When you hear the word Henley, you probably associate it immediately with a fiddly sewing technique, usually seen on men’s knit tops. The look also translates to womenswear but, personally, I have found this feature a tad masculine in its look.
Enter the Breckenridge Henley, a new pattern from Love Notions. This Henley is not only feminine and pretty, it is also unique with a curved V neckline look and it is VERY EASY TO SEW.
I have made five versions with different knit fabrics and honestly, I would have made 10 more.
*The Breckenridge Henley is 60% OFF today ($5), Friday the 1st of October 2021. Get yours HERE, using my affiliate link, if you would like to support the work I do producing helpful content. Using my link does not cost you any extra 🙂 Than you!
Features of the Breckenridge
For knit fabrics, the Breckenridge Henley has three body lengths:
- Shirt length: This view has its own pattern pieces.
- Dress & Tunic length: these views are in the same pattern pieces, the tunic has a shorter cut line
For the sleeves, you also have three options:
- Short sleeve with a 1″ hem allowance
- Long sleeves with a shaped cuff on the hem
- Long sleeves hemmed normally and folded up with a button tab. This has a 3/4 length look.
The hem is curved and all the options share the curved henley placket. The buttons can be sewn on, the neckline is wide enough to pull on the garment. No buttonholes required.
The Breckenridge Henley will work with a large variety of fabrics. 40% stretch is required for the fit to be appropriate, and depending on the weight of the fabric, the placket might be easier to sew with a contrasting fabric that is a tad more structured than the main fabric.
For example: if the main fabric is lightweight, like a rayon spandex or an ITY knit, using contrast fabric for the placket will facilitate sewing and also give the neckline some structure. In my tropical version, seen below, I used a denim look jersey for the placket for this very reason.
Another aspect to consider with lightweight knits is that they might cling to the hips a little, so a nice little slip underneath will prevent undergarment texture lines from showing on the outside.
Sizes XS-5X is included and a standard bust and a full bust are options are a great bonus for a good fit. Upper measurements are 57.5″ bust and 59.5″ hips.
The Breckenridge Henley is not a fitted garment, nor loose and boxy. You will find positive ease in all the sizes. Approximately 2″ at the bust and hips, a little more for sizes 2X and above.
When sewing the full bust, there is an extra 2″ of ease at the bust and hips.
Bicep measurements are included in the size charts and the sleeve is designed with 2.5″ of positive ease. These details are key if you regularly need to do full bicep adjustments for your projects.
My choices for the Breckenridge Henley: Size XL, standard bust. My bust is between size Large and XL and I prefer to choose the larger size for this design, considering I usually work with lightweight knit fabric. In other patterns, I have opted to blend from Large to XL at the hips.
For the 2 shirts, I didn’t add length to account for my height. I made the original length, so my tops might look shorter on me, because I am 5ft8″ and Love Notions drafts for a 5ft 5″ height. I did this purposely because I like mid hip length tops.
For the dress, I added 1.5″ at the waist notches and added 2″ to the sleeves.
*NOTE: there are no shorten and lengthen lines on this pattern. For the body of the pattern, I used the waist notches, but sometimes I lengthen around my bust height. For the sleeves, I divide it into thirds and use the lower third to draw a line across.
- Seam allowance is 3/8″
- I sew on my regular sewing machine and use a shallow zig zag stitch for the main seams (0.5 width, 2.5 length). I serge all raw edges.
- I used a straight stitch for the henley placket construction.
- There are several references to mark on the neckline and the neckband. They are important, and they need to be exact: T and triangles.
- On the front piece, there is a vertical line that needs to be marked up to the bottom T reference.
- We need to draw 3/8″ seam allowance around the bottom mars. This small area needs to be stabilized with a square of fusible interfacing.
- Cut up to the bottom horizontal mark after interfacing.
- Fold neckband lengthwise wrong sides together and place right sides together, matching the T marks and triangles. Your initial marks on the band will be inside, so you need to transfer them again to the right side where you can see them. I have opted to hand baste because my main knit fabric is slippery.
- At this point, I have not snipped into the bottom corners. I will do this at a later stage. I will sew the band from the wrong side, where I can see the markings of the seam allowances done earlier. I will sew from the bottom corners up for about 1″.
