Folks, I have a new favorite pattern. And it's not a 1950s dress or a even a full, flouncy skirt (though I do love those things!) I'd ask you to guess, but you already read the post title. Yes, it's the new Sewaholic Renfrew. I've already made it four times, and I could make a million more.
Typically I wear a lot of sleeveless knit tops (usually under cardigans or hoodies) because finding a knit top with sleeves that fit can be a bit of a challenge. I don't think I truly understood the problem, though, until I tried on my first Renfrew. The sleeves fit. The armholes are the right size, and in the right place. When I raise my arm, the shirt doesn't hike up to my ribcage. It's awesome.
My first attempt was the cowl-necked version (with short sleeves ... maybe a bit strange!) It's not perfect, because the fabric I chose was not quite drape-y enough for the cowl, and because I second-guessed the pattern and made it longer and a little wider at the bottom -- I always have problems with shirts being too short and/or riding up. (And, when do you not have to adjust a pattern, right??) After I had it together, I realized my mistake and took out the two inches I added to the length, but the bottom band's still a bit loose.
Yeah, I still hate photographing myself ... but it's a lot easier to see what a garment looks like on its intended wearer, so I did my best! Incidentally, the jeans shown here are my favorites ... Gap wide-legs circa 2008. They're about to wear through in the seat, so I have to savor their last few outings!
My third Renfrew is also a 3/4 sleeve scoop-neck, but this time the material used was extra recruiting t-shirts from my job. I love me a good floppy t-shirt for sleeping in or relaxing on the weekend, but at work it makes me feel like a slob, and sometimes we wear these shirts when we're representin' for the company. I took the front and back of the top from one shirt, the sleeves from another, and the neck and waist band from a third, so it was a bit wasteful of shirts, but I think the final result was worth it!
Renfrew number four is a cowl-neck with 3/4 sleeves, made from a lightweight striped rayon knit ordered from fabric.com last week specifically for this purpose. Wow have I not mastered getting stripes straight: the sad thing is, I did try! The bottom band looks the worst, but that's partly because I sewed it on wrong the first time and had to pick it off and re-do. I don't feel too bad about it, as this was clearance fabric and I don't expect it to be super durable anyhow. It arrived with a rip and a hole in it already, in fact. Like it was trying to warn me or something. Anyhow, this lightweight fabric was just the thing for the cowl neck, and it drapes very nicely.
I see a fleet of scoop-neck Renfrews in my future, plus several more cowl-necks. I'm not a big v-neck wearer, and with it being effectively Spring already here on the Gulf Coast, I may not do a long-sleeve version anytime soon. I love thinking of all the variations one could do: like using a contrasting color for the neck, arm and waist band, and I've thought about a cowl-neck version where the neck part is made from a drape-y knit while the body's made from a sturdier cotton knit -- kind of a shirt-under a shirt look. I'd love to see a tie-neck version or (ooh, ooh!) a hooded version. Not sure I have the drafting skillz for those, but who knows, I may try it one day! But for now, I'm going to let the Renfrew pattern cool off for a bit and move onto something else.