If you haven't yet purchased a pattern from Jennuine Design, and you sew at all for a girl, this is the time to make your first purchase! The equestrian-inspired Haven Acres Mini Collection will not only be a delight to sew, it will probably convince you to buy her other patterns as well. I hope you'll find my review helpful. Be sure to check out the Things You Might Like To Know at the end of the post for a few extra thoughts and suggestions for when you make your own version.
The Haven Acres Mini Collection is a three-piece collection featuring Dressage Leggings, Haven Acres Blouse, and Sweet Pea Cap. All three patterns are on sale in her shop for 20% off - no code needed. The sale runs through Sunday, February 15, 2015.
*Disclosure Statement: The Jennuine Design links in the post are my affiliate links. I received these patterns at no cost in exchange for my testing and feedback. The opinions are my own and not influenced.
(Disclaimer: I am not a newborn photographer! It was tough to get the baby and the clothes to stay in the right place long enough to get a picture in good lighting.)
Jenn at Jennuine Design is amazingly thorough, detailed, and responsive in her pattern design and testing process. The same group of testers tested all three patterns over a six-week period and Jenn was quick to respond, ask questions, look at fit in pictures, and tweak the pattern as necessary. You can have confidence that these patterns are not only stylish, but also well-designed and great-fitting. The size range offered for each pattern is extensive: from newborn to 12 years for the leggings and blouse, and about 3 months to 12+ for the cap. Sometimes when a pattern is so broad, fit can be sacrificed, but not in this case.
PDF File Information
- Pattern Pieces: Each pattern file is a layered PDF providing the option to print only the size or sizes you need. The tutorial contains instructions on using the layered PDF option. Pattern pieces include the pattern name and designer as well as notches for matching and grainline and bias line (for the cap) indications.
- Tutorial Layout: Excellent Contains high-quality illustrations (instead of photographs) neatly down one column and corresponding instructions down the other side of the page. The tutorial has a professional presentation beyond a Word document layout. I realize some people prefer photographs in tutorials, and I am happy to use either version, but I personally love this style of tutorial as it is clean and especially easy to follow.
Individual Pattern Highlights
Dressage Leggings This is not just another legging pattern. Sure, you can even find free patterns for leggings. But the Dressage Leggings Pattern from Jennuine Design offers a fit and options that are unique. Besides the signature equestrian-inspired two-fabric look of the Dressage Leggings, the pattern includes the option for two rises - so your daughter in diapers will have a high enough rise to cover even her cloth diaper and your potty-trained daughter won't walk around with her pants up to her rib cage. In fact, the 2T and 3T sizes are offered in both rises, since that is the stage when toddlers are often transitioning from diapers to potty-trained. In addition, the pattern includes separate pattern pieces for traditional one-fabric leggings. Directions are included for the option of using flat-felled seams.
The Haven Acres Blouse features a sweet key-hole neckline with bias binding, the option for cap or long sleeves. and elastic at the sleeve cuff and waistline. Sizes under 2T are drafted with a placket at the back for ease of dressing and a better fit. The Cotton+Steel cotton in my pink version is nice, but I can't wait to make the blouse in a soft and semi-sheer fabric I saw at Hobby Lobby.
I made several versions of the Sweet Pea Cap during testing. I was officially testing the newborn size for the leggings and blouse, but I made the XXS, XS and M side cap during testing. My two year old (with a 20" head circumference) loves her cap and wears it often. It is a quick and easy sew. I even shrunk the pattern down significantly to make an infant headband version -- but it didn't turn out quite like I imagined. I think I should have shrunk it more!
Things You Might Like To Know
Yes - the newborn size really fits a newborn well. My daughter was between 6 and 12 weeks (10 to 12 pounds) during testing. She is tall for her age, so toward the end of testing she was getting ready to move into the next size. They would have fit her earlier as well.
Bias Binding - you can make this! You should try making you own bias binding if you haven't before. I had never made my own binding before, but I took the plunge and did it twice during testing and will certainly do it again. Yes, you can buy packages of binding at JoAnns or Hobby Lobby - but it generally isn't the softest material. It didn't seem like what I wanted right up against my infant's neck all day. Plus, not all fabrics look great with the store-bought bias binding. For one of my tops, I used linen and it didn't seem right to put the store bought bias on top. I used this tutorial on Craftsy and it was super simple. The tutorial is for quilt binding, so it shows making more than you need for the top. I cut my bias into 1.25" strips, then ironed in half, and then opened it back up and ironed each side toward the middle to give the double fold with about 1/4" width plus wiggle room. To give you a reference, I used a 7" square cut of fabric for the pink shirt in these photos, and it was more than enough for newborn size. One thing to keep in mind, though, the smaller the square of fabric, the more seams you will have in your binding which can make placement tricky. Next time I will probably move up to 9" to give myself fewer seams to work around. How long does it take to make bias binding? If you plug your iron in before you cut your square of fabric so that it is hot and ready - I'd say it takes maybe 15 minutes to make enough for this top once you've done it once and have an idea what you are doing.
Stretch Thread - Have you used this? It's one option recommended for sewing knit fabric and I used it for the first time while sewing the leggings. I'm in love. I've done the double needle and I own and love using my serger, but the stretch thread is another great option to have on hand. I used it in my bobbin for all the seams on the leggings. I used it in my bobbin with the double needle for a pair not pictured here made from a cotton spandex knit and it worked well. With some fabrics (like the stretch suiting fabrics shows in the black and grey dressage leggings), it worked much better to use a single needle and a straight stitch which was possible with the stretch thread. My seams are stretchy and durable so stretch thread is one of my new sewing loves. But, you need to plan ahead because most stores don't carry stretch thread. You can easily find it at amazon.com or Wawak. I bought this sort of accidentally (I didn't mean to check out), but I don't regret it and I have already used several of the spools. For great information on using stretch thread check out Made By Rae's blog post on Stretch Thread.
Be sure to follow along with the blog tour to see several of the other testers' designs and get some great tips on things like choosing fabric, sewing knits without a serger and matching prints. The A Jennuine Design Blog will introduce the bloggers for each day. And don't forget to pick up your Haven Acres patterns while they are on sale!