Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rainbow stripe knit dress: Lekala pattern and Girl Charlee fabric

Hello there. Or should I say Aloha? Another summer knit that made it into my suitcase for vacation.

Lekala stripe on me front

And a rainy overcast day which is not good for a beach day but works out for taking some photos. Speaking of the weather - this has been the hottest temps I have ever experienced in Hawaii. Global warming is real, people!

At least that's what the newscasters are talking about here. Wow, it was hot and no trade winds which is out of the ordinary. Plus 3 hurricanes passing by the islands with plenty of moisture and humidity. Coming from drought stricken California it was such a change. And everything is so green. I have forgotten what that looks like! Plenty of hurricane warnings but fortunately nice weather most days so all was good. And evening thunderstorms with lots of lightening. Dramatic. Lightening storms are actually quite rare in my home state so a bit exciting for us although not notable for many of you.

Back to sewing - I posted a sneak peak of this dress on Instagram during the #sewphotohop for Day 3: Colorful and a few people loved the fabric, even knowing that it was from Girl Charlee. (You all know your fabrics!).

As for the pattern, it is a Lekala pattern #4271. With a few adjustments  - of course. I was looking at my fabric and decided I wanted an easy pull over the head dress with a racerback. And didn't have any pattern in my file that matched that description. So instant download to the rescue. Using my measurements I ordered from Lekala and the fit was quite good. I really didn't make any changes at all. What I think works out really well with the Lekala and Bootstrap patterns is that you do give your height, so the proportions tend to be nearer to what I want. For example, the darts were in the right place, and the waist was also. Typically since I am shorter than the standard fit I have to adjust things in the vertical dimension but didn't here. Also that was good since I was working with a stripe and I didn't want to mess up the pattern matching.

Lekala 4271 tech drawing

Dress on form. In retrospect I wish I had changed the angle of the strap portion, it is just a bit too much like a tank top in the front, and I would have preferred a more cut in shoulder look. But oh well, not a big deal.

Lekala front stripe on form

Lekala back on form

Another change you can see in the back view on the technical drawing is that the center back portion between the shoulder blades was very narrow, to my eye a bit out of proportion so I did widen it quite a bit, maybe 1 inch on either side of the center? I just drew it with a pencil until I liked the shape and then folded the pattern piece to mirror on the other side.
This fabric is quite thin - way too thin for dress so I decided to line it with another light weight solid knit.
So I cut out the lining first, and marked the waist casing there. By using a lining I could create the casing for the elastic between the outer and inner layers which makes a nice finish. For some reason sewing a casing is one of those sewing tasks that I really dislike so I often try to figure out ways to make casings in another way.

lekala stripe cutting layout

You can see all my tailors tacks for the casing on the lining pieces. Then I put the lining pieces on the fabric and that way could match my stripes perfectly. A late night smart idea - instead of my usual late night stupid mistakes. Don't you always make sewing mistakes at night? I frequently have a spidey sense of "I should stop now" and more often than not if I don't - the big mistake happens. I should have a big loud buzzer that says "Step away from the scissors" when I have been sewing at night for more than a few hours. Hmm, invention idea there.

Onward - inside shot. Everyone always comments that they like to see insides of garments. I'm planning to discuss that next time I do a Random Threads post. Hint - not that important. at least to me.

Anyway - see the darts in the lining. The pattern has darts and I sewed them in the stripe fabric, they were fine but they just made the stripes do something really weird across the bust. Hated them.

Lekala inside view

So I took them out. And used my technique of gathering that section where the dart would have been. On my size pattern the difference between front and back is about 1.25 inches - so that is quite an easy amount to gather and ease onto the back. The stripes here make it more noticeable but since I don't walk around with my arms held over my head it is perfectly acceptable :)  And then the stripes match from the middle of that seam the rest of the way down.

Lekala side on form

Back view on me. Whew horizontal stripes across my backside. Not sure it is the best look but oh well I love the rainbow stripes (for wearing in the land of rainbows - so many in Hawaii, lots of double ones as well.)  I am quite obsesses with this blouson style lately, kind of a change of silhouette for me. I always feel like I need to try different shapes but rarely do. Contemplating something with a drop waist. We shall see......

Lekala stripe back view on me

The only other thing to mention on this dress is related to the thin fabric issue. I got it all turned and under stitched to create a crisp neckline and then saw that dominant purple stripe showing up there in the seam allowance. Not really able to trim it as I cleverly (ha ha ironic use of clever) ironed some stitch witchery in there so that the lining would stay nice and flat before I topstitched. So it is sealed in there. Probably a case of being too picky for a silly beachy little knit dress but there you go. I notice stuff. However I do love the colors.

Lekala neckline closeup

And now a combination Garden photo and dress photo. West coasters - feast your eyes on all that green.

Lekala stripe dress under plumeria tree

Happy sewing. Even though I am home I have one or two more vacation items to show and then I have to think about fall sewing. Wait, do I have to?  Our climate is such that we jump straight into our relatively mild winter. And I don't even want to think about sewing with wool yet. It's supposed to be 104˚C here at my house tomorrow. Whew!

Happy sewing, Beth

Plumerias from that tree next to me.



  1. This style looks great on you and the colours are gorgeous. Very summery.

  2. I love these colors on you & great tip about how you changed the dart. Not sure I understood your comment about the Girl Charlee fabric ?

    1. MaryEllen, I was confused by that, too! I read it a few times, and finally concluded that she was saying several even recognized the fabric as Girl Charlee fabric! :-)

  3. Cute dress! I was interested to see the lining. I've been thinking about doing that with some of the thinner knits I've acquired, but was not sure how it would work out.

  4. Such a cute summer dress! It fits wonderfully, and that was a really clever fix with the darts. And the plumeria.....sigh.

  5. This is a great summer dress. I love the silhouette of the dress, fabulous as always. What is the lining fabric and where did you get it?

    1. I wondered the same about the lining - what fabric is the lining ?

    2. Great dress. I would also like to know what the lining fabric is.

  6. Cute dress and pretty flowers. I have always called them frangipanis.

  7. That is a cute dress. We call those frangipanis here in Australia too :)

    1. Carolyn, I was in Australia for a few months, and I love the sound of the word "frangipanis" so I adopted it! For a while, I couldn't remember the word "plumeria" for the life of me!!

  8. I can smell the plumeria!! mmmmm....
    Your dress is great. I had to re-read the section about the purple stripe, then saw what you were talking about. That would bother me too but as we all say "no one else is going to notice". :)
    I think the stripes across your backside make your backside look cute, no worries there!

  9. This is adorable!!! Thanks for sharing the inside photos, too!

  10. Very nice and relaxed style! Darts on knit drive me crazy, I definitely don't need them...

  11. Lovely summer dress - thanks, as always, for the detailed explanation. I am just finishing a similar pattern - McCalls 6744 - though in a floral print. Like you, I live in a climate where there is no real 'Winter' - today is forecast to be in the 90s, again, so why not go with the flow? ;)

  12. Beth, this is so cute!!! I love the cut of the shoulders in the back.

  13. I'm really starting to love these cute little summer beach dresses! And this is a really nice one Beth! You just reminded me about shopping at "Girl Charlie" fabrics… I only purchased from them once and I loved it! I forgot about them until now. This was a nice selection of fabric on your part from them! Great job with your changes… I love it!