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Pattern Testing for Sewaholic Patterns: The Renfrew Top

January 20, 2012

Did you see that Tasia announced the next pattern in her Sewaholic Patterns line this morning? It’s a knit top with three different neckline and three different sleeve variations that she’s named the Renfrew Top. It’s a wonderful pattern; I know because I helped test it.

Back in December I was busy making up all three versions: the long-sleeve scoop neck, the short-sleeve V neck, and the three-quarter length-sleeve cowl neck. I’ve even since made a fourth of my own combination, a short-sleeve scoop neck. It’s been so hard to keep this pattern a secret as it’s become my go-to top pattern. I want to recut all of my old, baggie T shirts using the Renfrew pattern pieces so that they’ll be cute and fitted and have that nice band at the hem.

Today I have view A for you since it’s the only version that I have photos of currently. I plan to get photos taken of the other views this weekend and post them next week. First, a bit about my experiences sewing the Renfrew top. Tasia recommends stable knits for this pattern, so for this view I chose a green striped 100% cotton knit from I cut a size 4 through the bust and waist and then graded to a 0 at the waist. With this sizing I was able to squeeze two shirts out of two yards of fabric: this long sleeve and another short sleeve with the same neckline.

The shape of the top is flattering, but the design of the bindings around the hem, cuffs, and neckline is actually my favorite feature. They turned out perfectly every time, without needing to worry with a double needle or fret about not owning a serger. All I needed to make this top was my basic sewing machine. My biggest disappointment was my own fault – despite my best efforts when cutting the shirt, I did not match the stripes at the side seams (UPDATE: the fault being my inexperience, not the pattern’s). In fact, you can see from the peek above that I got them about as far from matching up as I possibly could. And, to be completely honest, I didn’t get it right on my second make with this fabric either, despite incorporating the lessons I’d learned the first time. I know stripes can be matched since Tasia did it perfectly on her versions. Hopefully I’ve now learned enough to get it right on my next striped version. Hopefully?

I really enjoyed pattern testing for Tasia. While it required printing off and taping together pattern pieces similar to what has to be done for online BurdaStyle patterns (like the Bombshell dress), working under a deadline, and finding the extra time to write up comments and suggestions, I have four new shirts and warm, fuzzy feelings in my belly from helping out a small business owner.

Congrats on your most recent pattern, Tasia. It’s already one of my favorites.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 8:43 am

    Cute! I really love having a basic t-shirt pattern. It just keeps going and going and going!

    • January 20, 2012 3:14 pm

      Yes, it’s so quick and easy. I have too much on my plate to make more right now, but I will as soon as I can!

  2. January 20, 2012 10:00 am

    Oh, this turned out so great! Love the green, and it looks so comfy. Dying to see the other versions! Also, these photos are totally gorgeous. Love the sun flares :D

    I’m seriously tempted to give this a go… I’ve been avoiding jersey like the plague since I started sewing again!

    • January 20, 2012 3:19 pm

      This pattern is great, and I love that I now feel comfortable making knit T shirts since they fit well into my life right now. I used a stable knit for all four of the Renfrows I’ve made so far, and it was really straightforward. I imagine knowing the perfect size for the hem, cuff, and neckline bands was key to getting nice, non-puckery results.

  3. January 20, 2012 10:37 am

    This is so cute! =) I’ve only made one knit top so far, which was a copy of one of my favorite shirts that I took apart and made a pattern from. It turned out okay except for the hem, which is terrible and constantly rolls up. So I’m very interested in a pattern with a band at the bottom instead of the usual knit hem!

    • January 20, 2012 3:25 pm

      I really like the band at the hem, too. I imagine you could try to add one to your existing pattern, but I can vouch for this one being the perfect size without any extra effort. If you are considering purchasing the pattern, make sure to sign up for the Sewaholic email list. You’ll get a coupon for free shipping!

