Monday, 28 July 2014

Sewing pattern success!

Perfect fit.

In the past couple of weeks, I've made FIVE garments which I cut straight from patterns as printed, sewed along the seam lines indicated - and which ALL fitted me without any. further. adjustment. 


You can have no idea of how happy I am, unless like me you have  spent the past several years buying pattern drafting books, taking fitting courses, reading blogs, fudging FBAs, squinting over the multiple lines on multi-size patterns with a worsening visual impairment and, of course, making countless toiles - I've stripped local charity shops of their sheets!


I am having so much fun - I haven't felt this way about my clothing for nigh on twenty years.


I am a total Lekala convert after three free patterns and one purchased pattern have ALL fit me better 'straight off the printer' than any 'big brand' or Indi pattern on which I've expended blood, sweat and tears (as well as time, effort and money) to alter and adjust.
Pattern company's illustration of Lekala 5088, a classic straight skirt
Lekala 5088

So far, I've made a straight skirt, a tunic top, a shirt-blouse and - my only paid-for pattern so far - two drape-neck knit tops. NO ALTERATIONS on any of them.

The skirt (Lekala 5088 - free) was made from an odd bit of grey crepe. Here's the pattern company's image on the right:

It's a straightforward  three-seam skirt with a centre-back zip, two darts each side at the back, one each side at the front. It is a totally-classic, nicely-drafted straight skirt. I sewed it up on the seamlines as given, and it fits.  It needs lining - the fabric's not tightly-woven, and frays badly - but I confess I'm in no particular rush to finish it - I don't have a lot of use for a grey straight skirt, if I'm being honest. What impresses me is that even with my quite dramatic hip-spring, the line from waist to hip needs only the slightest tweak to get it perfect

I've worn this tunic below (Lekala 8001), another free pattern from Lekala,  several times during the recent warm weather; it is cool, comfortable and attractive.
Cool, comfortable tunic from Lekala
pattern 8001, which is free!
While I was sewing it - this was the first garment I made from a Lekala pattern - I was convinced that it wasn't going to fit. The armholes seemed too small, the neckline too wide - it took all my willpower to stop myself altering it 'on the fly', but I considered it as a test garment and convinced myself not to. 

'Believing in' the pattern was well worthwhile! There is no sag or bag in the armholes, but they don't bind or dig in, and the neckline, while it doesn't look straight in the photo, is 'just right', lying flat and straight on the body. The back has two long darts and a slightly shaped centre seam. I found the positioning of the casing intended for an under-bust drawstring was too high, but that was at least partly my error in marking.  The next one I make - the fabric is drying on the line as I write - will have a short length of elasticated gathering under the bust.

Forgive my very poor photography - my camera is currently held together with duct tape so I can't access all the settings.

The shirt below (Lekala 5446) is very nice. The collar in particular went together like a dream, every single notch matched beautifully and the sleeves eased in - well - easily. It has both narrow shoulders and a collar which doesn't choke me - a miracle!  Even the button and button-hole positions seem to be spot on; I marked them, then fastened the shirt with safety-pins at the markings when I tried it on. I wore it for a few hours round the house; the pins never pulled or popped. 
The nice collar of the herbaceous-border shirt
Sadly, as you can see, it is very floral and even more pink than it appears to be in the photo. I look like a herbaceous border in full bloom! It is a very nice, casual, semi- to loosely-fitted shirt which I'll probably be making up again, but in a different, less floral, less pink, fabric. In the meantime, here's the 'technical drawing' of it, so you can see the placement of the darts. I've done a review of the pattern on PR here.

Womens' casual shirt Lekala 5446
Pattern company's illustration of drape-neck top 4119
This knit top on the left - Lekala 4119 - is delightful. You can see my review` of it here on the PR website. The finished top is very similar to the much-admired Style Arc 'Creative Cate', especially if you omit the band at the bottom.

I made the first one from a vertigo-inducing printed stripe remnant which cost me 60p, IIRC. I might dye it, in order to tone down the optical illusions caused by so many stripes! 

Drape neck top made and worn by me, in a brown and teal paisley print viscose jersey
Lekala 4119 made up and worn by me, 
 in a brown, teal and cream viscose jersey.
The second I made from a drapey viscose/lycra knit, 150cm wide, which cost me £2.50/m from my favourite market stall. 

Flattering, nicely-fitted, comfortable, desperately fast and easy to make. What more is there to say?

I have some white knit fabric to make yet another one, and I am the woman who 'doesn't like' sewing with knit fabrics and who 'doesn't get' satisfactory results with them ...

Is that a recommendation? Or is that a recommendation!

Right - I mentioned in an earlier post that I don't cope with the sticking-together of downloadable patterns at all - eyesight issues. 
I already pointed out that I am a horrid shape and size to sew for from printed patterns. 
I am, too, a pensioner on a limited income and as such, I REFUSE to pay inflated prices for patterns that don't fit anyone remotely my shape. Big 4 patterns, in particular, are horrendous prices here in the UK compared to the prices charged in the US.

So what makes Lekala so very different - what makes it work for me? All will be revealed in my next post!


  1. Love the floral shirt E.

  2. Lovely results! Hoping to have a go at a Lekala sometime myself.