Tag Archives: renfrew

Red Renfrews and a Plain Plantain

As I reach for the me-made shirts in my closet far more often then store bought at this point, it seems prudent to make a few more. Enter one of my favorite shirt patterns: the Renfrew. I’ve already made eight (I think) shirts off this pattern, in a variety of fabrics, and using most combinations of sleeves and neck finishings on the pattern. This is the first one I made with a cowl neck and the three-quarter length sleeves. As usual the top went together without a hitch. This one is made out of a super drapey rayon-poly jersey. It feels great, and is light enough I should be able to wear it well into the spring.

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The lovely lady standing next to me is my mom. In a funny bit of coincidence, she happened to be sewing a red Renfrew at the same time I was. So of course, we took pictures together. Her top is made out of a heavier weight cotton interlock. She added the machine embroidery accents. Also, she made the cowl removable! I think it’s a great idea, as it makes the shirt wearable for a great range of temperatures. Too hot? Take the cowl off. Too chilly? Put it back on! I didn’t even realize she’d made the cowl a separate piece until she told me. She did mention that she made the cowl slightly larger around (maybe and inch or two – I should probably check).

Removable cowl!

Removable cowl!

As there was a little bit of my mom’s red fabric left, kiddo got a shirt too! I love that I can sew clothes for him out of what might otherwise be considered scraps. I know that won’t last for long, given how fast he’s growing, but I’ll enjoy it while I still can.

Kiddo’s shirt is off a vintage pattern for Toddler Sportwear by Sunrise Designs. I’m guessing it was printed in the late 1970’s, or early 80’s since my mom made clothes off this pattern for my brother and I. Thankfully, after we both out grew it, she tucked it away to use for future grandchildren. And I’m thrilled she did! It’s got nice classic patterns for shirts, pants, shorts and jackets that should be enough to keep kiddo dressed for a while. And it’s sized 1T through 4T. Anyway, this was the first shirt we made him off this pattern, but it fits so well, my mom has already cut out four more. She also machine embroidered the bunny on his shirt. The text reads “I’m your little Valentine”. Yes, it’s a Valentine’s Day shirt. That’s how long it’s taken me to get around to this post. Sigh.

ValentineKiddo2And one more picture for good measure…

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While I was on a shirt making roll, I decided to try out the Plantain, a free pattern by Deer & Doe. I’ve seen the shirt made up on countless other blogs, and thought it would be good to make something other than a Renfrew for once. You know, variety and all. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

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Since I really had no idea how this was going to fit, I opted to make a test version before cutting into any of my really nice fabric. I’d already made two other shirts (maternity, no less) out of this blue fabric, so I wasn’t too worried about wasting this fabric if the top came out awful for some reason. Admittedly, this isn’t the best fabric choice. It’s a cotton/lycra (or spandex? how does one tell?) blend, so it’s got plenty of stretch. Not much drape though. Still, the shirt is wearable, and now I know how the pattern fits.

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I didn’t bother with the elbow patches this time. Maybe on the next shirt. The bottom hem does tend to roll up, but I know that’s due to the fabric, since both the other shirts in this fabric do the exact same thing. The sleeves are a bit shy of the three-quarter length on the pattern, because I simply ran out of fabric. The length works fine for me though.

In the lengthy interval it’s taken me to get this post up, I’ve actually finished a second Plantain. This one is out of a lovely, drapey rayon jersey. It’s a much better fabric choice for this pattern.

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As with the first one, I used up the whole piece of fabric, and the sleeves are actually a bit shorter than the pattern’s three-quarter length sleeve. Still just enough to cover my elbows though. But not really long enough for the elbow patches. Eventually I’ll make a long sleeve version and put on the elbow patches.

PebblePlantain2There’s not much else to say about the Plantain. It’s a lovely pattern, and one I’ll certainly sew again. Actually, I’ve already played with it some more since this last shirt. But I’ll save that for another post.

Me-Made-May …the rest of the month

Hey look, it’s June. Perhaps I should post the rest of my Me-Made-May updates. I’ve read other bloggers mention that they get burned out taking a photo everyday during May. I can certainly understand that having now (tried) to do that myself. I also got tired of writing the updates, but that might be because I had so many repeats, or just that I wear jeans and a t-shirt most of the time and it’s not very exciting to write about. Regardless, here’s the rest of the month.

May 15-threeDay 15 Me-Mades: Another raglan t-shirt

This is another old shirt from the depths of my closet. It’s a little short for my current tastes and feels  a bit blah, so it doesn’t get worn much. The fabric is some sort of squishy stretchy polyester, and it was a bear to sew. Those three buttons there aren’t functional at all, I just needed something to cover up the ripples in that seam. And of course, one button was lost in the laundry the last time I washed this. So now it’s really not going to get much wear, at least not until I find some new buttons.

