Tag Archives: Lekala

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.

Advertisements

16 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Knit Tops: the Raglan Experiment

First of all, before I forget, thanks everyone who said they liked the new theme! I finally found one I can customize the way I like, and I get a header! yay!. Though I’m still getting used to the new colour scheme. I’ve been in such a “red and black” mode lately, the blue and cream feels odd.

Lekala raglan tee pattern illustration

So this past weekend, in between madly sewing jeans and bullying Tyo into posing for pictures in her coat, I spent some time sniffing around the Lekala website. In particular, I discovered their “knittings” section. There are some pretty groovy patterns there. Importantly, they have a link to a sample PDF of the patterns (conveniently tiled for home printing, albeit for an A4 size paper. I wonder if I could find A4 paper here if I looked?). EVEN more importantly, that PDF pattern is in a small adult size, for someone with an 84cm bust and 92 cm hips. Which happens to be about as close to my actual measurements as any non-custom pattern ever is (we’ll ignore the 64cm waist, AKA 25″ waist. Haven’t had one of those since I was 14.)

Anyhoo, I cheerfully went along downloading every pattern that caught my fancy, and decided in a fit of mad bravery to sew up my single remaining remnant of white cotton knit into this pattern (#5672, about halfway down the page). Don’t you love their foxy artist illustrations? I especially like that a lot of them are plus-sized (though not this one, obviously)

This is the line-drawing:

Lekala raglan top 5672 line drawing

Lekala raglan top 5672 line drawing

which shows what it is a little more plainly: a simple raglan-sleeved top with a gathered drawstring placket in the front.

I’ve been wanting to try a raglan-sleeved basic tee for awhile. Well, basically since this one appeared on Burdastyle. Obviously there’s some differences (no underbust seam here), but the basic shape’s the same, both have bust gathers, and this one is free!

I printed the pieces out and compared them to my much-laboured-over Lydia pattern. Almost a perfect match, aside from some subtle differences in the waist curve—the sizing was spot on, as was the sleeve length. The bodice of the Lekala top was quite short, as you can see in the pattern illustration, so I extended it by a good 10cm; as I no longer have the firmness of tummy the model does, I try to avoid that sliver of low-belly nowadays. I also added my usual extension to the arm as well.

Lekala raglan tee, V. 1, front

And I got sewing. Since the knit I had on hand was white and a bit sheer, I tried out Sherry’s double-layer, folded hem, enclosed seam technique. This worked really well, though I wasn’t quite clever enough to get the sleeve seam enclosed between the two bodice layers. Next time. Only downside—it’s awkward to take in after construction. Which is why Sherry made a muslin. I didn’t bother, despite remembering clearly that the white Lydia I made from this same fabric needed to be taken in, as the fabric has little to no recovery. So the bodice wound up a bit looser and bulkier than I might have liked… but still wearable. It also looses length significantly as it stretches in width; I should’ve added more length to the sleeves.

I had the most trouble with the neckline. I was quite worried about it stretching out of

Lekala raglan-sleeve tee, slightly better shot of the body

shape (see above about the recovery of this fabric). Initially I went to bind it with a a strip of self fabric cut on the lengthwise grain (as I’ve done with all my Lydias; the technique is the same as Sherry uses in her tank-top post, minus the serged edge and precision). However, I remembered (as I was sewing it on) that this fabric has no lengthwise stretch. The resulting binding looked great and didn’t sag, but when worn it pulled the neckline very high, making the whole shirt very tight through the armpits, but most importantly not providing that lovely almost-off-the-shoulder sweep of skin. So I cut it all off, went back, and sewed 1/4 clear elastic along the wrongside, and then just folded this under and topstitched. I started out the topstitching with a double needle, but one of the needles snapped within the first four inches of topstitching (first time using that needle, too… #$$%#%$@#@$), so I did two rows of single stretch straight stitching. Grrr. Well, it looks all right from a distance, anyway. In hindsight I could’ve been a little more aggressive snugging up the clear elastic; it flares out a bit more than necessary especially right at the sleeve seams.

The pattern called for a drawstring placket to make the gathers at the bust. I had no idea how to do this, the

Lekala raglan-sleeve T

instructions were less than edifying (I’ve never applied a surface placket like this before), and I didn’t have anything  I thought I’d want to make drawstrings out of anyway, so I used the same method I did on my blue tank top and sewed a stretched elastic on the inside. I could’ve made it a bit longer, but on the whole the detail worked.

