Omg you guysssss have you been lurking the Renfrew top as hard as I have? I was seriously excited when Tasia released this pattern – I love working with knits and I want everyone else to love them, too! Honestly, I already have a tshirt pattern block and I’ve got a pretty good handle on knits – not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been pumping out knit tshirts/dresses for a few years now (mostly LLADYBIRD stuff. But I bought this pattern anyway – for SCIENCE. Despite making hundreds of tshirts, I’ve never actually sewn with a pattern for knits. So I was curious to see what it was like, and I wanted to report back to y’all. Also, SCIENCE.
I do love how versatile this pattern is – and not even with just what is offered on the envelope! You can seriously butcher this pattern up to make all kinds of other designs! I do like it better than my personal block, although it took some tweaking to get the fit correct. My biggest issue with Sewaholic patterns is the bust size – the measurements are so much smaller than mine, and since I already have to do a FBA with normal patterns, it’s not usually worth it to go the extra step with something that will take even more flat pattern adjusting. Knits, however, are very very forgiving. You don’t have to do a FBA so much as you just cut a bigger size :)
I was a little confused with the finished measurements – they include a few inches of ease, which is guess is necessary for a stable knit. Me, I use super stretchy knits – I have a whole cabinet full of them! I cut my pattern to accommodate for this – a 4 at the bust, reducing to a 0 at the waist/hip. I left the sleeves at a 4 (I have big upper arms for my size, I guess) and the shoulders/neckline are a 0. I also reduced the shoulder width just a hair past 0 as my first prototype was in danger of falling off my shoulder.
Speaking of my first shirt, I’m not going to show it to you. There’s nothing wrong with it – the fit is great – but it’s a boring red long sleeve shirt with a scoop neck. BORING. Who wants to look at that?
The whole pattern is great. I love the fit and the instructions are very clear and concise. I love the bands – this is not a new concept to me, personally, as I’ve been using this method for a few years, but it was reassuring to know my method was the right method :)
I do have one small change I made to the pattern that I think makes a huge difference with the finished neckline, though – if you are sewing this up with a stretchy/slinky knit (i.e, not something stable), cut the neckline band an inch or so shorter than the pattern piece indicates, and then stretch it to fit as you sew it on. The ending result is that the band shrinks down to fit the neckline and you get a perfect curve without needing to top stitch it down. As far as how much to cut off – well, I wish there was a formula to tell you, but it’s really dependent on how stretchy your knit is. Usually an inch is enough, but you might need to experiment! It is definitely worth it for the end result, though.
The fabric requirements on this pattern, btw, can easily be fudged. If you play around with the cutting layout, you can definitely save on fabric. Fabric can also be pieced at certain points if you don’t have enough length – this particular shirt is pieced right down the front. Partially to form the chevrons, but mostly because I barely had any of this stripey fabric.
I tried to get a picture of my top stitching but you can’t really see it, even with my super obvious ‘shopping :( Instead of using the zig zag (which I think looks kind of amateur on knits), I used a double needle and stitched with the seam in the middle of the needles. This is something I see on lots of RTW and I think it looks pretty professional! The bobbin stitch in a double needle is kind of a zig zag, so you still get a little stretch even though the top stitching is straight :) I also did this with my shoulder seams when I stitched down the twill tape.
So… as a lover of knits, my final verdict on this pattern is a definite WIN. I can’t wait to play around with this pattern some more; I’ve already pulled out a giant stack of knits from my cabinet to see what else I can cook up :D