Renfrew vs. Knit Sloper—Round 1

Some of you will remember my battles with Lydia, the $1 download from Burdastyle for a very basic knit pullover. The end of this process was my knit sloper, which, frankly, bears little resemblance to the original pattern.

Although for reference, the basic changes were:

  • going down two sizes to remove ease (Lydia, like Renfrew, was intended to be an easy pullover, which wasn’t actually the look I was going for)
  • petite-alterations to the armscye, sleeve-cap, and above the waist
  • square-shoulder adjustment
  • removing ease from the sleeve-cap
  • my ubiquitous lengthening of the sleeve

Once I had the knit sloper worked out, I traced it out on bristol-board so it’s a) durable and b) easy to trace and then hack.

Now, there is one MAJOR confounding factor for comparing it to other patterns, however. Which is that the sloper has no seam-allowances, while Renfrew and Lydia both have 1.5cm (which is way too much for knits, in my opinion—.6 cm is fine, although for slippery annoying knits I think I do prefer 1cm). So in the following pictures, you need to mentally add 1.5 cm to most of the borders.

So, first up—because this is what most of you may be interested in—Renfrew vs. Lydia. (And please do click through to see the full-size photos, because the details are not so obvious at blog-size. Although the full-size photos are fuzzy as crap, because I am still lacking the charger to my good camera. Sorry.)

Renfrew vs. Lydia

Now, *this* is complicated because I don’t have a pristine print-out of Lydia anymore, and I wasn’t in the mood to produce one just for the purposes of pattern comparison. On the other hand, both these patterns have the same seam allowance. Unfortunately, the bodice pieces are opposite sides, so it’s difficult to superimpose them, especially since this particular copy of Lydia is the one I hacked to make my mother’s (unblogged ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) Christmas present. So pay attention to the lines of the smaller sizes on the Lydia pattern, not the cut outline.

As you can (hopefully) see, Lydia actually has more shaping going on than Renfrew. It’s also a somewhat shorter pattern (remember Renfrew has the band at the bottom to lengthen it). The waist isย slightly longer in Lydia, and, most surprisingly, the hips are a little more generous (this is suprising because Sewaholic patterns are supposed to be drafted for pear-shaped women, so I was expecting Renfrew to have more width below the waist).

I should add that the shoulder height and angle in the Lydia you can see has been altered to match my sloper, since my mom and I share a short upper body and square shoulders—the original Lydia was rather longer through the armscye and had a much more sloping shoulder. So Lydia originally would’ve had a shoulder-slope similar to Renfrew, but a rather lower armscye, and a longer, somewhat more shaped, waist. I think the amount of ease each pattern was designed for would’ve been similar.

Sloper vs. Renfrew

Enter my knit sloper. This is when things get a bit wacky.

Like Lydia, you can see that my sloper has more shaping than Renfrew. The waist is slightly higher in my sloper, but not as much as I had thought it might be (I tried to align the bottom of the armscye, remembering that my sloper doesn’t have seam allowances. The armscye in my sloper is shorter, but again, not as much as I had thought it might be. The shoulder slope is hugely different, however. There’s a slight difference in ease (remembering that my Sewaholic size, 6 or 8, is the 4th or 5th line over, while the sloper needs 1.5 cm added to the edge, to be comparable.) I’d say at the bust, the difference in ease is about 4 cm around the whole bust, rather more at the waist and almost no difference at the bottom. There are also some differences in the shoulder-point position and armscye curve, but seeing as 1) my sloper has very narrow shoulders, and 2) I’m really not sure what to make of them, I’ll get back to you about it once it’s made up.

And, for your edification, here’s how the sleeves compare:

Renfrew sleeve vs. Knit Sloper

So I should really have set the knit sloper a little further down, to allow for seam-allowances. Sorry. Anyway. Sleeve cap height is actually fairly similar, however. Renfrew’s sleeves don’t seem to have much (if any) front/back shaping, and there’s no notching to indicate it, anyway. I know lots of knit patterns don’t, it’s not necessary, but I do think you get a slightly better fit when there is some. (You can see I have a little bit of shaping on my sloper—the front is to the left—although for the life of me I can’t remember if that’s original to the Lydia or if I added it as I was messing around.)

The original Lydia length is about where the knit sloper starts flaring out, so that length is very close (remembering that the sloper should be down another 1.5 cm, but on the other hand the Renfrew has the cuff on the end. So Renfrew sleeve is probably functionally longer, for your size, than the Lydia. I think the taper of my sloper is pretty true to the original Lydia sleeve as well, so the Renfrew sleeve also appears to be a little more straight overall. It also doesn’t appear to be drafted with sleeve cap ease, which is great in a knit.

So what does this all mean?

Sloper vs. altered Renfrew

At the end of things, I still wanted to be making Renfrew, not just another version of my knit sloper (but with sleeve-bands). So I opted to keep as much of the Renfrew shape as I could. For size, considering I like a little less ease in my knits (and I *REALLY* liked Seraphinalina’s Renfrews, where she went down a size), I went with the 6.

I “petited” the armscye sightly, by the simple expedient of using the size 4 rather than the size 6 height, and squared the shoulder by going over to the size 2 at the side of the neck. I also shortened above the waist, but by considerably less than the 2″ I removed from the Lonsdale—only about 2 cm, this time. And, because I wanted to keep the same overall length, I actually just “slid” the waist shaping up.

