Last month, Lekala patterns were offered for download in sizes 42 and 44 for free. I took advantage of the offer and downloaded several patterns.
Downloading came with many questions, foremost being: what size paper? I could have bought some A4 paper (I think) but wanted to use what I have on hand. I found a great set of instructions at Modern Sewing Patterns.
I was able to use the paper I had on hand.
The free Lekala patterns had no seam allowance. I found it rather tedious to manually add them, however the time spent gave me a great appreciation for the pattern maker. I wish I had a rotary cutter guide arm. I think that will be added to my wish list as I hope to use more Lekala patterns. If I had this arm, I would feel confident in NOT adding the seam allowance to the pattern pieces (which I did because I was afraid I'd not remember to add during the cutting phase).
I found that using a pattern cut to size is amazing! I love not having to cut off extra paper (even if it is tissue thin). The control of the pattern is so much better.
Several of these Russian patterns came with instructions in English, others were in Russian and so needed translated with the help of google translate. This made parts of the instructions difficult to decipher. For example these instructions for the fly zipper installation:
5. Zipper. Press front left panel center seam into wrong side. Press strengthener along the centre right side out, work open edges. Sew the zipper under allowance edge along left edge, teeth closely to bend. Underlay the strengthener with its bend to the center so that worked edge hides zipper band. Pin the split coinciding front center lines. Sew free zipper band to right zipper fly front; do not catch front panel fabric. Topstitch front right panel along zipper according to marking, catching fly front and folding strengthener out. Stop stitching 1.5-2 cm before center seam. Then fold strengthener out and continue the stitch up to seam.
You get that? I didn't! I had never installed a fly zipper. Thankfully, almost all answers to sewing questions are a click away. I found a great video tutorial by Theads Magazine Online.
Of course, following the instructions was a bit tricky because - I don't know why - but installing twice and ripping out twice was involved. My zipper kept coming out on the center seam, rather than lapped. The third time was the charm, except that the fly is backwards. Ah well. I can live with that - and I sewed the waistband backwards as well - to match my backwards lap. At least I'm consistent if nothing else.
I must say, understitching on my new Necchi Nora is a dream. I have never been able to sew so close to a seam on the cheap Kenmore. Stitching close to the edge is truly the key with understitching - and I FINALLY understand the purpose of it.
You know, the right tools makes a huge difference.
Oh, I cut the pattern to the original long length, but shortened it considerably without destroying the original length, that way I can make longer patterns as the season gets cooler. I did have to raise the front slit a bit, but that was easy enough.
To shorten the pattern without losing the original length, I made several slashes and simply folded them to the desired length.
Forgive the hair and scowl. I'm on week two of a killer headache - and was waiting for the car service to come change a flat tire. I had just cleaned out the trunk of my car to discover 2 inches of water in the spare tire compartment - hence double awful scowl and mussed hair. Since my trip into town was canceled, I wanted to take photos before changing into more suitable attire for cleaning out the tire well.
I did not make the little pocket belt thing. And I sewed a button closure instead of the Velcro the pattern calls for. I just looked on the pattern instructions to see what quaint term for "Velcro" Lekala used - only to find out that it is "Velcro." Smile.
My final verdict on this Lekala pattern: EXCELLENT! I love this pattern. I'll most likely make up several more of these skirts this winter, in a variety of lengths.