Sewing jersey knit fabric

sewaholic_renfrew_v_neck_versionAs part of my ongoing mission to make clothes I’ll live in and with Winter closing in, my thoughts turned to knits. Two patterns were at the top of my ‘to do’ list; the Linden by Grainline and Sewaholic’s Renfrew. I decided to start with the Renfrew as it was more fitted; that and the fact I wanted to have another go at a V neck. If you’ve read my The Seamstress Tag Post you’ll know that my one and only attempt at sewing a V neck back in the annals of time was a total fail. It was time to conquer the V! Or, y’know, fail again and throw a hissy fit!

pattern_matching_pinning_sewingI went for this weighty Ponte Roma knit from Minerva (see here) with a stripe. A thin stripe, meaning I had to pay attention when cutting out to ensure that the pattern pieces were placed so the stripes would match up at the seams. I cut out on the single fold because even the tiniest amount of fabric shifting whilst cutting out would have thrown off the alignment. When it came to sewing, I pinned at every stripe and used my walking foot.

Renfrew neckband sewaholic

With regards the neckband, cuffs and waistband I also had to think about how I wanted to play with the stripes. I decided to match the cuffs and waistband to the lines of the corresponding sleeve and bodice pieces. With the neckband however I decided to cut this piece out so I would have a clearly delineated and contrasting single line showing. There’s a great post on this (here) which also covers sewing it in.

Sewing a v neck

The V neck isn’t 100% perfect, I reckon I’m a stitch or two out from a sharp V at the bottom. Honestly I contemplated faffing with it but decided to take it as a win over my previous attempt and left it at that. I’m glad I did.

The way the pattern has you finish off the sleeves and hem with cuffs and band is so simple; if you’re cautious of knits I reckon this pattern would be a good place to start. I sewed the whole thing up on my sewing machine using a ballpoint needle and a 1.5 wide X 2.2 length zigzag stitch at the seams. Even though it’s not strictly necessary to finish knit seams as they don’t fray, I went ahead and finished them on my overlocker. The neckband was topstitched with an even zigzag at 2.5 X 2.5.

The resulting top is a heavyweight champ. I’ve worn it out in zero degrees without a coat and survived to tell the tale!

The only pattern alterations I made were to adjust for my (lack of) height on this first version by taking out 2.5″ from the length of the bodice and 1.5″ from the sleeve after checking the pattern pieces against a RTW top I had. However, for my second version I decided I wanted something rather different, showing just how versatile this pattern is.

Renfrew top by Sewaholic sewing pattern review

Firstly, I wanted to see how it would look in a lighter weight knit with a lot more drape and stretch. I wanted it to feel oversized (without being!), cosy and luxurious and so I opted for this gorgeously soft fabric from a local supplier. I decided on the round neck, took nothing from the bodice length and only removed 1″ from the sleeve this time so that I could either hide my hands in them or have them pool slightly at the cuff. The only thing I would say is, if your knit has much more stretch than the pattern recommends consider reducing the length of the neckband a bit, or if your fabric is very very stretchy perhaps cutting this piece in the direction of least stretch would help do it’s job of holding the neckline to the body?

I adore this one. I feel like I’m wrapped up in a warm cloud of snuggly loveliness which, let’s face it, is what we want on cold dark dreary Winter days. Now I just need half a dozen more…there is a cowl neck version and perhaps a short sleeved version would be nice for when Spring rolls in but, for now, the Linden is calling!

Until next time!

Sew Sarah smith

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15 thoughts on “Sewing with Knits : The Sewaholic ‘Renfrew’ top – two versions!

  1. Thank you, that’s so kind!! I love sewing with Knits – I’ll be posting next week about the Linden sweatshirt with a few hints and tips about working with Knits generally which you might find useful? And I’d love to tackle a quilt which I’ve never done before so il check out your blog too! 😊


  2. SC Nonni says:

    As soon as I finish the quilt that I’m making for my new granddaughter I plan to tackle sewing with knits…..soooooo……I’ll be referring to this post of yours 😀 Thank you for sharing….BTW, l love your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Ruby!!!!! Yeah, i know exactly what you mean! Indie patterns can work out a bit pricy but honestly I think they’re worth it…Often their pattern instructions will go into much more depth with explanations than the traditional pattern houses and/or they’ll produce tutorials to go with the pattern etc., so you’re more likely to get a good result. Maybe give someone the hint to buy you it as a Christmas gift! 😘


  4. Ruby Turner says:

    Hiya I just love your blogs…. I just tried to order a downloadable version of this fabulous top it started of at £10.73 which I thought was good if not a bit pricey for a download and it will end up costing £12.87 😦 am I being tight….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you! I normally think a V is more flattering on me but I’m surprised at how much I love the round neck; I think it’s because it’s not too high. I love this pattern, have you made it?


  6. Great makes Sarah. The striped finishing of the V-neck is well chosen. What a good idea to make a V-neck and a round neck. It’s always wise to have both necklines in your wardrobe.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you!! I definitely get tunnel vision sometimes; forced myself to put the seam ripper down! You’re right about the cream one; snuggling down in it and then, knowing me, spilling the red wine all over myself! I’m only surprised it hasn’t happened yet!!!


  8. Anya says:

    I love how they both turned out. I am so happy you left the V-neck alone haha It’s so easy to concentrate on the imperfection that you know 🙂 I’ve never even tried a V-neck so yours looks amazing! The white version looks like something I would want to cuddle up in on the couch and drink hot chocolate or wine, or both.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hahaha wow 7!!! And thank you, the white is my fave too! Do it, you know you won’t regret it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hila says:

    I lobe these! After making 7 Renfrews I didnt think I could possibly need another but that white one is just👌👌.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you Nellie! Yeah I’ve considered the Agnes too but not got around to it it yet – I just want to sew all the knit tops, lol! Your profile pic is making me hungry….!


  12. foodienelly says:

    Just discovered your blog and very pleased to add it to my Feedly 🙂 . Your makes look great – I’ve had my eye on the Renfrew for a while but not yet bought as have an Tilly & Buttons Agnes on my sewing table so thinking about mastering that before Renfrew.
    Think your V neck looks great – I can’t see any problems!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you! And awesome, good luck with the V! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. wakeymakes says:

    These are both lovely and so useful. Not yet tried a very neck but you have inspired me to have a go. Thanks K xXx

    Liked by 1 person

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