Tag Archives: Lekala

Comfy Knit Dress Lekala 4386

Me at the Theater

I love this dress! It’s chic and comfortable. It was also an easy make.

I used a piece of digital print poly-spandex activewear knit from Ebay. The fabric is gorgeous, but I felt it was just a little bit thin and a little limp. I decided to beef it up with an underlining. But, what to use for the underlining? I dove into my stash. Only one of the swimsuit linings in my fabric resource facility (aka stash), a dark deep green, would work at all. Unfortunately, the deep green swimsuit lining was also thin and limp. Another option  was a black t-shirt knit, but I really wanted to use that fabric for something else. Option 3 was a rayon jersey in a soft apricot/flesh tone, but, it cost more than the floral fabric! Then I stumbled across the most unlikely choice of all, a vivid neon pink poly-lycra activewear knit from Fabric Mart. I bought the fabric thinking “Neon pink is cool”! When the fabric arrived, it was, well, REALLY neon pink!! Just a little bit too neon pink, except perhaps as an accent fabric, and I had plenty. So, the inside of my knit dress is neon pink!

On Dolly the Dummy

The pattern was easy, and I made no design changes or major fitting alterations (except I think the pattern may include a back zipper, which I did not use). Like all Lekala patterns, it’s sized to fit. Because it’s made with activewear fabric, it’s super soft and super comfortable. Almost like wearing pjs!!

Laying out the pattern

Usually I try to use as little fabric as necessary. I love leftovers! But, I didn’t plan to get more than one item out of this particular piece of floral print, and the print is kind of large and dynamic, so instead of trying to conserve every scrap, I focused on placing the pattern pieces on the fabric so that key elements of the floral design landed in appropriate places on the dress. Both sleeves have a larger floral motif at the top of the arm, a large motif falls on the right chest/shoulder, and another falls directly under the little faux belt that covers the gathers in front.

Because I was using two layers of fabric, I basted (technically pre-stitched, because i did not remove the stitches) both layers together, then sewed the seams with my serger.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with bodice gathers and a straight, slit skirt

Pattern Sizing: Like all Lekala patterns, it’s printed to your size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Neon Pink Interior, as seen through the slit in the skirt

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Lekala instructions are really just a set of assembly steps, but the steps were easy to understand and in a clear, logical order

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the design, and that it was easy to make.

Fabric Used: Digital print poly/spandex interlined with poly/lycra activewear

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None (except omitting the back zipper because the fabric is so stretchy it isn’t necessary)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I DO recommend it to others! If you are curious about Lekala patterns, this is an easy one to start with. Would I make it again? Maybe, in a solid color. The design is unique.

 

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Lekala Tunic Dress 2 Ways

When I saw Lekala 4590 I promptly fell in love! Lekala calls it a dress, I wear mine as tunics. Butterick has a similar pattern that I have not tried. I don’t know which one was issued first, but I saw Lekala first.

Material for Take One

My first take on this pattern was intended for the Activewear contest on Pattern Review. I barely finished it in time, but didn’t get a chance to get photos. My second take was also intended for a Pattern Review contest, the Serger contest. Because I was using scraps and leftovers, I ran into complications and didn’t finish it in time at all.

I used a sweatshirt knit for Take One, grey for the body and navy blue for the contrasting collar, sleeve and triangular insets.  I plan to wear it for hiking in cool weather, so I extended the sleeves to cover my hands, and added a thumbhole. Take two is made from a polyester sweater knit and black velvet.

Take One went together smoothly. Nothing major went wrong (I’m always ripping out a seam or two) but I had little time to work on it so progress was slow. I used a heavier fabric for the pockets, in case I want to carry anything heavy or sharp. One pocket zips shut, the other has a plastic ring sewn in, where I can clip anything like keys, etc. I used blue thread and a big, bold zig-zag stitch for the decorative top stitching.

