Comparing Melilot, Kalle and Alex shirts

This week I'm guest posting on the Minerva Crafts Blog with my Deer and Doe Melilot shirt made from their Cotton and Steel rayon. The pattern I picked was more to do with testing out the versatility of the fabric (more about that on the Minerva Craft site here), but got me to thinking about what I prefer about the different shirt patterns I have used and which I will use most often. Seeing as this year I'm really focusing on which patterns I can use a lot, it made sense to compare the best features of each. All three are casual shirts but offer different looks and making experiences.

Sew Over It Alex Shirt

Alex Shirt from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break eBook

My first button up shirt was the Alex shirt from the Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break eBook. Thus far it is also my most used pattern (probably because it was the first!). It has a flat collar and a slightly dropped shoulder to give it a relaxed and casual look. The sleeves don't have cuffs but do have tabs for you to roll up the ends with. It has a fairly simple construction including a shoulder yoke and is loose fitting. This means that it is easier to construct than some other button up shirts so is a good starting point for a beginner. There is also a shirt dress version that you can make with this pattern that relies on fit from a waist tie/belt, so no more complicated than the shirt itself. I found that mine needed a lot of taking in and in later versions I made a size smaller which suited my frame better. I was able to make my versions in quite light fabrics - chiffon in one case - because of the design.

Floral chiffon Alex shirt dress from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break ebook

(In case you want more details on the pattern or my previous makes....
Full pattern review and details: here
Second shirt: here
Shirt dress version: here)

Good points: simple collar and sleeves make for easy construction; relaxed and loose fit for a casual look; easy to use French seams (and therefore light fabrics); shirt dress option; instructions include photographs.

Things to think about: only available as part of an eBook; very relaxed fit.

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt pattern review for #sewmystyle2018
Next I tackled the Kalle shirt from Closet Case Patterns, as part of the #sewmystyle2018 line up. This is a casual short sleeved shirt with multiple options including different collars, cuffs and plackets as well as a range of lengths from a cropped shirt down to a shirt dress. The hem has a deep curve as a feature and also includes a yoke. If you want lots of versions from a pattern, this will certainly fit the bill. There is a sleeve expansion available too; the original pattern uses kimono sleeves so if you lengthen them they will be based on a dropped shoulder. The instructions are also highly detailed (both in the pattern booklet and the tutorials on the Closet Case blog) so if you are trying a new technique, there is a lot of support in getting it right. It is the most complicated out of the patterns I've tried as it is the most technically advanced. However, you will have a good button up shirt at the end of it!

My version and more details: here

Good points: quality of instructions; you can learn a lot of different techniques through one pattern; sizing and proportions, range of options and so many versions!

Things to think about: long sleeves are an add on pack, picking and adapting the hem to suit best.

Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt

The Melilot shirt from Deer and Doe also features dropped shoulders but is a little more elegant with its placket cover and wrist detailing. You can pick from a rounded or mandarin collar as well as different sleeve lengths. The construction of this shirt falls between the other two in terms of complication. It doesn't have a yoke which speeds things up, but does have a wrist placket and cuff which will take time to figure out if it's new to you. The instructions are accompanied with diagrams which are just about enough to get the job done. Out of the three patterns this one was the fastest that I made - whether that is due to the construction or my improving skills is debatable, but I think it is the pattern itself. I also think it is easiest to make this look more formal or more casual too.

Good points: ease of construction, overall fit; placket and cuff details, short sleeved and long sleeved versions.
Things to think about: no shirt dress version.

Overall? or for your very casual first button up shirt? What would I recommend?

  • Simplicity of construction: Alex, or perhaps Melilot
  • Learning potential: Kalle
  • Range of options: Kalle
  • Speed: Melilot
  • Versatility in formal and casual ensembles: Melilot and Kalle
Personally, I'm drawn to the feminine aesthetic of the Melilot, so this will probably end up as my most used in the fullness of time.

oh, and they all have pockets!!

Of course, there are also lots of other options out there, the By Hand London Sarah shirt, Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirt and shirt dress or Grainline Archer shirt to name a few! The commercial pattern companies also have a wealth of patterns, but I've focused on these three as casual shirts that are popular with online makers. Pop your comment down below for your own recommendations and preferences!

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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