Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Renfrew Take 1~

Let me start by saying that knits are totally brand new to me. I absolutely love my friend Lauren's post on knits and why they aren't scary and whoever started that nasty rumor should have needles stuck in his/her face. Lol. What's funny is that every blog post I read about working with knits will point out at some point that it's not that difficult. Taking down the rumor, one tutorial at a time, eh? 

Let me also tell you that while this is my first official, finished renfrew top it's certainly not the first attempt. The last one was made of some super solid, heavy knit material in a gorgeous olive green color that was cut the wrong way (stretchy going up and down instead of side to side). It was really late guys, and my little mermaid had had a particularly rough, needy day and yeah, I probably shouldn't have been cutting fabric much less operation a machine with a needle attached to it. 

I digress.

So, here is is. A finished renfrew top in view A, which is the long sleeves and round collar. Honestly, it's barely wearable. Lol. And I'm not even upset about it. Sewing this top taught me a lot and I really challenged myself. Here is what renfrew #1 taught me: 

  • I am nowhere near a size 16. In my first attempt I thought I could just make the base longer. But it turns out that that waist band was gonna make me look like a sausage casing. I'm even considering not doing a waistband and leaving it flowy at the bottom, hemmed of course. Maybe? I mean it is knit material. Hmmm. I also have to figure out how to make the arm holes a bit bigger because my armpit area is much bigger than the 16. 
  • The softest, floppiest, curliest knit material is a really big challenge. Not an impossible one, but pretty substantial for the knits novice. I can totally forget about pressing seams which is both a blessing and a curse. 
  • Pre-wash Michelle, pre-wash. Dammit, did you hear me? Pre-wash your damn fabric. 
  • Your collar skills are kick ass! Good job Michelle, seriously. You did a damn fine job on that collar!
  • My sewing machine is awful. How did I figure this out? Well, I've been price checking machines all over nashville. Used ones, new ones, old ones, overpriced ones etc. And during that process I've seen demonstrations and even test driven a few. On top of that I've been watching YouTube videos of Pfaff machines and holy crap. It's so much smoother, so much lighter. I seriously feel like I've been sewing with a covered wagon instead of an honda prius. While I most definitely can't afford the prius yet, I can totally afford a used toyota corolla. So my Pfaff Hobby 1142 is on it's way right now from Chicago from a short little bidding war on ebay that I totally owned. 
  • Notches are important. Overlooking even one can totally throw me off. Paying extra special attention to notches is a must. 
  • I must learn how to finish seams without a serger. There are a couple of people whose advice I can ask for on this and the Colleterie has some great input on it too in their Guide To Sewing With Knits
  • I finished, did my best with what I had and am super proud of the progress I've made. I'm high-fiving myself right now (and a million angels). 

The pattern itself is awesome. Straight forward, simple as pie. You may have to make some alterations but if you pay attention to the measurements and compare them to yours thoroughly it's totally worth figuring out. The instructions, cutting out the pattern all of it was such good practice and a great segway back into sewing. I know there will be lots of renfrew tops in the future and I'm thinking I might even have to involve a cowl neck and some kind of cute pocket here soon.


  1. Damn straight you made it!! That looks AWESOME, girl! Fabulous job on the neck binding :D It'll get easier with time as you practice and progress... but for a first successful ~wearable muslin~ I think this is pretty legit!

  2. Super legit. And super ready to do another one! Thank you for all of your help dear friend!