Saturday, 21 January 2012

My Renfrew Top

I'm sure you've all read about the latest Sewaholic pattern to be released - The Renfrew Top.  I'm more excited than most because I was one of the lucky pattern testers, hooray!  It's wonderful to see it in its published state and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

The Renfrew is a casual top with three necklines (scooped, V or cowl) and three sleeve choices (long, short or three quarter) which makes it a great pattern for mixing and matching.  I chose to sew the long sleeved, scoop necked version and it also marked my joint first experience of sewing with a knit fabric (I made it at the same time as my Homage to Joan dress.)

In her pre-sew guidelines,  Tasia advised us to choose a stable knit with less than 5% spandex.  As Karen pointed out in her post on the Renfrew (cowl necked, three quarter sleeves and gorgeous - read all about it here), it's difficult to know how much spandex is in a knit or jersey fabric just by looking at it, and very few fabrics in shops or markets have the stretch content listed.  Because I wanted to do well for teacher/Tasia, I bought my fabric online from Calico Laine (double knit in 'petrol'), which helpfully lists the spandex content.  Ditto Fabrics has a good choice too. 


So how was it for me?  Well I've only sewn with a Sewaholic pattern once before - the Pendrell blouse - but I liked it so much I made it three times.  The Renfrew is just as well drafted, and the instructions are super clear and easy. Everything makes sense and the cuffs and waistband sections are a lovely touch that gives the top a professional finish.  Because I was still too much of a scaredy cat at this point, I chickened out of using my overlocker and sewed it on a normal sewing machine.  I told myself Tasia needed valuable feedback from non overlocker users....  For those of you without overlockers out there, you'll be pleased to know that it sews up like a dream.  I used a simple straight stitch throughout and a quick zigzag on the neckline. 


And very satisfying and quick to sew together it was too, it only took a couple of hours from start to finish.  Size-wise I cut a Sewaholic size 10 and made the same small hip adjustment I made to my Pendrell blouse.  The fit is good - snug without being too clingy.

Double knit is quite a thick fabric and with the cuffs and waistband, I initially thought the finished top looked a bit sweat-shirty.  I was also worried that the style was too casual.  Sometimes though, initial thoughts turn out to be wrong.  The double knit is flattering without clinging to every lump and bump like some knit fabrics do and it's SSOO cosy and warm.  This is a perfect top for layering and it seems to blend in with whatever you're wearing, be that jeans or a skirt.  


I really enjoyed being a pattern tester for Tasia  - she's a great woman to work with.  She's also very talented - what appears to be a plain, simple top has turned out to have far more oomph to it than I first imagined.  Tasia asked us to sew up the version we'd chosen exactly as written and that's what I did.  But the Renfrew is the perfect blank canvas for adding your own personal touch.  I've already got my next version lined up, in black and white stripes with a few tweaks.  Next time though, I'm going to try sewing the whole thing using my overlocker!  Have a lovely weekend.  x

35 comments:

  1. Hi Jane, great top - as ever! Am seriously considering ordering this this pattern, but have a long list of makes to get through first... Great colour too!

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  2. That is a great version and I love that you made it in double knit. I'm a bit unsure about knits (though I sewn them before) but have already pre-ordered this patter to have a go at.

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  3. Cute! I think I need to get this pattern. I'm sort on long sleeved and 3/4 sleeved shirts for fall and winter.

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  4. The cuffs and waistband really make this pattern shine. I love your top Jane it looks completely proffessional.

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    1. Thanks Lisa, I agree the cuffs and waistband make it. x

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  5. Your shirt looks awesome -- great fit and that shade of blue really suits you. I'm really looking forward to this pattern! It's so hard to find good knit tops, and this pattern seems like it would let you crank out a whole knit top wardrobe!

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    1. I know, it's quite dangerous in that respect! x

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  6. Ooh that colour is lush. Glad to know you only need a straight stitch to sew this top. This is going on my shopping list now!

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  7. I love how your version of the top turned out! I can't wait to get this pattern and make a few much-needed knit tops. Your review was super helpful; thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)

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    1. My pleasure! I'm currently shamelessly copying the bow detail on your stripy vintage top! x

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  8. That looks amazing, love that colour and also the neckline detail.

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  9. You are right about a basic that looks very classy indeed. Weare headed home tomorrow and am itching to return to the sewing machine.

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  10. Love the color and it is finished very nicely.

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  11. Very nice! It's always wonderful having knit tops around for those days you really want comfort. I really like the color, very smart looking.

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  12. Looking fabulous as always Jane! This pattern is really growing on me, looks like it could really turn out to be a wardrobe staple and perfect backdrop to for many versions!

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  13. That is such a nice top...an upgrade from a basic tee and very pretty.

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  14. Lovely, Jane! And how exciting to be involved in the production process of one of Tasia's designs. Good to know it works on a regular machine too for people who don't have sergers... ah yes, I do have a serger... I will dust it off again soon, honest! xx

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  15. Oh I like the idea of this pattern a lot, I wear scoop neck tops pretty much daily so this would be great for me. Off to check out the cowl link now, would be very interested to see how that looks made up. Bethx

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    1. Me too, have already got two more versions planned! x

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  16. Oh yay! This could be the everyday t pattern I have been looking for and thank you SO much for the fabric supplier links - warm too? Ooh! Great make Jane!

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  17. I don't have an overlocker so it's nice to see how beautifully the double-knit works with a simple sewing machine. Your top looks lovely and so crisp. Can't wait to use my own petrol double-knit, it's such a great colour!

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    1. It is isn't it? I jumped on it when I saw it - it's just so unusual. x

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  18. It is so pretty. I must admit when I saw the email about the Renfrew, I did not think it was something I'd make. But your version is so cute. It looks even nicer than the pricey long sleeve tshirts from Esprit. Will have to consider this one.

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  19. Jane, good making! Great colour choice & that zig zag around the neckline looks perfect (I think I'd flunk that!) I must say that I have entered the pre-order for this one - it looks like the perfect basic tshirt. I am very excited about it - even more after seeing your version! :-)

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  20. Oh very fun! I can't wait to try this pattern out for myself :) This wardrobe basic is definitely what I need in my stash.

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  21. BLEH why do people keep posting this top? I'm supposed to be on a sewing pattern lockdown! Haha!

    I love your verion... it looks so soft & cozy & the color is just perfect! I might have to break my rules for a split second and make this purchase...

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    1. Haha, I broke my pattern buying rules after seeing your second Peony! Couldn't resist any longer! x

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  22. That colour is fabulous, and you're right, it is very flattering and elegant, despite the fact it masquerades as a simple tee... very lovely work on the collar btw, it's so perfect! :)

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  23. Dear Jane,

    You are gorgeous. I love your top.

    That's all,

    Roisin x

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  24. Every pattern tester that has shown their Renfrew version so far is a 100% win! Your version is fabulous as well. I pre-ordered mine this morning.

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  25. Thanks for your lovely comments everybody - I'm so glad I've tempted a few of you into ordering the pattern. It really is a great basic shape. I'll be stalking the internet looking for all your versions!

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  26. As always you're an inspiration - just wish I was as clever as you. I've yet to create anything other than a pencil skirt that is wearable.

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  27. Jane, I love your version of the Renfrow! That color is just gorgeous. I can't wait to see what you have in line next. Black and white stripes will be perfect for this shirt. I had a bit of trouble lining up the stripes, and my advice to you would be to try lining up the side seams from the bottom. In my version, I lined everything up from the top, which makes for nice lines at the shoulders, but everything gets wonky below the armholes. Good luck and happy sewing!

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