Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year with a Lekala Dress Pattern

Fit...the final frontier.  You buy a new pattern, bring it home. Stare at the envelope, that technical drawing taunting you with its many pattern pieces all begging to be sewn. But before you get to the fun part, the actual stitching, you have to consider the fit. No chance to stomp on that pedal, hear the soothing roar of the machine until you do some measuring, slicing, pivoting, math calculations, a few little swear words, and then cross your fingers and hope for success.  What, you don't do that?  You open the envelope, pick a size, cut it out and then pray it will button or zip or be able to pull it over your head?

True confession, I actually like fitting and feel comfortable with most challenges, but that is after many classes, and years of practice. If I were learning to sew today I would not think it is fun, although there are so many resources for learning and I recommend them all, from DVD's and blog posts to high-level classes.

Have you looked at the Lekala patterns website?  I have always been intrigued by this pattern company and periodically scanned through their selection, noting a few dresses I might like. Recently I was contacted by Natalia of Lekala Patterns who asked me if I would give their patterns a try and then blog about them. Their website had been revamped since the last time I had looked at it, with a variety of language options and payment methods. I chose a dress and here is the result.

Lekala dress front

But I have buried the headline on this one - It Fit ! Repeat, It Fit Perfectly!  With no adjustments. For Lekala patterns you provide your measurements (bust, underbust, waist, hip and height) and then they provide a PDF pattern custom sized to your measurements.  I was a bit skeptical but figured it was worth a try.  Taping together printer pages is not my idea of fun, however I will happily use a roll of tape and reams of paper if I don't have to mess around fit adjustments. 

I taped the printer pages together and then traced out the pattern pieces on tracing paper, adding seam allowances which are not included.  Once I did that I gave some thought to doing some verifying with the tape measure but decided against that because the back pattern pieces looked fine (at this point I can eyeball my size) and I also thought it was a good test of this pattern company to sew it up just as I received it to see how the custom sizing worked out. 

           Lekala dress backLekala dress front 2
I did make a muslin, just for the main pieces, front and back and omitting the sleeves and collar. Mostly because I am not such a whiz with the pattern tracing (remember - no Burda or other magazine patterns for me)  and wanted to make sure I did it right before I cut into my nice fabric. This fabric is a ponte knit from Stone Mountain.  Not very original as it is a virtual copy of the Lekala image but I wanted a holiday dress.  This is Lekala Pattern # 4060.

Lekala dress 4060Lekala_4060_drawing

A little analysis on this pattern.  Maybe I could make it a bit more fitted in the waist but I probably won't. It is very comfortable, I really like that drape effect across the front that gives shaping and allows you to hit the buffet at a party without fear. I don't think the dress looks perfect when I am standing mannequin still as in the photos above, but everyone who has seen it in action thought it was perfect. Do you have a dress that looks better "in action"? I think this is one that does. The fit through the shoulders and neckline is what really sold me. It could be that I just happen to fit the Lekala sloper or they are magicians with the fit, but either way I am very happy with the result.  I did add a couple of inches in the length when I cut it out and did need that. The instructions are a bit confusing, not entirely sure what they were referring to in some instances but if you are not a beginner I think you could figure out how to sew up the pattern on your own. The markings (notches, pleats etc) were very well marked, all matched exactly.  Looking at these photos below I could use some improvement on my hem stitches on ponte knit - any tips?  I don't like machine hems so I did hand stitch, or maybe I am being too fussy.

Lekala dress on form side   Lekala dress on form front

In summary, I am very happy with my first Lekala pattern and will definitely use them again. There are other dress patterns on their site that are calling out to me (I know, more dresses that I don't need).  I do have a jacket pattern from them with a peplum design - yes time for me to get on the peplum trend - so I plan to get to the jacket in January.

Note: I received 3 patterns at no charge from Lekala. Their prices are very reasonable and I would be happy to purchase others in the future.

Good wishes to everyone for happiness, health and fantastic fabric finds in 2013.
Happy New Year,  Beth

27 comments:

  1. What a stunning dress. I love their designs and lok forward to some time in 2013 when I too can try them out for the first time. Thanks for bringing Lekala closer to the top of my goals list.

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  2. What an AWESOME looking dress! I love it in that ponte too. I'm also not a fan of machine stitched hems so no advice from me :)

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  3. I love your dress!!! You have convinced me to take the final step myself. I have a few patterns via Melissa @ Fehr Trade that have been languishing since she got them for me. I have this one and a cheomsang (sp?) asian dress, moving them up on the To Be Sewn list.

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  4. Wow, that is really beautiful, it looks great on you! And what a lovely colour.

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  5. Oh yes, they contacted me - and then I promptly forgot to do anything about it! I agree that some of their patterns look really intriguing and stimulating. I love your dress and the drape. The fit across the back, shoulders etc is fabulous. It looks lovely and comfortable. Hmmm, maybe I should contact Lekala...! The pattern drafting to your measurements is intriguing. Happy New Year!

