Hello friends! I'm back today to share some details about the Haven Acres Mini Collection from Jennuine Design and tell you about the pattern hacks I used to create this little number above. This was my first time being a pattern tester, and while testing three patterns at once was a lot to keep up with, it was really cool to see how the whole process works. It really is a collaborative effort, and Jenn put an amazing amount of work in to these patterns. Maybe this is weird to say, but since it was a collaborative process (with the bulk of the work on the designer, naturally) I'm really proud of these patterns! It's like being an aunt at your niece's graduation- you're not the one that birthed and raised them, but man, are you proud of how they have turned out and all their hard work! So forgive me if I brag on these patterns a bit, ok? What's an aunt to do?!
I already shared some details about the pieces I made from this collection, but for anyone stopping by for the first time I'll give you a quick recap:
Dressage Leggings and Haven Acres Blouse (More details on Caroline's Wyld Stallyn look here)
Sweet Pea Cap and Dressage Leggings for Charly (with more details in this post)
The Tree Hugger Top (originally shared here)
I shared details on each piece in those respective posts, but guys, THIS COLLECTION! I'll be completely honest, because I care about you guys, if I were to buy these patterns after testing I'd probably purchase the leggings and cap. They're just my fave, and the blouse is cute but I kinda thought it didn't have that wow factor that the other two have. But then, post-testing, the blouse is the first pattern I've picked back up so YOU NEVER KNOW PEOPLE! I'm totally happy to have the blouse pattern because the hack I'm sharing today is one of my favorite pieces I made for Kid's Clothes Week. And I have a feeling you're going to see a lot of other possibilities for this blouse pattern this week! All the patterns are on sale for 20% off this week, fyi.
So, if you haven't spent much time around here you should know that I love upcycling. Call it resourceful, call it cheap, call it whatever you want. I don't care, I love it! There are likely a million tutorials about upcycling various clothing into various other things, so consider this a mini tutorial on this specific upcycle.
First off, I started with this thrifted dress. Yes, mine was a dress, but I'm confident you could use a large men's button up shirt for at least the same size as the one I did (3t) and of course smaller sizes. You could certainly try it on larger sizes, just be sure to lay out the pattern pieces first to be sure everything fits before you start cutting. This dress is longer, but much narrower and lacking sleeves as compared to a men's dress shirt so I think the fabric gained by having a longer length is cancelled out by the sleeve and width of a dress shirt.
Once you've gathered your supplies and have your pattern handy (whether printed and cut or traced) you're ready to get started!
And lest this post get super wordy, super fast (as I have a tendency to do) Here's the mini tutorial in numerical fashion:
- Lay out/cutting- Lay out your shirt/dress/ill fitting item and assess where your pattern pieces might fit. You could use the button placket for the front or back, use an existing hem for the flounce or sleeve, or highlight a little detail (like the contrast back panel that I placed on the front of my blouse) and these will help determine where you place your pieces.
2. Optional Lengthening- If you want to lengthen your top into more of a tunic/dropped waist style, now is the time to ensure you have enough fabric for it. If you don't skip, this step. I decided to lengthen mine by 3in, just based on holding the pattern piece up to the torso of my daughter and eyeballing where I wanted the waist line to hit. I tend to be a stickler for doing things properly when it comes to finishes, but I'm a bit of a rebel here in this department so this is a do as I say, not as I do moment: you should slash and spread your pattern piece (cut horizontally across the torso portion, then separate the pieces the distance that you want it lengthened by, then you should RE TRACE IT TO MAKE A NEW PATTERN PIECE (for both front and back). You definitely shouldn't cut and place the pieces willy nilly like I did, unless you too are a sewing rebel and are prepared to pay the consequences should things go south. The fold line should still be a straight line down, but the side seam will need to be re drawn from the top of the side seam to the bottom, making sure you don't widen at either point but create a smooth line connecting those two points that mimics the shape (just elongated) of the prior side seam.
Again, at this point you are tracing your pattern piece with the new length, but making sure that the lengthened pieces will all fit on the available fabric.
3. Optional Sleeve Slimming- since this blouse now buttons up the back it is possible to narrow the sleeves and not hinder the dressing process. They're gathered in the center of the shoulder so I removed some fullness by cutting 3/4in off the "fold" side of the pattern piece. Because it is cut on the fold this removed 1.5in of fullness, and also maintained the same shape for the armscye. This is about as narrow as I'd want the 3t sleeve to be- any narrower and it would be too tight to be comfortable. Be aware that narrowing the sleeve may remove the need for elastic at the wrist, like it did on my version.
4. Cutting time!- Place your pieces and prepare to cut! I use a rotary cutter and mat and whatever I have handy for pattern weights, but you can do your own thang. Pin your heart out, use proper patterns weights (say what?!), bust out those beautiful Ginghers, whatever it takes!
As for pattern placement, here's how positioned my pattern piece to use the button placket.
You can see I used my back pattern piece since I opted for back buttons, but front buttons would be cute too! I folded the dress/shirt so that the button placket became a sort of fold for cutting. I laid the dress flat, armholes aligned, with the top placket and buttons sticking up. This allows you to butt the "cut on fold" side of the pattern piece against the center of the buttons, to ensure that the placket is centered after it is cut. Also make note of where the top button will lie. I aim to have a button near the top 1/4-1/2 inch of the pattern piece so you won't have to install a snap or additional button, but if this isn't possible you can add a snap or button later.
Again, pattern placement will determine a lot about your finished product. I opted to have the contrast (in this case, bias cut) panel of the original dress back be a feature of the front of my new top, so I placed the front pattern piece on the fold of the back bodice of the original dress and positioned it to maximize the panel. Be aware of where darts or seams may be as you lay out your pieces- if your piece lies on a dart it can make the final product misshapen, and seams will add additional bulk as well as a break in the pattern. i have been known to use an existing seam creatively if need be, so just make sure any intruding seams are intentional.
Using or omitting the keyhole is completely up to you- as is your method for finishing it! Facing, bias binding, tie front or fully bound with the keyhole tops together- get creative! That's what sewing is for, right?!
5. Get sewing!- at this point the top comes together as outlined in the pattern, save some changes you may have made to the neckline or sleeve finish. Treat the button placket bodice (back, in my case) as you would a normal bodice piece until it comes time to attach the flounce. Take care to keep the bottom of the placket lined up nicely with extra pins when sewing on the flounce- the last thing you want is an offset in your placket pieces! When it comes time to bind, make sure to end the binding at either end of the placket, using the instructions in the pattern for finishing the end of the binding without a ribbon tie. I also opted to finish the flounce with bias tape to add a little length that would have been lost by hemming, and I think it ties the neck binding in nicely!
So there you have it, an upcycled, one of a kind Haven Acres Hack! Cmon hackers, share your stuff! You can find all the Haven Acres Mini Collection patterns HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! Now go check out all the other awesome stuff being shared on the Pattern tester Tour!