Panda Bear Picnic: Lekala 4276

I’m a week late to Fall for Cotton, but I did manage to finish up Lekala 4276 this past weekend.

The reasons for my delay are both good and bad.  Everything was going along just fine until I attached the skirt on September 27th.  I should have no trouble finishing by the 9/30 deadline, right?  Well…  Unfortunately for me, it was immediately apparent that this skirt was wayyyy too tight :(  I double checked my measurements against what I told Lekala my measurement’s were, and I am entirely to blame for this snafu.  I used the same measurements as for my Tiana dress, but either I measured wrong, or my body changed because my hips were a good 6cm larger than I had reported.  Not a huge amount, but when the skirt has so little ease, 1 cm seam allowance, and 3 seams to work with, it was apparent that no amount of seam tweaking was going to save this thing.  Fortunately, I had enough fabric to cut another skirt.  Unfortunately, in the quest to get this thing done in time, I just added .5″ to all seams except at the waist, which was fine.  This worked well to fit my hips.  It did not work so well for giving me a skirt that didn’t look like I was sporting saddlebags.  Fixing that issue took time and frustration, so I moved forward on this at a snails pace.  Also, the inside is ugly as shit as a result of all my guess and check work, so you will get pics of the outside only!

More bad news on the timing of this dress- the deadline fell right in the middle of a super busy time at work, and was one of the 4 weekends a year where I lose most of my weekend for work.  Womp womp womp….

Her name is Rarity, of course.

But wait! Didn’t I say there was a *good* reason for missing the fall for cotton deadline? I surely did! Possibly the most best reason!!! The same Friday of the skirt fitting disaster, I became a proud new mommy to this baby:

She’s a barely used Pfaff 4.2 that I got a pretty good deal on (I think). My husband and I were talking about a new machine for Chistmas, so I wasn’t at all expecting to get one that day, but I knew the barely used ones would be gone by then, so I high tailed it back to the dealer as soon as the expense was approved.

I love it so far.  It’s so quiet and fast, and I haven’t even had time to play with all the awesome features yet.  The invisible zipper foot is especially good.  It really curls up around the zipper teeth, so it feels like there is little to no chance of hitting them.  I always had to be oh so careful doing invisible zippers with my Brother CS6000i as things had a tendency to shift, and I’d get too close a good part of the time.

I am reminded why I hate collars. I need to tack that shit down.

This post isn’t (only) about my new machine, though, so here’s the details on the dress:
I really liked the design on the Lekala website, but I felt like I wanted to pull the contrast fabric into another part of the dress besides the collar.  Initially, I planned to do the midriff portion in that same fabric, but once I had the fabric all cut out, I started to doubt that plan.  The midriff was a bit wider (taller?) than I expected, and that felt like too much of the contrast.  I debated flat piping the seams, but decided that looked weird.  I wound up making a belt.  I apparently suck at making belts.  I’m glad I have the option to not wear it.

Construction and fit wise, this was not a difficult dress.  I was nervous about the keyhole part.  The instructions told me to cut the hole in fabric and lining, then sew it.  I decided this was a supremely bad idea.  Instead, I marked the stitch line around the hole,pinned it, sewed it, then cut it.  That worked just fine.

For the custom sizing of this Lekala, I went with “average” on the choices that affect bodice front dart placement, and I didn’t have the issue of darts being too low or too widely spaced like my other Lekala had.

I still had them give me the broad back adjustment, and that worked well, but it’s still a bit tight and has a very slight upper mid-back gap, so I probably would do well to add a little more back room in the future.

I think this dress is supposed to be more form fitting than the previous Lekala I made, but back wrinkles aren’t a good look even if it was still comfortable.

Lekala’s instructions for the kick pleat were a nightmare.  Frustrating because it’s a really neat detail.  Even more frustrating, I couldn’t find great instructions for it in any of the big 4 patterns in my stash.  Luckily for me, the geniuses at Threads magazine saw a need to tutorialize this technique last December, and they totally saved my kick pleat from becoming a vent.

The intended length of this skirt is also super short!  When I decided to re-cut the skirt, I took the opportunity to add 2″ to the length, and that hem is .5″ single folded up and covered with navy blue lace hem tape on the inside.  Maybe having that first skirt not fit was a blessing in disguise because otherwise I wouldn’t have had the chance to lengthen the skirt.

I think that’s about all I have to say about constructing this thing.  It’s a cute dress, but I’m reminded why I like full skirts in crimes against quilting cotton (wrinkles!!!  UGH!!! ), and if I make it again I’m going to do a proper hip adjustment and let out the back just a little bit.

Oh- and tack down that silly collar!

BELT!

I don’t really like to go around sleeveless, anyway, and a cardigan conceals most of my issues/insecurities about this dress, though I’m ambivalent about the belt either way.

NO BELT!

9 thoughts on “Panda Bear Picnic: Lekala 4276

  1. Yay you finished it! All the frustration paid off – it’s really cute! I love it with the cardigan and the belt is sweet with the bow! With the cardigan, it looks great with or without the belt. Without the cardi – I like it best with the belt. =)

  2. I do like the belt- It adds a bit of the contrast from your collar in to your dress… Loving the fabric you chose too! Congrats on your new “baby.” Always nice to have a snazzy new machine to play on! ~Laurie

    • Ha! And when they behave, I think they’re really cute. The cardi helps keep it flat. I guess it’s a silly reason to hate collars because it would be super simple to tack them down, but when I call it done, I am *done* and the thought of doing one more thing is aggravating even if it’s small :}

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