Every now and then Lekala put a Beta garment on their website. Something that is still in testing, so is being offered free of charge. Recently it was this pattern, Lekala S4006.
Hmmm. It’s a back view. And that’s all. These Beta patterns come with this disclaimer: Attention! This pattern is available as a BETA download. While every effort has been made to provide a good fit, and the pattern itself is based on the same algorithms as the ones you are used to, there might still be improvements desirable re markings on the patterns blocks, instructions and ease. You are welcome to download a free copy of the pattern and we would kindly expect the sewist to estimate the accuracy of the pattern pieces. Happy sewing!
They also come without instructions. I took a look at the pattern layout diagram to get a vague idea of what the front was likely to look like, and figured that I had nothing to lose – after all, the pattern was free! So I entered my measurements, downloaded, taped, admired the pattern pieces, chose fabric, cut it out, sewed it up, and ended up with this dress.
Oh, I am SO pleased with this dress! The front has a notched neckline, fully faced. There are bust darts for shaping. The front and back have curved hemlines, with the front a little shorter than the back, and both are finished with a facing. There is a back shoulder yoke and a small inverted pleat in the centre of the back dress piece where it attaches to the yoke. The sleeves fit into the armscye perfectly.
Yes, there is still that fabric pooling at the centre of my back waist area. That is clearly an ongoing issue for me and one that I think might require a variety of approaches. Otherwise, that fit is WONDERFUL! There is plenty of room for my stomach – I made certain to measure that part accurately and use all the options so that the drafting software would do a FGA (full gut adjustment) for me. This is something that I am trying to remember to do to most patterns now – it’s basically the same as a FBA, just centrally at stomach level! Allows for my pot belly. If you were pregnant and sewing for yourself you’d make basically the same adjustment.
The fabric is a beautiful Japanese cotton that my delightful sister-in-law Jeanette brought back from Japan for me. Fabric gifts are the best! I’ve recently convinced her of the pleasures of sewing your own clothes, and she’s starting to amass her own sewing stash. It’s great to share the joy! I decided to use pink fabric for the facings and for topstitching them in place (and hemming the sleeves). The topstitching was all done in a triple stitch with regular polyester thread.
This was a very simple garment to sew. The lack of instructions wasn’t really a problem – it was pretty obvious. I shared construction between the overlocker and the sewing machine. Facings were under stitched before being topstitched into place to ensure that they didn’t roll toward the outer garment.
I’m very pleased with the amount of ease in this garment too. Although Lekala (and Bootstrap) draft according to your measurements, working out how much ease that includes is often trial and error. This is pretty true to the illustration – which is actually usually the case with Lekala. They tend to draft to a more closely fitted silhouette, which I assume is an Eastern European preference, the the pattern illustrations do reflect this.
The more I play with Lekala and Bootstrap patterns, the more I like them. Yes, it’s a bit of trial and error, but that is the same with any pattern company. I reckon I’ve almost got it figured out now. Pay attention to the ease included in the illustrations. Choose pattern styles that you know you generally prefer on you – because although they can draft anything to fit, that doesn’t mean that a previously “unflattering” style will now magically look terrific on you! Measure yourself accurately. Take advantage of all the helpful videos and tutorials and FAQs on the website. Order the pattern in the pdf output size that suits you (there are a wide range of options). And just GO FOR IT!