One of my first Lekala projects – a drop-waist skirt with inset. For those of you new to Lekala, it’s a Russian company, I believe, but now operates a division out of the US and has a translated-to-English website. The concept is genius – plug in your own measurements, choose the size paper you plan to print on, and minutes after checkout a custom-sized PDF with instructions arrives in your email inbox. I say its “translated-to-English” because, well, the website is fine, but the instructions sometimes feel like literal translations. And/or they are just really bad, mind-boggling to follow. I find working with these patterns fairly easy only because I’m a somewhat experienced sewer, and can conceptualize how stuff should be pieced together, but I could see a new sewer getting frustrated. Each time I post a Lekala garment on the blog, I’ll try to illustrate the steps I used to assemble the piece. I forgot to take step-by-step pics for this one so words will have to do this time! All said, at $2.49 a pattern, it’s worth a shot, maybe start with something simple for the first time.
Anyhow, this pattern went together like a charm – highly recommended. I used a medium-thickness suiting, some wool content, with a little stretch to it. The front and back consist of a yoke piece at the top, a thin inset, and then the bottom part of the skirt. I top-stitched the inset on either side of the seam, and while it looks nice, the stitching prevented the fabric from having any stretch across that section…which just happens to fall across my tummy. So the yoke top and skirt bottom have stretch, but not the tiny inset band between them – not a big deal, but I’d prefer the entire skirt to stretch so it moves with me better. The only other issue, and I can’t stress this enough, even though Lekala patterns use your custom measurements to draft the pattern pieces, it can’t take into account particularities about your shape, so if you have mega swayback like I do (a deep hollow in my lower back), you must still do any adjustments that you would normally perform for any other pattern brand. I actually moved the zipper to the back centre of the skirt, cause that’s how I like it, and did a swayback adjustment, but just didn’t take in enough – there’s still a little gap between the back of the skirt and my own lower back. Lessons for next time….still, I really like this skirt, I think I’ll re-do another muslin and try to perfect the fit even more. Look at those wrinkles across the front, yeesh, thanks wooly fabric. There’s something to be said for fabrics with higher synthetic content – less wrinkling, less ironing. Next time. Here’s the front, and the back:
Here are the steps I used to assemble the garment, note it’s different than the manufacturer’s instructions:
1) Cut fabric
1 front bottom, 1 front inset, 1 front yoke. For the back, I placed the zipper down the middle rather than the side, so I took all back pieces and cut them in half – you’ll now need 2 back sides, 2 back insets, 2 back middle, all with a generous allowance at the centre seam for inserting the zipper. Iron on facing to front and back insets and yokes. If lining skirt, repeat step with lining fabric.
2) Assemble back
For both left and right-hand sides of back, sew yoke to inset, and inset to bottom piece. Clip seams a little for ease. Press seems upwards. Lay sides together, lining up the yoke and inset seams. Sew centre seam, press open and instal zipper according to these instructions. Press vent. For lining, sew together the centre back seam from the end of the zipper down to the top of the vent.
Tip: To help with precision, I actually drew a chalk outline around all inset pieces, to ensure I was sewing in exactly the right place rather than eyeballing it, and when I went to assemble the skirt, voila! all the seams matched together perfectly.
3) Assemble front, join sides
Sew yoke to inset, and inset to bottom piece. Clip seams a little for ease. Press seams upwards. Lay front on top of back piece, good sides together, and sew side seams. Check for fit, adjust side seams as needed. If lining the skirt, sew the lining to the seam allowance of the skirt, then proceed with Step 4 attaching the yoke.
4) Finish waistband
Sew front to back pieces of yoke facing, press one of the bottom edges up by 1/2 inch – this pressed edge will go to the inside of the garment. Sew yoke facing to waistline of skirt, fold over and press flat. Slip-stitch bottom of yoke facing (that pressed up folded edge) to inside seam.
5) Hem bottom, finish vent
Press the bottom edge up, I fold fabric over twice for a clean look, and sew hem. Fold over vent pieces, and slip-stitch in place.
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