My second finished project came hot on the heels of the first! Heartened by the success of Lekala 4315, I pulled out another long-languishing bolt of interlock knit and sewed together a new dress from another Lekala pattern. I present to you below what I am calling The Jailhouse Frock: (image after the jump)
The selection of this pattern, Lekala 4149, was inspired by the desire I get every so often to have some simple, non-fussy but still non-frumpy dresses in my wardrobe. As anyone who knows me in real life knows, I wear a lot of dresses; many of them involving ruffles and pleats and ties and insets and all kinds of other things which are interesting but fussy to sew and sometimes constricting to wear. So I buy patterns like this but then quickly get bored just looking at them, so they sit and gather dust.
But this one was a little more interesting than most. I'm not sure if it's the exaggerated arms, or the drawing's attitudinal stance, but she suggested a little more potential.
The fabric is a Michael Miller interlock that I bought but then couldn't figure out a use for. It's the very same line that I used in the Make It Perfect Coastal Breeze, but in a different colorway. It's soft and substantial, but very stretchy. But many of the things I sew involve darts--what could I make where the stripes wouldn't be thrown off?
Enter 4149. As you can see from the line drawings, this dress consists of three pattern pieces: a front, a back, a sleeve. And no darts, tucks, or pleats meant undisturbed stripes!
However--undisturbed stripes also meant I had to watch to make sure they actually lined up properly! No slanting in one quadrant, or huge mismatches at the seam. With knit fabric, this is quite challenging (as I found in making the Coastal Breeze) because the fabric shifts on the table so easily. Patience and pattern weights were really my friends here--I even went so far as to count stripes (over and over and OVER) to make sure that the notches on each pattern piece fell at about the same place as the corresponding piece on the fabric.
It was tedious, but--it WORKED! Check it:
Y'all. Y'ALL. I am so amped about this little detail it is NOT EVEN FUNNY. I wanna run a victory lap every time I look at this.
The pattern itself was a breeze to throw together--there are, after all, only six seams to sew. I was a little concerned about the instructions for the neckline facing; you just finish the edges and turn them in. eh, maybe, but I think I'd feel much better if there was some kind of reinforcement under there. Next time I make this I'll use a strip of Steam a Seam or Vilene Bias Tape to try to give it a little more oomph. I don't want the neckline to stretch all out of shape! Same with the sleeves (which are sewed in flat rather than set-in, HALLELUJAH!). I did use Steam a Seam on the hem and that was great--no waviness at all! I hemmed it to mid-knee, which works with a variety of shoes.
The back looks a whole lot like the front, so I cut out a little tiny bit of quilting cotton with a baby rattle on it and sewed it in as a tag of sorts. Maybe it's time for me to order some custom-made tags?
Natalia, the owner of Lekala, strongly suggests pairing this with a belt (I think she generally seems to like more fitted fashions, judging by the pattern catalog. I ain't mad.) and so I did wear it with a wide elastic belt.
It was super comfortable because of the softness of the fabric and the unstructured quality of the dress, but not at all frumpy. I could wear this every day this winter!