Thursday, March 8, 2018

Instructions Are A Good Thing - The Hickory and Spice Henley

One of the benefits of pattern testing? It forces me to actually read pattern instructions - something I rarely bother to do. Actually reading the pattern instructions makes fun design features, such as partial button plackets, much less intimidating. Imagine that, sometimes (ahmm, most of the time/almost all the time), things actually go better if I follow the instructions, rather than just winging it (my prefered method of sewing and doing life).

The look I get for my opinion on instructions.

The Hickory and Spice Henley, which I had the privilege of testing* back in December, reminded me of this fact. The testing call for this shirt came across Facebook, and, upon realizing that this kids' shirt pattern actually went all the way up to size 14 (my sister's size!), I quickly applied to test it!  

Once I'd applied to test the pattern, and my excitement of actually finding a pattern in my sister's size has slightly died down, I took a second look at the pattern line drawings. There were several fun features that made this pattern very appealing to me, the pieced shoulders perfect for color blocking (I actually copied this feature on my hoodie a month later), 3 different sleeve length options, the ruffle hem option, and a partial button placket. Oh dear, that button placket, it kind of scared me.

Last time I sewed a partial button placket it was on a nightgown for myself, which I didn't bother to read the instructions for. I remember it being a very frustrating experience. Eventually I figured something out (it's been a few years, so I don't remember what I did), and that partial button placket on that night gown turned out decent. Yet, clearly the struggles I had to get to that point of "decent", were enough to scar me when it came to partial button plackets. Thus, I slightly freaked out about the placket on the Hickory and Spice Henley. Would I be in for a repeat of my former frustrations?

Well, I need not have worried, as this was a pattern I was testing, and my job was to sew up the pattern and give the designer (Orange Daisy Patterns in this case) feedback on both the pattern and the instructions, I actually read the instructions this time. 

And guess what? They walked me right through how to make that cute partial placket. It was actually quite simple once I read how to do it! So simple in fact, that I wound up making three different shirts during testing, because this shirt was just so cute! Clearly my sister needed more than one in her wardrobe!

 The first shirt I made out of a thrifted green floral maxi skirt and some tan rayon jersey I found at Walmart. I sewed up the half-length sleeve option with the ruffle hem, and I think this is my favorite of the three shirts I made.  I love the green floral fabric! I wish I could buy it by the yard!

Fit photo taken during testing, first thing in the morning, thus the "You dragged me out of bed for this??" facial expression.
The second shirt I made out of a ridiculously stretchy green ribbed knit, and I used my favorite nearly sheer printed mystery knit (used for the sleeves on two shirts for myself here) for the shoulders, button placket, hem ruffle, and the sleeve ruffles I decided to add. (the sleeve ruffles are not part of the pattern, but they are very easy to make and add yourself!)

I decided to try out the long sleeve option for the third shirt, and used a ridiculously soft french terry, found at Walmart, to do so. For the placket, shoulders, and ruffle, I used scraps of a gray and teal striped knit (left over from this shirt). (And yes, this is the exact same fabric combo I used for my hoodie)

This pattern can also be made for boys, just make the plain hem, rather than the ruffle hem option, and overlap the placket in the opposite direction, left over right, rather than right over left. The instructions, if you bother to read them, actually include specific directions on how to make the placket overlap the correct way for each gender. (Although, now that I look at these pictures, I may have overlapped the placket the wrong way on my sister's shirts. Oops.)

Instructions. They're useful like that.

If you're interested in checking out the instructions and making your own Hickory and Spice Henley for any kids between the sizes of 2 and 14, you can buy the pattern here or here.

*I received this pattern for free as a tester, but all thoughts here are my own.


  1. You made me laugh so much! What great shirts!!!

    1. Oh good! Thank you, I am quite pleased with them!