A summer Sleeveless Renfrew

sewaholic renfrew

Another renfrew? How unlike me….

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Renfrew V2 – another confirmed case of Renfrew-itis

**disclaimer – I do sell Sewaholic patterns, so I’m not blogging to sell her patterns, but I sell her patterns (and blog about them) because I really love them)**

SewbusyLizzy diagnosed herself with a severe case of Renfrew-itis, and it seems so be striking down sewers around the world.  (I suspect there are a few Melbourne cases with both Thornberry and SewBrunswick both up to large numbers…at last count I thought I saw Renfrew number 6 at SewBrunswick?

This really is my favourite pattern, I’ve worn my pink one as soon as it comes out of the wash, and having undertaken the Seamless pledge (no buying new clothes for a whole year) this is going to be a staple.  At the moment view C the cowl neck is my favourite, as it’s nice and warm in winter.  For real warmth I should make the long sleeve version, but inevitably long sleeves always get pushed up to my elbows anyway so might as well save on some fabric.

Please let me present, Renfrew number 2, the matched stripe stretchy version.

This one was quite difficult to get a decent photo of, as soon as we began taking photos I was attacked by a wild pack of dogs.  Or two overly affectionate Pointers.

We ended up with more photos of me patting the overly enthused dogs.

This pattern was pretty easy to cut out to make the stripes match which was unexpected, as long as you think long and hard about the seams lines, instead of the pattern lines you should be able to match up the stripes with a bit of thinking prior to cutting.

Fit

AS this knit was much stretchier than my first Renfrew (an interlock knit),  strangely enough it was loose.  Fancy that.  I lengthened the torso of the pattern by an inch, which wasn’t necessary in this fabric as lacks the recovery to ride up at all.  The lengthening just makes it look loose around the torso.  The other (now obvious) but disappointing thing was the cowl neck which drapes beautifully in a firm knit is droopy in this fabric.  In saying all the above, this renfrew is still completely wearable and gets quite the workout in my wardrobe rotation.

Fabric

This was a pretty cheap cut, $7 a metre from Darn Cheap fabrics in Heidelberg, and it may pill.  So far it’s gone through the wash a couple of times and it’s still ok, but the large vertical stripes look faintly fluffy.  I won’t be too upset if it has a short life span, as the fit and collar could have been a little better.

Techniques

To sew this, I used my normal singer sewing machine with a zig zag stitch medium stitch width and about 1.5 stitch length from memory.  The other adjustments was the use of a ball point needle and adjusting my presserfoot to 0 pressure.  Sewed like a dream!   To match the stripes I cut the corner of the front at the same point as the corner of the back (where the seams would match under the arm).  Really, once the grainline of the pattern pieces were straight, I checked the stripes of all the pieces to make sure the sleeves were sitting on the same ‘part’ of the pattern.  It’s hard to explain, but if you get a cheap stripy material with a changing patttern it’s easier to work it out looking at the fabric and the pattern pieces as you go.

Future lessons

I will use stretchy knits like this for a Renfrew again, but I’ll cut a much smaller size in the sleeves and from the bust down and make the round neck version.  My tip, if you are using a stretchier knit cut at least one size down.

So what makes this a case of Renfrew-itis?

How about the four Renfrews here?  Two are cut out (the purple and the stripes) and the black is laid out for cutting, and the blue earmarked for another!  I might divert it and make something else however, 6 Renfrews might be a little excessive?
I’m cutting all my knits in one go before borrowing my mothers serger, so I’ve been listening to the Stuff you missed in History podcast while laying out all this fabric.  Learning and sewing, it’s a beautiful thing.  My local library lets users borrow audio books straight to your Iphones so I’ve even been listening to some fiction.  Brilliant!

Sewaholic Renfrew

**Total disclaimer, I sell sewaholic patterns on http://www.sewsquirrel.com.au so am completely biased.  On an interesting note this is the pattern that made me start selling sewing patterns online.  I HATE having to order things from overseas and wait, and sometimes trying to source independent patterns in Australia is painful.**

This week I sewed (finally) my first Renfrew, using the cowl neck 3/4 sleeve versions.  And I loved it.  This pattern was fast to construct, so fast that I think I’ll go and buy a few metres of different colour knits and sew up a storm in an afternoon and have a half a new wardrobe.  Or at least 3 Renfrews.  What took the longest amount of time while sewing was deciding how to finish the seams.  Actually what took the longest was unpicking the stupid stitching with a twin needle I did around the arm and then unpicking the arm as I sewed it while tired and stretched the seams.

I followed the Lladybird method of grading between sizes to get a full bust adjustment, but it’s just not enough.  Looking at the front the sleeves are really pulled out of shape and there are folds of fabric running from the sleeve to the bust apex. The bust is a size 12, with the rest of the top a size 10 as being a knit there is enough give for the top to be comfortable, and it fits like a knit RTW.  I’m just sick of the trade off between enough boob room and loose everywhere else or really stretched over my chest and hips to have any fitting around my middle.

Fit

The fit aside from the bust is great.  It looks like the fabric pools under the bust as it’s taut only there with the rest of the pattern loose fit.  That little bit of extra space around the hips is welcome, and the waistband helps stop the riding up.  I will lengthen the pattern next time for my long torso, to ensure no back gap between my pants and top.  This pattern is listed as intermediate, however a beginner confident with knit fabric would be able to do a great job.

Fabric

Sewaholic Renfrew Pattern This is a medium weight interlock from Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg which was $7 a metre.  According to the pattern you need 2.1 metres (2 1/4 yards) for this version, but I bought 2 metres and had enough leftover to cut out a cowl neck dress for my daughter.    Darn Cheap fabrics does sell online, but if they do fabric samples get them first as the fabric quality tends to be either excellent or poor.  The colour looked wrong when I bought it, but I’m pleased with the end result.  Finally managed to buy fabric in a colour I wear, so it was quite amusing how uninspired the colour felt when buying it.

In trying to learn about the types/varieties of knits, it’s well worth buying (or going to the library) and looking at a fabric reference guide.  I used the Fabrics A to Z to work out what would work rather than tugging on every bit of fabric in the store.

Techniques

After practising sewing with knits on 4 baby hoodies I’ve found the combination if techniques that work for my sewing machine.  After reading a wide variety of advice on how to sew knits, the general conclusion is use ballpoint needles, a zigzag stitch (or other stretch stitch) and the rest depends on your sewing machine.  My machine also enjoys having the pressure on the presser foot reduced to 0, twin needle stitching and a hot cup of tea while sewing.   There is still a great deal of improvement to be had in my sewing of knits, but my renfrew was finished well.  If you had an overlocker this would be half an hour of sewing.

It’s worth being pleased with the time it took to sew and the final result if your husband doesn’t realise you made it.  WIN.

Future lessons

A stable knit really works well for this pattern.  I know some people love the super stretchy knits but this has enough give to be comfortable and loose and still look nice.  Any more stretch and I would cut a much smaller size as the pattern is soft around your frame with a stable knit.  The next one I sew will have a FBA adjustment like VickiKateMakes rotating out from the arm, just to get the fit better around the arm.  Will I make more of these?  Of course!