Handmade Wardrobe
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A Few Renfrews

On a super whim, I bought the Renfrew top pattern.

I was at Gather Here for a serger basics class and was early so I had some time to look around. I may not have set out to buy it but boy am I glad I did! The first one I made was from the reversible ponte that I made my Hudson pants from and it came out really well. I’m a tiny tiny bit disappointed that I used that fabric for my first one because I did make a few alterations for Renfrew #2 that made it fit a lot better and I’m very emotionally attached to that fabric(its the best ponte ever and is sold out!).

I’ve made 3 plantain tee’s and the construction of the Renfrew is very similar, yet the fit right out of the envelope is much better for me and my body. The plaintain is meant to be made using a lighter weight jersey so every one I’ve made is super clingy. This is a great look with yoga pants or high-waisted skirts but not as good on me with just jeans. The Renfrew is different, because its meant to be made in a thicker knit it holds its own shape nicely instead of showing off mine. The neck line is also slightly higher so more office appropriate in my opinion. I can dress casual for work everyday but that doesn’t mean my chest has to be on display.

My serger was in need of re-threading so instead of spending my precious sewing time aggravated, I made this using my regular sewing machine and ended up getting my settings so so perfect! I wrote them all down on the notes page of the pattern because they were seriously perfect. Sometimes when I work on a knit it stretches out slightly after my first wear and the threads start to show slightly on the tightest areas, but not this time! Basting the neck and waist band closed before attaching them was also really helpful for me and is a tip that is not included in similar patterns I’ve used.

Matching head band that isn't home made! A great J.Crew clearance find a few years ago.

Matching head band that isn’t home made! A great J.Crew clearance find a few years ago.

I’m not going to spend more than a few sentences talking about the flaws so here goes! The arms are a little bit too tight which I was able to fix by removing .5 inch right at the arm hole and grading up until I met the original arm hole. The chest was also slightly too tight so I googled a little and found that the quickest way to do a FBA on a knit top is to just add space to the front piece on the fold, but I decided to add to the front and the back. In my case I added .5 inch to each piece. This is not the “right” way to do it but where I needed minimal space, this way seemed like the best option to me. By doing so I also added .5 inch to the waist band and 1 inch to the neck band. I think I could have added a little less to the neck band but I just didn’t have to pull and hope for the best as much with the little bit of extra.

I made those changes on the pattern pieces as soon as I realized I would need them so the next time I took out the Renfrew I’d be ready. Turns out the next time I wanted to use it was only 10 days later. Tight or not that gray top is getting some serious wear, even making an appearance in my new license picture!

I decided to make a green version using one of the Priory Square knits from Art Gallery as a St.Patrick’s Day shirt. It only took me 44 minutes to make! I didn’t even skip top stitching or anything, its just such a great pattern and with my adjustments already made it was such a breeze. I wonder how long it would have taken with my serger, where I had the settings so spot on I didn’t want to chance it but maybe I will for the next one! The pattern of the fabric is mainly green so it was great for St. Patrick’s Day, but its also floral and fun so great for spring and summer too! The Art Gallery knits are a lighter weight so I was a little nervous how it was going to turn out since my adjustments were made with ponte in mind, but its actually a perfect fit!

No glasses and new fringe!

No glasses and new fringe!

I envision adding a few more Renfrews to my wardrobe in the near future but for now I really need to get going on my vintage pattern pledge!  I’ve been so busy lately that many of my sewing endeavors have been faster projects that I can whip up in a few hours or TNT patterns. I’m starting to have a back log of projects to blog about so stay tuned!


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