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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Woven or stretch fabric?

I like trying out Lekala patterns because you can get a sewing pattern to your own measurements, and you can use the advanced features (called 'Optional' or 'Adjustments') to further personalise the pattern: arm or leg length relative to torso, neck or upper arm width, short-waisted, narrow-shouldered...  there are all kinds of different options.

This Lekala pattern #5081 is the most standard blouse pattern I found on the site. I thought it would make a good basic pattern that I could then adjust for other versions.

I am not sure though that the required fabric is listed correctly. It says: "Fabrics: Knit" and "Is stretchy: yes". Really?

Can this be right?  This is a blouse with bust darts, a buttoned front opening and placketed cuffs.  I have never seen these kinds of features in a pattern for stretch fabrics.  I feel that this has got to be a pattern for woven fabrics instead.

I decided to try a polycotton fabric to see how it works out.

Unfortunately the sleeve/body seam is very puckered despite gathering the sleevehead in the normal manner before sewing them in.  So there is not a good fit in this area.

On me the blouse shoulders are too wide (I didn't use the "narrow-shouldered" advanced option, I didn't think I was) - I may be able to adjust this by cutting the armholes a touch bigger to narrow the shoulder and sewing the sleeves as they are back in. This should reduce the puckering.

My biggest gripe is that the blouse doesnt overlap enough for buttonholes and buttons - in fact this would be a perfect fit if the front closed with a zip: the centre fronts fit wonderful if they meet flush with each other. I had to add a piece for the 'underlap' and attach loops to the edge of one side to catch the button I sewed onto the seamline with the added piece, i.e. onto the front centre line where they need to be.

I should be able to adjust the pattern at the front centre by adding about 2/3 of an inch (around 2cm). This would also increase the tiny little lapel to a more reasonable size (just look at them in the above photo: they're barely there!). I just feel that the very small lapels look rather ridiculous - as if something had gone wrong to be honest.

I think all round this is not the most successful of Lekala's patterns, but it has potential. I just dread having to make all the adjustments when I had been hoping I could just sew this together and be done. Which is really what you want when you go for a personalised pattern.

I am also not enamoured of my fabric choice: this polycotton is just that bit too stiff and I worry that I won't want to wear this blouse much.  A big reason why I am finding it so hard to finish this - this project has been languishing in my sewing basket for at least the last year.  What a shame.

What kinds of fabrics do you think are suitable for this pattern? Is the website right or should I try some other fabric?  I could really do with some advice and ideas.

Thank you.