IMG_1862Day 16 Me-Mades: Stripey Renfrew

Yup, still loving this shirt.

IMG_1873Day 17 Me-Mades: Knockoff GAP t-shirt

Another repeat, but hey, it’s a really comfortable t-shirt.

Day 18 Me-Mades: Knockoff GAP t-shirt

I totally didn’t get a picture today. But the shirt I wore is exactly the same pattern as yesterday, just in plain gray fabric.

IMG_1899Day 19 Me-Mades: Twisty Dress

New dress! New dress! Finished at the last minute the night before, no less.

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Day 20 Me-Mades: Drapey cowl shirt

Somewhere in the depths of my studio is the pattern for this shirt. But I don’t care if I ever find it, because I’m not making another one of these. I realized, when I put this shirt on, why it’s languished in the back of my dresser drawer for so long. I hate the way it looks on me. It’s not terribly comfortable, and I feel like it makes my shoulders look really broad. Plus, it’s too short, so I spent the whole day tugging at the hem. The only thing that made it at all wearable was the jacket I wore over it. Yup, this one’s gotta go.

Day 21 Me-Mades: Er, no picture again. I got busy. Same t-shirt as day 6.

IMG_1985Day 22 Me-Mades: New shirt! Not blogged about yet.

Day 23 Me-Mades: Um, day 23 appears to have fallen into a black hole. Can’t find the picture I took, and can’t remember what I wore. Oops.

IMG_1998Day 24 Me-Mades: Raglan t-shirt

Nothing very exciting, just another raglan t-shirt. Really, I had no idea how many shirts I’d made off this pattern until doing this challenge. In the interest of variety I think I need to try some new patterns.

Day 25 Me-Mades: This is the last day with no picture, I promise. I just wore a gray t-shirt again, off my Knockoff GAP T-shirt pattern. I think I wore that shirt 3 or 4 times this months and never managed to photograph it. That’s okay though, it’s pretty uninspiring. Just your basic gray t-shirt.

May 26-two

Day 26 Me-Mades: Cotton gauze button-up shirt.

This is one of those nearly finished projects that I find buried in my studio and can’t for the life of me figure out why I never finished it. This shirt was completely done except for buttons and buttonholes. Needless to say, that was a quick fix. I plan on making another one shortly and will blog about both then.

IMG_2006Day 27 Me-Mades: Throwback sleeveless blouse

My husband told me I looked like a throwback to the 80’s in this, and it would be a good gardening shirt. That’s his way of saying he doesn’t want to have to be seen in public with me when I’m wearing this. Really, it doesn’t fit well enough for me to wear it out anyway. The armholes are way too loose. But still, I didn’t think the fabric was that bad. Oh well. It’s comfortable and breezy, so it actually does make a good gardening shirt.

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Day 28 Me-Mades: Geometric Twisty top

This is the first top I made off one of my favorite Butterick patterns. I’ve since tweaked it and made it up as a dress. I still like the original top, though it is a bit short these days.

May 29-four

Day 29 Me-Mades: Another new, unblogged about shirt!

Well I guess this means I have something else to write about now that May is over.

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Day 30 Me-Mades: Ariadne tunic, and white cardighan, modified nursing cami

The cardighan is pretty old (at least 10 years), and made from a Lose Hinse pattern. It’s pretty basic, but I like it. I opted to just put two buttons near the neck for closure, instead of all down the button band. And while I didn’t make kiddo’s outfit, it is from the thrift store. Seriously, that’s the best place for buying baby clothes without going broke.

IMG_2118Day 31 Me-Mades: Long sleeved raglan t-shirt for me, and mama-made pants for the boy, along with a grandma-modified onesie!

Last day!! My top is completely boring, but I made up for it with kiddo’s clothes. I made the pants, and my mom added the matching long sleeves to his onesie. And she embroidered  the ducky on the front.

Phew! I survived, but I’m glad May is over. The challenge was great for making me think about what I wear, and for getting me to clean out my closet a bit. I dug out some tops that I haven’t worn in years, and for good reason mostly. This also helped me narrow down some areas for future sewing. There was something really satisfying about knowing I had on at least one thing I’d made myself every single day last month. This has really re-charged my desire to sew more of my own clothes. So here’s a big thank you to Zoe for hosting Me-Made-May 2013!

And now I feel the overwhelming desire to sew something that will require no pictures of me…

Me-Made-May Week 2

I’m a little late getting this posted. But better late than never, here’s week two.

IMG_1648Day 8 Me-Mades: Stripey Renfrew

New top! Which I’ve already worn three times since making it. Sigh. Must make a few more.

Carolyn May 9-fourDay 9 Me-Mades: Twisty Top

One of my dressy t-shirts. Yes, t-shirts can be dressy. I wish I could claim the jacket as a me-made, but it’s actually from Kohl’s. I love it though, and wear it all the time. I think I need to either make a pattern off it, or find a pattern for something similar.

