Monday, February 11, 2013

Finished Renfrew!

Turquoise jeans!
As much as I love my TNT S4076, it just doesn't offer the same variety that the Renfrew does.  Starting out, I really hoped that the Renfrew will be my new TNT for knit tops.

The fabric is a stable purple baby rib knit, ordered from High End Fabrics on Ebay. I've ordered from them a number of times & have yet to be disappointed.

Fabric ordered, I then had to decide what size to trace.  My thought process went like this:
"According to the Sewaholic size chart, I'm a 10 in the bust (size 2 if we go by high bust...there's no way I'm going to do a FBA though...I've gotten along this long without one), an 8 in the waist and a 6 in the hips. Hm. I prefer my tops to be more on the fitted side, but since I'm using a stable knit I don't want it to be too tight. I think the safest bet would be to go with a 10. I can always take the seams in, but I can't necessarily let them back out...actually I could since the pattern uses a 5/8" seam allowance and I won't be serging....ack.  I'm going to go with a size 8. Yes. 8." I also lengthened it 1.5". I like my casual tops on the long side, but in hindsight it was unnecessary.

Another initial concern that I had was the symmetrical sleeve.  In my experience, a symmetrical sleeve just does not lend itself to a good fit. It just isn't anatomically correct.I anticipate that I'm going to have to get out my TNT S4037 & redraw the sleeve cap for future Renfrews.  But I decided to do without first and see.

 And onto the actual sewing. The cowl got me. And not because of a pattern error. Oh no. I completely missed the whole "cut two on fold" memo. That was writtin on the pattern piece.  I cut one on fold. And when the pttern said, "sew pieces (with an 's'--plural) I read 'piece' so I sew up my little cowl I cant unfold it. Mmm. Realized my mistake, ripped my seam & cut out a second cowl piece. With that, I was back on track.

After I attached the sleeves & sewed the front & back together I tried it on.  It was a bit baggy, but nothing that taking in the side seams wouldn't fix.  What really troubled me was the shoulder seam.  It looked like a dropped sleeve. The seam was a half inch down my arm. I tried to take in the shoulder seam itself, but for some reason that wasn't giving me the results I wanted. While I was trying it on, I was just pinching random fabric, trying to figure out what to do next.  I really, really didn't want this to be a wadder.  I pinched the cowl/neck seam and that raised the shoulder seam up where I needed it to be.  I KNOW I have small shoulders (probably narrow, too..or is that the same thing??) But I never take that into consideration when I'm tracing/cutting my pattern.  Lesson learned.

The back is still pretty big and if I had to guess, that looks like a tell tale sway back.

So there I was.  Not loving my fabric choice. Not loving the fit. Mostly due to not sewing the right size in the first place.  And not choosing a knit with spandex. I love me some cotton spandex knits.  But I was determined to finish it.  At the very lest I'll give it to my mom.  She'll love it.

But I saved it; pinching an inch of the neck/cowl seam & taking the sides seams in a half inch on each side. It's still plenty roomy; I'd want it a bit more fitted if it was a t shirt.But as it is, it's as comfy as a sweatshirt but much more put together. 

All in all, I'm so glad I saw it through. 

Next time:
  • Smaller size, probably a 4...maybe with an FBA
  • Stick to the original length 
  • Try it with a slinkier with lycra for optimal recovery.  
  • I'll keep the sleeves/armholes the same just to see how it goes. I do have some wrinkles as is, but it's hard to tell how much of that is plain ol' sewing too big of a size. Down the road I might use the sleeves/armholes from my TNT S4076.


  1. I think your Renfrew is lovely, and that shade of purple (eggplant?) is just gorgeous! The top looks great on you, and I'm glad you kept going on it.

  2. I also just began my foray into the Renfrew. Based on all of the rave reviews, I was so hoping it would fit like a glove right out of the envelope!

    I also cut a 10 in the bust and tapered down to an 8 at the hip (pattern says I would be a 6, like you) and it worked for me, except for the dang underarm wrinkles I'm getting, and some mid-back fabric pooling. I'm lowering the armhole (feels like my armpit is eating it!) and considering taking a chunk out of the front bodice/sleeve (AKA addressing the symmetrical sleeve).


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