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Lekala cowl top instructions and giveaway

20 June 2011, 13:38

You’ve seen my version of this fantastic cowl top, now’s your chance to make your own and show me yours!

As you’ll recall, the above is made using Lekala 4020, but I’ve created sleeve bands on the back to echo the ones on the front, so our first step is to alter the pattern for this.

Here’s the (unaltered) tech drawing:

Lekala give full pattern pieces rather than placing some patterns on the fold, so the first thing I like to do is fold the front and the back in half. If you’re altering the back like me, then cut the back piece in half along this foldline (at the CB).

To echo the sleeve bands/yokes on the back, first lay the front sleeve band/yoke piece onto the back, and mark the corresponding widths at the back shoulder and the back side seam, so the two bands will align nicely when sewn together. Then, using the front yoke piece as a guide, draw a nice curve to join the two points, trying to keep the width of the yoke even. Lastly, draw a double notch somewhere in the lower half across the line, so you’ve got the notches on both the back piece and your new back band piece. Then cut along the line and treat as two pieces.

You’ll end up with something like this:

(Note that Lekala pattern generally do not come with seam allowances unless you specifically request them to in your custom order. I prefer my patterns without seam allowances included, but if you do, remember to add seam allowances onto the curve you’ve just cut!)

Cut out four front bands and four back bands, and fuse a lightweight knit interfacing to two of each of these.

I’ve found that this pattern is fairly straightforward to construct, but with all the curves it can really tax your overlocking/serger skillz so it’s extra important to baste before overlocking/serging at each step! You really don’t want to be unpicking overlocking stitches if you don’t have to…

My order of construction:

  1. Join the shoulder seams of the band pieces, matching up an interfaced back with an interfaced front, and so on.

  2. With right sides together, align an interfaced band with a non-interfaced band. Pin, baste, and then overlock the shorter, curved armscye edge. Repeat for the remaining bands.

  3. (If you do not want to topstitch your bands, then you should understitch these armscye edge now.)

  4. Pin, baste, and overlock the front band edge from the shoulder seam to the notch. Clip to both stitching points and flip right sides out. Repeat for the other band.

  5. Pin, baste, and overlock the back band to the back bodice, treating both band layers as one, and matching double notches.

  6. Pin and baste the front band to the front bodice for the first few inches from the side seam, treating both band layers as one.

  7. I found it helpful at this point to try on the garment (either on a dummy or yourself), pinning the side seams in place, and pleating the edges of the front neckline to the yokes in a way that you’re comfortable. The top edge of the neckline should meet at the notches of the front bands. For me, this meant having the pleats higher up the neckline, and with a wider seam allowance so the cowl doesn’t droop as low. One you’ve got the pleats pinned the way you like them, baste these on their own. The top edge of the front should be folded inside about an inch and left with a raw edge so it doesn’t show through.

  8. Pin and baste the remainder of the front band to the front bodice. (You may want to try this on again here!)

  9. Overlock the front band to the front bodice.

  10. Overlock the side seams, taking care to match the band seams.

  11. Turn under the hem allowance and coverstitch (or twin-needle) in place.

  12. Optionally – topstitch the yokes with Gutermann Upholstery thread in the colour of your choice.

While my brain was too frazzled to work out the above steps a few weekends ago, but I still wanted to sew, I pulled out a pair on pants (underwear) to work on. I had done the seams on a bunch of pairs a few weeks ago, so this purple silk jersey pair only needed the elastic added onto the legs and waist.

These are made from scraps leftover from Pip’s bridesmaid gown (how’s that for symmetry considering the silk silk jersey is leftover from Gez’s bridesmaid gown??), with a bamboo jersey gusset/lining and some nice black picot edge plush elastic that was in my stash.

Lekala giveaway

After seeing my version of the cowl top last week, the owner of Lekala Patterns very kindly donated five passwords, which I’d like to offer as a giveaway. Each password is loaded with two credits, so you’ll get to try two patterns in your custom measurements (or one if you’d prefer seam allowances included, as they “cost” double).

If you’d like a chance to win one of these passwords, please reply below with the number of your favourite Lekala pattern (no fair if you ALL choose the new Kate Middleton-a-like dress! ;) ). I’ll pick the winners this Sunday 26th June.
EDIT: The giveaway is now closed. Winners are being contacted and the results will be posted later today. Thanks for entering!

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  1. Cool! I’ve been wanting to try some Lakala patterns but I just haven’t gotten around to getting them in my size, they do have a lot of cool designs that I’d like

    molly    Jun 20, 02:35 PM    #
  2. Hi! I love a lot of these Lekala Patterns! My favorite 2 are 4043 and 4027 (with 4028 a close third). Very cool! I’m slowly getting back into blogging after the ol’ wedding, and this would be a great way to start!

    IowaHoodlum    Jun 20, 02:35 PM    #
  3. Thanks for the instructions! My favourite pattern is no. 5746, but there are loads of others I’d also like to try.

    — Frances    Jun 20, 02:46 PM    #
  4. Melissa, since you are the one who got me to try KnipMode (with that remarkably helpful post on the knit top) then perhaps I’ll venture into Lekala patterns with your guidance. I’d like either 4039 or 5974. And yes, I will try this knit top also. Thank you.

    Jane S    Jun 20, 02:48 PM    #
  5. Wow, how generous! They have so many unique knit tops (which is so awesome!). I really would love to try 5675 & 5666 – and a bunch of others too. :-)

    — Melissa    Jun 20, 03:14 PM    #
  6. Wow! This is a terrific offer! I’ve used some of their free patterns, but would love to try 5946. A cool neck line and princess seams so it fits properly? Sounds like heaven!

