True confession, I actually like fitting and feel comfortable with most challenges, but that is after many classes, and years of practice. If I were learning to sew today I would not think it is fun, although there are so many resources for learning and I recommend them all, from DVD's and blog posts to high-level classes.
Have you looked at the Lekala patterns website? I have always been intrigued by this pattern company and periodically scanned through their selection, noting a few dresses I might like. Recently I was contacted by Natalia of Lekala Patterns who asked me if I would give their patterns a try and then blog about them. Their website had been revamped since the last time I had looked at it, with a variety of language options and payment methods. I chose a dress and here is the result.
But I have buried the headline on this one - It Fit ! Repeat, It Fit Perfectly! With no adjustments. For Lekala patterns you provide your measurements (bust, underbust, waist, hip and height) and then they provide a PDF pattern custom sized to your measurements. I was a bit skeptical but figured it was worth a try. Taping together printer pages is not my idea of fun, however I will happily use a roll of tape and reams of paper if I don't have to mess around fit adjustments.
I taped the printer pages together and then traced out the pattern pieces on tracing paper, adding seam allowances which are not included. Once I did that I gave some thought to doing some verifying with the tape measure but decided against that because the back pattern pieces looked fine (at this point I can eyeball my size) and I also thought it was a good test of this pattern company to sew it up just as I received it to see how the custom sizing worked out.
I did make a muslin, just for the main pieces, front and back and omitting the sleeves and collar. Mostly because I am not such a whiz with the pattern tracing (remember - no Burda or other magazine patterns for me) and wanted to make sure I did it right before I cut into my nice fabric. This fabric is a ponte knit from Stone Mountain. Not very original as it is a virtual copy of the Lekala image but I wanted a holiday dress. This is Lekala Pattern # 4060.
A little analysis on this pattern. Maybe I could make it a bit more fitted in the waist but I probably won't. It is very comfortable, I really like that drape effect across the front that gives shaping and allows you to hit the buffet at a party without fear. I don't think the dress looks perfect when I am standing mannequin still as in the photos above, but everyone who has seen it in action thought it was perfect. Do you have a dress that looks better "in action"? I think this is one that does. The fit through the shoulders and neckline is what really sold me. It could be that I just happen to fit the Lekala sloper or they are magicians with the fit, but either way I am very happy with the result. I did add a couple of inches in the length when I cut it out and did need that. The instructions are a bit confusing, not entirely sure what they were referring to in some instances but if you are not a beginner I think you could figure out how to sew up the pattern on your own. The markings (notches, pleats etc) were very well marked, all matched exactly. Looking at these photos below I could use some improvement on my hem stitches on ponte knit - any tips? I don't like machine hems so I did hand stitch, or maybe I am being too fussy.
In summary, I am very happy with my first Lekala pattern and will definitely use them again. There are other dress patterns on their site that are calling out to me (I know, more dresses that I don't need). I do have a jacket pattern from them with a peplum design - yes time for me to get on the peplum trend - so I plan to get to the jacket in January.
Note: I received 3 patterns at no charge from Lekala. Their prices are very reasonable and I would be happy to purchase others in the future.
Good wishes to everyone for happiness, health and fantastic fabric finds in 2013.
Happy New Year, Beth