amazed at the effect it has! I tested scraps and it made this slinky stuff behave like quilting cotton. My next version, a millennial pink crop-top version (made of slippery modal), should hopefully go much more smoothly.

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