Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Golden Afternoon" Renfrew

My Labor Day T-Shirt Extravaganza yielded me not just my Funky Parisian Top, but also my first ever Renfrew!
The Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns has been praised the entire internet over as long as I have read sewing blogs. I've loved seeing everyone's different versions and particularly their hacks. The nice thing about this pattern is that it is a simple t-shirt, but a well drafted one. Also all Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear shapes, so in the case of my figure there was no need to grade out for my hips, which is nice. I snapped up the pattern quite a while ago - maybe like a year ago, lol - during one of Tasia's rare sales. I've always planned on making it up, but just never took the plunge until now. Since I was already doing one knit top, I decided to do this one at the same time.
I'm sure you're thinking my fabric choice is pretty crazy, lol. The Renfrew requires a "stable knit", and when going through my stash this one was the best option that I wasn't too in love with. To be honest, I thought it was going to be hideous when I picked it out, lol, but it was another thrift store find for probably $1.00 so it wouldn't be a big deal if it didn't work out. I will say though, I have totally changed my tune about this fabric now that it's a shirt. I think it's pretty cool now and I've already worn it a few times out and about. The fabric is a nice quality and very soft, so that helps. Plus it has a navy blue background, and I am consistently drawn to navy blue - it's becoming ridiculous.
As for the shirt's name, the flowers totally remind me of the flowers in Disney's Alice in Wonderland, so naturally I called this the "Golden Afternoon" top :) I half expect to see faces on the flowers sometime ... which would be really weird ... and awesome, lol. You can learn a lot of things from these flowers.
I made the largest size (for a 41" bust) and I think the fit came out great. I made no changes to the pattern at all for this first go round and I even like the length which is rare for me. I have a long torso so I usually have to lengthen everything by a few inches. This shirt is really comfy! I also liked how easy the neck band was to put on, especially after having such a hard time with the Parisian top neckband earlier that day. I will say I don't know that I love the finish of the neckband as much - part of this is my fault. The directions tell you to top stitch the band down either with a zig zag stitch or a twin needle - basically I didn't feel like learning how to use the twin needle at that moment (it was getting late by that point and I just wanted to finish up) - and I just think the zig zag stitch makes it look "homemade" in that, "Oh, I bet she made that shirt herself," derogatory way. It's not that it's bad, and I know it's just a mental thing with me, but I prefer to make things look as professional as possible and this was a dead giveaway that I made it. Oh well, I still wear the shirt and the fabric background is so dark that you really don't see that stitching unless you look close.
Here's a close up of the neck band. The pattern leaves plenty of seam allowance to easily handle the neckband - you just stitch it all in place, press it, then cut the excess off as close as you can to the stitching line. I may try switching this up next time and wrapping the neck band like some of the other patterns I've used. We'll see.
After cutting everything out, I had all this fabric leftover, so I'm sure you will see it again in random projects - maybe as collars or a baby onesie or something (no, it would not be for me - I'm thinking gifts, folks).
So, I have officially made a Renfrew! And I love it :) I can add my praises to the hundreds before me - this is a great pattern :) It was very easy to make, fits great right out of the envelope, and only took a few hours. What's not to love about that combo?! I also love the potential to hack the daylights out of this now that I know it fits me. I think I might make one without the bands at the hip and sleeves and just do a "turn and twin needle" like a rtw t-shirt. I also want to replicate one of my favorite shirts that has a ruched/pouffed sleeve and I think this pattern would be great to try that out with. I'm actually happy I came to this game late, because there is already a list of Renfrew mods on Johanna's blog, Making It Well. Isn't that nice - I don't even have to search for the changes others have made, lol. Thanks, Johanna :) 

I know there will be many more Renfrews in my future :) 

Fabric: 2 yards of mystery thrift store interlock knit, $1.00
Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew, $11.00 (I think)
Hours: About 4


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