Take Two started off problematic. I used the sweater knit fabric leftover from McCalls   Hacked Again for the body, and black velvet for the sleeves, collar, and contrasting triangle panels. I had two fairly big pieces, I knew the back could fit on one. And it did. The other piece was shorter – and there is where I made my first mistake.

Pocket ring to clip things to

Zipper pocket

I knew the front piece would be shorter than the back, but I thought the hi-low hemline thing would work, so I made the top with a shorter front (including the triangles) It looked weird, the proportions were all wrong. Frustrated, I pushed it to one side and ignored it for awhile.

A couple of weeks later I found another piece of the sweater knit as I was sorting scraps. It looked like it just might be barely big enough to extend the front. I hoped the seam would not be obvious in the knit, but knew any seam in the velvet would be inescapable. They had to be replaced.

Alas, they were sewn with a serger. In frustration I simply cut away the whole seam allowance, when I cut the panels out, knowing the sides would never fall as smoothly again.

I matched the fill in piece on the front as carefully as I could, but the seam was still pretty visible. Again, I tossed it to the side in frustration.

Finished Hiking sweatshirt

Take two,

Then I stumbled across a piece of laced velvet trim. Just barely enough to put across the front over the seam, and across the back at the same height. I pinned it in place, but didn’t like it. So on a whim, I moved the trim down close to the hem, leaving the patch seam uncovered. I thought – and still think – the black trim at the bottom distracted the eye from the seam, and looked better than it did higher up over the seam. I pinned it in place, cut it, and laid the second piece along the back. I had exactly enough. I mean exactly. Less than 1 inch of scrap trim!

Starting at the center of the top and working toward the sides, I stitched the top of the ribbon to the top on the front and back. Then, I sewed the new black velvet triangles in place, catching the raw edges of the trim. Finally, I turned the hem up and stitched the bottom of the ribbon trim, catching the raw edge of the hem as I sewed.

Take Two, Complete at Last

Finally, the only step left was hemming the sleeves. Ironically, my new-to-me serger/coverstitch machine had just arrived. On one hand I was anxious to bust it out and play! On the other, I just wanted these sleeves done as quickly and painlessly as possible, because the whole thing had already sucked up so much time and energy! So, I used an ordinary narrow zig zag stitch hem on the sleeves.

So Take One is great! Take Two is not a wadder, but it’s not my best work, either.

Pattern Description: Tunic/mini dress with darts, triangle insets in front, dropped shoulders, long sleeves, shaped neck band

Pattern Sizing: To your measurements

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, both makes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were more detailed than usual for Lekala.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The insets, the dropped shoulder & contrasting sleeve, the length, the pockets, the neckband. Ok, I just like this pattern!

Fabric Used: Sweatshirt knit, sweater knit, stretch velvet

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On Take One, I added a zipper to one pocket and a plastic ring to the other. I extended the sleeves so they cover my palms and added a thumbhole. On Take Two, I added black trim near the hem

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes.

 

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Cute Lekala Pullover with Ruching and Decorative Buttons

I absolutely LOVE the color of this cotton/wool/spandex knit. I HAD to make something from it as soon as I pulled it out of the FabricMart box!

Pullover in cotton-wool-spandex knit with ruching and decorative buttons

Pullover in cotton-wool-spandex knit with ruching and decorative buttons

I wanted something long sleeve and not too plain. I picked this draped front top with a row of decorative buttons along the left side. The front is actually two layers, a gathered layer over a flat layer.

The fabric was easy to work with, and a refreshing change of pace after my last few makes. The pattern has four main pieces; back, under front, over front, sleeve. It also includes a narrow band at the hem, which I eliminated. I sort of wish I had used the band, to make the hem easier and maybe neater, too.

I was so excited I forgot to take wip photos. I used a serger for construction seams. This pattern has a lot of topstitching. All three bodice pieces are finished with topstitching, as is the left side of the over front.