- After sewing this small section, I flip the garment and sew the band with the band on the top and the neckline on the bottom. There are sections where you need to stretch the neckband slightly to fit the neckline
- Now it’s time to snip into the corners, only on the main fabric, don’t touch the neckband. I am doing this now, because I don’t feel it’s necessary to snip beforehand. Sewing the band on both sides with this area intact will make the sewing very precise. After both sides are sewn at the same level, the snip can happen.
- Once the corners have been snipped, you can flip the neckband, tuck the bands behind the bottom usewn area. Press and overlap the wearer’s RIGHT side band on top of the LEFT side. This will result in the traditional women’s overlap, where buttonholes are done on the right and buttons are sewn on the left.
- Holding the bottom of the bands in place, flip the neckline to the wrong side, making sure the bands are the bottom are level, and you will have a small triangle from the main fabric on top of the bands. You need to sew across the triangle carefully, and this will close the bottom of the placket.
- Sewing this small triangle gives me that deja vu feeling! it’s the same as some steps involved in welt pockets.
To see the entire Henley placket of the Breckenridge Henley step-by-step in video, see the video in my sewing channel. No need to fear this technique! you will see how easy this is.
To see a comprehensive pattern review, fabric chat and sewing tips all about the Breckenridge henley, visit the video I made for the Love Notions YouTube channel.
To hear the video in PODCAST audio format on the go, visit my New Podcast. You can hear in different platforms shown below, or directly here.
Or listen right here!
Let’s see them
Double knit cotton top
This is the first version of the Breckenridge Henley I made very early in pre-tesing and whilst the pattern has been perfected since then, this version is wearable! even though it’s not my favorite color and it being a solid makes me want to yawn…… I know I will wear it a lot. It’s a solid and its super super soft. Comfy!
This fabric was super easy to sew with. I only hand basted the bottom area of the band when I was sewing. Pins in all the other areas.
The sleeves on this version are shorten than in the final pattern. I have used a smaller hem allowance. Paired here with my brown linen Glissando skirt, also from Love Notions. See a POST HERE and VIDEO HERE.
Shirt length, short sleeves: athletic knit
My second version of the Breckenridge Henley and the one I used to film the henley sewing footage step-by-step. This is an athletic knit that is both cool and soft, albeit super slippery to work with! I love the Kaleidoscope type print, and the “cross” on the front was intentional with my pattern placement.
I used a denim look structured knit for the henley placket because it interested me to have contrast and the denim look on the garment. I could have sewn the placket with the main fabric too.
I love this Breckenridge Henley and the fact that I know I will wear it with jeans and even with a skirt and heels.
Dress length, long sleeves with cuffs: rayon spandex
I ordered this tropical print rayon spandex during testing and was hoping it would arrive in time to make a dress version with long sleeves/cuffs… yay! it did and I’m so happy. This print is everything and VERY MUCH MY STYLE.
For this Breckenridge Henley dress, I used the same denim look structured jersey both for functional and aesthetic reasons.
The cuffs are slightly smaller than the bottom of the sleeve pieces. The fit is comfortable on my forearm and wrists.
I think I will go back and hem again 1/2″ shorter… or I might leave it so I have the length there for when I want to belt the dress. I will think about this.
Henley sleeveless PJ top
Red sweater knit top
I really enjoyed sewing these five Breckenridge Henley tops and dresses. The technique is fun and simple and the look is so STRIKING! I have plans:
- I want to make a sleeveless dress that I can wear NOW, because it’s HOT. Also shirt length tops!
- I want to make a dress with a bodice and a separate skirt… elastic waist casing. I would love the look and it would be so comfortable. I have done this before with the Rockford Raglan, mashing it with the Rhapsody dress skirt. See how I did this IN THIS VIDEO.
*The Breckenridge Henley is 60% OFF ($5) today, Friday 1st of October 2021. Get yours HERE, using my affiliate link, if you would like to support the work I do producing helpful content. Using my link does not cost you any extra 🙂 Thank you!
DISCLAIMER: I was a pattern tester and did not pay for the pattern in exchange for sewing a fit muslin and providing feedback on fit and instructions. I purchased fabrics for these projects. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
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