As 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!
I 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.
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.
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.
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?
Sewaholic Renfrew round neck view
Long sleeved round neck Sewaholic renfrew
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!
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