Renfrew tops

The next two things I made after my lovely purple knit dress were two Renfrew tops: View A, the long sleeved scoop-necked version in a grey knit, and View B, the short sleeved v-necked version in an orangey-red knit. I spent a long time pothering over which way the grainline was on the fabric before cutting it (“you will be able to see clearly from examining the fabric!” said Google merrily. I could not see at all), and got it wrong. My sewing teacher told me this wasn’t particularly disastrous given that the knits were fairly substantial, and I barrelled on, beginning with the grey top.

I made the grey on a sewing machine, overlocking the seams. The neckline was really baggy, so it was ripped out, trimmed a bit and re-sewn in (with substantial teacher assistance). I don’t think I found anything else too tricky. Making the red top only on the overlocker (except for top-stitching the neckline and making the v-neck) was wonderful. So speedy! Overlockers are magic! Eventually I definitely want to get one of my own. I had heaps of help with the v-neck because it looked fairly terrible and not very v-like when I first tried.


Comparison of the seams – sewing plus overlocking on the left, overlocking only on the right.

The below photo makes me look incapable of dressing myself – what on earth is going on with the left side of the red top. The grey pulls a bit towards the neckline which I think is a result of re-doing the neckband. Overall I’m really happy with them and have been wearing them a lot – they’re a comfortably loose fit, and I like the construction, particularly the waistband. Next time I would like to try for a closer fit, which will probably require adjusting the 14 rather than going down a full size.

Renfrew tops

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2 thoughts on “Renfrew tops

  1. Overlockers are the best. If you’re going to sew lots of knits, you definitely should get one. The angels will sing. And you might get a bit obsessed, and no one will want to talk to you because all you want to talk about is your lovely new overlocker.

    Knit grainline is hard to spot on darker coloured fabrics, but if you can get your hands on some light coloured knit, and examine it carefully, everything will fall into place and you are most likely going to be able to see it in darker coloured fabric. Basically, knit fabric is, um, knitted, so the grainline looks like the vertical lines on a home-knitted woollen jumper; it’s just that the knitted yarn is so tiny that it’s hard to spot initially. You need to be looking at the front of the fabric, because the back are purl stitches, which just look to me like a bit of a mess.

    I hope this makes sense, but I figure you knit, so you’ll get it. Possibly your sewing teacher has already explained! Mari of Seamster has a great tutorial here: http://seamsterpatterns.com/tips-getting-sweatshirt-fleece-grain/

    It’s also possible you used a double knit, in which case, the grainline is hard to spot because both sides look the same!

    Last, the pulling on the neckband may also be because the fabric was cut against the grain, so it won’t hang as nicely as if it had been cut with the grain.

    Ooh, last last. If you ever have a question and no one about to ask, post to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #sewcialists Someone knowledgeable will respond helpfully.

    Gosh but I yabber on. Fabulous work! I’m very excited for you!

  2. I’m terrible at responding to comments. Your yabbering on is greatly appreciated! I am about to cut out and start on another Renfrew tonight, this one with stripes, so that will be a fun challenge. I’m going to cut out at my lesson this time, so the grainline will definitely be right, and I will have a better chance of haing stripes match up. I’ve been offered an indefinite loan of an overlocker from a friend which I am rather excited about – all the fun of an overlocker without any initial commitment – so MORE KNITS in my future.

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