Slowly but surely I am working my way through some more Lekala patterns. There are now a few that have been taped together and have the paper pattern cut out, patiently waiting their opportunity to be pinned onto fabric, cut and sewn up. Over my school holiday sewing marathon (for a while there I was making a garment each day) Lekala 5809 had the opportunity to become a real live garment.
This top was illustrated on a fuller figured model than many of the Lekala patterns, so I hoped that it would contain the sort of ease that I prefer. And it did! It’s a relatively simple top, with one front pattern piece and one back pattern piece, but it has a few interesting features.
See those sleeves? How can you not! They are open from shoulder to hemline. The instructions weren’t especially clear to me so I mostly used some common sense. I did remember to take a few photos as I went along, and have included them here in the hope that they might assist others who give this top a go.
Firstly, the instructions talk about cutting strips of fabric to make “piping”. There is no piping, but you do need strips of fabric cut across the grain for the neckline binding, the sleeve hem binding, and binding along the sleeve openings. The shoulders are formed by laying the back pattern piece over the front after the sleeve openings have been bound.
I cut strips of fabric about an inch wide. To bind the sleeve openings, I sewed a strip on the right side of the sleeve with 1/4 inch seam allowances, then turned it to the inside over the seam allowance, then stitched very close to the seam from the right side. I trimmed any excess fabric on the inside close to the stitching. The above photo shows how this looks from the inside of the fabric. I stopped at the shoulder marking, as per the instructions. The photo below shows how this looks from the right side of the fabric.
This was simpler for the back sleeve opening, because it was bound right up to the neckline. Then the back shoulder piece overlaps the front shoulder piece, and is topstitched into place.
The bottom of the sleeves are similar. The back piece overlaps the front piece, and is stitched into place. Then the sleeve hem is gathered to size – the measurement is printed on the pattern piece – and bound, in the same way that the sleeve opening edges were bound by sewing on a strip right sides together, turning it to the inside then topstitching close to the seam.
The neckline was bound the same way, after gathers were drawn up to the measurements printed on the front pattern piece. I prefer to topstitch close to the edge of the binding rather than trying to stitch in the ditch as I find that I get a better aesthetic result and there is no concern about stitches occasionally veering out of the ditch! When I did a Knitwit course back in the early 80s this was known as a “chanel trim”.
The pattern has a centre back seam, but because my shape has so little waist definition I placed the pattern on the fold and eliminated it completely. There aren’t any gathers at the back neckline, and the fit is loose-ish without being voluminous.
This pattern was drafted to my measurements, so I didn’t make any alterations. I am quite happy with the length, as it was described as a tunic, and the open sleeves are an interesting change to the rest of my wardrobe. The lower hem was stitched with a twin needle after securing it with Vliesofix. Most of the construction of this top was done on my regular sewing machine – only the side seams were sewn on the overlocker.
The fabric was the same viscose jersey that I used for my Draped T-Dress. It is such a wonderful colour and luxuriously soft against the skin.
Lekala appear to have been working on enhancements to their website, and it will be interesting to see how my next couple of makes go, where in addition to my measurements I have specified things such as “increased upper arms”, “high waist”, “reduced shoulder width” and “low relative height of protruding part of bust”!