Pattern testing is soooooooooo much fun!!! Straight from testing for Kennis at Itch to Stitch, I got selected to test the new women’s pattern by Suzanne Winter at Winter Wear Designs.
The Women’s Hepburn Henley is available in sizes 00-22, which is a bust range of 28-48 inches and hips of 31.5-52 inches. It is semi-fitted at bust, flowing out gently to the hips, and comes with the following options:
- Length – Shirt and Tunic in both Regular and Petite
- Neckline – Crew Neck and V-neck
- Sleeves – Short, 3/4 and Long (with optional sleeve tabs)
You can use most knits for this pattern – Jersey, Interlock, Ponte de Roma, slub knits – and can then use cotton woven for the henley placket, sleeve tabs and collar (obviously cut on the bias for this part). Of course you can make the whole shirt in knit and Suzanne recommends cotton lycra for the collar or any knit with at least 50-60% stretch and good recovery is key.
The instructions were clear and easy to follow. Never sewn a placket before and now I want to put them on every shirt I make!
Based on the draft size chart, my first test version was cut at size 14/16, which was subsequently split up as two separate sizes for the final pattern. I used this amazing black and white chevron ITY knit from Fabric Mart for the main and purple cotton jersey for the henley collar and placket from local store, Abed’s.
Maybe it was just the size, but this was definitely too wide all around for the semi-fitted look that we were supposed to have. the neckline was too low and too wide set for me. The only thing that wasn’t too wide were the sleeves. At 3/4 length, I found they were too close coming down to my elbow and at the hem. The armscye also needed to be raised some as I was getting a dolman style that obviously wasn’t intended by the design. However, the tunic length at 14/16 was perfect for my 5’3″, so I knew I’d be keeping that for #2.
One of my besties, Toni, fit this test version perfectly, but was also getting the same too wide neck, sleeve tightness and armscye issues. Obviously, she has now put in an order for one of these in a dress length. Notice she also has the same weirdness in the neckline, but I’m sure that is my user error and I somehow managed to overstretch the shirt neckline. You know who made sure to staystitch for the collar of the next version…
My second and final test was made in size 12 and graded out to 14 hips with 14 tunic hem. I chose this amazing orchid colour interlock knit
(have no clue what type it is as I bought it locally and we call fabrics by completely different names than they are known universally it seems) and some scraps from the ITY chevron knit for the collar, placket and some shoulder accents for an amazing combination.
The neckline was raised and also narrowed some in this version of the pattern and I loved these changes. Look how much nicer the collar is laying! And I so didn’t make the placket functioning, can you tell? Lazy sewing at its finest! The only real issue with #2 for me was that I had to grade out to 18 for the sleeves to fit comfortably. Since most of the testers were noticing the same tightness in the sleeves, regardless of size and even fabric, Suzanne did widen the sleeves for the official pattern.
The best part about this pattern for me is the collar options. Just like her Everything But the Kitchen Sink Henley for Kids, Suzanne wanted us ladies to also have a true go to pattern with the Hepburn Henley. You can make this tee with the Henley collar, a Faux Henley placket or No Henley at all to create a regular crew neck or v-neck tee. That’s 4 basic shirts styles from one pattern, and when you add in the two neckline styles, the three different sleeve lengths and the two hem lengths, you can get a completely different shirt every time! Pure awesomeness as far as I’m concerned.
Can the choir say, #sewallthehenleys! I’m loving this new wardrobe staple and can easily see at least four more of these in my wardrobe. And until the end of today, Sunday, October 11, you can purchase the Hepburn Henley at a special price of US$7.00.
Tibeca, another tester, also did a review of this pattern on her blog; you can check her version here.
DISCLAIMER: As a tester of the pattern, I was given a free copy in exchange for my review and commentary. All opinions remain my own.