Sunday, April 15, 2012

a renfrew parade

About a year ago, I started sewing clothing again, and my first item was a long, maxi knit dress, basically a rectangle with neck and arm holes, that I belt.  I still wear it, just choosing to not look closely at the construction.  After the renfrew came out, I figured it was a good lead into a proper knit make and promptly ordered it.

I have some heavy, green knit, that is kinda blah to me, perfect for a wearable muslin.  I cut a size 2, for a little negative ease. I really like how it came out, it's comfy, even with my slightly off V-neck, whoops. 

note:  hands look big compared to your head

Now, if you notice, it's pretty loose.  I guess this is where different types of knits work different ways, cause my next two renfrews are TIGHT.  I don't mind the tightness all over, just not in the pit region...

I was trying to do a boat neck sorta thing on this black/white stripe, but didn't move the neck toward the shoulders like I should have.  I've since got the Sew U Home Stretch, Built by Wendy book by Wendy Mullins for sewing knits.  I know where I went wrong now.  But, I do like it anyway.

My only gripe with this version, is it's really tight under the arms.  The muslin doesn't feel that way.  Same size cut.  Just an illustration of how different knits can sew up differently I guess.

what? tight pits? no, not bothering me at all.  well, maybe just a little.

An example of my amazing product shots in South Africa:

 I may have been drinking.  I may have demanded my husband take a photo, then broken into a run.  He may be shaking his head.

Of course I didn't realize how tight the underarms were, just plowing ahead with the next shirt!  
I've had this lil cutie on my pinterest sewing board for a while.  I love the white lace overlay, thought it'd work as a knit top. 

Again, I was hoping for some epic clothing/scenery shots in South Africa, unfortunately this day it was really, really windy.

trying not to get blown away

So, more pictures at home.

whew, back with my other love

The overlay part was really easy, but doh, forgot to take pics of that!  I used a stretch lace, cut it out exactly like the white knit underneath, and machine basted the pieces together.  Then treated them each as one piece throughout construction.

 oh hi, puff

I looooove me some puff sleeves, that's ok for a 35 year old woman, right?  I'd never altered a sleeve like that before and it was really easy.

I used this tutorial found here

What I've learned:

1.  Different knits behave differently
2.  After sewing up the last two renfrews, I've come to the conclusion that lowering armholes is probably one of the adjustments I have to make on certain patterns.  I've lowered the armhole on my sorbetto pattern, as well, leading me to that conclusion.
3.  I like sewing with knits, it just takes some patience. 
4.  Matching smaller stripes, like the above renfrew, is a pain in the arse.  I had to pin every other stripe and kept double checking that everything was still lined up.  (Tasia talks stripes tips here)
5.  Double check that everything fits well before getting serger happy with your seam allowances!


  1. Oh man - Your awesome shirts are the straw that broke the camel's back - I think I really NEED to buy that pattern! I can't believe how professional everyone's Renfrews look! Well done!!!

  2. Such cute renfrews! I'm especially in love with the lace one. I've been meaning to try this pattern... I bought it when it first came out and was so excited, but then wimped out over choosing fabric since I've never worked with knits before. :-/

  3. Thank you ladies :)
    Sue, this really is an easy pattern to start with. The bands make the hemming much easier. Also, when I started sewing knits, I would lay tissue paper under my fabric, and sew it all together, then rip out the tissue after. The tissue paper stabilizes the fabric, and prevents it from stretching out too much.

  4. Oh, I love this pattern SO much. Your lace version is so clever! I will indeed be copying that, thank you. You look lovely, both in South Africa and here at home!

  5. Leah, thank you, and copy away!

  6. I also love the puff sleeves! You look so cute in South Africa ;-)
    In my last fabric shopping, I bought some lace. I don´t know in what pattern I´m going to use it...

  7. Oh wow, I love all three! Especially the sleeves on that last one. And your walls are my dream color. Wish I could paint in my house, but we rent :(

  8. Thank you :) And the wall color, yeah, I'm a little obsessed with it you might say...this is the 3rd apartment, over the course of 8 years, I've used this color! Luckily our landlords have always let us paint!!

  9. What is it with tight armpit holes?????

    Love your tops, love you!

    1. Thanks, dahling :) Do you have the armpit problem, too?? I keep meaning to send you that ginger pattern. I have to go to the post office this week, I'll get it out, promise!

      Love you, too!!

  10. Your lace overlay Renfrew has made me glad again to have this pattern. I made the cowl and a short sleeved version and then was kinda over it. Yay! more Renfrews in my future. :D

  11. I just noticed my blog on your list... so maybe you already knew about my two Renfrews. That is pretty stinkin' neat to see that you read my blog. :)

  12. Hi Sara! Yep, been reading your blog for a while now. I think what initially caught me was Sew Weekly if I remember correctly.
    I love this Renfrew pattern, there are so many was to gussy it up!!

  13. I'm really loving your white lace version! I've made 2 renfrews so far, and they've both been successful, but I have yet to get adventurous with trying different types of knits. Yours looks so great! Your photo of you running and the caption made my day. :)

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for your compliments, did you upload your renfrews to the Sewaholic Flickr?
      Glad I could make your day with my drinking shenanigans :-)

  14. Love your parade of Renfrews! They're all super cute!

    1. Oh, why thank you very much, wore the white one today, as a matter of fact!