sew renfrew.

You know when you finish something and your husband says, “Wow, you made that?” that you have a winner. For the first time in a long time, I have impressed him! haha

I decided a while ago that I wanted to start sewing again but I had a couple of concerns about this:

  1. That the patterns wouldn’t fit (a memory I have of patterns I used to make when I was in high school),
  2. That the fabric would be really expensive (I want good quality but not stuff that’s going to break the bank!), and
  3. I wouldn’t enjoy it (I remembered finding sewing very fiddly when I was a teen but having nothing wearable at the end).

I have been following sewing blogs for a long time and buying Sew News but I have only been dabbling in projects (like the cloth diapers and diaper bag). In an attempt to figure all of this out, I decided to buy the Renfrew Top from Sewaholic and give something simple a go.

renfrew 2

I’m hooked. Not only did it satisfy my need to craft and work on something, it was quick. This is particularly important right now as I only have snippets of time here and there to be selfish and craft. I love the marathon of a large sweater project but it’s hard to keep the rhythm of knitting a long a row with interruptions :) I’m not complaining at all – I have been looking to expand my crafting for a while. And sewing seems to fit the bill.

renfrew 3

Pattern: Renfrew Top by Sewaholic

Fabric: medium weight knit (65% poly, 35% cotton, 3% spandex)

Version A with version B’s neck … or Version B with version A’s sleeves :)

After some deliberation, I decided to cut out the size 12 which when I am finished breastfeeding, will be 3” of positive ease. The hip measurement gives me about 1” of positive ease, which is perfect while I’m losing the baby weight. I’m not sure I would cut out the 10 in the future as I am really liking my clothes a bit looser these days but time will tell.


Because working with knits can be a little frustrating I decided not to stress about matching up the stripes since this is dark anyhow. You’d have to really inspect to see that they don’t always match up along the side seams. Also, I used a walking foot to keep the top and bottom tension even – this worked like a charm! I didn’t do any seam finishing yet as my serger is not working. It hasn’t been used for SEVEN years … so I guess that’s comeuppance for its neglect. Both my sewing machine and serger are booked in for a tune-up next week. For anyone planning on working with PUL fabric (used in the cloth diapers) – it does a number on your machine so plan to service it after or spend some time giving it a good clean out. Also, use Microtex needles – they are super sharp and work like a charm to pierce the fabric.

I’m really happy with how the neckline turned out. The stripes didn’t match up perfectly but I’m just happy it looks as clean as it does – and I only had to redo the center front once!

renfrew - neck

Based on the photo on Tasia’s blog, I did a very small zig-zag around the neckline. I love this detail. It finished it very nicely. I think next time I’ll just do plain topstitching to see what that looks like.

renfrew - sleeve

Lastly, the cuffs at the sleeves and waistband finished this perfectly. I love everything to be long so the sleeves and length of the shirt itself are ideal.

renfrew 4

I will definitely be making many more of these beautiful shirts! I’d love one in mustard yellow … and grey … and navy blue … and ….

Join the Conversation

  1. Eeee, it turned out so great! Love the stripes. I've been reflecting on mine and I've come to realize that I actually enjoy the looser fit as well… I think I got the overall feeling that mine was "too large" just because the bands aren't tight enough an the shoulders are too wide. i think I might try a narrow shoulder adjustment on the next one I make, and just cut the bands down a size and see if that fixes the issue, because I really like the looser fit you've achieved here. (The first photo is such a nice picture of you!)

  2. PS – I see you're doing the Thurlow sewalong… me too! I just brought the pattern home yesterday. Not sure if I'm going to follow the schedule or just do it on my own time but I'm so excited. Let me know if you want to do any in-person sewalong fun :) I'm a little scared to try fitting pants!

  3. Thanks Katy! I think the looser fit is actually quite flattering – I always think about what Heidi Kirrmaier wrote on her design page on Ravelry about how flattering not-so-tight clothing is. I can't hyperlink here but this is the link if you're interested in reading it: think she's got a good point! Cutting a size down in the band would probably give you the 'fix' that you need. Also, have you looked at that book "The Perfect Fit"? I'm finding it's a great resource for fitting help. I loved how yours turned out as well – I'm going to make the cowl version next.

  4. Oh man – me too! I'm quite nervous about whether they will actually fit and also be wearable!!! An in person sew along would be great :) You can meet James too!

  5. I totally knew what you were referring to with Heidi… I love her, I made her Buttercup sweater once and while I made a poor yarn choice, I loved the fit. Actually, looking at all my shirts now, they're all loose and flow-y in the body… the difference is just that they fit properly across the back and shoulders. I haven't heard of that book but I'll check it out!I think you'll find the cowl a breeze… I've read that the v-neck is the hardest version, and that the cowl is the easiest.

  6. I figure I should just try and moderate my expectations and view it as a learning experience… I've made lots of "pants" (i.e. pyjamas) but I have to admit that every time I start reading about crotch length vs. crotch depth I start to get confused… truthfully, spacial thinking is NOT my strong suit!I would love to meet your little guy, and see you again! Let's stay in touch :)

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