I wanted my next project to be something easy, simple, wearable. A top that I could actually put on on a daily basis.
But all that went down the drain as soon as I remembered about Lekala patterns.
I learned about Lekala only a little while ago when Anne from The Clothing Engineer made a really neat sweater from one of their patterns. Lekala is a Russian pattern company that--get this--generates customized, pre-fitted patterns based on the measurements that you input! Their patterns are bought and sold entirely online. You order in through their website and soon thereafter are emailed a PDF pattern that you print and assemble yourself.
The first time I went on the Lekala website to
Lekala #5217, a draped wrap dress.
What a pattern! I love high necklines paired with big shoulders, and this dress takes it to the next level with horizontal pleating that creates a ribbed effect.
The thing is, I'm not in the market for another dress right now. What I did need, was a shirt. I decided to cut the pattern off at the waist and get rid of the pleated draping across the chest to create a seriously funky top.
Thus was conceived the most complicated black turtleneck anyone has ever aspired to!
|Before I did this project, I didn't even know we had this fabric. Turns out we had about ten yards of it sitting in a bin in the garage. I have a new respect for my mom's stash.|
The actual body of this shirt went together really fast. When I got to the interesting parts--the pleating in the neck and shoulders--is when it got hairy.
I should have seen this coming, but the fabric that I used was not cut out for the type of rigid, structured pleating that is required for this garment. It didn't iron at all and wasn't stiff enough to hold a fold. The pleats I made fell out completely and looked more like gathering.
So I had to artificially tack the pleats in place. I ran a line of stitching along the inside folds of the pleat, and then slipstitched them into place.
|The inside of the neck.|
Now at this point I had already invested way more time and energy into making this shirt than I had anticipated or was willing to spend. That's when I went to sew in the zipper. Unfortunately I didn't get the news flash that sewing zippers into stretch fabrics without some sort of stabilization is a no-no.
|Mom, I'm turning into a camel!|
Guys, it's a miracle I finished this shirt at all. This was way more time-consuming and complicated than I wanted to spend on a top. Lesson learned: seriously reconsider before overcomplicating a project!
What do I think about Lekala?
This was the first time I've tried a pattern from this company (or any non-Big 4 company, actually).
I wasn't crazy about having to assemble the pattern yourself from a PDF. I took me at least an hour to assemble the pattern (there were 55 pages total--that's what I get for making a shirt out of a full-length dress pattern). Here's the way I think about it: had I spent that time working at my current job, I would have made enough money to buy quite a few Simplicity patterns on sale. I'm just not sure the price ($3) makes up for the time it takes to prepare the pattern.
The instructions for this particular pattern were very cursory, which was ok for this shirt because it was pretty simple to put together. The only thing that I wish had been elaborated upon more was the pleat markings. I would have loved if the pattern included directions for which way the pleats were supposed to fold. For instance, I wasn't sure whether to pleat or gather the sleeve cap--I ended up gathering because I thought it made more sense.
But the overriding plus for this pattern was the totally awesome and utterly unique design. I've never seen a design like this before, and I'm never going to find anything like my turtleneck. That's what I aim for :)
But the real question is
Does this shirt make me look more like a football player or Katniss Everdeen?