Category Archives: Renfrew

Rust Trapeze Dress

Idle Pinterest scrolling led me down a rabbit warren of ponte roma dresses to keep me warm but well dressed this winter. I explored different shapes, lengths, colours and styling. Finally settling on rusty reds and berry purples with a trapeze silhouette, plain but absolutely primed to pair with a hand-knitted shawl/cowl or a statement necklace.

Trapeze Dress

I took my previous hacked dress pattern (it’s based on the best bits of Renfrew, AudreyStaple and Briar) and used this tutorial to trapeze it. It was a speedy hack, used just 2m of fabric and was a quick sew too. The end effect is completely shapeless from the bust down but I love the abundance of fabric.


As I wasn’t sure how my hack of a hack of a hack pattern would work out… or even if I’d like or suit the new-to-me silhouette, I didn’t worry too much about the fabric. In fact I used it as an opportunity to try a colour outside of my usual palette. If you’re reading this thinking new silhouette, new colour, new year, new you… you’re wrong. I actually dreamt and sewed this up in December!


So I’m interested to hear… what do you think of the shape and colour? What new things are you trying?

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Autumn Basics: Renfrew

I’d happily mark  the start of autumn sewing every year with a Renfrew.

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With the scoop neck view, it’s a staple basic that can be worn under with dresses and with skirts or trousers.

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I noticed over the summer that my store-bought white long sleeve t-shirt was looking a little worse for wear. So when I also found a textured white jersey at Mad Jak’s I knew exactly what I needed to sew (my thoughts on Mad Jak’s as a fabric shop here). This fabric is just as pleasing as other fabrics I’ve purchased at Mad Jak’s, good quality, fair price and washes well.

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As far as I can remember, this was my first time sewing with a textured knit. It took a bit of extra care over pattern piece cutting – I treated it the same you would with any striped, directional print. The neck band was carefully placed so that when folded it had the cleanest line. I used a hem band but just folded the sleeves. The finishing touch was a twin needle top stitching at the neckline, sleeves and hem but it’s purely functional as it’s visibly lost in the texture.

Pattern Mash Up

Just over a year ago, I hacked the April Rhodes’ Staple dress with the Maria Denmark’s Audrey dress and I kinda liked the outcome. Except that it didn’t last too long before the seams became holey and I had to abandon it. I think this was partly due to the overlocker needles that were onto their second project and partly due to the fabric. It was inevitable that I’d remake this pattern combo… but better.

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I upgraded to a heavier weight fabric for warmth and to get rid of some of the wrinkles but it was a compromise on the drape of the dip hem skirt. This luscious teal ponte was from Ditto Fabrics (24 weeks ago according to my Instagram account!). It’s really soft and, as always with Ditto’s fabrics, it’s great quality, not the disappointing poly-shiny ponte. I actually wore this dress on Christmas day (I’m behind on blogging) and a few times since. It’s holding up well to washing, wearing and keeping me warm.

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For the pattern mash up, I went from a duo to a trio of StapleAudreyRenfrew. There’s a “two’s a crowd, three’s a party joke” in there somewhere but the addition of the cowl collar certainly works well with this fabric for a winter dress.

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So that’s me back on the blogging horse. More 2015 makes coming soon… maybe!

Second Stripe Renfrew

This is my fourth Renfrew but my second in stripe fabric.

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe Front

In fact it is the same fabric but reverse colorway as my other one. I loved the first fabric, predominantly navy with narrow white stripe version so much that I purchased a couple of meters (ebay seller brunswickmill2013) of the white with narrower navy stripes too.

Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl

I wear the first one weekly (or there about) and it is still going strong. The fabric washes so well and no bobbling over half a year later. With the fabric so similar, I attempted to keep it different by making the cowl neck Renfrew version this time. Do you ever worry people will ask why you have the same top (or any favourite sewing pattern garment) in multiple different colours?

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe Shoulder

I really enjoy sewing with stripes, there are a lot of areas to pay attention to in order to get a really satisfying finish (check out my top ten tips here).

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe  Side

On the plus side, pressing beyond the border of the stripe at the hem and cuffs and hiding the twin needle top stitching in the navy strip worked a dream.

