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.
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.
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.
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.
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.