My first Sewaholic Renfrew Top

I  made my first version of the Sewaholic Renfrew Top out of a soft purple and gray jersey knit that I found at the Swap Meet and I think I paid about $2 a yard.

I originally wanted the make a chevron version of the Renfrew like  Lladybird’s, but then I was talked out of it by my teacher.  I came across a similar version as my finished one from a magazine that I don’t recall the name. So I was sold on the idea of the diagonal stripes in the front and horizontal stripes in the back. At that point I did not want to try to match stripes. I wanted to be lazy and just focus on learning to sew with knits.

The next step in the process of making this Renfrew was to have it fit. I kind of talked about the process in this post, so I won’t go into details. However, I will note that I made the following adjustments:

  •  1/2″ back width adjustment,
  • 2 3/4″ Y-FBA
  • dart removal
  •  1 1/8″ full sleeve adjustment.

I cut and laid out the pattern a little different then usual. I traced around the piece and used rotary cutters to cut the fabric. I used a very helpful technique that is used for stripes and plaids.  The next striped Renfrew I make (and you know this is going to happen) I’ll try to document the way I cut it out and share with you how I did that. If you are interested.

So, in my sewing class we had to make our top using our conventional sewing machines. In order to sew our seams we used a narrow zigzag. At first glance it might look like a straight line, but it really is not. When working on stable knits, like jersey you want to use a 0.5mm stitch width and a 2.5mm stitch length and on interlock and double knits use 1mm width stitch and 1.5mm length stitch. This adds elasticity to the seams. I used the narrow zigzag stitch in my shoulder seams, but a regular zigzag in my other seams because I don’t think my older machine has that low of a width and length. The shoulder seams were done in class. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the narrow zigzag.

As you can see above I made two rows of zigzag stitches and then trimmed the seam allowance down.

My collar was a little tricky to do, but as you can see the raw edges are not serged.

Instead of doing a zigzag stitch for the collar like the pattern instructions say, I used my stretch twin needle to do a fake cover stitch.

The stitching that the twin needles creates it very interesting. See those raw edges. They are not going anywhere.
I actually kind of enjoyed using the twin needles. The trick is to go slow.

There are some changes that I would like to make to the pattern after the fact. I want to make the cuffs smaller. I like my 3/4 sleeves to be close-fitted. These are too loose, I can’t even roll them up. I also might consider adding length.

I really like how this Renfrew came out and I think I feel a little more comfortable working with knits.

I really look forward to finishing up my next Renfrew. Yup, it’s already cut out and just waiting to be sewn up. The second top we have to make in class has to be sewn up using a serger. We also had to do at least 2 modifications to our pattern. I am not going to share the modifications, I am just going to surprise you.

My Memorial Day weekend will be mostly spent sewing. How about you? How are you going to spend yours?

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9 thoughts on “My first Sewaholic Renfrew Top”

  1. Saw your picture wearing your striped Renfrew top, looks great on you! This Memorial weekend I will be packing, dropping things off to Goodwill, and sewing (i hope!) 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. Hello! I’ve just ordered this pattern along with the Cambie dress. I don’t really ‘need’ more dresses but I certainly NEED more tops. I’ve never sewed knit before!

    1. Until I made this top, I only sew with knits making a tube. I took an advanced knits class this pass Spring to get over my fear of knits. We learned to sew knits on a conventional machine ( this top) and then with a serger (currently working on). The Renfrew is a great pattern to take that leap. I would recommend the ‘Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabric’ book. I am currently reading it and it is a great book.

      1. Thanks for the tip – ah the serger (or overlocker as Aussies call it), that machine frightens me more than knits. It’s like a toddler on red cordial!!
        I will keep an eye out for the book, those resources are great for me as I don’t know anyone my age that sews and all the classes in town are for retired people or stay-at-home mums – no after-hours or weekend courses unfortunately.
        Thank goodness for the Land of Blog.

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