I always expected that Sewaholic patterns would be the most problematic for me of the independent women’s patterns. After all, they are specifically designed for pear-shaped women, and I am much more of an hourglass.
I actually resisted buying any Sewaholic patterns for a long time, but finally all the gushing on various sewing blogs got the better of me and I broke down. I currently own several Sewaholic patterns, but Renfrew is the first one I dove into.
I didn’t have as many problems as I expected, given the pattern is drafted for a completely different body type. I anticipated that as I was tracing my pattern and graded accordingly. I went according to my body measurements, and cut a size 10 at the bust, an 8 at the waist, and a 6 at the hip.
The grading worked really nicely and the proportions seem pretty good. The only problem: the whole thing is about 2 sizes too big!
I don’t know if my measurements are off and I chose the wrong sizes (though I kind of doubt that), or if the pattern just runs a little big. But this top is distinctly too big for me.
Other than that, I actually like the pattern. It’s a great basic tee and definitely has the potential to become a wardrobe staple. The cut is really nice after I adjusted the proportions for my body type. The construction is really straightforward and it actually goes together really fast. I love the bands at the sleeve and waist because it makes finishing so much easier. With a tighter knit top like this, my hems have a tendency to break when hemmed with a double needle. A coverstitch machine would cure those woes, but alas I am not made of money!
I’m working on a second Renfrew, and I cut this one based on the finished measurements rather than my body measurements, so it will be a full two sizes smaller — 6 at the bust, 4 at the waist and 2 at the hip. Hoping for a better fit on that one. If not, I’ll just keep tweaking. I suspect that Renfrew will be worth it in the end!
And in case anyone’s wondering why I’m making knit tops when I recently revealed that I own 135 knit tops, I assure you that two of the many knit tops in my wardrobe went into the Goodwill bin. These ones, in fact:
Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew
Size: 10 (bust), 8 (waist), 6 (hip)
Fabric: 100% cotton interlock by Michael Miller that has been sitting in my stash for about 18 months. I anticipated having some fit issues with this top so while I like the fabric, I didn’t want to cut into something I loved on my first attempt.
Physical Pattern: Just okay. The pattern pieces are on tissue paper, which I generally find difficult to work with. Mostly because I trace my pattern pieces, and it’s hard to see the lines when tracing from tissue paper. Also, the instructions are on folded newsprint rather than in a booklet like Colette and Megan Nielsen patterns. The pattern envelope is slimmer that way, but I prefer to work with a booklet rather than folding newsprint. The envelope art is well done, though.
Modifications: As explained above, I graded from a 10 to an 8 to a 6 to account for my different body shape. Other than that, I didn’t make any modifications. I chose to make View A (scoop neck) with the View C sleeves (3/4 length).
Fit: Grading the pattern worked well to get the proportions right for me, but overall the top is too big. Particularly the sleeves — they kind of look like wings! I’m hoping that going down 2 sizes will correct all that.
- The shape is pretty flattering, and the shirt hits at a good place on the hip.
- I love the bands at the sleeves and hem — so much easier for finishing a knit top!
- The construction was very quick and straightforward. The whole top probably took me about 2 hours of sewing time, and that included finishing all the seams with a zigzag stitch.
- Stabilizing the shoulders with twill tape is a great tip. I hate it when t-shirts get all stretched out!
- The pattern does take some more effort to fit for the non-pears among us.
- The quality of the paper pattern itself is fine, but just doesn’t compare to some of the other independent paper patterns out there.
- It seems that this pattern might run a little big. I’m curious to know if anyone else found that about Renfrew or if this was due to user error on my part.
Overall grade: B. I think it’s a good pattern and would probably give it a higher grade if I was one of the pear-shaped women for whom the pattern was designed. But it doesn’t fit me right straight out of the envelope, and seems to run a tad big for my taste.