Lekala 2163 is a great V-neck sleeveless top for summer’s hot weather. A versatile dress up or down style is dependent on the fabric you choose. It’s designed for a woven fabric, however you can use a knit as I did in this tutorial. First, a little about Lekala sewing patterns. Lekala patterns are made from a software program that produces a variety of patterns for both professional and personal use. The patterns are sold by Sewist Sarl in Meyrin, Switzerland. I am amazed at this software so far! All you have to do is put in your own personal measurements so the PDF pops out your personal pattern size! How cool is that! Needless to say, I have downloaded a ton of patterns from them in my size and they have been spot on so far in fit.
For this pattern, there are 4 pattern pieces. Seam allowance is 1cm. I recommend this for any seamstress from beginner to advanced, however the instructions are very limited and may seem a bit odd due to a loss in translation into American English I assume. That’s where this tutorial will come in handy. It’s a cute, easy breezy top that is a step up from a tank top.
Sew….Here we go! For this make I chose a double brushed knit that is so soft and has a ton of stretch like a T-shirt. I cut the front and back piece on the fold and then cut 2 front and 2 back yoke pieces. I also cut out 1 front and 1 back yoke fusible interfacing pieces. I used a super soft thin stretch interfacing since the fabric is stretchy. Next cut a couple bias pieces 4cm wide and about 60cm long. You will need these to finish your armholes. Mark all your notches and I also marked where the seam lines intersect on the front and back pieces at the armhole. First step is to fuse the interfacing to the yoke pieces.
Now, sew two lines of gathering stitches on the back upper edge so you can “gather” the fullness to fit the back yoke piece. Simple enough. Sew it in place using a 1cm seam allowance. Now do the same thing to the front piece and attach to the front yoke. BUT WAIT!!! Remember, these are yokes not facings. Don’t sew your pieces to the wrong edge of the yoke. Double check that you sew them as seen below:
When you attach the front piece to the yoke it will feel counterintuitive and want to fight you. I suggest you sew them together starting at the center V and move out to the armholes. Another tip, when you do your gather stitching, make two sets, one for the left side and one for the right side meeting at the V. Press your seam allowance toward the yoke.
Very well done! Now sew your shoulder seams together. Also grab your other two yoke pieces and sew them together at the shoulder. If you’re using a woven fabric or a fabric that needs it’s seams “Finished” please do so. That includes finishing the edge of your yoke facings however suits you. I chose not to finish my seams on this brushed knit since it doesn’t ravel. AND most of the seams in the yoke will be hidden.
Place your yoke facing on your main piece, match your shoulder seams, V-neck and pin in place. Sew a 1cm seam around the neck edge.
Turn your facing to the inside, clip your curves and V point, then understitch it to the seam allowance. This keeps it from rolling up and out over your neckline.
Give it a good press with the iron and then topstich for a little extra pizzaz. Now, to keep the facing in place you have to make a choice. Lekala suggests to slipstitch it in place or stitch-in-the-ditch. I chose to stitch-in-the-ditch. This technique hides the stitching on the front of the garment. As you can see in the picture below, it catches the facing and holds it in place. I then trimmed the facing close to the stitching to make it look better.
You have another decision here to make. Sew your sides seams. Try it on. Make sure it fits. My armholes were a bit larger than I like. They were OK, but I don’t like my bra showing so I decided to bring my side seam under the arm in a bit for my taste. Once you have your fit, measure your armhole. Mine was a total of 46cm around. Now grab those bias pieces you previously cut and iron them in half long ways. Now the directions tell you to use it like a bias tape finish. I chose to use a technique I use for T-shirt collars. I cut the bias piece a few centimeters shorter than the armhole, sewed the pieces at the short ends together, found where the half and quarter points were and marked those so I had 4 equal quarters.
Then I marked the quarter sections of the armhole, pinned the bias to the armhole on the right side and pulled/stretched it as I sew along to equal the circumference of the armhole. This keeps the armhole from gapping and it hugs your body. Now finish the seams, press the seam towards the main body and topstitch to hold the seam allowance in place. Trim what you want/need to trim.
Now for my final tip/trick for this garment. The finish line. Hemming. The stretch jersey is not an easy thing to hem because of the stretch and movement. SEW… get some WONDER TAPE! This stuff is like MAGIC! It’s a double sided sticky tape that washes away in when you launder your garment. I just pressed my hem to give me a marking, put the tape in place along the edge, turn it over and and finger pressed the hem in place. Oh my gosh its amazing stuff. It makes sewing a breeze. No pins, no movement. Just a beautiful stitch. It doesn’t gum up your sewing needle either. Love this stuff.
Sew… we are done. Let’s put it on and check it out for fit. AAAAGH! Yep. I should have known. Remember when I said that Lekala fits a pattern to your measurements? And usually they are spot on? I should have never made those armholes smaller. I should have trusted the pattern. UGH!! Next time.