Ok, Leia is done and can be mentioned on the blog.
Leia is a pdf pattern from Tamanegi Kobo. I’ve never used a Japanese pattern before, but will not hesitate to to so again. If Leia is any indication, the instruction drawings are plenty good enough to get the idea of how to proceed. The Leia pattern is also a layered pdf with different sizes on different layers. You can hide the sizes you don’t want and just print out what you want to use. No tracing off nested patterns here. So easy and a great idea.
Now to go chronologically through my process:
1. I bought the pattern, uploaded to the Fedex Kinkos local to me and they printed it off on legal paper, NOT SCALED to fit. Japan uses A4 paper which is slightly larger than 8.5 x 11, so I opted to use legal size to make sure I got everything on each page. This costs under $4 and saves me having to buy legal paper and doesn’t use up the ink in my old injet printer.
2. Taped the pattern together and cut out the pieces. Very easy, there’s a diagram on the pattern itself and every edge is marked.
3. Decided to make the largest size (42 in this case) since I wasn’t really sure if seam allowances were included on the pattern. I think they are, but if they aren’t better have it bigger and make it smaller, right. There was a chart of finished dress measurements, but I don’t think my finished measurements are the same as those. The size 42/Japan 13 is confusing too as a 42 is about a US 12 and Japan 13 is a US 10. The finished bust of this dress fits me perfectly and I’m a 34 bust. There’s no way a 36 bust is fitting in that top. The hip measurement wasn’t important since this is a pretty wide A-line dress.
4. Sewed Leia up following the diagrams. Since I assumed the seam allowances were included, I used the seam allowances noted on the pattern. This pattern uses several different SA widths, all of them much narrower than our standard 5/8″ in the US. I actually love this because you don’t have to trim each seam. Of course, that also means you don’t have as much margin for error where fit is concerned. The choice of fabric is also important to make that curved yoke work. My fabric is a stable rayon/cotton that presses well and doesn’t unravel. I wouldn’t want to use a polyester georgette or crepe for this. That would be super hard. But in rayon or cotton, no problem with the curves.
I didn’t alter the pattern at all and it fits pretty darn well. I’m a 34 B/C bust with broad shoulders and this bodice fits me perfectly. The “waist” of the dress fits me as an empire since it’s about 1.5″ to 2″ above my natural waist. I’m not long waisted so I assume this is what the designer had in mind. I did a turn/turn hem about 1.25″ total depth rather than a blind hem, that’s my only mod 🙂 I did cut my fabric on the cross grain, rather than the lengthwise to make the stripes more flattering.
So that’s my Leia adventure, and the resulting dress is easy and wearable. I’d not recommend Leia for a beginning sewist unless you had someone to explain the steps to you. But for the more experienced, I say give it a try.