A little while back, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew top pattern after being convinced of its awesomeness by Penny of Dresses & Me. Well, her and every other blogger that’s made one, which seems to be pretty much everyone at this point. I wear long-sleeved tops a lot, both on their own and under jumpers/cardigans/sleeveless dresses, so I’m not sure why it hasn’t occurred to me to buy this pattern before.
I promptly went out to The Fabric Store where they were promising half price Merino knit, and came out with this fabric. After fondling almost every knit fabric in the store and getting more and more dejected that I wasn’t loving any of it (or being horrified at the price), some girls finally moved away from the end of a table and I moved in and saw it. And I knew, straight away, it was mine. Luke thought I’d lost the plot, and I can’t blame him. In general, this is absolutely not something I would usually wear or pick out for myself. But for the past two and a half years, I lived in Berkeley, California, a town with quite the radical, hippie history. And on Telegraph Avenue on a Sunday, you can buy all manner of ridiculous tie-dyed clothing from very…interesting individuals. I didn’t partake of any tie-dyed madness while I was there, but I miss living there a great deal, and this fabric reminds me of the wonderful memories I made while I lived there, and the amazing people I met.
What it’s actually made of, I don’t know. It didn’t have a tag on it – the sales girl had to ask someone about the price, because it didn’t have a price tag, either. It’s very, very soft and drapey.And stretchy! It was perfect for the Renfew. I made it in a size 14, but I feel like I could afford to size down in the waist. I shortened the sleeves quite a lot and did intend to add the cuffs, but when I tried it on, they were perfect as is, so I just folded over and hemmed them. I did not intend to add the waistband, figuring that since I’m short, it would be long enough. That was an error in judgement, as it’s just a tad too short for my liking. I mean, it’s fine, it doesn’t show my tummy or ride up or anything, but all my life my tops have come down past my hips, so I’m not used to this length. That said, I don’t particularly like the look of the waistband, so I think I’ll just lengthen it next time.
I made sure to match the pattern at the side seams and on the sleeve seams, and that seemed to work out pretty well. I deliberately didn’t match it where the sleeves meet the bodice, as I wanted the pattern broken up when I put my arms by my sides instead of running all the way along. I like it better that way.
It was a pretty easy make – except for the neckband. Ugh. I cut it out according to the pattern pieces, but as I was sewing it on, it seemed like I didn’t have to stretch it that much. I remembered making the Lady Skater that I needed to stretch it a LOT to sew it on, and then when done, it was nice and taut. Sure enough, when I finished sewing the Renfrew neckband, it was floppy. I unpicked it and tried again, only this time I stretched it a lot and just cut off the excess. Much better! I stabilised the shoulder seams with some old cotton selvage I had lying around, as I didn’t have any twill tape.
It was a nice quick make, and I’m looking forward to making some others in more…sedate colours to replace my old, stretched Old Navy and Gap ones that are currently in rotation.