Pattern Hack | Sewaholic’s Renfrew top as a dress

The great thing about sewing with knit fabrics is that you can be a little loose on the specifics. Recently I made this Renfrew Top hack and ended up doing a lot of running up the sides with the serger to ‘adjust’ or, more accurately, hack away at the side seams. You have probably figured out by now that I don’t like to get too worried about the specifics with loose fitting garments.

I realise this hack is probably not the most exciting piece of sewing you’ve ever seen, far from it in fact. However it’s taken me an awfully long time to get back into sewing so I’m taking it easy, and taking on board your advice from this blog. I’m choosing to sew some things that come together quickly and are therefore immensely satisfying. I’ve seen many, many Renfrew hacks over the years – Amanda from Sewaholic and Jo from Make it Well have compiled extensive lists of their favourites. I was delighted to see the number of ways that the Renfrew has been interpreted, and in some cases, almost redesigned.

I’ll keep this post short and sweet and I won’t bore you with my construction details – essentially all I did was lengthen the pattern from the hips, create a waist and tapper at the knees. And yes this is merino from The Fabric Store. Have you made a Renfrew hack? Link it to me in the comments!

And that’s the shortest blog post I’ve ever written!

It’s Been a While, But I’ve Still Got It

I’ve been thinking – isn’t it sad that as soon as my life gets busy I stop doing the things I really enjoy? Let me tell you this – I have been BUSY! It’s important to get the essential things done but the fun things make life better – so here is a Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns.

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I’m currently on uni holidays so I’ve seized the moment and got sewing. I made this top, as well as cut out Muse Patterns’ Jenna Cardi and Grainline Studio’s Alder Shirtdress which I secretly think will go really nicely together! I tried taking some photos outside but it was SO SUNNY that I ended up with watering eyes. This is my level of commitment team! At least I know it’s nearly summer.

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I made this blouse out of a silk-viscose blend. And as I was sewing it I wondered if it were meant to used for lining? Isn’t viscous normally a lining material, I wondered? Of course it was already too late by this stage as I had cut the fabric into a t-shirt, but even as I wear it now I’m still wondering… Anyway it feels lovely to wear and has a lovely loose drape so I’m not too bothered about it. Also, as 99% of the western world buys RTW clothes they wouldn’t recognise the print anyway so it will be our secret ok?

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Side note – these are my favourite trousers-and-shoes combination at the moment. They’re both quite out of the box for me! The trousers are wet-look, super-skinny, super-stretchy jean-type-things. The shoes are black leather with chunky wooden heals. I’m quite fond of both of these pieces.

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Notes for future Belcarras:

  • In this version I did not top stitch the cuffs. I think in the next edition this would be a nice detail.
  • I kept the sizing and shape as is (we all know Sewaholic Patterns are pear-shaped right?) I think I’ll keep my next on this way as I really like the having lots of ease on the waist. I think the shape looks nice. Length is also great for me.
  • This top is crying out for contrasting shoulder/ sleeve panels. I currently have some white crepe sitting lonesome in the fabric bookcase and I’m thinking of pairing it with golden shoulders. Too much? Try stop me!
  • Neck bias binding isn’t amazing but only ok-ish (very scientific categorising). This is an area for improvement…
  • Pattern placement: I gave the front and back panels a lot of thought and ensured the fabric design was centred. Bizarrely didn’t consider this at all when it came to matching at the sides. This happened with my Charlotte Skirt too. Alas, I think I need to slow down a bit and make sure to check these things next time. Having said that it’s only fellow sewists who notice these things or care! AMIRITE?

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One more thing. Is it just me or does the neckline look really wide on this top? When I first tried it on I was like woah that is gonna slip and slide every where! But actually it’s fine. I haven’t had any issues and it frames my clavicles nicely!

Have you made the Belcarra yet? What did you think?

The Very Yellow Minoru

The other day I posted this selfie on my Instagram. I am SUPER PROUD of my Sewaholic Minoru. It is the first jacket I’ve ever made – moreover – the first sort of outerwear that I’ve completed full stop. So the fact that it is wearable is pretty amazing to me!

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I asked my sister if she could take these photos in front of a garage for old times sake! This one is at my parents house… So shall we get onto this jacket?

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I made my Minoru out of a heavy weight cotton. Yes it is as saffron yellow as it looks I the pictures and yes it does have a shine to it. I’m such a magpie. I originally bought this fabric to make an A-line dress but decided against it as the fabric was too heavy. It’s much better as a jacket right?

I cut my pattern as an 8 and graded down to a 4 at the hips as (we all know) Sewaholic Patterns are designed with pear shaped women in mind. My fabric was, in truth, a bit if a mare to sew with as it had a bit of a stretch to it. Holy heck it was hard to get that hood zipper in! If I was a smart person I would have interfaced around the zipper slash to prevent stretching. Alas, this only occurred to me much later. Also I’m a bit bummed that I couldn’t find an open end zipper in yellow. But you can’t get what the shops don’t have.

I’m not entirely convinced about how waterproof this jacket will be bit I’m sure it will serve as a great wind breaker! Here’s a wee close up of the front and collar:

I made a few mistakes with the construction order of my Minoru, particularly with the collar/ hood. This meant that I had to do a whole lot of hand stitching. However this was entirely my fault as I was very casual about following the instructions. I find that while I study the pictures very carefully, I often fail to read the words on the instruction sheets. Le sigh. I got there in the end!

[Currently in London]

Renfrew in Purple

Renfrew by SewaholicI made a Renfrew! This sewaholic pattern was so quick and easy to put together! I think I’m finally getting the hang of knit fabrics. I bought this fabric from Nick’s Fabrics on Dominion Road (did you hear they’re moving?) for $4 per meter. It’s a very light weight woolen material with a vertical design woven in.

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This top was, in truth, a practice run. You see, I’m not really sure if I’m a cowl kinda gal so I thought I’d do a test to see if I liked the look on me. Being the busty lass that I am means that I’m very aware of styles that make me look bustier. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this cowl is flattering on a larger bust. Hallelujah!

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There’s not much more to say on this top except that I love it and I’ve already cut out another in black (well actually it’s the same material as my Little Black Dress – which in case you were wondering I wear all the time!)

Minoru on the Horizon?

The weather is truly crummy here in Auckland. It’s cold, raining 90% of the time and it’s getting dark by 5 o’clock. But all is not lost! There are some super awesome things about winter too – hot chocolates, woolen socks and Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket:

Photo: all this rain has got me thinking about the Minoru Jacket - I can see it on the horizon!

Full disclosure: I bought this pattern a while ago and have been trying to build up the courage to make it. I’m a real novice when it comes to outwear. There are so many amazing Minorus on the Sewaholic Flickr Pool and I’m feeling super inspired … but also intimidated!

I need your help! I’m not sure a) what sort of material content/ fibers I should be looking for in a fabric – how will i know if it will be waterproof?! and b) what colour to make a jacket in Head over to my facebook page and you can vote on your colour choice! I will announce the colour in my next post. You have three days to vote and this will be binding eeek.

Should I be regretting this already?