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Lekala dress 4484
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Gala dress with Lekala #4484

My friend, Jenna, asked if I could accompany her to the Emma-gaala, which is the Finnish version of the Emmy’s. I have never seen the show live and she had VIP tickets with dinner so, of course, I said “yes!”. Even better, I didn’t have anything to wear so I had a perfect chance to sew a new cocktail dress. I chose to use Lekala #4484 which is an off-the-shoulder shift dress with an interesting asymmetric collar and some gathers at the bodice.

Lekala #4484 line drawing.

I found a nice and stretchy backed lace fabric in navy blue in the factory remnants of the local fabric shop. The fabric was perfect for a quick dress since due to the backing it didn’t need to be lined.

I ordered the pattern with my custom measurements but I knew I had to make some adjustments since my fabric was stretchy and the pattern was for the woven fabrics. Besides, the Lekala patterns tend to be a bit roomy. I didn’t have time to make a toile, but the roomy size let me plenty of room to do the fitting. However, I doubled the armhole seam allowances, just in case.

Lekala #4484 dress.

Sewing the dress

The pattern didn’t come with any kind of instructions which isn’t usual for the Lekala patterns. This added a bit of challenge since the bodice and collar had a quite interesting structure.

For the fitting, I forgot the collar and sewed the dress together without it, although leaving out the sleeves. First, I took out about 1 cm from the both sides (4 cm in total). After that I tackled the gathers. There was a way too much fabric in the front and the gathers didn’t look good. I ripped out the seam and used my dressform to help me pin the gathers on in a more pleasing shape. At the same time I took away a lot of fabric from the gathered seam.

Lekala #4484 dress, front view.

It seems to me that Lekala adds way too much ease to the sleeves. I looked at the pieces I had cut out and compared them to my arms and the sleeves on my Named Ruska dress and they were huge. I decided to use the Ruska sleeves instead since I knew they had the nice, narrow shape I was after. I only needed to modify the armholes a little.

The collar

The collar was the piece that took most of my time. I interfaced the upper collar and added navy blue piping to the edge. Even with using pins on the both sides of the piping I still had to try several times in order to sew the stretchy undercollar to my top collar, even while I was using a teflon foot!

Then there was fastening the collar to the dress. I sewed the undercollar on and then tucked the seam allowances into the collar and hand-stitched the upper collar to the neckline. But the collar did not lay flat! At the shoulders, the undercollar peeked out and the back collar was turning up.

The only thing to do was to rip out the collar (or at least the part that was sewn onto the neckline). I took about 1 cm away from the vertical width of the undercollar and sewed it back. I made sure to add even more clips to the seam allowance and understitched the seam allowance to the undercollar. Now after that, when I sewed the topcollar on the collar looked much better.

What else… I had completely forgotten the darts that were included in the original Lekala #4484 pattern. However, the dress desperately needed shaping in the back, so I added two darts. Only when writing this blog post and seeing that line image above I realised that there, in fact, were darts in the pattern!

Lekala #4484 dress from the back.

I am pretty happy with the dress. I was in quite a hurry so the wrong side may have some unfinished seam allowances but (hush!) don’t tell anyone! Here is me and Jenna in the Emma gaala:

Me and Jenna at the Emma gaala.

Jenna had also made her pretty floral dress and I must admit she had more sense than me when she made the long sleeves. Luckily I had a big scarf with me to cover my bare arms!

Despite all the fitting I did, this is a pattern that is worth making. Just take your time and don’t assume that you can just whip this dress up. For me, this was a good fitting practice piece and I never once doubted I could get it to fit me.

This is all for today. Thank you for reading and subscribe to follow me on my sewing journey if you haven’t already done it! Happy sewing!

Katja

I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

4 Comments

  • dagmar

    Your dress looks fantastic and the patterned hose you chose really complements the overall look! Portrait style collars are one of my favourites for cocktail dresses as they frame the face so nicely. Interesting that no directions were included – I wonder if a tech glitch prevented them from being sent. Did you contact Lekala about this? I wonder how the dress would sew up in a woven as opposed to the stretch woven fabric you used and if that explains the excessive ease. Also, I wonder if the issue with the collar has to do with a different % of stretch on the collar piece compared to the bodice piece due to pattern orientation when cutting i.e. less stretch making it roll up to make space for your shoulder area?

    • kk

      Thank you! I didn’t bother contacting Lekala, I just thought the instructions weren’t part of the deal. And I knew I could figure it out. I don’t know about the collar. I haven’t much experience in collars like this. I’d think that the stretch would be more of a problem with wovens, not knits. But mainly I think that the fabric just was a bit too thick. I mean with coats with big collars the bottom collar piece is always made smaller. Because I turned the seam allowances down the top collar needed to be bigger in order to roll over the roll-line.

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