When the Sewaholic Renfrew top was released I was there at the presale, just knowing that this looked like the perfect wardrobe staple, a basic, a multi-use perfect top. To say I am obsessed with it is perhaps an exaggeration. I have made five to date with more planned. This pattern, let me tell you, just in case you’ve forgotten all of the other rave reviews, is a simple and quick make with wonderful design features and easy to follow instructions. I would not hesitate recommending it to anyone wanting a knit top pattern. The other compelling feature? It can be cut and made up in an evening, I kid you not. This pattern is becoming my trip down the chip shop of sewing – whenever I fancy something instant & satisfying I cut & construct a Renfrew.
So as I said I’ve made 5 and am about to reveal them, but am wary that it might be a bit boring as some of them are stash busters, pretty plain, so I am embellishing them with the wig (from my limited fancy dress basket) that I feel each Renfrew best deserves. Now don’t judge me harshly for my personal wig rostrum. I have three:
- Gold: The black bob you’ve all seen before
- Silver: The “blondes have more fun” matted carpet of a wig
- Bronze: the scarily curly ginger wig that belongs to Gary. (scary because at times it might even suit me).
I shall display in chronological order …
1. My first attempt, plain boring white jersey following the pattern to the letter, and then hacked off some of the length, as it is longer in the body than I need it to be. Sleeves are also too long. I used the twin needle approach for stitching the seam allowance around the neckedge as suggested by Lladybird.
Why this wig? You may disagree, but hold onto your own judgement until you see the Renfrew +wig collection in its entirety. This wig in my mind befits the most unremarkable of the tops. Third place on the rostrum. The warning that this top brings is that I made it from jersey with zero lycra & the waistband stretched out of shape. It is OK tucked in as long as the bulk doesn’t show through. But be warned – get nice enough jersey with lycra to make your Renfrew.
2. This one is a lot more successful due to the quality of the jersey – some nice lycra content. I did not have enough to make the neckband out of the same, but am glad I didn’t because it would be BORING just made from red. I used fold over elastic as contrast. This one is quite good apart from the fit above my chest. I think it needs some kind of FBA, & looking at LLadybird’s post about Renfrews & FBAs I see she graded up. Pity I’d cut out number three before trying on number two. But for all that it deserves a silver. I can pass it off in normal wear. Unlike the wig.
3. So onto the cowl neck version made with 3/4 length sleeves because I did not have enough to make longer sleeves. This is made from flocked polyester that I couldn’t resist from Goldhawk Road. I think of it as my “curry house” top, you know, flocked wallpaper? I adore this style with the cowl – it’s fab! I had to cut the cuffs on the crosswise grain, due to not having enough, but it hasn’t had a detrimental effect.
But the fit isn’t quite right , again tight over the upper chest. It can go no higher than silver. Try again I must.
4. By the time I cut number 4 I had slaved away on other-to-be-blogged about sewing and needed a quick fix. I tried to make a bigger size at the bust & being prudent used some expendable unspecial jersey. There was only enough of this teal jersey for the short sleeves. I used black knicker elastic on the neck edge and the sleeves, again to avoid death by boredom. Check out the twin needle around the neckedge (I’ve used this on all of the above versions – thanks LLadybird again). The fabric has a nice lycra content which is reflected in the finish. But I failed to get the elastic right around the neck – oops! Too tight & therefore resulting in this
gathered puckered look.
Why this wig? It’s still not quite right – & I was getting bored being blonde. The neck edge is a bit tight. Is the above chest area right now? I’m not convinced. Maybe it’ll smooth through wash & wear. I can’t help feel it’s like pajamas ….
5. Another trial. I have franken-patterned the Renfrew with my Built By Wendy Sew U Home Stretch crew neck t-shirt to get a cut of an armhole/ upper chest that already fits me. By taking the upper body/ armhole edge & upper body shape of the BBW pattern, I used the Renfrew neckline & sideseam shaping. I also made sleeve adaptations so that I now have the shape & style of Renfrew’s three varieties that fits the new cut of the shoulder/ armhole edge. And guess what? It worked!!
Here it is in grey marl. Boring I know, but I bet it will be useful. Now that deserves gold. And I am now ready to crack open my other special jerseys to create the BBW/Renfrew they deserve. I think this may be my first ever “block”. Took a while to get there though ….
Hope you enjoyed the silliness & it helped you get through a 5-garment post!