Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lekala 4319 construction post

I very nearly finished my version of my Lekala 4319 tunic this weekend. The tunic itself is fairly easy to construct, but the instructions are so cryptic that they make Burda magazine instructions appear user-friendly.  I've seen a few comments indicating interest in seeing how things go with this pattern, so I am going to dedicate this blog post to documenting my construction process. If you're on the fence about this pattern or come across this post via google because you're looking to make this pattern but want more detailed instructions, hopefully this post will help you.

These instructions/observations are my own, so take these with a grain of salt where needed.

Pattern Overview

Lekala 4319 tunic is a hip-length tunic with a front bodice underlayer and an overlayer that drapes over the underlayer asymmetrically. A row of buttons secures the top layer in place with a ruching effect. The tunic has a cowl-style neckline, long sleeves, and a hem band.

Fabric requirements and recommendations

My tunic required 3 yards of merino wool jersey. Full disclosure/goof: I started cutting my fabric before I realized that I only had 2.5 yards of the fabric that I really wanted to use for this project. By getting really creative with my layout, piecing the front underlayer, and leaving off the bottom hem band, I was able to squeeze this tunic out of 2.5 yards.

If you are making this tunic, you will want to use a very drapey jersey. Consider a rayon, merino wool, or silk jersey. I don't think that most cotton jerseys or ITY jerseys will have enough drape for this pattern and are likely to have too much bulk. Definitely stay away from heavier knits like ponte.

For my own tunic, I am using this red merino wool jersey from FabricMart and these cool-looking metal buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply:

Difficulty level: Advanced Beginner

I think that this pattern would be appropriate for an advanced beginner. You won't be encountering much in the way of difficult construction techniques, and since the pattern is customized for your measurements, you likely won't have too many fitting issues. You will, however, need to figure out your own pattern layout on your fabric and be able to sew a decent knit hem. (I recommend using a twin needle or coverstitch.)

Pattern pieces

This pattern only has 5 pieces, and no facings or bindings:
  • Bodice underlayer (Cut 1x)
  • Bodice over layer/drape (Cut 1x)
  • Bodice back (Cut 2x)
  • Sleeve (Cut 2x)
  • Hem band (Cut 1x)

Time requirements

I spent about 5 hours total on this tunic:
  • ~1 hour to tape the PDF together.
  • ~1 hour to cut the fabric. (Keep in mind that I had to get creative with my layout. If you have enough fabric-- ~3 yards, you should be able to cut this out much faster than I did.)
  • ~ 3 hours to sew the tunic, including a couple of goofs where I had things pinned wrong and had to re-pin before serging.

Construction skills needed

  • Sewing darts
  • Familiarity with knits
  • Hemming knits
  • Marking/sewing buttons


The following instructions describe how I put my tunic together. Other methods might work better for you, but I'm hoping that these might help if you've already ordered the pattern and are scratching your head at the included PDF instructions.
  1. Mark, pin, and sew the bust darts on the bodice underlayer:
    Mark and pin darts
  2. Hem the neckline on the back piece and on the front underlayer pieces.

    I used the coverstitch function on my Babylock Evolve, but a twin needle hem would work as well:

    Back neckline hemmed

  3. Hem the following edges on the front overlayer/drape piece:
    • Cowl/neckline edge
    • Left shoulder edge
    • Long/curved edge on the garment's left side

      Front drape piece with cowl neckline, left shoulder, left side all hemmed.
  4.  Remove excess calico cat from fabric.

  5. Lay out the front underlayer, right-side up. Place the overlayer/drape on top (right side of under layer to the wrong side of the overlayer). Pin or base along the left shoulder, left armscye, and left side edges.
  6. Stitch/serge the shoulder seams:
    • For the right shoulder, stitch/serge through all three layers (front under and over layers, back piece).
    • For the left shoulder, stitch/serge the front underlayer to the pack piece. The hemmed overlayer will be flapping around loose.

      You can see what the sandwich of layers looks like in the photo below (ignore the seam that looks like a yoke--that was a result of my "creative" fabric layout/piecing):

  7. Set your sleeves in flat:

    • On the left side of the tunic, stitch through all three layers (overlayer, underlayer, sleeve) on the front part of the tunic. Stitch as you normally would (back, sleeve) on the back side of the tunic.
    • On the right side of the tunic, stitch through the front underlayer/sleeve on the front side and the back/sleeve on the back side.

      The left side of the overlayer/drape will still be unattached.

  8. You can now try the tunic on. You can now get a much better idea of what the neckline and drape are going to look like.

    In this picture, I've pinned the left shoulder drape piece to the underlayer. Apologies for the bathroom mirror selfie:

    Here, I've added a few pins at semi-regular intervals along the left side to get a better idea of what the ruching/drape will look like:

  9. Mark your button placement on both the under and outer layer of the front. I plan to play around with my button placement a little, if needed, to ensure a flattering effect.

  10. Construct/attach the hem band: (Note that I will be omitting this step because of my fabric goof and will simply be doing a coverhem at the bottom hem.)
    • Right sides together, stitch the short edges of the hem band together to form a ring.
    • Fold the ring in half, wrong sides together, so that the raw edges of the band touch.
    • Pin the hem band to the bottom of the tunic. Line up the four layers of raw edges on the front and three layers of raw edges on the back. Stitch/serge to attach.
  11. Hem the sleeves.
That's it, you're done!

Note: I'll update this post with pictures from the final few steps once I've completed those and taken photos.


  1. Thank you! I've had my eye on that pattern, but I thought the neckline looked low, and I can't figure out how to raise a cowl neck. But it's not a cowl, and on you it doesn't look low. I wish patterns always had photos on real people instead of drawings.
    Since you are in Seattle, will you be attending Puyallup Expo this weekend? I'll be there. Email me if you want to ask questions about it. becky [at] mckeent [dot] com

  2. Becky, I was a bit worried about the cowl being too low, as well, but that front drape falls at a level that I'm comfortable with and/or is work-appropriate.

    I'm planning to hit Puyallup for just one day (I have family in town this weekend), but I will hit you up for any recommendations that you have.

  3. Thank you thank you! This is a very informative and detailed review. I appreciate your taking the time to write each step and include pictures.