Tag Archives: Renfrew

The Pink Suit

Pink Suit. Also, bad hair. >_<

(as my children so endearingly dubbed it) … is finished.

Right off the bat, I am going to apologize to Lisa. I did not end up incorporating her awesome hood pattern on the Renfrew. Mostly because I couldn’t find one of the  pattern pieces I painstakingly drafted from her instructions when the time was right, and I was too impatient to wait for it to show up. But then, the pink fabric is possibly a bit too thin, anyway. I will definitely try another time, after the pattern piece shows up.

So, shall we start with the bottom?

Jalie 3022

I added 4″ to the leg length in this pattern, as the size R (my hip size) only has a 30.5″ inseam. 34.5″ is a bit excessive, even for me, but frankly I wanted to be safe rather than sorry, and given that 4-way stretch pants sometimes lose length as they stretch, I wanted plenty. As it turned out (at least in this very stretchy fabric), I only needed about two extra inches, but I think I’m going to keep the length in the pattern just in case. I added the length in two sections, 2″ at the lengthen-shorten line on the thigh and 2″ just below the knee. I also did a small full-butt wedge (this  adjustment), based on my kids’ experience. Although as it turns out I probably could’ve skipped that, not so much because I didn’t need a bit of extra height in the back as because the overall rise was considerably too high for me—coming to just below my belly-button. That looks right on my kids; it doesn’t look right on me. Fortunately in a style like this, it’s easy to fix. I lopped off the seam at the bottom of the waistband (I don’t un-pick knits if I can avoid it), and cut a band off the top of the pants-portion, about 1cm from the back increasing to 3 cm at the front. Then re-attached the waistband. PERFECT!

Seam---interior

For seam finishing I went a bit…overboard. I had decided on black topstitching, in the hopes of cutting down the severe sweetness of all that pink. For my seams themselves, I opted to use a simple overedge stitch on my White, which is both stretchy and makes a much straighter seam on the right side than the overedge stitch on the Janome. And then finish the edge on the serger. And then topstitch with what I think of as the Janome’s “Athletic stitch.”

That’s a lot of stitching.

Topstitching

One of my main reasons for using the White for the seam stitch (besides saving me switching my settings constantly) is that it has adjustable pressure on the presser foot, and lightening the presser-foot pressure makes the knit wave up much less than the Janome’s fixed, heavy foot. Which meant that my seams looked really nice right up until I decided to topstitch with the same Janome. At which point they waved up like crazy. Ironing has helped somewhat, and I’m hoping that the laundry will take care of the rest, but if not, I will be warned for the future. Which is too bad, because I really like the look of this topstitching for “athletic” gear.

Jalie 3022 construction---one wide, flat piece.

I was initially a touch puzzled by the instructions, which have you construct the back as usual, then stitch each side of the front to the sides of the back, before finishing the front crotch and then the inseam. Then I realized it was *much* easier to topstitch the outseam before the “tube” was closed by stitching the front crotch. Smart Jalie! And for once I actually followed the instructions, so I got to enjoy the benefits of their braininess. Yay!

I used strips of Steam-a-Seam Lite (2) in the hems of the pants, as has become my modus operandi for knits, and they turned out, well, no wavier than the other topstitched seams. The nice thing about this particular topstitching (as opposed to say, twin-needling) is that it is the same top and bottom, so I could topstitch looking at the inside and make sure I was covering the edges of the hem-fold. Although, since the edge was already fused in place with the Steam-a-Seam, I suppose there wasn’t much I could actually do if the hem was wonky. Still, I felt better. 😉

Pink suit! Seams slightly ripply

On to the top?

Sewaholic’s Renfrew Top.

I used mostly the same construction methods on the shirt, although not nearly so much topstitching (just around the bands.) Once again I followed Tasia’s instructions surprisingly closely (for me), and was glad of it, because I initially sewed the “V” on the neck-band the wrong way—it was making an “A”, not a “V”.  So double-check that bit, because it’s not really obvious from the pattern piece. It turned out pretty well, though, as you saw above.

As so many others have said before me, there’s not really much not to love about this top. Easy fit, cute styling. I do prefer a smaller seam-allowance, especially when setting in the sleeves; the Jalie knits all have 1/4″ seam allowances, which can feel a bit scant—I think 1cm is definitely my fave in almost any situation. The shoulders feel a bit tight (which is odd, considering they’re rather wider than on my knit sloper) but I think this actually has to do with the curve of the armscye on the body, which is much more extreme in this pattern—which also makes the sleeves angle down more, as opposed to the sleeves on my sloper, where they angle more out. Despite the sleeve-caps being virtually identical. Verry Eeenteresting, my friends. (You can see the effect of the downward angle in the photo below, where they bunch up a bit above my shoulders because my arms are out.) This is also one of those differences that I wouldn’t notice in a fabric with a bit more give or a bit less recovery. I will say, if you’re fitting a knit, this is the fabric to do it in—it actually stays the size and shape that you cut it out.

Other than that, it is what it is and what it is is luverly.

Oh, yeah, back view

Altogether, it is a lot of pink. Possibly more than I’m comfortable with. I was hoping the black topstitching would take the edge of the sweetness, but there’s not quite enough of it. I don’t think it will actually stop me wearing these (although maybe not so much together), but if it does become a problem I could always take a whack at producing a lovely sludgy dyed colour as Carolyn is so good at.

The only complaint I have about the pants (aside from the ripply seams) is that the fabric is *borderline* too thin for bottoms. In a dark colour, I might not have noticed it, but, well, we’ll just say I shall have to be careful which underwear I wear with these.

So another view. Note the un-ripply inseam and the ripply topstitching.

I had some photos showing where the waistband ended up after my alteration, but I’m just not quite happy enough with the current  jowly condition of my midsection to throw them up (at least in combination with the other things I don’t like about these photos, like my bad after-work hair and the crappy photo quality of my backup camera).   So you’ll just have to imagine it going from right below my navel to sitting comfortably beneath the belly-flub.*

On your mark...

I wish I could say this sporty suit will inspire me to  take after Winnie, but I fear that a) I hate long-distance running, and b) nothing’s going to change before the end of the summer at the earliest.

But at least I will be comfy while I slob around the house!

Also, now Tyo wants shorts from the leftover fabric. My desire to move on to other projects is at war with my desire to get rid of the remaining half-metre or so of this fabric. Hmm.

*As usual when I whinge about my body, I feel the need to insert a disclaimer: overall, it’s a pretty good body. I am (and have been for the past several years) mistreating it horribly, as health, fitness, and everything else except family and sewing, in fact, are pushed aside in the face of THESIS. And while I haven’t gained a significant amount of weight, I’ve definitely lost muscle tone, and what I do gain goes right to my middle. It’s not horrific—it’s just not what I want to see when I look in the mirror, and not what I would be seeing if I was doing anything other than sit in front of a computer nine hours a day. And I can’t even blame it on having children… 😉

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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 😦 ) 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 is 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…

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