  4. January 20, 2012 1:25 pm

    Oh wow I just love the shade of green! I’m so going to get this pattern!

    • January 20, 2012 3:26 pm

      Thanks! You should definitely get this pattern. And, make sure to sign up for the Sewaholic email list if you want a coupon for free shipping.

  5. January 20, 2012 2:30 pm

    Wow – have just bought that pattern online via Tasia’s site. I love the fabric you’ve used and you’ve done a great job – don’t worry about the stripes. Need some t’s for a holiday in June, so looking forward to receiving the pattern and sewing them. Thanks for posting!!!

    • January 20, 2012 3:27 pm

      Yay! I’m happy to hear that you’ll be making these tops soon enough. I can’t wait to see your versions. You always make such cute things in such fun colors and styles!

  6. January 20, 2012 4:00 pm

    You matched the stripes well across the back armhole. I also tested this pattern in a stripe and pulled my hair out trying to match them, so I sympathise. (To anyone else wondering, that’s not the pattern’s fault at all. This is a good pattern for side seam stripe matching. It’s just that stripes are always going to be more of a headache than plain.) Your top looks nice. I like the spring colour.

    • January 20, 2012 4:06 pm

      Oh! I didn’t mean to make it sound like it was the pattern’s fault. It’s definitely from my inexperience. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how the side seams match up, while I was easily able to visualize where the stripes would fall on the bands. I got closer on the second try but really messed up the sleeves. I seem to only be able to focus on one area of pattern matching at a time! I hope the third time will be the charm!

    • January 20, 2012 8:16 pm

      I was impressed with your stripe matching! Well done. And I am looking forward to getting my hands on this pattern. :)

  7. January 20, 2012 9:42 pm

    Oh it’s just adorable and you do a fine job modeling it! Can’t wait to make one (or four!) for myself :-)

  8. January 21, 2012 3:41 pm

    That is a really, really cute and well-fitting top. When I got the email about Tasia’s new pattern I was not super excited (I have millions of knit tee patterns), but now I want it because of the fit!

  9. January 21, 2012 7:55 pm

    This pattern looks great. I just purchased one on
    I like the idea of re-fashioning the tops I do have to a more flattering style like this one. I have been looking for a good, easy top pattern for a while.

    Looks great!

    I sew as a way to de-stress too. Fabric arts are so important. Check out my blog at

  10. January 22, 2012 8:38 am

    That’s a really lovely, well fitting top, I’m not surprised you’ve made four versions! I was also a pattern tester and made the same version as you – I’m now just about to cut out a striped version. I’m hoping this tutorial from Colette Patterns will help with the stripe matching:

  11. January 23, 2012 12:20 pm

    Just wanted to tell you how much I love your version and that your stripe matching should be commended :) (I also did a stripe version, which was hell in cutting — I’m still in recovery). Such a nice knit fabric too. You’ve made so many wonderful makes this year — the Pendrell, the Beignet, and more on the horizon!

    Thanks, btw, for letting me know about a possible meet up. I wandered over to the site; it looks like a Feb. event? Do keep me posted :) Happy sewing!

  12. January 23, 2012 11:38 pm

    Oooh, great version! That fabric looks heavenly, I wonder if she’s got any left… I think this pattern screams out for stripes, even if it is a pain (and I think stripe matching is totally overrated :) ). I’m so jealous you got to pattern test – I have to wait til the end of the month to get this pattern!

  13. January 24, 2012 12:12 pm

    So cute! I haven’t had a chance to photograph mine yet (it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I get home– blech!!), but I LOVE yours! That green is amazing!

  14. January 25, 2012 6:32 am

    I’ve seen this top on Burda. Love your version! The green is so bright! Also love the band around the neckline!

  15. January 25, 2012 3:11 pm

    Oooh, I talked my self out of getting this pattern. “It’s just a tee shirt!” hubby said. Not that I have a good pattern for that. Now I see your version and wish i had ordered it. Oh well …


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