I have heard a lot about Lekala Patterns recently and really like a lot of the styles offered, so I decided to take the plunge. The premise is that you input your measurements (or select from several standard sizes) and the website will generate and email you a customized single-size pattern. The instructions are limited (and confusing in some cases due to the translation from Russian to English), but the designs are fairly straightforward from what I have seen. For just over $2 per pattern, you really can’t go wrong! I have several saved in my wish list, but decided to pick one to start with and make sure that the general fit of the patterns works for me. The design I selected was a simple princess seamed blouse, model 5837. I was pleasantly surprised with how few changes I had to make in order for this to work. You can have the program add the seam allowances for a little extra, or you can add them yourself. I decided to add them myself, but it will be worth the extra 50 cents in the future for me to have the program add them in.
I made the following changes based on a quick muslin:
- Added 1/2″ to each side seam (this was mostly done to accommodate the sleeve change, I love the underarm fit, but may taper this back down below the bustline in future makes)
- Added 1/2″ to each sleeve side seam and sleeve band (due to my large biceps)
- Reduced the center back at the top by 2″ (1″ on each side), tapering to nothing at the waistline
- Reduced the center back of the collar and collar stand piece by 2″ in length to match the new neckline
- For the collar, I used this tutorial from Four Square Walls. The method makes sense and worked fairly well, but I actually prefer the typical “sandwich” method. It’s how my grandmother and mother taught me, and I am so adept at it that I think my collar would have turned out a bit nicer in the end had I used my own TNT method.
- I did shave a scant 1/16″ off the under collar for turn of the cloth and it was enough. I was worried if I used my standard 1/8″ that it would be too fiddly since I only added a 3/8″ seam allowance.
- I finished all the seams on my serger and top-stitched the princess seams in front and back, in addition to the collar. I could have gotten away without any top-stitching.
I did not need a FBA (it’s hit and miss since I’m in between), nor did I need to lower the bust point, as the Lekala software has the option of lowering the bust point automatically. Selecting this option was perfect for me. I also did not need to lengthen, as the program takes height into consideration. With a 1/2″ hem, this top is the perfect length for my 5’10” frame.
I used a white woven striped stretch shirting from my stash. I’ve had this piece for years, wanting to make this exact type of top – I have a very similar RTW top from very similar fabric that I have worn just about to death and it needs replaced. The fabric is crisp and lightweight, but opaque enough to not need a cami if I wear a flesh colored bra. I just need to pick up some buttons and then it will be done.
What I love about this pattern is how versatile it is. I can take elements from other patterns and adapt it to this general style, or use this pattern to alter other patterns. With just one make, I have a TNT! I can’t wait to try some of the other styles that Lekala has to offer and see if they work just as well.