The pattern calls for 10 buttons, but does not indicate size. I chose 1″ black wooden buttons. There are no buttonholes. The buttons are sewn to both layers, and hold the ruching in place.

In the photo I’m wearing an ivory t-shirt under the top. I was at a dance hafla, and the t is part of my dance costume. So I just wore the t under the top.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the end result. Loved the color, but I was worried that the fabric might have been a little too stiff or thick for the ruching. When I was finished, I decided I like it.

Both front pieces are hemmed together. This is the only spot where I had a little bit of trouble, the top layer didn’t want to sit smoothly in the hem. I think that’s why the pattern includes the hem band, to help control the upper layer.

I think this would be a fun top in a soft, thin sweater knit with a hood. When (if) I make it again, I’ll use the band at the hem.

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I won! I won! Sewing a Trench Coat – Fabric Mart 2016 Sew Along

When I saw Round Two of the Fabric Mart Fabricista 2016 was a trench coat, I was not enthusiastic. A trench coat, any coat actually, is a lot of work. I didn’t really need or want another trench coat. And, I had a busy weekend planned.

Front of the Trench coat

Front of the Trench coat

Research was the first step. Trench coats started off as practical, utilitarian clothing, not as a fashion statement. The contest rules included a link to the Wikipedia entry for Trench Coats, but I found the Gentleman’s Gazette guide to Trench coats much more informative and entertaining https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/   Many features of a traditional trench coat serve (or served) a purpose. The rifle flap kept a soldiers gun dry, the back flap provided rain protection for his back pack. The D-rings held canteens (or according to some sources, hand grenades). The deep collar could be turned up against the weather. Pockets covered with a flap provided water proof storage. IWrist straps pulled the sleeve hem close to the wrist, to keep rain from dripping in when a soldier raised his arms (this was before the invention of the ribbed cuff). Epaulets held rank insignia.

My pattern stash offered nothing suitable for a trench. So I turned to my favorite pattern download site, Lekala, where I found a classic trench coat pattern # 5488, called Double Breasted Raincoat.

Who says downloaded patterns are instant satisfaction?? My printer seldom has a decent cartridge. I like to send my stuff to the local FedEx-Kinkos to print. They usually have it done the same day, and they are open 24-7. But, I still have to drive over and pick it up.  Then the pages must be taped together, and, finally, the pattern pieces must be cut out. That’s not my definition of instant!

On the plus side, Lekala patterns are customized to your measurements. When you’re in between or crossover sizes the way I do, this eliminates a lot of time consuming tweaking for fit.

As my downloaded pattern file went off to Fed-Ex Kinkos, I dug down into my fabric stash. I had some nice water resistant and repellent pieces, in burgundy, emerald green, and navy blue. The emerald is a sort of double-cloth, with a black lining. I also had some pieces of canvas, including a water-resistant Greek key design in an olive green and gold. But, the solid colors weren’t exciting and the Greek key canvas was too busy.

The bolt for the fabric

The bolt for the fabric

Then, I stumbled across an old bolt of fabric. The label said only “Assorted Wovens”, with price tag of $1.99 per yard.

The fabric itself is a wonderful ivy print. It looks a lot like a Dorothy Draper print I saw in the Trellis Room when I visited the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia earlier this summer. I knew it would make an exciting and different trench coat. And, when I spilled a little white wine on it, I learned it’s actually quite water resistant. Or at least, white wine resistant.

My limited stash of polyester lining fabric had nothing suitable. I found an army green challis-like rayon that might have worked, but it had the price sticker still attached, and I didn’t want to use $5 yd fabric to line  $1.99 yd  fabric.  I kept searching. I was very close to giving up and using the rayon when I popped open a bin of old sheets. And there, right on top, was a sheet in the perfect color, in perfect condition.

I trekked to Fed-Ex, picked up my pattern and some tape, came home, and made dinner. Afterwards, while watching TV with hubby, I taped the pages together and cut my pattern out.