I definitely want to repeat this in a nicer fabric (this isn’t an awful knit, it’s reasonably stable to cut and sew, but the lack of recovery, lack of vertical stretch, and boring colour irritate me). And maybe stick a big floppy collar like the Manequim Cowl on top.

I wish all the nice knits at Fabricland weren’t so frickin’ expensive. I know, I know, buy online… /sigh.

Here ends part 2 of my Lekala odyssey. I’m pretty sure there will be more in the future…

23 Comments

Filed under Sewing

A coat for Tyo?

So I may have mentioned already that I bought some (other) fabric last week. In fact, it was a bit of a binge-week, fabricwise (gotta love payday), but this is the EXPENSIVE fabric. Not the random metres snagged at the thrift-store, but real, honest-to-goodness expensive bought fabric.

Boiled "wool" camry

As a self-justification (can you tell how guilty I’m feeling about this?) I had a 50% off coupon for Fabricland (up to 5m of fabric) that expired at the end of October. My plan was to finally splurge on some wool melton ($16.50/m sounds much more palatable than $33/m, yes?). Red and a little bit of black. But there was this other fabric, a “boiled wool camry” (all “wools” at Fabricland, incuding the melton, are, in fact, wool blends, as far as I can tell). Its basic price was a little cheaper ($24/m), and it had a really interesting texture to the surface that the melton lacks. It had caught my eye before. It’s also a knit, which is interesting; it has a little give but isn’t what I would call stretchy.

And, this past week, it was on sale for $10/m.

That’s more than %50 off.

So I bought it instead. My precious 50%-off coupon will, it appears, expire, unused. 5m of red wool, 1 of black. The idea was to create something similar to my long-destroyed HBC blanket coat, with pieced-in or applique’d stripes, either for my long-neglected Lady Grey or even a rehash of my Winter Coat pattern (with the standard collar and lapel this time)

But…

But…

I’ve mentioned before that Tyo is in need of a new winter coat this year. And I’ve toyed with the idea of making one (provided I could throw it together quickly enough. But I didn’t think I had a good pattern handy, and am still worried  about whether my construciton techniques will be warm enough to get me through the winter.

Probably I should’ve spent that $60 on a coat for Tyo. Hence the guilt.

Girls' double-breasted coat

Then, yesterday, I stumbled again across this pattern. Cute, no? I originally downloaded it in September off the Lekala website when they were offering free downloads (in limited sizes); it came in a kid’s size 120, a bit small for Tyo.

But, many of the Lekala patterns are available, albeit in limited/fixed sizes, from M-sewing.com. So it occurred to me to check over there.

Now, I have to admit I’m pretty suspicious of these pattern companies. The few reviews of Lekala patterns have agreed that the instructions are useless and some of the measurements perhaps dodgy. More, I just don’t GET it. I don’t know where they come from, why a Russian site and an English-language one are offering the same patterns (albeit with a different sizing system), one for free and one charging. I guess basically, I don’t know where the money is, so I’m wary.

That being said, there are some pretty cute patterns on the sites, and I’m pretty sure I can throw a coat together without instructions at this point. I showed this one to Tyo and she said she loved it. Especially if it were in red. With, say, a black collar.

So I was able to download the coat off the m-sewing site in child’s size 134, which is Tyo’s

M-sewing pattern image

Burda/Ottobre size, and the measurements SEEM compatible (I should probably measure her again, however, to be sure). The other problem with the m-sewing (but not the Lekala) downloads is that the PDF isn’t tiled for printing at home. Apparently newer versions of Adobe Acrobat will tile it for you, but my archaic version won’t, and the built-in tiling software in my printer is limited to set sizes. I could print it at a copy-shop, but that would require spending actual money (as opposed to money on ink and paper, which doesn’t for some reason count), which I’m disinclined to do on a pattern I don’t trust. So I spent some time messing around with some equally archaic software, “poster printer“, and have what I HOPE is a reasonably-close printout.

Next step, of course, will be muslining. I figure whatever fabric I use for my muslin I’ll re-use for underlining, thus alleviating a) waste, and b) warmth worries. Unless of course it’s a total wadder, in which case, well, I get to use my red fabric for ME. Although with 5m of the red I really should have enough for a coat for Tyo AND one for me, even if I can’t use the Lady Grey pattern.

Of course one other big question remains: will I have time to get this done in November?

12 Comments

Filed under Sewing