March Monthly Stitch (the first): Renfrew-itis

It seems you guys share my love of Sewaholic patterns. When I put up my choices for March, I underestimated the blogosphere’s love of the Renfrew top. The Alma blouse beat out the Renfrew for this month’s challenge by 1 vote! So I decided to make both, and I totally get the adulation now. The bands. Oh my, those bands…

But let’s start at the beginning. I decided to make this top the first weekend in March. I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m in costume prep mode for All-Con (which kicks off tomorrow!), and I wrapped up the bulk of my projects that weekend. Speaking of, I can’t wait to show those off to you guys!

I decided on a whim to test out the Renfrew. I went with view B because I had just barely enough fabric in my stash for it. Figuring out how to mangle out my yardage was actually the most time-consuming part of this endeavor. I toyed with the idea of doing a contrast color for the bands (like this blogger), but I managed to make the white work. Next time!

Aside from playing fabric-Tetris, this project went together beautifully. I was a bit flummoxed by the neckline, but only slightly. As others have said, I think it would have been better to reduce the neckline seam allowances to 3/8″ rather than 5/8″, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was off the center point by a tiny bit, but I don’t really mind it.


This project also forced me to work with my “new” serger! As you may recall, I was gifted an old Kenmore for Christmas last year, but I’ve mainly been using it to finish off my seams. It is a scary, loud, and heavy beast. I feel a bit like a cat around a vacuum when I use it.


Well, I ran out of white thread about an inch away from finishing my neckline. Normally, I’d just run to my local Jo-Ann’s and pick up more thread, but we were experiencing a marvelous “wintry mix” at the time, so I decided against braving the elements and used my serger to complete the project. I am so glad that happened, because I am now having a love affair with my serger. I want to sew all the knits and stretchy things!

Yup, reusing pics. Seen here with my Sewaholic Tofino pants.

The Basics: 

Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew, view B

Fabric: 1~ yd of a “beefy” white jersey knit from my stash

Alterations: I cut a 16 for the top and waist and tapered to a 14 at the hips based on what others have said and the finished measurements. No length added! This was mostly because of my fabric restrictions, but it turned out quite well. I’m a lanky and busty gal at 5’10~” with a 42″ bust, and I was pleasantly surprised that it hit my ideal shirt length.

Notions: Thread.

Make it again?: Definitely. The main reason I bought the Renfrew was because of the cowl neck on view C. I want to eventually turn it into a “sweater” dress that’s an appropriate length for work. Now that we’re moving into warmer weather, I’ll probably make a few knit dresses to practice.

Favorite parts: Bands. These are ingenious. I want to finish all my knits with these bands. I really like the sleeve length as well.

Other thoughts: I really like this top. Like, really really like it. I actually wore it to work last week before I finished the neckline and it was suuuuuper comfy.


There’s a slight bit of pooling in the back. I may need to look into doing a swayback adjustment. Or it could just be my awkward pose here. Either way, not a big deal for a shirt that came totally from the stash.

I am super excited that I did a pretty good job of matching up my side seams! I do need to press it a bit.

Have you guys made the Renfrew yet? I’m so excited to have a basic white tee in my wardrobe again!


A personal challenge

With the holidays coming up, I’ve been looking for ways to cut back on spending, especially since the holidays this year involve several out of state trips for me. The simplest solution now that my con season is over is to cut back on costume purchases. After looking through my fabric stash a few weeks ago, I decided that was a really good idea. My fabric stash is overflowing with things I bought on a whim for costumes, several of which are probably not going to happen. So I’ve given myself a challenge: I will not buy fabric or costume supplies through the end of this year (I know, I know, two months isn’t *really* a challenge, but it’s a start). At the first of the year, I’ll probably dump some of my uglier fabrics as well (I’m looking at you, car upholstery. Bleh). During the holidays, I’m going to focus on getting a start on some costumes that I can finish with my current stash and do a bit of non-costume sewing.

My planned sewing projects are:

Whew! That’s a lot. Fortunately, I have the entire week after Christmas off work, so I’ve got a dedicated sew-cation planned. I had hoped to start working on some work-friendly attire, but I’ll have to hold off until January when I let myself buy fabric again. Anyone else got holiday/vacation sewing lined up?