Since I’m making the 3/4 sleeves this time, I didn’t make any length alterations on them—I just adjusted the sleeve-cap height to the size 4 rather than the size 6. And it’s all cut out and ready to go, except that now I want to take a whack at adding Lisa’s hood. Which may not work (and I have enough fabric to make one go at it but not several), but requires a bit more thinking about matching the neckline that I haven’t quite gotten to. Maybe on the weekend…



Filed under Sewing

25 responses to “Renfrew vs. Knit Sloper—Round 1

  1. Tee hee… I love my Renfrews too. ๐Ÿ˜€

    As for the sleeve cap, no ease at all. You sew the sleeves in flat, no folds or easing in at all. The side seams are done from the bottom to the sleeve in one pass. Down side is that it’s pretty much done before you can try it on, but it sure is quick and easy.

    • Oh and I blame you that the weather reporter said “sunshine” and I started singing back “and lollipops and rainbows everywhere…” Fortunately, that’s about the extent of the lyrics I know to that song.

      • Yeah, that’s all I know, too. I may have to youtube it now, however.

        I love putting in the side-seams flat, but it is a problem in the fit department ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. LinB

    Sounds as if you could just have had a whack at the Renfrew, just as you did your first Lydia, with less trouble than this (very edifying) compare-and-contrast! Wow, you really DO have longer-than-standard arms. No wonder you despair at finding rtw tops that fit you well. You need to longen and thin-en sleeves; I need to shorten and thicken them. Yet we both fall within the normal range of human body types. Still, too non-standard to be able to easily buy clothing off the rack.

    • Well, the thing is it took me four tries at Lydia to get something I would actually wear. I’d rather short-circuit that process this time around. And a couple of people had wondered what the comparison would be like, so I figured I’d document the process a bit.

      And yes—before I started sewing, I don’t think I’d had long-enough long sleeves on anything (that wasn’t vastly over-sized) since I was about twelve.

  3. This must be the process of a real sewist instead of my “try it and I’ll fix it if I have to” approach.
    Can’t wait to see your Renfrew. You really should teach a sewing with knits class. I’d attend.

    • Hmm, I’d say this is the process of someone who’s lazy and stingy with fabric (even free gift fabric) so would like to skip the muslin stage. I mean, if it was my first knit pattern, or I didn’t have anything really comparable, I’d absolutely jump right in, but skipping the comparison when I have the option… well, that just lands me back in the Clover pants fiasco… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. OMG – you’re just like me! ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually think these patterns are pretty similar – but with enough differentiation to give you some novel bang for your buck. I find that Sewaholic patterns are not cut for my hourglass – I have to really shape the waists. And I also find them seriously long. But excellent patterns with excellent instruction. Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Yeah—we definitely have some shared characteristics in the over-analyzing department ๐Ÿ˜‰

      They are pretty similar. Which is a testament to the “cool factor” of internet fame, that it just didn’t feel cool enough to add bands (or a cozy cowl) to my existing pattern. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Thanks! I have a heavily altered Lydia too and it’s interesting to see the differences.

  6. Ah ha, yeah I’m with Funnygrrl. My method to approaching a new pattern is to cross my fingers and hope for the best. I appreciate watching skilled people like you work through problems before they happen! I’d take a class from you anytime, because knits are confusing!

    • *snerk* skilled *coughcough*

      Um, yes. Of course I am very… skilled…

      Hmm, here’s my knit tips. Don’t expect the same result twice. Do expect they’ll wriggle around on you. If you’re lucky the wash will take care of that wavy hem. Um… I’ll let you know if I find a stitch that I actually like.

  7. Mostly I’m wondering if you will end up adding all the alterations back in ๐Ÿ™‚ I look forward to seeing the whole process. I love watching patterns evolve, and its always amazing how much difference there can be between bodies that looks so similar.

  8. Ah-ha! You have the positive shoulder slope, the waist definition, and the extra sleeve length that I lack! Now I know where it went…

  9. I do the same thing….compare patterns and pick a size based on my TNT. Although sometimes I eyeball it and those work out the best. I don’t even do alterations anymore due to what is apparently my complete lack of spatial skills — if I can find a pattern that’s close enough, I’ll go with that.

    Renfrew is on my “to buy” list because I’ve been looking for a banded bottom t-shirt for AGES. I keep trying to find alternative options to no avail (because Big 4 patterns are cheap). I do want to be able to use relatively stretchy knits, though, and I think they want you to use moderate stretch jersey.

  10. This is really interesting, since I found I had to make several changes to the Renfrew’s fit for me – & gave up frankenpatterning Renfrew with my Sew U basic t-shirt. I never thought knits needed such fitting!

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  12. Amy

    Oh, you have no idea how much this satisfied my analytic brain for the day. Thanks for this comparison! I was totally geeking out on t-shirt fits recently so I have a pretty good idea of how the Renfrew would fit after seeing this. I’ve since compared the Lydia to one other pattern, and the things that definitely stand out are the very curved hip shaping (I think a plus, because it doesn’t bunch up), the very sloped/angled shoulders and the longer shoulder to waist length (which I also had to raise by almost 2 inches). Definitely a lower armscye, which seems very common to Burda. Your sleeve cap shaping is so interesting–I really want to try something like that and raise the armscye, get rid of all that ease. Obviously, I have more hacks to do.

  13. Ali

    This is fascinating. I believe in slopers in theory but don’t really use them in practice (at least not well). I get scared off when they’re massively different, especially at tricky parts like the armscye. But I look forward to seeing what your adjustments will make your Renfrew look like ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Oh lordy I really need to come back and read again. Very interesting indeed, particularly given the outcome (pinkity pink). All good.

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