Warning: Declaration of Suffusion_MM_Walker::start_el(&$output, $item, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::start_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = Array, $id = 0) in /homepages/22/d401094450/htdocs/wp-content/themes/suffusion/library/suffusion-walkers.php on line 39
Oct 122013

A couple weeks ago I met up with several bloggers from the Chicago area and Lauren from Lladybird when Lauren made a last-minute visit from Nashville.  I was so pleased to meet these wonderful ladies:  Jen from Grainline Studio, Meg from Meg the Grand, Tasha from By Gum, By Golly, Debbie from Makizy Sews, Liz from zilredloh, Michelle from tres bien ensemble, and Mari from Disparate Disciplines.  I’m stealing pictures of us from Lauren’s blog, since I didn’t have a camera with me and the camera sucks on my phone (along with everything else, but we won’t go into that!).

L-R:  Mari, Eliza, Debbie, Jen, me, Meg, Lauren, Liz

L-R: Mari, Eliza, Debbie, Jen, me, Meg, Lauren, Liz

L-R:  Lauren, Mari, me, Michelle

L-R: Lauren, Mari, me, Michelle

As you can see, I’m wearing my Renfrew in the second photo.  I was so flattered when Lauren told me that she admired the “v” in my v-neck that I promised it would be the first post on the blog I had already begun to plan by the end of the weekend.  So here we are!  Not a very exciting first post, but I like to give the public what they want.

what the public wants

what the public wants

I saw SO. MANY. Renfrews being made over the past year or so, and I always thought I’d hate it.  I’m not much of a t-shirt wearer, and I thought the band along the bottom would be unflattering for my shape.  I finally gave in a few months ago, and I’m so glad I did.  The Renfrew is amazing, ya’ll.  First of all, there are so many options.  I’ve since made a scoop neck and a dress based on the scoop neck, both soon to be featured here.  I love all the different sleeve lengths, and the band is actually quite flattering on me.  Believe me, I NEVER wear t-shirts out of the house unless I’m running, but I wear my Renfrew all the time.  It goes with skirts and jeans and can look casual or slightly dressy depending on what you pair it with.  I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here because everyone on earth has already made a Renfrew, but if you happen to be a holdout like me, seriously, go make one right now.


My measurements indicated I would be a size 14, so that’s the size I made my muslin (I muslin every last thing I make, no matter how simple or fool-proof it is).  I like a little more ease in my knits than the pattern is apparently drafted for, so I widened out to a 16 below the waistline.  I feel much more comfortable in the shirt with a little extra room there.  Aside from that, the only change I made was to shave off the tiniest little piece at the underarm of the bodice – a quarter inch on each piece – because it seemed like I had some excess fabric under my arms.


I made the v-neck first because I feel like it’s the most flattering silhouette for large-busted people.  I used to wear really high-necked things because I thought that would somehow disguise my enormous bust, but all it really did was make me look super matronly.  I’ve since learned that neckline detail that visually breaks up the bust area is what will minimize the appearance of a large bust.  Just a little pro tip for you.

wrinkly back

As you can see in the photo above, I have a bunch of wrinkliness on the back of the shirt at the waist and below.  I have no end of problems with swayback/prominent buttocks/terrible posture, and I always have this problem.  I can usually fix it with a center back seam or even better, darts on both sides, but that would just look silly on this knit top.  I’m not exactly sure what to do about it, so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!  I’m not excessively worried about it, because I see RTW shirts looking this way on people all the time, and when I buy RTW, I usually get shirts that are blousy in the back and make me look like a hunchback.  So some wrinkling is not a major concern of mine, but better fit would always be nice.

not-really-so-perfect v (and a crooked necklace)

Finally, a close-up of the v, in which I reveal that it’s not precisely perfect.  You can see that the line in the center of the v in the neckband is a hair off from the center of the v in the bodice fabric.  It’s hardly noticeable, and I’m still really pleased with the top of the v of the neckband – the v is nice and sharp with no puckering.  I think if I had been more precise with my topstitching, it would have fixed any appearance that the neckband and bodice don’t quite line up, but I didn’t want to rip stitches out of a knit and risk putting a hole or a run in it.

