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!

Ginger Made: Lady Lonsdale

ERTUIJGDFIGDIRHGOARHGOJGS!!!!!  I just typed up a lovely post detailing the construction of my Lonsdale dress, added photos and links, clicked “publish”, and… a six-word post appeared with no sign of the glorious original anywhere.  Sigh. Alright.  Take 2.

On the plus side, I’m finally finished with something!  Meet Lady Lonsdale!

She's a little loud, no?

She’s a saucy little number from Sewaholic Patterns, and I think we’re in love!  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I’m not a fan of prints and I definitely never wear florals, but I really like this dress.  Even if I feel really… conspicuous… in it.

Seriously, I look like I escaped from the set of "Hawaii Five-0"!

Construction was smooth sailing thanks to Tasia’s mega-helpful sew-along posts.  Seriously, if you’re a beginner or you’re at all on the fence about this dress, just look through these posts.  It couldn’t be easier to put together a dress (well, maybe if I had a sewing fairy to whisper helpful advice about every project)!

I'm a fancy lady! I can curtsy and everything!

I added bust padding using Sunni’s tutorial (it was a bit tedious, but mostly due to my idiocy), and I used an invisible zipper instead of a regular one.  I followed Tasia’s advice and used the fabric selvages as a substitute for Stay-Tape to help stop the bodice from stretching out.  I also did a swayback adjustment, so my waistband is nice and straight all the way around– yay!  The only issue I had was that the waistband was about an inch and a half shorter than the bodice and the skirt pieces.  I’m still not sure how this happened, but I shaved off 5/8″ on either side and the whole thing fits perfectly now.  Whew!  I’m pretty sure I got lucky.

All tied up with a bow, like a gift to myself!

I’m not going to show you the inside of the dress as it turned out a bit sloppier than I had hoped.  I used French seams on the skirt’s side seams, but due to my tinkering to make the waistband fit, I ended up just zigzagging the center and back seams.  Also, I made an annoying mistake– instead of stitching just the outer waistband to the skirt, I sewed both waistbands to it together, and I trimmed the seam allowance before I noticed that I was supposed to slipstitch the inner waistband down.  This would have been super neat and tidy, but alas!  I had to zigzag the raw edges instead.

Overall, though, I feel like I learned a lot from the project and from the sew-along!  I definitely recommend this pattern– I just wish there was more summer weather left for me to wear it!

What are you guys working on?  How are your projects coming along?