Kalle shirt

I have had the Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt in my pattern stash for a very long time and never made it, in spite of seeing many inspiring examples on social media. Then, a conversation with my SewingSansFrontieres friends, Hélène and Suzy, resulted in the three of us deciding to make this shirt, and make it from an old tablecloth. I was very excited at the prospect of this as I do love a tablecloth refashion and I really needed a push to make the pattern.

I decided to have a practice run and made the long version of the shirt using some vintage white cotton lawn that I had in my stash. I cut all the pattern pieces out and then decided to ice dye them before sewing them up.

I simply crumpled up the wet pieces of fabric, laid them on a grid (in this case a just replaced ceiling exhaust fan, now in my dyeing kit!), covered them in ice, sprinkled powdered dye over them and put the whole lot over a bucket to catch the melting ice. I used violet, blue and red dye.


This technique is really meant for snow, but we don’t get a lot of that in Perth. I could replicate it by crushing the ice, but our freezer makes quite small ice cubes so I went with them. It’s so hard waiting for the ice to melt to see what the results are like.

The pattern pieces on the line. Quite bright! I didn’t use a solid piece of fabric and then cut out the pieces as I didn’t want wastage, but I did throw a few scraps into the mix.


The patterns created by the ice dyeing are amazing, I could gaze into this fabric for hours. I can see flowers, including orchids, and faces, and here and there are little creatures.

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The shirt was a fairly straightforward make and I don’t know why I waited so long.

The only drawback to dyeing the pattern pieces is that there is no choice where a particular bit of design finishes up. I have a bit of a situation going on in the front of my shirt, but my husband assures me that no-one would notice. Hmm, not so sure!


The back of the shirt is really long, and from behind I look as though I wearing a dress. In fact, I may have used the wrong cutting line as I don’t see other shirts being this long. IMG_8237

I considered chopping the tail off, but I just couldn’t sacrifice that pattern. I may eventually have to face the fact that it looks silly and cut it off.

Excuse my wet hair, it was a really hot day when I took these photos, and I’d had a swim.


I wore this shirt enough to know I love it, in spite of the length, so I dug in my stash and found a vintage damask tablecloth to use for the “real” thing.

This time I made the cropped version, and would make this one a little longer next time!


I’ve teamed it with my Pattern Union Lisa Bias Skirt, because I happened to have that on and I though it looked quite cute. IMG_8410

I did the inverted pleat, as with the first one, and I love the way the back sits. Here teamed with jeans made from my trouser block.


I used the facing for the hem and it adds weight to the bottom. I really like the line of stitching around it too. I used the collar band rather than the full collar this time as the fabric is quite thick and I wasn’t confident that I could get sharp points with it.


I found the correct number of buttons in my stash – these little flowers, and I’m thrilled to have used them. I feel that they really go well with the damask. IMG_8639

I’ve now worn the damask shirt a couple of times and it’s really comfortable and feels nice to wear.

Given that Hélène, Suzy and I did this as part of our Antidote April for Magamsewalong on Instagram, I thought I’d show you their tablecloth makes too. They look sensational and so, so clever.


This has been such a fun mini project, from working with my two friends, to ice dyeing the fabric. I can’t wait to make my next one!


21 thoughts on “Kalle shirt

  1. I like both shirts, and I wouldn’t worry about the length of the dyed one – I think it looks great!
    The whole ‘shirts from tablecloths’ is not something you’d expect to look good it these all look fabulous. Thanks for sharing everyone else’s too 😀

  2. I love these shirts and must try that popular pattern. How spectacular is the ice dying method and I think the back is lovely. No need to chop it!

  3. Wow! Learn something new everyday! I’ve never seen that ice dying method and it has spectacular results! And I have an old table cloth of my mother’s with a stain I’ve never been able to get out—the wheels are turning now with all of the possibilities!

    1. Before dyeing your mother’s tablecloth you should try scouring it. Use a cup of soda ash in a big pot of simmering water and let it simmer for a while. Then wash. This gets 99% of stains out. Then dye it! This is such a good method of dyeing, I really find it quite exciting. I just did a top and you just never know what you’re going to get! Thank you so much for reading my post!

      1. Thank you! I should have clarified that I was thinking of two separate projects-a top with the tablecloth and trying the dying technique on something else. But I will definitely give the soda ash a go. See there? I’ve learned something else new!😊

  4. This dyeing technique is amazing and I had to look twice to spot what you meant by “having an issue on the front”. Honesty I couldn’t see anything wrong there. The overall result is amazing with such rich tones. Love your damask shirt as well with pretty buttons. It was a fun project!

  5. Ice dyeing is a new one on me too and the results look amazing. As result of this latest challenge I have just ordered my first Kalle shirt pattern, I don’t know why I never tried it before. Thank you for all the new things I learn from reading your blog.

  6. Your 2 shirts look amazing. Both very different but both fabulous. Thanks for taking me out of my box with the ice dyeing. Never thought of doing it that way. Something else to put on the ever growing list while in lockdown!

    1. Ice dyeing is a recommended lockdown activity. It’s fun, there’s a sense of anticipation and then joy as you look at all the patterns created in the fabric!

  7. Your ice dying is amazing! I have tried snow dying as we have lottos snow. However when there is lots of snow its not warm enough to melt! So ice on a warn day is better. Your shirt is beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much! I would love to thrown some fabric under some snow with dye on top and wait for the spring thaw to see what it’s done! However, I think you’re right, ice is probably better unless you can move the snow to somewhere warm for it to melt.

  8. That ice dyeing was totally worth it! Yup, I’d also be trimming that back hem and keeping the cut offs for some pretty insides for another project

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