Monday, September 24, 2018

Striped Linen Dress: Liesl and Co + Closet Case Kalle Mashup

This is one of those projects which took far longer than I expected. It took the first taste of the fall chill to compel me to finish it, and I'm so glad I did. 

Actually, in the photos, I feel like it doesn't look like much. I suppose I could have freshened up the ironing, but this level of rumple is probably much more representative of the look. This linen doesn't hold a press like most linens I have worked with, it reverts to its textural state almost immediately. However, it feels wonderful on, the fabric is substantial and the fit is very easy. Perhaps most importantly, the details subtle details in the striping make me happy. 

For this particular make, I had a very specific idea in mind. While browsing for inspiration I came across this dress by Poetry Fashion. I just loved the use of stripes with the faux princess seams and yoke, in a loose fitting shirt dress. 

It is the most lovely shade of blue, but sadly I could not find any striped linen in just this shade. I did however find a lovely black-brown mini-stripe linen at Fabrics-store, so I went with that. Black is really my color anyway!

For a pattern, I merged my two favorite shirt patterns-- the Liesl and Co. classic shirt and the Closet Case Kalle. If you want to see previous versions, the Liesl is here, and the Kalle is here, here and here. While the Kalle does have a sleeve option, I have not yet been able to get the sleeved version to work as well for me as the sleeves on the Liesl, and I wanted a classic set in sleeve anyway. But the Liesl has no real options beyond the basic shirt, so I used the Kalle to determine the shaping of the dress.  I added a faux yoke and princess seams by drawing and cutting those lines on the resulting pattern and adding seam allowances. 

I used the hidden button placket from the Kalle. This was so fun to sew, I've never done a hidden placket before. The Kalle directions were impeccable as usual. Why doesn't the Liesl have this option?

I usually go with a tower placket on my shirt sleeves, but I decided to go a bit more informal on this one and do a bias bound sleeve placket. Neither of my patterns had this option so I relied on tutorials from several blogs. I also narrowed the cuff on the Liesl to make it a bit more elegant, and went with bracelet-length sleeves.

For the hem, I drafted a facing, and I went with a slightly curved shape with sharp points, longer in the back than the front. Lately I've been feeling the Kalle's exaggerated shirt tail is a bit too informal. The cropped Kalle was the first shirt pattern I ever saw with a faced hem, and while I didn't use that pattern piece, I love the idea of it. 

All seams are frenched, including the in-seam pockets.

The finished dress has two minor disappointments... first, the pockets are a little too low. Doh! I always have such a hard time figuring out where pockets should go. I pinned and basted and pinned again, but in the end they were still to low. By the time I figured this out, they were already french seamed into place, and I was not going back. They are not tragically too low, just a touch lower than I would like. At least they are in matching fabric... the white pocket bags are one of the main complaints about the inspiration dress. 

The second minor point of irritation is the finish on the slit. I still feel there must be a better way to transition between french seams and side slits. I clipped and tucked in all the raw ends, but I still feel it doesn't have the finish the rest of the garment has. Probably a facing for the slit would be the next step towards a cleaner finish. 

This is how I wore it today... with a Lisbon Cardigan and the cuffs turned up over the sleeves. It will be lovely with tights when it gets chillier!


  1. Such clever hacking and mashing. Could you do one of those little upside down triangle things (I don’t know what they’re called) for your side split dilemma? There’s a tute on the Oliver and S blog somewhere in a shirt detail blog.

    1. That's a great idea. I've done that before but I sort of forgot about it... I might use that on the dress I'm making now, it has side slits too!

  2. WOW love these design. Thanks for sharing

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  4. This looks incredibly cosy, perfect for autumn!