children, sewing

Air Force Kalea Dress

Now for my second Air Force make! (My first one – a sweatshirt/jacket is right here). I decided to make a the Pom & Pino Kalea Dress (German only) for my daughter – I love how this design allows for featuring multiple types of fabric in a way that’s interesting and not overdone.


This fabric is part of the new military collection from Affordable Fabrics and More, and includes prints and coordinates for all branches of the military -Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy! This fabric is available for pre-order until August 5 August 12 – join the Affordable Fabrics & More Facebook group for all the details!


For this pattern, I used her waist size and lengthened it. I had previously made the Pom & Pino Leinchen Skirt (the skirt version of this pattern) but it was too wide for my daughter when I went solely by her height.


To conserve the custom print, I pieced it together with solid white cotton lycra underneath the skirt panels. I worked out a hidden cut line on the pattern pieces, then serged and coverstitched it with a solid.


I used jumbo rick rack along the edges of the skirt (you can also use lace – I just didn’t have any on hand!). I also realized I had an almost perfect match for the blue in the panel with some solid Stenzo knit I had on hand from Mabel Madison! So if you need a solid coordinate, this one is almost exactly the same!


To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of this dress pattern. Some of my problems with it:

  • 200 Pages. I’m not even kidding. There are no layers, so rather than nesting the pieces, most of the pieces are nested with just 2 sizes. Each page is dedicated to just one pattern piece too (so you’re not having say a piece of arm and piece of skirt printing on the same page). While some may like this, it further adds to the excessive number of pages.
  • Pattern piece redundancy. The pattern has 4 variants. A skirt piece is provided for each variant. I printed both and then discovered: they are exactly the same. So, if you are printing this pattern, just print ONE of the skirt versions. The only thing that changes is the bodice.
  • Confusing neckline finishing. The instructions have you create a channel at the neckline and then thread elastic through. I initially tried this but it didn’t work well, so I opted to serge 1/4″ elastic directly onto the neckline and then coverstitch. This has resulted in a wonky looking neckline though, so I need to do something to fix it. I’m not sure what yet. Perhaps switch to a banded neckline? Tighter elastic? Binding? What would you do?
  • Skirt gets thick. The three skirt layers all meet at the waist seam. I’m convinced there must be a better way to construct this so that there’s not so much bulk in that area. But I don’t know… I need to play with it!


Things I’d like to do next time:

The thing I love most about this dress is the skirt. I would use the skirt again but use a different bodice. I have plenty of bodices that would work great with this skirt! I think this skirt is also longer than the Leinchen, but I haven’t compared them yet (if you’re trying to decide which of the two patterns you should get!).


Pre-order Details

Affordable Fabrics and More Military Preorder closes on August 5! Join their Facebook group for updates, order form and more inspiration!

(You may have noticed the typo on the panel (missing a period after the S and a space between “air” and “force”). This has been corrected for the final printing.)

Fabric and Pattern summary:

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