Ginger Made: The Renfrew Top (Or, The “Holy Cow, I Can’t Believe I Made a Shirt That Looks Like a Shirt” Shirt)

GUYS.  I’m seriously so happy with this.  It’s the Renfrew Top from Sewaholic Patterns, and it turned out so well that I feel like a champ!

When Tasia asked for testers for her new pattern back in November I  jumped at the chance!  This was my first time sewing knits, so I was both apprehensive and excited, but I knew that Tasia’s pattern instructions would be clear and thorough.

I had some trouble finding knits that were stable enough– most of the prints that I liked were way too stretchy and flimsy– so I used a double-knit jersey that I found at Mood.  It’s kind of a boring color, but I know I’ll wear it all the time.  I made view C, with its dressier cowl neck and three-quarter sleeves (my favorite!  I’m always pushing back or rolling up long sleeves).  Constructing the shirt is easy as can be, and I love the way that the sleeves and hem are finished with bands of self-fabric– no hemming!!  I started with the stretch stitch on my Janome, but since it was a sort of triple stitch, it used TONS of thread, and the plain zigzag worked just fine, so I switched to that mid-way through.  For some reason I had a ton of trouble attaching the first sleeve– I messed it up so badly that I had to put away the project in frustration for a while.  When I came back to it, the second sleeve went on perfectly, and I have no idea what I did differently!  I ended up having to cut a new sleeve piece to replace the first one– yeesh!  I cut a straight size 4 and it fit really well without any alterations– now I see why people like to use knits!  No muslins, no seam finishing, no fuss!

I know I’ll use this pattern in the future– it’s such a nice basic piece, but it’s so flattering and feminine.  I highly recommend it!  If you’re trying to fill out your wardrobe with more self-stitched items, this is a great place to start.  And I have to say, I received the best compliment on this!  When I tried it on for the first time, Man Friend said, “Hey, that looks like an actual shirt!”  That seems like a pretty high compliment from a non-sewer. 🙂

I do have a bit of bad news for you guys… poor Doug the Pug doesn’t fit into last year’s jacket!  It doesn’t meet around his middle at all and has to hang open!  Guess the holidays are hard on everybody’s figures!

What are you working on these days?  Anybody have any special projects going?  Also, be sure and stay tuned for a Sew Grateful Week giveaway!

54 responses

  1. I love your Renfrew and I think you just convinced me to buy the pattern. I’ve avoided sewing knits because I have too many RTW knits from the years before I took up sewing. Now that my sewing has helped round out my closet with some wovens it might be time to break out.
    Your dog is too cute and it’s so endearing that he’s too chubby for his cute little jacket.


    • Do it! It’s so versatile– I love that there are three neckline and three sleeve variations!

      Poor Doug– it really is adorable that he’s so roly-poly! I can’t help but put him in hilarious outfits. 🙂


  2. I think that Tasia is one of the most intelligent pattern technicians out there. I love her patterns. And happily I have this one set to go! Yours looks terrific!


  3. What a great top, I bet you will get loads of wear from it. I really need to try sewing with knits – my machine had a fit when I tried sewing jersey so I’ve been reluctant to try it again. Also, what a cutie your dog is!


    • Thanks, I’m awfully partial to Doug! 😀 I have to admit, my thread kept breaking and the machine kept jamming up… because I’d forgotten to switch to my ballpoint needle. Oh well, live and learn. Maybe you’d have good luck with double knit– it’s pretty stable and not as stretchy as some other knits, so maybe it would be a little easier on your machine?


  4. Oh my goodness. I love your top. It’s very flattering. And that was your first time sewing knits?? I’m so impressed! Ha ha, sadly that is a great compliment. I’m always like, “does it look like I bought it?” That’s sad too.

    Doug is adorable.


