The 31st Birthday Dress (Lekala 4519)

The 31st Birthday Dress (Lekala 4519)

How did I not notice this giant string???
How did I not notice this giant string???

So there’s serger thread hanging off the back of this skirt. You see it, I see it, lets move on. I also look real pissed off here, and that’s because I was! The air went out at my place, and it is roasting. I also broke my tripod setting up. Please excuse my bitch face! It was a rough one.

Also it rained, so I couldn't set up outside.
Also it rained, so I couldn’t set up outside.

Now, the dress. I’ve always wanted a proper shelf bust dress, with the band below the bust, not across. I stumbled upon this pattern on Instagram (I’m sorry, I don’t remember the user), and it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for! I’ve never sewn a Lekala pattern before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out, it’s a Russian company, and seeemingly very different than what I’m used to. For starters, you have the option to enter your exact measurements, and their program will create the pattern in your size, with or without seam allowance. I’m not sure how this works, it definitely doesn’t have the designer feel, like other pattern companies. But hey, the pattern was $3, so I figured it was worth a try.

Boring back view.
Boring back view.

Either I did something wrong here, or the pattern just wasn’t that great. For a pattern created based on my measurements, it really needed some alterations. I took every single bodice seam in half an inch, my first attempt at this bodice was HUGE! There are only two darts on the bodice, just on the bodice back, and those were clearly marked. I ordered the pattern with seam allowances, which I followed carefully. I don’t understand how I could have messed this part up, unless I just suddenly don’t know how to measure myself? For what it’s worth, I am corseted in these pictures, but I tried the bodice muslin on sans corset, and it was still giant! Also, the pattern illustration shows the skirt hitting just below the knee, which is the length I was expecting. As you can see, mine is much shorter than that! Now, I’ve been the same height since tenth grade, so there’s no way I got that bit wrong! I am wearing a petticoat here, so perhaps we can attribute some of the length problems to that? Sure…

Not even close to below the knee!
Not even close to below the knee!

Now for the good. The alterations to the bodice were really simple, and I LOVE the way this bodice fits. It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted! The shape it creates, with corset and petticoat combo, is just perfect. Construction was actually pretty simple, I did it in about 5 hours. Rushing created imperfections, but I can live with that! The instructions are sparse to say the least, but that really wasn’t a problem for me. I believe the instructions don’t call for a bodice lining (or even tell you how much fabric you need), but I added one anyway. Usually, I would have also added boning to the bodice, I just think a shelf bust dress should always have it. But here, with the steel boned long line corset on, I felt like I could get away without it. The most difficult part of construction was pleating the bust cups, and that’s really just tedious.

Lemon boob shelf.
Lemon boob shelf.

I think I will make this one again and again, with a longer skirt. For this version, I used the black stretch sateen and the Gertie lemon fabric, both of which I’ve used in the past. I’d really like to see it in a bold floral, maybe Christmasy red plaid, with black bust cups. This version got rave reviews at my birthday dinner and drinks, which is really the best I could ask for. I couldn’t be happier with it, despite what my face says.

7 thoughts on “The 31st Birthday Dress (Lekala 4519)

  1. Hmmm…I’ve sewn several Lekala patterns, and if I didn’t have so many from the other brands in my stash, they’d probably be all I sewed! Not sure what happened with the measurements, but I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you–definitely try them again with a simpler pattern to work out what you need to enter for measurements, they have free patterns just for that purpose. NAYY. 🙂

    I am impressed with how fast you sewed this up, it would take me like a month to do a dress this complex, I would never even *dream* of finishing in 5 hours (I’d swear it takes me that long just to tape together the PDF!!) And it’s awesome that the bust shelf is actually below the bust–far too many of these dresses cut right across the wearer’s nipples, and that’s just not cool.

    1. I’m not sure what went wrong either! I thought perhaps I took my measurements wrong, the but then there’s the skirt length. I know I haven’t grown inches!

      I hate hate hate the cutting across the nipples thing, you’re right, it’s really not cool!

  2. Utterly fab dress, the black with the bold lemon print looks amazing, the fit looks great too, I’ve also not tried Lekala or Bootstrap which is similar so it’s great to read your review

    1. Thank you! Last year’s birthday dress was also a shelf bust dress, but with a bold print on the dress body and solid black on the cups, so I wanted to do the reverse this year! I’m not sure if it’s just me or what happened, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

  3. Your dress is stunning! Is so nice to see one with an actual shelf bust. I have yet to find a pattern where it doesn’t cut across the chest, I’m a small chested girl myself and that look destroys any chance of improving the look of the ladies! I may have to give this pattern a try. Your review is fantastic too, so now i know to test fit with some cheapie fabric first. Hope the air is back on full blast and happy birthday!!!

    1. Thank you! I was beginning to lose hope that I’d find a pattern that didn’t cut across the bust! The pattern is super cheap and definitely worth it, plus it only prints one size, which is handy. The air is back on full blast, thankfully! I had a great birthday 🙂

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