The Laela Jeyne Samantha has been sitting in my pattern library for months. Like, since I tested it last summer. Why haven’t I blogged about it? I wear my Samantha tees pretty regularly!
It wasn’t until I saw LJ designer Marisa’s Instagram post about her Samantha sweater that a light bulb went off in my head. I’d bought some sweater knits recently on a whim, thinking I wanted to make sweaters at some point. I hadn’t settled on the right sweater pattern yet. It never dawned on me to take an existing tee pattern and make one from that.
After seeing Marisa’s post, I immediately pulled out the bright coral-y orange sweater knit and got to work.
*Housekeeping: I received this pattern for free as a member of the pattern testing team, but all opinions are my own.*
Laela Jeyne Samantha
Even though I made a sweater, the Laela Jeyne Samantha is actually a swing tee/tunic/dress pattern with 2 views, 3 lengths, and center seams along the front and back. There is a short- or long-sleeved version and a racerback tank version. The racerback version also has a built-in bra.
Talk about versatility!
The 3 lengths are a hi-lo tunic (high in the front and low in the back), tunic (about high hip length), and hi-lo dress.
The size chart changed in 2017 when Laela Jeyne upgraded their grading software. And then they added one of the best things a pattern can have: CUP SIZES!!
The pattern includes front pieces for A-cup through E-cup (E-cup = DD-cup in this instance). Because of that, the size chart is very large so I’m only including the imperial chart here. But if you click here or on the picture, it will take you to the full page of measurements.
As you can see, the size range is rather extensive with a bust range of 31-50″ (79-139.5 cm). Because this is a swing dress, the waist and hip are generously sized as well.
Finished length measurements are also provided.
The recommended fabric is knits with at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery. These include cotton lycra, rayon spandex, bamboo knit, cotton-poly blend, ponte, liverpool, etc.
For the built-in bra option, power mesh or compression fabric is recommended for extra support. And also some plush-back elastic (also known as lingerie elastic).
This time around I used a slubby rayon-poly blend sweater knit. I’ve also made this in a cotton rib knit and an ITY knit.
Here is how the PDF stacks up:
- Layered sizes: yes
- Colored lines by size: yes
- No trim pattern: yes
- Prints to edge of paper: yes
- Print layout included: yes, page 6 of the packet
- A0 available: yes
Putting the PDF together is easy because the pages easily overlap. The print layout shows the bodice for each cup size so you only print the pieces you need. The bodice is then attached to the lower half of the pattern. Because of the flair in the skirt/lower portion, these are not meant to be cut on the fold.
The total PDF (instructions and pattern pieces are one large file) is 107 pages. This is because each cup size is separate, but you only print the cup size and lower half bodice fronts and backs that correspond to your size.
My only complaint about the instructions is that because the pattern pages are included in the instruction booklet, the pattern portion of the packet is not numbered to correspond to the page number. For example, the first page of the pattern is page 18, but the actual printed page will have a 1 on it, not an 18.
This can be confusing when trying to figure out exactly which pages to print. Laela Jeyne includes a print chart explaining which pages to print for each version and cup size. But I still think confusion could be alleviated by simply renumbering the pattern page overlay numbers to start with the number 18 instead of the number 1.
The instructions are beginner-friendly and are fully illustrated with line drawings.
There are 3 pages of instruction for the sleeved tee/dress version, and 5 pages (including how to add the built-in bra) for the racerback tank.
There are no side seam or shoulder notches on the pattern, but there are notches for matching the sleeves. I recommend adding in your own notches if you need them.
Because this is a knit pattern, almost all of it can be sewn on a serger. If you don’t have a serger or overlocker, simply use a stretch stitch on your regular sewing machine with a ballpoint or stretch needle.
The instructions do recommend wonder tape for hems. I would also recommend stabilizing the shoulder seams with either stay tape, elastic, or some other method.
I didn’t do my normal shortening adjustments on this pattern. They are drafted for a height of 5’5″, but the length I chose felt a bit short.
I do not like cropped tops and the hi-lo tunic on the front bodice was a little too short for my tastes. Because you can mix-and-match options, I chose the tunic length in the front (which is approximately 1.375″ or 3.5 cm longer than the hi-lo version) and the hi-lo hem in the back. This meant a little more length in the front and nice butt coverage in the back.
I did take a small wedge out in a swayback adjustment in the back, as well as a small high round back adjustment.
Because this was the first time making the long-sleeved version, I realized the arms are too short for me. I added a 3/4″ (2 cm) cuff to the pattern. Which sure beats hemming any day!
Finally, I took some “swing” out of the lower bodice so it doesn’t flare out as much as the pattern calls for. In the front, this was about 3″ (7.6 cm). In the back, it was about 5″ (12.7 cm) but this was added back a bit by the swayback adjustment.
Like I mentioned above, the two Laela Jeyne Samantha tees I made last summer are in constant rotation. I feel really dumb for not realizing sooner that I could have used this for a sweater pattern, too! Now that spring is rapidly approaching, I’m not going to get a lot of use out of this sweater again until the end of the year.
Even with the less flared silhouette, this is a great top. It skims over the lumps and bumps and provides a little derriere coverage. I like my cuff hack because it meant not having to hem a stretchy but narrow knit sleeve. Big win!
And hey look, I made something in the Pantone color of the year, Living Coral! How do you feel about this color? People seem to either love it or hate it. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments.