Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sewaholic Renfrew Top

Hi everyone! Did you see that Tasia from Sewaholic has announced a new pattern? The Renfrew top, a knit top with three options for both necklines and sleeve lengths. Cool, right? What's even cooler is that I was among her pattern testers this time! Fun! :)

I chose to make the long-sleeved version with the round neckline, great for layering in winter and also good as a simple top for fall and spring.

The Facts:
Fabric: dark purple jersey with minimal stretch, 5€ for a 1.5m coupon at the Holland Fabric market
Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew top, view A
Notions: none
Time to Complete: a couple of hours, I think
First Worn: mid-December
Thoughts: I cut out size 12 according to my measurements but found out that, for a knit pattern, this top has quite a bit of ease. Since I like my knit tops rather close to the body, in the end my pattern pieces were closer to a size 8, and possibly a 6 in the sleeves. I think I'd go down another size in a stretchier knit. Apart from the sizing, the instructions were very clear and easy to work with. Lots of little illustrations, too, and everything came together very easily. I love that all the finishings - sleeves, hem and neckline - are done with a fabric band. It makes constuction really easy and looks very neat! :) I also loved the instruction for the v-neck, I always wondered how to finish that type of neckline and I'll have to try that next. The top is meant to be made on a normal sewing machine (no serger/overlock), which I did and it worked out well. I fudged the neckband a bit, since it turned out fussier with the less stretchy knit than I was used to. (Also, I'm lazy.) I recommend using lots of pins.
I think it's a great top for 1. people who don't own a serger or 2. haven't sewn much with knits, yet. The thorough instructions also make it a good choice for beginner sewists, I think. Since the pattern gives three neckline options (round, v-neck and cowl, check out Karen's leopard version!) and also three sleeve lengths, you could actually make 9 different tops with this!

If you're thinking of buying the pattern, I recommend signing up for Tasia's newsletter. She's doing presales right now and you can get free shipping!

After making up this geared-for-beginners knit top, I've been thinking about writing a series of posts about how I sew my knit garments. I know there are lotsa tutorials out there, quite a few of which I read and learned from. I stumbled into sewing knits with zero knowledge, learning-by-doing and making many mistakes (should have read those tutorials first, huh?) and I think by now I have something that works for me (most of the time, see neckband above...). So, I was wondering. Would you guys like to read about how I sew with knits, and which techniques didn't work for me? With maybe a bit about frankenpatterning knit garments from clothes you already own?

Have a good week, everyone!


  1. always interesting to read which techniques worked and didn´t for other. So, I say YES! Well done on the top!

  2. It's a wonderful make alessa! You always choose such gorgeous deep colours. I admit to already pre ordering this pattern, it looks like the no brain basic. Perfect. Yours is another example that makes me glad I have ordered it. I think shari g all sewing tips is good, and knits have so many ways about them that it would be helpful- I'm always learning :-)

  3. I love the blue, very pretty. I am so glad you told us you needed to size down some, I always like to read about these kinds of details to use in the future as I may get this pattern. Very nice fit, wonderful job!

  4. I love this deep color and the execution looks quite perfect.

  5. I was just thinking yesterday that I really needed to replace my knit tops (all of which are at least 3 years old) and that I should find a pattern and try to sew them. :) And I've never sewn with knit fabric before AND I don't have a serger, so this pattern looks perfect.

    Thanks for your review; the top looks great.

  6. Thank you for reviewing Tasia's pattern for us. Especially because now I know that no serger is needed to make this lovely top. I'm scared to touch a knit fabric, but your description make it sound easy. I would love to read your tutorials and tips.

  7. The top looks great, I love the colour. Yes please to writing a post on your tips for sewing with knits, I've yet to find the courage to try and would appreciate any advice!

  8. I don't own a serger so it's always nice to hear about a knit pattern that you can make without one! It's such a pretty color on you, and I personally would love to see your tutorials regarding working with knit fabrics!

  9. Another person who loves this top, and the colour is just wonderful -- so striking on you!

  10. The top looks great. Thanks for the tip on fitting the top to a smaller size because of ease. I would like to know more about sewing with knits. I've ordered this pattern from Sewaholic because it was suppose to be a good one for people who don't like to sew with knits. If you can pass on tips on sewing with knits (and yes, both what worked and what didn't) I would be very interested.

  11. Very nice! I don't own a serger so I sew all my knit things on my regular sewing machine. I actually find it pretty refreshing because I don't worry so much about how my inside seams looks-- being that knits don't fray. It's always a nice break from obsessing over how nice it looks inside. Maybe I should be? I dunno. I'd love to hear your findings on sewing knits!

  12. I'm getting ready to sew my first Renfrew - thanks for the review!