  5. OMG !! I am LOVING the top ! What a great cut and fit ! And, the colour looks great on you. Loving the styling of the ‘shoot’. Always good when a man friend makes a comment that something looks RTW – compliments indeed. Love Doug. Can I have him ? Please ?!? K XX


  6. That looks amazing! Just like an actual shirt! LOL!

    I haven’t tried any of Tasia’s patterns yet because so far they weren’t styles that work for me, but I’m really interested in this one, and will probably end up doing it this spring or summer.

    Poor Doug. He doesn’t look to happy that you’ve shared all his bidnis with the whole interwebs!


    • I bet you’ll enjoy this pattern– it’s so versatile and the fit really is nice. I really didn’t think I could make anything nice out of jersey without a serger, but I’m super happy with the way it turned out.

      Poor Dougie is the butt of all jokes around here. He’s just too funny– I can’t help myself!


    • I think it helped that the fabric was really stable. It’s nice that when pieces didn’t match up exactly, you can kind of stretch them to fit. Maybe you’ll have good luck next time? 🙂


  7. What an awesome top! Super impressed…. I’ve built up a huge back log of projects since I’ve been away from a sewing machine for 2 months. Adding this to the list!


  8. Doug is so cute and sad! My pups have been on a gaining-weight diet, since they were apparently just slightly on the skinny side (by like 2 pounds each) at their last vet visit. The perfect doggy weight is so hard to maintain! Also, I love your version of this top! I’ve never sewn with knits either, but I’ve read nothing but good things about this pattern.


    • Oh no! Underweight dogs! We don’t really know anything about that over here. 🙂 It’s actually a little weird because Mr. Pug’s favorite treats are vegetables! He cries if I’m cutting up broccoli or something like that and isn’t at all interested in any unhealthy treats!


  9. “Hey, that looks like an actual shirt!”

    LOL! I love it!

    I’m waiting for the day when someone asks if I made what I’m wearing, not because it looks home made but because it’s so TOTALLY me that there is NO WAY I bought it in a store. *fingers crossed*


  10. Gorgeous! I’m glad you finally got photos of your Renfrew up on your blog. I’ve been dying to see it. I can’t seem to stop making these tops. I have made four already, but seeing yours makes me want another cowl. Hmmm…


  11. Looks super cute and comfortable! I am with you on always choosing semi-boring fabrics/colors, but that’s what I like to wear! Haha…I’m so boring. Glad to see Doug the Pug again, what a cuteface!


    • The good thing is that everything goes together! I have so many grey items of clothing and gold/mustard accessories that I can kind of mix and match them all together. 🙂 You use lots of cute prints, though– I so like your Liberty Scout tees and your plaids!


  12. You did a great job! Braavvvooo! I’m sure this is the top you were talking about. If so, I give you an A+

    P.S. I hope you had enough time to take that bike ride🙂


  13. Gah – I love this. I just received my pattern in the mail last week and your top it’s making me want to make it, like, immediately! I had to laugh at Man Friend’s comment: it sounds like something Mr. Stitch would say. As for Doug the Pug… well, life is hard on all of us that way sometimes 


  14. It looks wonderful! I love sewing with knits – they are so easy & gratifying! I just finished up my first version of the Renfew top and when I stepped out of the sewing room, my boyfriend said pretty much the same thing about it looking like a real shirt. ::eyeroll:: Oh, non-sewers. Haha!


    • Thanks, ma’am! Btw I love your red dress– I’m having issues with open ID and haven’t been able to comment on some Blogger blogs, but I really, really like it! Great job!! It’s so summery and fun!


  15. And another renfrew make calling out to me. Oh I can’t wait to make this pattern. I have a feeling I shall be making one every month this year. lol
    I like the colour you used. It might look boring, on its own, but its one of those colours that can be dressed up, and you can wear it with a lot of other colours.


  16. Man, I think I might have to get that pattern. It’s so basic, but maybe that’s just what I need. You are totally selling it, and look fantastic! Grey is fantastic, and let’s your beauty shine🙂


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