The fabric this is made out of is quite beefy.  My muslin was made out of some gross ITY knit I got at Joann’s from the red tag rack, and it was really drapey and I liked that.  I knew this fabric was more substantial, but I didn’t realize quite how beefy it was until I finished it.  I didn’t like it when I first made it in July, partially because it was too thick to wear in the summer heat.  But in the early fall, I’ve grown to love it, and the beefiness of the fabric means I’m comfortable wearing it with pants.  Do you guys get more lumps and bumps with pants than skirts?  I do, and I hate it when shirts cling to them.  It’s a Sophia doubleknit that I got from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL.  I love that I live close enough to Vogue to pick up stuff like this at a moment’s notice.  I have a few other Sophia colors for Renfrews in various permutations.  I heard cowls are out now and I also heard they’re not for the well-endowed, but I want one, so I’m gonna make one and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Finally, a note about the skirt.  I didn’t make it, which is odd because skirts are so easy that I usually make them myself.  But I LOVED this fabric so much when I saw it at Banana Republic that I had to have it.  I tried to deny my love for a while, but when I went back and it was on sale for $28, I couldn’t stop myself.  While I like to make my own skirts because they’re easy, they’re also something that it makes sense for me to buy right now because I’ve been losing weight and skirts are pretty much infinitely alterable down in size if you’re willing to unpick enough seams.  Once I got the skirt home and saw that the tag said it was from the Milly Collection, it immediately made sense to my why I loved it so much.  Milly speaks my language – whenever I see Milly fabrics at Emma One Sock, I jump on them right away.  I’ve sewn up one in a Tiramisu that I’ll show you soon, but others I’m just hoarding because they’re so beautiful that I’m afraid to sew them, haha!

Well, that’s it for now!  I’m looking forward to sharing more of my closet with you all!


  10 Responses to “Sewaholic V-neck Renfrew”

  1. Love the shirt. Can’t wait to read more blog posts.

  2. Hi Gina – it was really nice meeting you a few weeks ago, and can’t wait to see your other projects. First off, that “V” is awesome! Second, definitely try out the cowl, but then I’m biased because it’s my favorite Renfrew variation and I think it looks great on everyone.

    • It was great to meet you too, and thanks for the compliments on the “v”! ! I bought some orange fabric while we were at Vogue that I’m planning to use for a cowl, so it’s definitely getting made. I love, love, love this pattern!

  3. Yess!! I love this shirt and I disagree with you – that V is as close to perfect as you can get 🙂 Who cares if it’s a hair off, just don’t tell anyone and they’ll never know hahahaha

    So glad that you are blogging now 😀

    • Haha, thanks! I’m always freaking out about something or other that’s a bit off, and Ben’s always like no one’s going to notice, calm down! And he’s usually right. 🙂

      I’m glad to be blogging too! Where else can I ramble on at length about sewing and actually have people care about it?

  4. Late to the party, but saw your post at Shakesville and wanted to get your blog into my feed. Another sewist blog always perks up my day! And hooray for Team Muslin, as frustrating as that can be at times.

    I do have a suggestion on a knit swayback that I figured out making several Lady Skater dresses (very comfy, looks good, dresses up and down well, easily modifiable pattern). Put on the tightest long bodied knit shirt you own and wiggle until it pools up. Stick masking tape across the pooling (so it stays in place) and make sure the neckline at back center is the right place (if not, use a bit of tape to mark that if the shirt’s line is too high, or have a helper measure if too low), then take off the shirt and measure from the correct neckline to the center of the pooling. Go back to your pattern. That meaurement, from back neck seam line, is where your swayback dart belongs.

    Depth of the dart is trickier. For most knits, I find the most needed is about a half-inch at the center back, tapering to nothing near the side seam. The dart goes on the pattern, not on the garment. Fold a tapering dart into the pattern, tape it down while keeping the CB fold line edge straight. Smush out any mild wonkiness so the pattern lies flat. All done — lay out the pattern again, cut, sew. The side seam should be the same length, the back should be cut on the fold, so fine. Most people try to make far larger sway backs than they actually need, which leads to all sorts of wonk. If I’m really having issues, I’ll either shorten the bodice about halfway between bust and waist lines, or sew a hip vent into the side seam, because swayback, shortwaistedness and hip tightness cause similar pooling.

    • And I’m late to reply! I wanted to wait until I had a few minutes to type up a reply.

      Thanks for the tip – your method sounds interesting! I can understand what you’re saying, but I’m trying to figure out the ultimate effect – is it just that the back ends up being shorter and the waistline is moved to where your natural waist is? Sway back is such a huge issue for me, so I’d really love to get it under control!

  5. Looks fantastic! The top stitching is a dream!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>