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  6. Beautiful fit and great color! Happy New Year.

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  7. Great dress and colour!! Would love to try one of their patterns - thanks for sharing. Wishing you a fantastic 2013!!

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  8. What a lovely dress, in a gorgeous colour that suits you beautifully!
    Happy New Year Beth, and all the best for a terrific 2013 :)

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  9. That's a very unusual dress--unusual in a good way. I really like the cut, the drape. I will definitely browse Lekala. Happy New Year!

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  10. Pretty dress, love the interesting collar feature and the side gathers. Perfect for the holidays! I will definitely be more inclined to try Lekala patterns after your review!

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  11. Oooh, that looks great, Beth! What a flattering dress and an unusual style!

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  12. Looks really good on you! The fit is great and I like the front draping.

    I've made a few Lekala patterns and have found the fit pretty good, the only problem I've had is that I normally need a FBA and Lekala have you order by your full bust not upper bust, but all that means is next time I'll use my upper bust measurement instead when I order! Other than that they seem to go together really well, like you say, the notches all line up beautifully.

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  13. Wow! It looks great. If it sewed up like that straight from the original pattern that's amazing :-) the hem looks fine to me but I struggle with hemming knits too.

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  14. That dress looks really pretty! I just love the colour and style and it suits you really well!

    Joy

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  15. Your dress looks better than the pattern model! It looks great on you!

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  16. What a great holiday dress and what a great introduction to Lekala patterns! Happy New Year!

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  17. I love this dress! What a pretty style and color. Great to know that Lekala patterns fit right out of the box. The dress reminds me of an LK Bennett dress: http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=664&tbm=isch&tbnid=QfeMIjlsClH_6M:&imgrefurl=http://whatkatewore.com/2011/11/08/kate-in-a-paper-bag-bits-bytes-fall-fashions/lk-bennett-davina-dress-2/&docid=xHJB5j3mRCj9WM&imgurl=http://whatkatewore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/LK-Bennett-Davina-Dress1.jpg&w=480&h=360&ei=kBLjUM_oJciO0QHSjID4AQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=71&vpy=128&dur=5713&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=135&ty=95&sig=117577052242131976425&page=1&tbnh=142&tbnw=193&start=0&ndsp=34&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:94

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  18. Beth this is really a great dress. On my blog I asked if anyone used Lekala patterns (a couple of months ago) and I had some positive and negative comments and I was impressed that Natalia posted comments asking people who have used them to contact her. They have some amazing patterns and I have my eye on some and with your great review I will definitely give them a go. I'm not an easy size and unfortunately I am the one who cuts the 10 at the top grade to 14 and hope it fits and pass it on if it doesn't. I would love to think I could cut it and sew it and it would just fit! Thanks so much.

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  19. Such a gorgeous dress, I love all the little details on it, maybe 2013 is the year for me to test out a new pattern company and delve into the world of printing and taping!

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  20. Wow, that's impressive straight-out-of-the-envelope fit.

    As far as the hem, I have a curved-needle blindstitcher that so far has not failed me on anything. It makes truly invisible stitches (after some adjusting and getting over the learning curve). Mine is an old Chandler Skipper, which I got via ebay for <$100, but there are ones out there (Nancy's Notions sells one) that are about $400ish new.

    Happy new year! I look forward to seeing what you create in 2013, thanks for the inspiration.

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  21. Lovely dress! I'm a big fan of Lekala patterns, and they always fit me and the people I sew for straight out of the pattern. I find them especially good for tween patterns as they've got so many more designs (especially for boys) than anyone else out there. I noticed that only a small portion of their catalogue is on their new site though - there are a lot more designs on leko-mail.net (the old site)

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  22. Great dress, and thanks for the review of the pattern/company! They've got several designs I like, so it's nice to hear you had a positive experience. I'll have to give them a shot (even though I also loathe printing/taping/cutting pdf patterns).

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  23. What a lovely dress! It looks like Lekala sewing patterns are on sale through Jan 3rd (per their Facebook page)

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  24. Beautiful dress! The style is really interesting (and flattering) and I love the color choice. Happy new year!

    Side note: I have to say that I am shocked -- just shocked -- that you made a muslin!

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  25. Dear Lekala: This was an excellent idea and it will pay dividends for you.

    This dress review went from here, to Pattern Review, to Stitcher's Guild, and then to me. I went to the site. I saw more intriguing skirt patterns than I've seen in the past several years in all other pattern companies! Almost a dozen have jumped into my wishlist--that's more patterns than I presently own. To be honest, I do not _care_ if I have to do fit adjustments or not (and being a swayback, I will anyway). The novelty is enough.

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