Back of the coat. The flap matches so well it disappears into the back

Back of the coat. The flap matches so well it disappears into the back

Most Lekala pattern instructions are little more than a brief outline of assembly steps. This coat had almost a full page of instructions, 17 steps. Some steps were quite verbose, yet cryptic. I’m still not sure what the relieve edge is. Throwing caution to the wind, I  set the instructions on the china cabinet and tackled the project my own way.

First, I laid out the pattern pieces matching the bold print as best I could. This time consuming process gobbled up fabric. The back of the coat is three pieces, center, left side, right side, princess seamed. Starting with the center back, I matched the pattern along the princess seams. Then I matched the back flap to the back. The front is also princess seamed, with four pieces. Two center pieces that overlap to make the double breast, a right side and a left side. Ideally, I wanted both center fronts to be exactly the same with the sides matching at the princess seams. But, I didn’t have enough fabric. So the right side front matched one center front piece, the left matched the other. But the center front pieces do not match each other.

The patch pockets match the fabric under them, the pocket flaps are made from the contrasting lining fabric.  The sleeves are two pieces. I wanted to make them so the pattern is mirror image, but it was impossible. The print has a distinct up and down and a clear left and right side. So the pattern runs front to back on one sleeve, and back to front on the other.

Then I cut lining, belt and contrast pieces from the cotton sheet. I omitted the interfacing in the coat itself because the fabric is really stiff on it’s own. The belt is interfaced, because the sheeting was way too soft without it.

Back of the Trench

Back of the Trench

I sewed the back pieces together, the right front to the right center, the left front to the left center, then the shoulder seams. I did the same with the lining. I applied the pockets to the front, then the contrasting pocket flap. I stitched the upper and under back flap together, trimmed the corners, turned it right side out and top stitched it. I basted it into place along the neck.

I made the collar using the print fabric for the under collar and the contrasting lining for the upper collar. I basted the collar to the neckline, over the back flap.

Then, I sewed the lining into the coat, sandwiching the raw edges of the flap and collar between the coat and lining at the neck. I top stitched around the front edge.  Next I added buttons and buttonholes. Usually a double breasted coat has two vertical rows of buttons. One is functional, the other is decorative and provides visual balance. I used only one vertical row of functional buttons.

I assembled the sleeve and sleeve lining pieces. I turned the sleeve right side out, and the sleeve lining inside out. I slipped the lining over the sleeve and trimmed the lining to be a bit shorter than the final sleeve length. Then I slid the lining down the sleeve, so the hem raw edges lined up. I sewed the raw edges together. I slipped the lining off the sleeve, and stuffed it back inside the sleeve. I pulled it up on the inside so the raw edges at the top of the sleeve and sleeve lining lined up. This pulled the lower edge of the sleeve, which was longer than the lining, to the inside of the sleeve, making a hem. I pressed the hem in place, and inserted the sleeve into the coat.

 

D-ring on Pocket Flap

D-ring on Pocket Flap

I had loads of o-rings and split o-rings and even a few square rings in my stash but no D rings. So I went to the hardware store to find some D-rings. As I was picking through the bins, a helpful store associate asked what I was using them for. When I told him they were for a trench coat, he said a lot of artists had been in that week buying hardware bits, and asked if a big art show was coming up. He seemed a little disappointed when I told him it was for an on-line sewing competition.

D-ring as belt loop

D-ring as belt loop

I added the D-rings to the pocket flaps, the collar and the back flap. I also used D-rings for belt loops.

I finished the raw hem edge of the coat and lining on my serger, turned them up and top stitched the hem.

Two features that appear on traditional trench coats that I did not add were epaulets and cuff straps. The slightly strange collar would hide epaulets anyway. I originally planned to add cuff straps in the contrast lining, but I simply ran out of time and energy.

The final step was photos for Facebook. I uploaded my photos just hours before the deadline.

And I won! A rotary cutting tool and two patterns. Yay me!

 

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