    — birdmommy    Jun 20, 03:37 PM    #
  7. OOH! So cool. I would love pattern 4043 please. :)

    Elizabeth    Jun 20, 04:17 PM    #
  8. I would love to try 5742, which is a pair of pants. I am always looking for the ultimate pants fit – maybe theirs will be the one?!

    — Heather    Jun 20, 04:34 PM    #
  9. I would love to try 4039 and 4043. Thanks for a chance to win!

    Rebecca    Jun 20, 04:46 PM    #
  10. I really like 4026- looks like a perfect summer dress! Love the changes you made to the top, and especially your pictures and description.

    — Johanna    Jun 20, 05:07 PM    #
  11. Thanks for the instructions! My favorite Lekala is probably 5868 or 5742, but there are so many awesome ones there.

    CGCouture    Jun 20, 05:15 PM    #
  12. 4030 is my favorite- love the interesting possibilities with two complementing fabrics.

    — Penny    Jun 20, 05:18 PM    #
  13. Thank you for the instructions for this top, Melissa! I would like to try some of the Lekala patterns, but I am intimidated by their instructions. Actually, I can’t wait for your opinion on the “S dress”, as I like it a lot and I would like to make that one myself. But in dresses I have to transition between two sizes, and I would need a custom order for that pattern. So, in conclusion, I like a lot the pattern # 5975 :)
    (I thought I posted my comment earlier today but it looks like it didn’t post, I hope I won’t end with two comments!)

    — Olga    Jun 20, 06:39 PM    #
  14. Hi! Love 4026, really great style!

    — Clair McLaughlin    Jun 20, 08:39 PM    #
  15. Oooh! What a nice thing for both you and the Lekala folk to do! I’ve been tempted by their custom sizing, but I’ve got no clue how it really works.

    My favorite patterns currently is 5687 (a skirt with really neat seamlines). I’ve yet to make it, but it’s on the list!


    — Jodi    Jun 20, 08:47 PM    #
  16. I like #4017 and have some dupioni scraps that would be perfect!

    — Katelyn Allers    Jun 20, 10:38 PM    #
  17. I’d like to try 4039 as it looks different yet wearable.

    RuthieK    Jun 20, 11:00 PM    #
  18. Ok, I had to wait until I got home to participate and that was just too long, LOL!

    I pick 4017 and 5631, both tops.

    Lakaribane    Jun 20, 11:33 PM    #
  19. Lovely cowl-neck top! It’s a great style.

    I hadn’t heard of Lekala until you started posting about it. I’m intrigued by lots of the designs, but 4019 is especially nice.

    Amy    Jun 21, 12:05 AM    #
  20. Yes, include me please! There are definitely some designs I’d like. Your top is lovely, not for me, but it is perfect for your shape.

    Nancy K    Jun 21, 12:27 AM    #
  21. Yes, I’d love to be included. They have some neat patterns, and I’d like the chance to try 1 or two out. Thanks for offering this

    — Jodie K    Jun 21, 02:54 AM    #
  22. Good chance to try a lekala pattern. I like pattern 5930 most.

    — Corinna    Jun 21, 10:07 AM    #
  23. I’ve gotta say after having a look through the 4020 is my fave! Plus I will have ur handy instns to make it up! I’ve made a couple of Lekala patterns but I have to stick with the simple designs as the English translations are terrible!

    — Shola    Jun 21, 01:10 PM    #
  24. I’m liking dress 4030 for its interesting design possibilities. I’m intrigued by this pattern line.

    — Patti B    Jun 21, 02:19 PM    #
  25. Dresses 5820 and 4028 caught my eye…I am always drawn to great seaming details. Love your top by the way.

    — Sue    Jun 21, 02:19 PM    #
  26. hmm. 5741, which is kind of a motorcycle-ish jacket (more steve mcqueen than marlon brando, though). And 5763, which is a vest.

    — scooter    Jun 21, 04:33 PM    #
  27. 5982 is top of my “to sew” list at the moment – in a a silky purple jersey when i find it.

    — nicky    Jun 21, 06:40 PM    #
  28. Thanks! This is a great contest! There were so many great choices it was hard to choose just a few favorites.. I love coats.. 2019 or 2020… then either dress 5942 and 5878. Also I want to thank you for letting us know about this great pattern company when you posted about your first knit top from this company back in January.

    — Kelly    Jun 21, 10:17 PM    #
  29. Wow! Great job… I like 5803 and 5935

    Leah    Jun 22, 12:30 AM    #
  30. I really like 5878 or 5851 – I’ve been wanting a dress that looks like a skirt & blouse for a while now!

    — ChristineB    Jun 22, 04:51 AM    #
  31. I would love 4026 and/or the skirt 4025…mind you I love all of their patterns, very unique detailing. Thanks for the chance!

    — Deb    Jun 22, 06:06 AM    #
  32. I love 5938, especially the top part… although I think if by any chance I’d win, I’d use it for my sister, who has hard time finding clothes that fit.

    Hana - Marmota    Jun 22, 10:00 AM    #
  33. Melissa, thanks for this opportunity…the first on my list is 5514..thanks

    — susan perzanowski    Jun 25, 11:35 PM    #
  34. I hope I’m not too late, but I haven’t seen the contest ending.

    I like the 5869 and 5767 blouses. Great fitting blouse patterns are hard to come by.

    Helena    Jun 26, 03:53 PM    #

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