Lena On Me

Did you know ‘Lena’ means ‘firewood’ in Swedish? And ‘brothel-keeper’ in Latin? No? Why ever not?! πŸ˜›

However, in the sewing world, the Lena is a faux wrap dress made in jersey fabric(s), with two sleeve lengths and optional lace overlay. Developed by Simple Sew, the Lena has been on my ‘to sew’ list for a while as I buy plenty of RTW wrap dresses as I love the style of them. I obtained the pattern free with Issue 35 of Love Sewing magazine so I’ve had it for a while.


I opted for the navy jersey I also bought a while back (and have recently used for trim on the Anchor T-Shirt) and set about cutting out the bodice and sleeves. I cut a size 14 as this seemed to match the closest to my measurements but really I should have probably cut a 12 and done a FBA… Ah, hindsight, you beauty!

I managed to drastically stretch out the neckline whilst hemming, which almost made me bin it in frustration but I turned instead to the handy web and discovered tips involving steam that seemed to remedy it! πŸ™‚ The Lena is meant to be lined but I ditched this idea as I run hot and a long-sleeved jersey dress is likely to be warm enough for me without doubling up the layers. I detest being hot so I’d rather layer it with a cardigan or a vest top that I can remove. As such, I had to hem the neckline rather than using the lined method for finishing it.

Once I’d finished the bodice I was in two minds whether to continue on to the dress or leave it as a top, albeit with a bit of fabric added so it didn’t look too early-2000’s midriff bearing! I decided to plough on in the end but with the intention of making a kind of wrap ballet-esque cardigan/top soon.

My version is less ‘faux wrap’ as, by stitching the front crossover sections together to prevent the dreaded gape-age,Β it has less of a wrap around appearance to it. However, this is okay with me as at least I know I can wear it in polite company! Ideally, I should have altered the bodice to take some of the extra fabric in the back out (sounding like a broken record now from when I made the Kate jersey dresses…) and then I could have managed a closer fit and reduced the risk of the front dropping too far down. A tip to take forward for the cardigan/top.

Anyway, let’s have some photos:

When it came to the skirt I opted to use a contrasting fabric for the boarder 1) to prevent it being exceedingly plain and b) because I didn’t have quite enough fabric in blue jersey to make it uniform in colour.

It is a plain dress but it is also very ‘me’! This is part of my concerted effort to make more items in colours I wear/suit, shapes I wear/suit and fabrics I find comfortable/practical. It doesn’t mean I’ve completely ditched the brighter fabrics and patterns but I am trying to lead with my head a bit more than my heart when it comes to pattern choice and fabric purchases. We’ll see how long it continues… πŸ˜‰



(I’m afraid I’m being a touch on the shy (vain!) side today, hence the cropped out face. And check out those pale post-Sri-Lankan-holiday legs!) πŸ˜‰

If (when) I make it again I will adjust the fabric in the back so that it sits closer to my figure (though this version is good for covering up food babies) and then it will allow me to leave the front crossover unstitched together and thus more ‘faux wrap’. I will also address the sleeves, which fit well lower down but are a bit baggy mid-arm. And I will play around with the placement of the bust darts as they sit a bit awkwardly.

What do you think? Is it too plain? Shall I add some more dashes of colour (e.g. either a motif on one shoulder or a flash of the red fabric inside the sleeves so they can be rolled up once)? Should I be embarrassed to wear this out and about or pleased?

P.S. The waistband looks a bit lopsided in the modelled photo but I think that must be the way I stand as it doesn’t look that was on Agnus.


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