IMG_1793Day 10 Me-Mades: Knockoff GAP t-shirt

This Friday’s theme is “Sewing, Knitting, Creating Space”. So here’s a little corner of my studio. The rest of the room is too much of a disaster zone to photograph right now, but this is my favorite corner anyway. On the wall above my sewing machine is a picture of my son when he was 1 day old, and my awesome giant wood scissors. Best yard sale find ever. Oh, and the shirt, which is really hard to make out in this photo is a another of my Knockoff GAP t-shirts made in a washed out grayish camo print.

IMG_1605Day 11 Me-Mades: Stripey Renfrew

I actually didn’t get around to taking a photo today. But since my outfit is exactly the same as day three, I’m just reusing that picture.

DSCN1538Day 12 Me -Mades: Kimono sleeve t-shirt, modified nursing cami

Again, duplicate outfit. But I did actually get a new picture. With my mom and my son. Seeing as it’s Mother’s Day and all… The onesie with the necktie that kiddo is wearing is my mom’s work. She added the sleeves and the tie to a plain white onesie.

IMG_1771Day 13 Me-Mades: Ariadne tunic

I realize now that all three of my Ariadne tunic tops are made up in very busy prints that make it nearly impossible to actually see the design of the shirt. One of these days I might get around to making one in a solid fabric.

IMG_1782Day 14 Me-Mades:Knockoff GAP t-shirt

This is how I look when I’ve been pulling weeds for the last hour, in the sun, in 80+ degree weather. That smile is forced. But hey, at least the t-shirt is comfy.

And there we go, week two. Not very exciting. But I am enjoying the challenge. Even if I do just live in jeans and t-shirts 90 percent of the time, there’s still something very satisfying about knowing that I made at least one thing I’m wearing every single day. Also, I’m starting to feel much less attached to a good portion of my purchased clothes. There may be a closet purge coming up in my near future.

One Renfrew, Two Renfrew

I’ve finally caught up with the rest of the sewing community and tried out the Renfrew pattern by Sewaholic. I’ve got other t-shirt patterns that’s I’m quite happy with, so I wasn’t in a hurry to find a new one. But after reading numerous glowing reviews about the shirt I figured I’d give it a try. And lo and behold, I actually really like the pattern. It’s not anything vastly different from my other tried and true t-shirts, but having the cuffs and neck and hem bands included in the pattern, instead of just adding them on my own, is a nice perk. Also, it probably can’t hurt for me to have found another t-shirt pattern that I love, since I apparently live in jeans & t-shirt.

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I made my first one out of some fabric that’s been in my stash so long I couldn’t tell you what it is or where it came from. Looking at the fabric folded up, I couldn’t remember why I’d gotten it, and thought I might as well use it to test the pattern. Funny thing though, after making up the shirt I decided I really like the fabric. It just feels so springy to me. The fabric itself is some sort of blend, probably poly/cotton given how old it is. And it’s fairly lightweight, so the edges curl if you even look at them.

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Wonky wrinkles by the armholes

Reading other reviews of the pattern, I saw a few people comment that the armscye was a little tight, and after making up my first Renfrew, I’d have to agree. There’s a little something wonky gong on around the armhole, and it feels a little snug to me. Not so uncomfortable or noticeable that I won’t wear it. But enough that I didn’t want to sew a second one until tweaked it to fit me better. Now, despite the fact that I will periodically draft (and I use that term loosely) my own patterns, I don’t actually know much about how to draft patterns. I generally just wing it. So that’s basically what I did here. When re-tracing the front, back and sleeve pieces I mostly copied the armholes and sleeve cap from a tried and true shirt pattern. It ended up being fairly minor changes – the armholes lowered and flared out a smidge more, and the sleeve caps flattened and widened a bit. It’s still not quite perfect, but close enough for now. And most importantly, this version is more comfortable.

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The only other changes I made were to sew the cuffs and hem band on with 3/8″ (serger seam width) allowance instead of the called for 5/8″ allowance. That was my quick and dirty fix for adding just a little bit of length to the sleeves and body. I should probably go back and actually add the length into the pattern pieces in the correct spots. And maybe someday I actually will.

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Long enough sleeves!

I’m quite pleased with the pattern now. I can see making several more of these. Actually, I’ve already cut out a version with the 3/4 length sleeves and a v-neck. And ignoring that the weather here has taken a sudden turn for hot, I’m tempted to cut out a version with the cowl neck. Speaking of necklines, I love how this one came out.

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It’s such a clean finish. And there’s just something nice about the way the stripes worked out. But then, I like stripes. I’ll have to make a point of sewing up at least one of these in a non-stripey fabric. Just for kicks.

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Bonus points, both these pieces of fabric are out of my stash!