Oh Christmas shirt, oh Christmas shirt, how long have I waited for thee! This shirt is three years in the making and I am SO happy to be wearing it today! I bought the fabric in July 2018 with plans to make it for Christmas 2018, then we put our house up for sale and we were supposed to move in October, then November, then December and then the week before Christmas the date was moved to January! The whole house was packed up in boxes for a planned move on Dec 21st and unsurprisingly amongst all this madness I didn’t get around to making a Christmas shirt and wasn’t feeling particularly festive anyway. Christmas 2019 came around and my son had just started school and I decided to start a business (Otter and Spell is my little brand for anyone who doesn’t know). I was in the midst of sewing and selling tons of project bags for the busy Christmas season and sewing for myself completely stopped! So this year was going to be THE YEAR – third time’s a charm right?
I ordered the bolt end of this amazing Dashwood Studio Quilting Cotton from Crafty Sew&So (sold out as I bought it in 2018 but they have lots of lovely Christmas fabrics in their Christmas section) the bolt end I bought was less than 1.5m so I needed a pattern that didn’t take a lot of fabric! Quilting cottons are notoriously narrow and this one is no exception so I chose the Closet Core Patterns Kalle shirt because I knew the short option is very cropped.
A couple of months ago I made a toile to check the fit and was happy with it, I lengthened the front by 1inch to cover up a little bit more and make the dropped hem a bit less dramatic. This adjustment makes the shirt a bit more wearable for me as the front is VERY cropped. I chose the size 10 based on my measurements and am happy with the fit.
For this version I decided to use the standard placket as I wanted to show off some pretty buttons and wanted to make the collar but something was holding me back. To me, the collar looks really smart and formal in a white cotton and for my kitsch Christmas shirt, smart wasn’t really what I was going for. Then I had a brainwave – a PETER PAN COLLAR is exactly the vibe I was going for. There’s no such thing as too cutesy right? I hope not because this is the cutest.
To achieve the peter pan collar, I got the collar piece out of the Deer and Doe Melilot pattern and compared it to the Kalle. It was pretty much exactly the same length and so was the collar stand. The only noticeable difference was the collar stand on the Kalle was MUCH higher than the collar stand on the Melilot. Seeing as I was using the Melilot collar and I felt like the Kalle collar looked a bit higher than I’d like in some pictures I decided to use the band collar from the Kalle pattern as my collar stand. I chose this because – it is the same height as the Melilot collar stand but the exact right width for the neck opening as it was made for the Kalle. I didn’t have any problems hacking these pieces together. To recap – I used the Kalle shirt pattern, with the Melilot collar and the Kalle band collar as my collar stand.
The sewing was relatively straightforward although not quick, I wanted to add in ALL the details including a label on the inside yoke, label at the side seam, optional chest pocket (pattern matched of course), topstitching everywhere, pretty vintage glass buttons, peter pan collar and hem facing. These are the sorts of details that make my little sewing heart sing! I sewed this shirt in bits here and there for over a month and I loved every minute. All those details on the finished garment make me really happy and I am so sad I won’t be showing this off anywhere this year!
As I had already made a toile it meant I had practised some of the tricky elements such as easing in the collar and sewing that hem facing, I am glad I did and would definitely recommend toiling the Kalle – especially if making the cropped version as that hem facing is nowhere near as perfect on my first one as it is this time around. I do want to point out that there is a very comprehensive sewalong to accompany the Kalle pattern and I found this useful to refer to at some points as the pattern has illustrations but the sewalong has photographs and sometimes it’s nice to see both. Very impressed!
I loved this fabric, I don’t sew with quilting cottons a lot but this one is very smooth and weighty compared to others I’ve tried – it can often feel thin and this didn’t. I will definitely bear Dashwood Studios in mind in future for garment making.
I think that’s it! I love the shirt but it’s bloody hard to get pictures at the moment as it’s so bloody dark all day long. Let’s just hope I don’t spill my Christmas dinner down it so some other people can get a look at it next year!
Stay safe everyone x