adult's clothing · sewing

Renfrews and a tube skirt

Taking daily photos has made me take a long,hard look at my wardrobe.  As much as I admire them on other sewing blogs, I don’t wear tailored garments much at all.  I don’t wear vintage style sundresses or shirtdresses, skirts with defined waists, or shirts that button down the front.

But I do wear t-shirts – a lot.  They are such great pieces for layering – just add a cardigan, vest or jacket, plus a scarf – and long-sleved t-shirts keep me warm and comfortable.  So last week I made another Renfrew.

Renfrew top

When I first looked at the Renfrew pattern I was dubious about the bands, especially the hem band. I had visions of 80’s style garments, oversized elsewhere but gathered into a band that emphasised the waist and stomach. However, I think that the bands on the Renfrew work just fine – mostly because they are pretty much the same width as the top, so are a finishing treatment rather than altering the fit.

Renfrew top - back view

This is basically a size 12 again, graded down to an 8/10 in the hips and with the waist curve almost eliminated. The fabric is cotton/lycra and quite stable – lovely to work with. The cowl neckline for the Renfrew is beautifully drafted; it’s not just a big rectangle folded in half, but is nicely shaped to fit beautifully in the neckline and to frame the face. And those sleeve and hem bands make this a quick and simple sew, all assembled on the overlocker. I didn’t need to crack out the machine at all! The sleeves are a little long, despite shortening the sleeve pattern piece around an inch. I decided to make another Renfrew a few days later, but to cut it a bit smaller through the shoulders and to shorten the sleeves.

Renfrew top

This version has the sleeves shortened around 2 inches, but they are still quite long! I cut the armholes and sleeves at around size 8, but kept the size 12 width through the bust and the same grading to 8/10 through the hips. BUT – this fabric is super stretchy, and the end result looks a little large around the body. Although if it were any smaller it might have a sausage casing appearance.

Renfrew top

This is a better fit through the shoulders and armhole, and I’m going to continue to cut out this size. But it is amazing just how much difference the fabric type makes – and you really don’t know exactly what that will be until it is all sewn up. I am regarding this as an interesting experiment in trial and error. The scoop neckline – the same as for the cowl neck – is a nice depth and the band went on well. And looking at this photo it is clear that this fabric shows every single bulge and bra strap, and that I am definitely not wearing the right undies for those jeans….

patternless tube skirt

Since I had red thread in the overlocker when making the striped Renfrew (see how I matched the stripes, by the way? Yay me) I decided to cobble together the scraps from my Vogue dress into a simple tube skirt. I sewed four straight strips into a tube somewhere between the diameter of my waist and hips, curved the top edges in slightly to mimic a waistline, and added waist elastic and a hem. SO quick and easy! But despite it being nicely finished, I won’t EVER be wearing anything tucked into it.

Renfrew top and patternless tube skirt

I just used the reverse side to my dress, and voila, no scraps left over. I like it when there is no waste and I make a teensy bit more room on the fabric shelves. Since making these I have cut out another Renfrew and a couple of other items, so enough blogging for today and more sewing!

Renfrew top and patternless tube skirt

And thanks to all those who wished my daughters a speedy recovery – today they actually ate breakfast and lunch and are arguing with one another, so they are clearly on the mend now. Hooray!

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6 thoughts on “Renfrews and a tube skirt

  1. Great tops! I made a 3/4 sleeve v neck in merino, which fit like a glove, and a long sleeve v neck in metallicus knit- they both turned out completely different! The metallicus one ended up like a loose pj top, and I found the sleeves too long, it needs a lot of taking in I find the knits both great and frustrating at the same time! Will have to try the cowl next! Glad the girls are on the mend!

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