More fun with Lekala Patterns

Or, The Unfortunate Effects of Poor Fabric Selection

Lekala knit top 5675

I got this fabric (bottom right in the photo) from the thrift store a month or two ago. It’s a light sweater-weight rib knit, very stretchy but not very drapey. I thought it would be ok for a cardigan-type top, a more fitted one rather than something drapey like the Simplicity one.

So why on earth did I think it would be good for taking a shot at this Lekala pattern? Can I plead temporary insanity?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I’m a sucker for peekaboo clothing. Peekaboo backs in dresses, peekaboo shoulders; slit skirts… so yes, this top (scroll down) tickled my fancy right off the back: cute peekaboo detail, not too much skin showing since I’m attempting to be more demure in my old age, still warm for winter.

Twisty pattern piece

I printed it out, compared with my Lydia pattern, and again the only modifications I made were lengthening the bodice and the sleeves. The shoulders are more square than on the Lydia and the armscye and waist are much shorter (shorter even than my altered Lydia, where I shortened the armscye and raised the waist). Of course if you actually ordered the pattern it would be to your own length measurements, so probably most of this won’t be helpful. I added to the bodice only at the hem, and likewise to the sleeves.

It took me a couple of tries to figure out how I

Twist top... sweater version

wanted to finish the front; I double-layered it to simplify the finishing. If you look at the picture of the pattern piece, I sewed the two layers of the piece together along the red lines; I did the same with the middle portion of the lower bodice. Then I sewed the blue lines to the outer portions of the top of the lower bodice, so that all the seams are enclosed.  Despite my best efforts (and liberal use of clear elastic) it wound up quite stretched out, but that reflects on my fabric choice rather than the pattern, I think. I had to turn the bottom of the peekaboo-opening under and tack it on the inside, creating a bit of a “U”, because it was stretched out too badly. It looks okay, but not ideal.

I had to take in the shoulders a bit, again I think due to the spreading tendency of this fabric. I could probably take a bit more width in in front of the armscye, but again more due to the fabric than the pattern.

Oooh, the swayback!

After the trouble I had with the fabric spreading in the upper bodice and shoulders, I didn’t even want to contemplate doing a hem. So I did a rough ‘n ready lettuce hem on the serger on both bodice and sleeves (basically I just ran it through as usual but stretched while I did it). This means that the sleeves are extra-

Front view

gooey-long (which I love). Oddly, I didn’t have to take them in for width, which I’ve had to do before when using “growing” fabric.

I put the shoulders in flat, and they went in very nicely, which is always a plus.

I also took in the side seams after construction, curving in by a good 3/4″ at the waist. Again, due to the growing fabric.

On the plus side, after its initial sagging it doesn’t seem to be growing too much more, and it is quite warm. In the photos it doesn’t look half bad (if I do say so myself), though I feel like the fairly stiff fabric folds oddly as I move. I will definitely have to give this pattern a try in something a little more slinky in the future.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “More fun with Lekala Patterns

  1. Darci

    I like it! Sure, it’s not as sleek as the photo, but with a different fabric choice, that’s solved.

    Good job, lady! You’re rockin’ it!

  2. A lettuce hem!! I should have tried that with my knit tops! I may do another and I’m going to try that.
    This looks good but go for a slinkier fabric next time for sure.
    BTW I love your hair. So punky. (That’s a good thing.)

    • Yeah, I think I would’ve given myself an aneurysm trying to hem this stuff.

      LOL thanks about the hair… it actually needs to be cut *really badly*… but it’s good to know it can at least still look okay in photos. 😉

  3. It looks great – and I love the hem!

  4. My brother serger has a rolled hem feature that does this same “lettuce” effect on any knit. but it makes it really wavy. I think I’ll try your method as it seems less wavy

  5. You know, I really like it! The heft of the fabric, the fact that it looks like it might have stretched out, the lettuce edge — it all looks intentional and edgy. It works on you. Nice job!

  6. I like it! It’s a nice contrast between the cosy warm fabric and the sexy peekaboo neckline.

  7. On those photos, you make me think so much of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, from Stieg Larsson’s books…

    But back to sewing things… First, the pattern seems almost made for you. I like how it shows your arms. Also, the front is very interesting. It is the kind of detail I would look at when talking to someone, trying to figure out how it’s made (and having them wondering why I am looking at their cleavage…).

  8. I think you look awesome in this! And any time you use an out-of-the-box fabric for a project there are some challenges but the end results offer you something different and unusual – something that says you! Just as this top does!

  9. Sewista Fashionista

    Cool pattern! I think the neckline draws attention to your good shoulders and height. Very lovely.

  10. Troubles aside, I still think this turned out pretty well and it’s a great design for you. I just completed my first version of Lydia with some questionable fabric and also resorted to lettucing the hems. Like you, I’m quite happy with the added length it gives me in the arms. But when am I gonna learn that those knits in the bargain pile are there for a reason? !

  11. CGCouture

    Sorry I’m late, but I wanted to congratulate you on an awesome sweater! You could make it again and twist it twice to get more of the look of the pattern, I’d bet. And you could leave out the twist altogether and make the peekaboo with a little fabric ring in the center front for a totally different look. So is this a “freebie” pattern? How does Lekala work exactly?

    • I did actually play around with a double-twist before I attached it but the fabric was too bulky—it really narrowed the top and didn’t look good. Probably better in a lighter fabric :). Yeah, there are lots of fun possibilities with this concept, aren’t there? 🙂

      Lekala patterns not technically free—for a small price (I’m not exactly sure how the billing works) you send them your measurements and they send you a PDF of the pattern adapted to your particular measurements, to be printed out and stuck together. However, there’s a “sample size” PDF available with each pattern on the website, and the women’s “sample” is pretty much equivalent to a Burda 36 or a Big 4 size 10… pretty much my size. So I’ve been using the free ones.

      A few of the patterns are also available from http://www.m-sewing.com in several sizes, but it’s hit and miss.

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