I'm not sure if there is any sewing project that's quite as satisfying as whipping up a wearable muslin. Nothing beats making a test garment that fits perfectly on the first try, because not only are you escaping some finicky fitting work, but you get a bonus garment! This dress falls perfectly into that category.
This dress was made using Lekala's classical dress pattern #5957. In case you are unfamiliar with Lekala, they make extremely cheap PDF sewing patterns that are completely customized to your own measurements. Since the patterns are custom-made, they're supposed to be easier to fit than traditional patterns. All you need to do is input your own measurements, and they'll make you a "perfect" pattern.
They also send you this creepy 3D model of your body. It's pretty cool to look at if you ask me!
I struggle a lot with fitting, so the idea of making a dress straight out of the envelope was very exciting! Despite being tall, my bone structure is quite petite. Since my high-bust measurement is 27.5" and my full-bust is 33", I usually will need to grade a pattern down a size or two then do a FBA.
Between you and me, that's a lot more fitting than I want to be doing.
So I figured at 3$ a pattern, it wouldn't hurt to give Lekala a try. I sewed up a test garment in this floral quilting cotton I've had hanging around my stash for the last few years (tell me, what on earth possessed me to ever buy three yards of this?). To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to work so perfectly, so I didn't care too much about picking a suitable fabric.
If this worked out, I wanted to sew the proper version in this beautiful red crepe I picked up during my last trip to fabricland. I thought it would make a good holiday dress, classy, a little sexy, but still festive. I'll probably end up sewing another one up for next Christmas. Not only is the fit pretty close to perfect, but this print is growing on me the more I wear it. It's the perfect little spring number, and the trim I added to the sleeves really pull the whole garment together. For something that came together as a fluke, I definitely count this make as a big success!
Altogether, this dress came together with very few alterations needed! The sleeves were a little big though, and didn't have a whole lot of shape to them. They ended up looking pretty awful at full-length, so I cut them into short sleeves. Given how busy this print is, I think chopping off the sleeves made the dress more wearable. When I make the final version, I might play around with some of the other sleeve patterns offered for free on Lekala's site to find a better look.
I also ended up taking the hips in a few inches down through the thighs, but that's not an uncommon adjustment for me to make. Since they fit my tricky bust perfectly, I definitely don't mind having to do some minor fitting along the way.
This is a dress I will definitely make again. I've never had a pattern fit me this well out of the envelope, and I'll keep trying more Lekala patterns and let you know if this great fit continues!
I also love that this dress pattern comes complete with a kick-pleat, so classy! I also attempted my first invisible zip with this dress, and although it needs to be redone, I'm still proud of myself.
The one thing Lekala is constantly criticized for is their poor instructions. Not only are they roughly translated from Russian, but they aren't very detailed to begin with. This being said, I found their instructions to be no more difficult to understand than the instructions given in Big Four patterns. When I stumbled upon a step that confused me, I had no problem looking up an online tutorial to help me out. It all turned out well in the end.
So all in all, yes their instructions are confusing, but its nothing you can't handle - I promise! As long as you pick patterns that are around your skill level (or maybe even a little easier), and aren't a total beginner you'll be just fine!
Well friends, I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my latest make!
Please let me know, have any of you tried any Lekala patterns? Which ones should I try next? I have some of my favourites pinned here, but I'm thinking my favourite of the bunch is #4406. Let me know your thoughts down below!
Until next time,
Creative lifestyle blogger, dedicated to the process of making new things and worrying about being perfect LATER. Lover of Instagram, making things, and wearing dresses instead of pants.
I post a new handmade garment every Wednesday!