I’ve been meaning to try out a Lekala pattern for quite a while. Both Hila at Saturday Night Stitch and Zibergirl, both monthly stitchers have made a few Lekala makes which I’ve admired and I thought it was time that I gave this pattern company a try.
Lekala patterns are unique in that you can enter your own body measurements and get a customised PDF pattern designed to fit you. I usually make quite a few adjustments (particularly to tops / blouses) to get a good fit, so this seems like a fantastic idea to me. Perhaps I could do away with some of the necessary labour when I make my first make with a pattern?
I selected the free classic blouse pattern (5446) and entered the three circumference measurements. I also made extra adjustments, increasing the shoulder width and back width, but reducing the front width. These adjustments, I think are probably the most important for me and make sure that the blouse has wide enough shoulders. Once I had seen the custom pattern produced by the website, I was a little concerned with the size of the back dart. I wasn’t actually sure I could make such a narrow dart. So, the other adjustment I made was to add a little more fabric into the dart, just so that I could sew it. There are some extra details about my adjustments on my blog.
The instructions on Lekala patterns are fairly minimal, but as I have made blouses before I was able to follow them. I did make a couple of changes though. Firstly, the instructions mention a front dart, which was completely absent from my pattern. It was a bit of a mystery. I decided not to add it as I was quite happy with the fit as it was. I also wasn’t sure I liked the pattern’s method for the sleeves, just folding over the seam allowance to the inside. Instead, I decided to bind my edges with bias-binding; I think it creates a better finish.
Just in case you think this is a photo of me when I have just got out of bed in the morning and only managed to button half my buttons, there is a reason why I taken this picture. I started out putting the five buttons down the shirt front as instructed by the pattern, only to discover that the amount of gaping was horrendous every time I moved. Just take a look at the photo – really not wearable! I hurriedly purchased three more buttons and introduced these between the original button placements so I don’t get any more gape. If I had had any sense I would have taken more note of the previously-made shirts on the Lekala website – one of which had loads more buttons on it! It’s always wise to take heed of another stitcher’s opinion.
I used a brushed cotton purchased from Truro Fabrics and ten small shirt buttons (not the seven as recommended in the pattern!). The fabric is very soft, and is a lovely spring / autumn weight material.
Overall, I have liked my Lekala experience. The shirt is a classic design, and I would make it again with the adjustments that I made to the sleeves, the number of buttons and the back dart. I think the pattern is more a blouse pattern than a shirt pattern and I’m not sure my fabric was the most suited to it. On reflection perhaps I should have chosen a plain or floral fabric? It would have saved the effort on matching all those checks across the front. However, I do like the shirt’s relaxed fit; just enough shape to flatter. As ever, there are more photos and information on my blog.