Renfrew

Some say that a couple of hours is all it takes to make the Sewaholic Renfrew top, but after buying a first edition of the pattern which unbeknownst to me contained a mistake, I nearly met my nemesis! 

The error applies to View C, the Cowl neck version, which I combined with the full-length sleeves of View A.  It looks like this: 

The correction is in red.  Initially, I followed instinct and sewed the pieces right sides together.  Realizing that what I’d done didn’t match the text, I sliced off the offending seam and stitched as instructed :roll:  The result – no matter in which direction I turned it – didn’t so much resemble a cowl as a Möbius strip…. Luckily I had my family around me, so could freely vent my frustration on them (I think one innocent brought up the topic of it being “lunch”, poor lamb…).  When I turned to Google, hoping, with a remaining iota of self-esteem, that the fault may not be with my uselessness but with the instructions, I uncovered a trail of  warnings (like this one) and found this link to Sewaholic’s Errata page.  “We do our best to make our patterns error-free,” it says, though I wonder why not supply distributors with erratum slips which could be inserted inside pattern envelopes with relative ease (surely?).


The Fit

Very good!  I made size 6 (I’m a UK 12) and the top fits very well over skinny jeans or leggings.  To wear over rugged jeans and with belts, I’d need to grade a size up from the waist down.  The cowl is teacher-friendly in that it won’t compromise your modesty when bending over desks!


Length

Before adding the cuffs and waistband, I tried the top on and thought the hem and the sleeves were an ideal length.  I was tempted to turn under and sew but doubted I’d be able to finish off professionally.  In the end, I shortened the cuffs and waistband by 1.5cm (i.e. I took off 3cm from each pattern piece).  Had I not, I might have ended up with a boy’s pyjamas look.  Tip: If you’re on the short side and comfortable hemming jersey on your machine, cut the waistband and the cuffs only once you know you’ll use them.

 The Fabric

Lovely, warm and rather heavy jersey from A1 Fabrics in Goldhawk Road, W12.  In picking a striped fabric, I’d made life a bit more difficult for two reasons.  Firstly, the obvious stripe matching.  It worked out ok, though not perfect.  Evidence:

The other downside of striped jersey is that the recommended zigzag stitch shows up on the right side in places where the thread doesn’t match the fabric.  Exhibit:

When I realized this was gonna be ugly (- think Frankenstein -) I bypassed all the zigzags with a straight stitch.

Overall

I really like my top: it’s warm, practical and quite good looking though it wouldn’t have passed the RTW test: I mean that if I saw it in the shop for the price of the pattern (£12) plus fabric (1.5m at £4.50), I wouldn’t have bought it.  Buy this pattern to make more than once.  Find your fit and make it again and again, combining the variations in the neckline and sleeve length, or like I intend to, making own design changes.  I’m sure that next time, it will only take 2 hours!

12 thoughts on “Renfrew

  1. This looks great!! Perfect fit and I love the stripes!
    Ugh, I hate when I follow instructions against my better judgement and then realize I was right in the first place. That’s happened to me with at least a handful of Big 4 patterns. Now, I generally don’t bother with their instructions! I ordered my Renfrew pattern direct from Tasia during her moving sale and it didn’t come with a correction slip either so, thanks for pointing out the error. I hope your next one goes together faster. Can’t wait to see what changes you make!

    • So mistakes abound, even with the big 4?! A couple of times much earlier on I came across instructions that didn’t make sense but thought it must be me. I don’t think I’m particularly quick when it comes to picking up visual clues… I’m not sure I’ll be confident enough to bypass instructions anytime soon, though it’s nice to be told that it’s not compulsory!

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with on the new (old) Singer!

  2. I rather like that cheeky nautical little number. The colour and fabric are really flattering on you! You have inspired me for my sailing trip and it will keep my neck warm and cuffs too! ……. A CHANEL look for the CHANNEL!!

  3. I’ve had that pattern for a while but not got around to making it. Thanks for the warning about the error! I really must find some cheap jersey so I can have a go with it

  4. This is lovely and great on you. Consider it your wearable muslin to justify the cost and its your tried and true to make again and again. Goldhawk Road is down for my next trip to London.

    • Thanks very much Hazel! It’s otherwise a great little pattern and one I hope to use for years (no more having to rely on H&M for cheap jersey tops).

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