One of the best things about sewing is being able to knock-off designer brands. Not only to you get a custom fit garment at a fraction of the price, you also have control over the colours and fabrics. This Lekala pattern (4708) looks to be based roughly on The North Face’s Arcata hoodie.
It features an off-centre zipper with zipper shield, two piece raglan sleeves, panelled hood and dropped hem at the back. The outer edges have a contrast binding. There are two zippered hand pockets. The Lekala pattern has a bust dart, where The North Face original has princess seams front and back for a more contoured fit. Another difference is the pocket bags which I’ll get into later.
Lekala recommends using a woven fabric, but I’ve chosen to use a French terry with about 75% stretch. It worked out fine. I didn’t top-stitch the seams as it wanted the ripple. And just to be difficult, I used a lightweight rayon knit to make up the binding. Mainly as I liked the colour contrast. It wasn’t the easiest of binding to work with and needed the inner edge to be handstitched down. Slow going, but worth it.
For the pockets, I used Kenneth D King’s method of making welt strips using ribbon wrapped with the rayon knit. This method is awesome. I first used it on a 5mm thick Windpro fleece and had prefect welts despite the fabric. It also worked a treat with this flimsy knit.
The pocket bags on the Lekala pattern are the standard D shaped bag, with the inner and outer bags the same size. I added extra width at the zipper seam for the outer bag to make sure the lined up. The bottom of the pocket back is only a centimetre or so shorter than the hemline, so the pocket bag can sag below the hem. In hindsight, I would have change to outer pocket bag to be rectangular, like the NF design, and caught the edges of the rectangle in the zipper and hem seams for a bit more support. Instead, I’ve tacked the left hand pocket bag to the zipper facing and catch stitched the RH pocket bag into the loops of French terry. This should be enough.
I was a bit disappointed by the lack of notches on the Lekala pattern. They had been done of the left front and left side hood, but nowhere else. The centre panel of the hood really needs to be notched to show that the thin end is to the neckline and fat end to the face.
There was also a bit of head scratching with the RHS of the hood. It had the seam allowance added where I don’t think it was supposed to, as it is a bound edge. It was also shorter in height than the corresponding edge on the LHS. This gives a bit of a step that is noticeable when the hood is up, but looks even when the hood is down. To me, it looks like a drafting error.
There are also no notches to match up the zipper on the RHS. It is also complicated by zipper construction. The LHS of the zipper is sewn first, then the rest of the jacket is constructed. The edges are then bound. The final step is to attach the RHS of the zipper behind the binding. I added marks to both zipper tape and the RHS to help match up the two sides evenly.
Both this pattern and the NF original have the zipper partially exposed with the binding on one side. That’s OK, if you have the right colour zipper, but I didn’t quite like that look. I’ve offset the zipper on the RHS so the binding covers the zipper coil.
In all, I’ve had better drafted patterns from Lekala, but the fit, especially the lengths were fine. It has been a challenging sew for what appears to be a fairly simple hoodie. I’m not that wrapped with the finished product, mainly because of the pocket bags and the off-centre zip doesn’t look that great unzipped. It’s just for around the house and taking the dog for a walk, so it will do the job.
|Pattern: Lekala 4708
Fabric: Stretch French terry with rayon knit binding
|30 wears: Unlikely
Fad factor: Medium
Expected life: 6-8 years
And now for today’s sketch….