Renfrew Twin Needle Top Stitching

The most basic of basics: White Renfrew T-Shirt

There’s been a wave of t-shirt sewing among the blogging community lately. It’s great that we’re embracing sewing the basic items we wear frequently and shunning RTW.

Sewaholic Renfrew White T-shirt

I had a tip off that the white t-shirt jersey from Brunswick Mills (ebay seller: brunswickmill2013) was good quality: excellent recovery, washes well and has high opacity. I can fully recommend this fabric on all factors but it scores top markes for non-see-through-ability.

Sewaholic Renfrew White Tee

I used this t-shirt as an opportunity to test a few more tweaks to the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern based on the fit of my previous versions (Cowl and Long sleeve tee). With a bit more grading between waist and hip, mostly on the back pattern piece, I hoped to avoid a sway back adjustment… sadly not to be. Here I’m displaying the pooling in all it’s glory and with the t-shirt pulled down.

Sway Back Adjustment Predicament

The problem with a sway back adjustment on a garment with no centre back seam is that making it with a horizontal stripe fabric becomes impossible. The adjustment causes the hem line to rise up, the grainline gets skewed and the stripes end up all wonky. So my choice is to either add a centre back seam (really on a knit?!) or to be limited to non-stripe/non-obvious horizontal patterned fabrics. What a predicament to be put in.

Renfrew White T-shirt

Fabric necklace is still going strong after two years, I wonder whether the white t-shirt will avoid food stains for that long. What did you sew this weekend?

Stripe Renfrew

Stripe jersey and Sewaholic’s Renfrew pattern were meant to be together. Don’t believe me? See here, here, here, here and here. If you still don’t believe me… enter ‘stripe Renfrew’ into a search engine of your choice.

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Despite the hints of spring it’s still cold outside… I took a bit of persuading to remove my gloves, coat and scarf at the weekend to get these photographs.

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I made some more changes to the pattern pieces since my first Renfrew which was ok but had room for improvement. I have blended sizes between almost every pattern piece to create a custom fit and form fitting silhouette. My final pattern pieces are: bust 6, waist 4, hips 8, shoulders 6 and wrists 2. But…

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Unfortunately I’m still a sway back adjustment away from a perfect fit.

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The fabric? It’s a lovely, soft  t-shirt knit jersey from one of my favourite ebay fabric shops brunswickmill2013. I also snapped up the reverse navy and white stripe combo before both options went out of stock.

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Stripe matching. Would you be surprised if I said I find stripe matching fun and immensely satisfying? I just love all the pattern placement and pedantic pinning only to open the fabric and see continuous stripes right across the new seam. What’s your sewing pleasure of the moment?

Maroon Renfrew

Very soon after unwrapping, I traced out both of the new patterns I received for Christmas but before I got to cut into fabric I came down with a cold which developed into sinusitis and that put a slow start to my 2015 sewing.

Nevertheless, I have a completed item to show you and photos with a put on smile because I’m still suffering with that hit-in-the-face-by-a-crowbar-feeling that is synonymous with sinusitis.

Sewaholic Renfrew 1

Sewaholic Renfrew. There’s a very good reason why this pattern is so popular. Love the cowl. Exclusively sewn on my overlocker with Jane‘s approach to thread colour – matching in the left needle, too bright red in the right needle, slightly too purple and slightly too pink in the loopers but what the heck it’s using stashed thread!

Sewaholic Renfrew 2

I started by cutting an 8 all over… that was a drowsy painkiller decision. I had to go back over the side seams and right down the arms making what I think will equate to bust 6, waist 4, hips 8, shoulders 6 and wrists 2. I’ve made those changes to the pattern pieces, also lengthened the top by 1 inch and shortened the sleeves by 1 1/2 inches. I may also need a sway back adjustment but I’ll re-assess once I’ve made a second version with my new, more accurate, grading between sizes pattern pieces!

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Oh yes, the fabric. It’s just perfect for a Renfrew. It’s a fairly stable knit with not too much stretch and excellent recovery. Purchased from Ditto Fabrics on our trip to Brighton last year. I couldn’t see this exact colour on the website but how nice is the Deep Peacock they currently have in stock?

Wait… what’s the obligatory, I’ve popped my Renfrew cherry pose again?

Sewaholic Renfrew 4