Oh Lekala! Such a great way to experiment with different styles – after all, when your patterns can be bought on sale for around $2, how I can possibly resist giving something new a try!
Lekala describe pattern 4399 as “Dress with pleats”. And that’s pretty much what it is! A relatively fitted princess seamed dress, with pleats in the centre front panel. Four pleats on one side at bust level, and another four on the other side at stomach/hip level.
For those of you not familiar with Lekala, you order the pattern according to your own measurements and a pdf pattern is then emailed to you shortly after. There are six key measurements – height, bust, underbust, waist, hip and full hip – then you can also tweak the pattern by inputting some of own figure “peculiarities” and by putting in neck and upper arm measurements. I have tried a few of these tweaks, and think that altering my waist height to “high” and sometimes shoulder width to “reduced” but leaving the rest alone might work best for me.
When I first sewed this up at Sewjourn the front pleats definitely looked all “poofy” and rather weird. This may have been a function of using a stretch woven (the recommended fabrics for this pattern are “natural or mixed woven dress fabric”) and not having pressed the pleats. I took in the dress along the front princess seams only, as the back fitted nicely as it was, then pressed the pleats flat with the iron and everything was then much improved.
The overall verdict? I rather like it! It’s not at all my regular style, but will be a terrific dress for work. It’s comfortable and easy to wear, and I think that the Lekala pattern has produced a really good fit for me. Even side on – my least favourite angle – it’s rather good!
The dress closes with a centre back invisible zip, and the armholes and neckline are finished with bias tape. I made my own from the dress fabric, but a narrower bias would have been better. Learn from me! Construction was straightforward, and it was actually quite quick to make. I wish I could remember where the fabric came from, but all that I can remember about it is that it was a remnant, and I had barely enough to squeeze this dress from it. I did cut the little cap sleeves double and self-faced them rather than doing a narrow hem. I just prefer that for cap sleeves. I do see myself getting quite a bit of wear from this dress, and am now very tempted to give some of the other more fitted styles (which are styles I normally avoid) a try. Lekala have some great workwear designs.