Renfield is a Vampire Familiar, Renfrew is a Top

….At least, that’s what I have to keep telling myself because my brain insists that this should be the Renfield top. Silly brain. But here’s the Renfrew in all its glory!

Yep, that’s me with wet hair. I took this shot in a rush because we were heading out to lunch with some friends.

This is my Me-Made-May, Day 28:

Top: Renfrew top from Sewaholic

Bottoms: unflattering and dowdy capris, refashioned into still unflattering but less dowdy cut-offs.

So, y’all want to know the pattern deets, right? Here they are:

The Good:

1) I ordered from Canada and got the pattern three days later. Over the weekend. That is some fast shipping, people!

2) The pattern and its instructions are very clear and well-written. I was able to match all the notches with nary a problem, and I am not a jersey-stretching virtuoso by any means. I also found it easy to trace, even though I traced out full patterns instead of tracing everything on the fold.

3) It’s comfortable and has stood up to a day of shopping, being pulled over my head and put back on, then having lunch with friends.

4) The finished product looks relatively professional, at least to my exacting standards.

5) The band at the bottom makes it long enough for my long torso, and I think the fit is loose enough to accommodate many body types — even if you have, say, a bit of a tum. I also like that the neckline is not TOO low cut.

The Bad:

1) If I were going by the pattern measurements, I would have cut a 6. As it is, I compared it to my t-shirt TNT (New Look 6735) and traced/cut an 8. I am SOOO glad I did, as my shoulders would not have fit into a 6.

2) When I first got the pattern and looked at the back, I panicked because the fabric requirements are ENORMOUS. You might need up to 3 yards for the long sleeve, cowl neck top and I never buy more than two yards for shirts. However, when I traced off the pattern in full instead of using the “fold” lines, the need for material was dramatically reduced. I think I squeezed my version out of one and an eighth of a yard. The “cut on fold” method really uses up a great deal of yardage.

3) It is not obvious from the pattern if the sleeves and other options are interchangeable. I just assumed they were, and carried on making the A/C bodice with the B sleeves. That may have caused the sleeve fitting problem I’m about to mention….

The Ugly:

1) This is not a pattern for people with biceps. I cut a straight 8, and I ended up sewing the underarm/body seam at 1/4 of an inch, then the cuff seams at 1/8 of an inch to accommodate my arms. Granted, I have big arms for my overall size, but the neckline and shoulders fit well so I don’t want to size up and I don’t like my sleeves that tight. HOWEVER, part of the reason I bought the Renfrew pattern was because I was hoping it would work for 2-way stretch jersey. Some two-way jersey has very minimal stretch, and I wanted to be able to make shirts from that material (my TNT pattern won’t work because it requires more stretch in the fabric). The jersey I used for this shirt has minimal stretch, and I’m relatively happy with how it turned out. However, I think I would prefer to use a stretchier material next time, as well as a larger size for the sleeves/cuffs. I have the idea that I could just gather the excess into the sleeve cap, like very slightly puffed sleeves. Call it a design detail. And yes, I plan on making this pattern again — it’s too good and too easy not to!

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Posted on May 28, 2012, in Me-Made-May '12, sewing. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Hey it looks good and I like the print. Interesting about the two way stretch requirement – hadn’t thought of that with shirts yet though I do have a couple of fails on various knit Ts because the lack of stretch. It was a while ago and I assumed I had done something wrong, then forgot about it. Also, the seam allowance usage seems to have done the trick with the sizing issues around the biceps. Good to know to check sizing on shoulders for this pattern, which I’m not sure if I need, but then again a good T is useful hey.

    • I think the lack of hems is what drew me to this pattern — I can do hems on knits, but dislike them enough to seek out ways of avoiding them. I do think this is drafted well; some t-shirt patterns are not.

  2. Have you done a Full Bicep Adjustment before? It adds ease to the upper arm without changing the amount of ease in the sleeve cap. It will probably fit better than just using a larger sized sleeve and you won’t have to have the puffy sleeves if you prefer a straight sleeve.

    • I have not done a full bicep adjustment, although I’ve seen pictures of the method. I think that may be something I will attempt on my next version, but I’ll need to add more room at the bottom of the sleeve as well and then cut a larger cuff. I’m a little worried that it will destroy the straight shape of the sleeve, but it’s worth a try.

  3. LOL @ the title. And I love your fabric, as usual. I didn’t have any trouble with the width of the arms (found them nicely slim) but then, I have fairly stick-like arms. Agree with Andrea about the full bicep adjustment, especially if you like where the armscye is sitting. Great tee! 🙂

    • Oh, the armscye is great. In fact, I didn’t notice anything about it — which is how you know it’s working perfectly, right? 😉

  4. Great shirt, it is a really nice placement for the neckline. I really should try the scoop neck version.
    The cowl is a huge fabric hog, but it is a great cowl. Odds are that’s not the choice you would make if you had limited fabric, or, like I did, pick a contrast for the cowl.
    On my short sleeve version, I didn’t cut the bands for the most stretch, there is some stretch and it’s comfortable, but it would have been better if I paid attention to the direction of stretch.

    • I have mixed feelings about cowls. I have yet to find one that looks good on me, although I might try it for a fall/winter shirt as most plain, long-sleeve t-shirts look unfinished to my eye. I would definitely trace out the pattern pieces in full rather than cutting them on the fold, as I do feel that that is part of the fabric hogging issue.

  5. That shirt looks supercute, and I love the print!

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