Another Lekala pattern, this one’s a keeper too! I’ve worn this twice now, and get lots of compliments. It’s a simple cowl-neck dress, with a wide waistband and belt loops. I made it using fabric I picked up at the LeChateau warehouse in Montreal – there’s a wall full of bolts of fabric remnants, must be from one of their manufacturing plants. Each bolt is $4.99, and has 2-3 metres on it. At about 1.5 metres, this dress cost all of $3.50 + $2.49 for the custom-sized PDF pattern. Sweet!
Construction was a dream, the pieces fit together perfectly and it sewed up in no time. I did make a muslin first, I learn so much about proper fit from working with muslins that it’s totally worth the time and effort. The only alterations to the pattern that I made were to lengthen the top bodice by 1.5″, a standard adjustment I make to all tops (I have a long torso), and to add several inches to the skirt length as I prefer my skirts to go just past the knee. But even when I looked at the skirt pattern piece, it’s way shorter than shown in the line drawing…pattern fail? Meh, I spotted it right away when doing the muslin, and just adjusted the length to my liking. Oh, and since I made this in a knit fabric, I omitted the back zipper and just sewed up the centre back seam. I’ll be making this one again for sure, I could see it in elegant black and maybe sleeveless in lighter summer fabrics…
Here are the steps I used to assemble the garment, note they differ from manufacturer instructions:
Step 1 – prep pieces:
Make whatever standard adjustments to pattern pieces (ie, swayback, full bust) that you normally would. Cut out pattern pieces in your fabric.
Step 2 – assemble front/back
For front, sew top to midsection waistband, and midsection waistband to skirt. Note that the top piece is cut on the fold along the neckline (pic to the right, below), this creates the soft drape of the cowl. As a result, the front is technically a double-layer of the fabric, so just be sure to sew both open end pieces into the waistband. Assemble the back in the same manner, inserting a zipper. If using knit, you might want to omit the zipper altogether.
Sew front to back. At neckline, be sure to leave the seam allowance for the back neckline free – see where my thumb is resting under the front cowl piece? When I pull my thumb away in the second pic, you can see the back neckline has about 3/8″ between it’s edge and the cowl, which is the space you’ll need to attach the back facing.
Next, attach the back neck facing, here you can see I’ve pinned the facing the back neck edge. If you look at the yellow-head pin, this is the corner between the back facing and the front cowl. Once the back facing is sewn on, you’ll flip it to the inside of the dress and hand-stitch it or topstitch in place by machine.
Step 3: sew sleeve seams, hem sleeve ends, sew sleeves to bodice.
Step 4: take long belt loop piece, fold in half lengthwise with right sides facing in, and sew the long side closed. Flip inside out, and cut into 4 equal pieces. Place each loop on place on the waistband, tucking in the ends to create neat belt loops. Sew in place, I find by hand is easiest.
Step 5: hem skirt. wear. be happy.
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