I finally made up the Sewaholic Renfrew top that I've been wanting to make for, oh, since it was released a year ago. Well, actually, I've made a practice top - a "wearable muslin", if you will, but I'll be diving into a "real" top asap!
Maybe I was in a reflective mood while sewing, but I have to say I learned a few lessons while making this top.
1. Pay Attention. OK, it may be unfair to say that I learned this while making this top, but I certainly had yet another lesson about paying attention! In this case, it involved the fact that there are two (2) fronts in this pattern. One of the fronts is for 2 of the views. The other is for the 3rd view. I had a 2 in 1 shot of selecting the correct piece. The odds were in my favor. I still lost.
2. Almost anything can be salvaged if you're determined enough. In this case, I just did a little patching. Knowing it was a practice piece, I didn't even bother matching the fabric pattern.
4. Even practice pieces deserve respect. Just because I don't think it's really going to very wearable does not mean I should do a shoddy job. 'Nuff said, ok?
5. Notes about the Renfrew pattern:
- The sleeves are completely symmetrical (!?) This surprised me, especially since, in all of the 44 reviews at Pattern Review, I only saw one other person (clothing engineer) who bothered to mention this as an issue. Nearly everyone who has made up this pattern gives it a rave review. Maybe people really like not having to pay attention to which part of the sleeve is front & which is back? I did cut my practice piece sleeves as drafted. I will re-draft them for future Renfrews!
- My own body consists of narrow shoulders, wider waist & even wider hips, and I adjust patterns accordingly. Sewaholic patterns are designed for the pear shaped woman, and the finished garment measurements for bust, waist & hips were perfect for me! I left the shoulder width alone (although I did adjust for forward & sloping shoulders), but as it turns out, my shoulders are still narrower than the pattern's, so I need to make that adjustment as well. The bust, waist & hips of the finished piece were perfect as drafted - how nice is that?! (although that's such an easy adjustment on most patterns, so that alone wouldn't justify buying a Sewaholic top)
- Sleeve issues aside, the pattern is drafted perfectly! The instructions are clear and easy (there was one mistake in the cowl instructions; apparently this has been corrected in future editions - the first instruction for the cowl in my pattern said to sew the 2 cowl pieces wrong sides together, but the illustration showed right sides being sewn together. Luckily, I followed the illustration, but I did get confused when I read the words, and had to check the Sewaholic blog to make sure where the error was.
- Tasia (Ms. Sewaholic)'s blog is a detailed wealth of information! She is a cutie, and very generous in answering questions and sharing her experiences :)
- The sleeves and torso of this pattern are long! I shortened the sleeves by nearly 2", and will do the same on the torso for my next Renfrew.
- Love love love the bands at the end of the sleeves and the torso. It's a nice way to finish it. :)
- Easy easy easy top. Instant Gratification. And I love instant gratification ;-)
- A number of reviewers mentioned the width at the bottom of the sleeves - the band is definitely wide! I narrowed the band by over 1". There's still enough width (in this fabric anyway) to push the sleeves up, but I don't like sleeves that dangle down over my hands.
- If you make the cowl top AND the long sleeves, this top is a fabric hog! There isn't a fabric calculation on the envelope for this particular combo. Sadly, my lack of fabric records means I don't know how much I started with, but I did have to piece together the waist/hip band in two pieces, instead of one. The cowl is 2-sided (very nice!) but you could cut it as a single if necessary.
- Based on most of the Sewaholic patterns, I'm not really her demographic, but the bottom line for this one is a big thumbs up! The neckline and sleeve length variations, along with the finishing bands, make this one a very good TNT candidate. :)
On to the finished piece. It is, indeed, wearable. But I don't know that it will get a lot of wear. By me, anyway. No really my colors, nor my style of fabric. I'm not willing to show my face and prove that this color combo isn't a great one for me, at least not today. Bad hair day, no makeup...you know the story....
|The bands on the sleeve and at the bottom|
make it really easy to adjust the length
while wearing it, and have it stay in place.
This is a feature I really like!
6. Even though flimsy rayon/lycra fabric comes in some glorious colors and patterns, and even though it feels good next to the skin, I really don't enjoy working with it.
7. It also isn't very durable. And I can be very hard on my clothes.
8. There are lots of other choices of fabulous fabric.
9. Life is too short to work with fabrics that are less than fabulous, so I'm going to use up the flimsy knits in stash that have some redeeming quality, and I will need a VERY good reason to acquire any more!
10. I refuse to buy another sewing machine (even a well-priced Featherweight) until I sell some of the ones I already have. I know, that has nothing to do with this pattern, but the issue arose while working on it, and I was tempted, and I survived the temptation. And I was relieved. :)
11. Cheesecake is tasty.
Have you decided that there are fabrics you are no longer willing to work with? What are your least favorite fabrics, and which are your favorites?
Meanwhile, I have interviewed and hired a combination of fabrics for my next Renfrew, so I'm up to the sewing attic to work on that!
P.S. It occurs to me that I now qualify as an official member of Pretty Grievances' Jungle January!
Happy Sewing, all! :)