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June 21

An Ode to Renfrew

In light of last week’s news, I thought it was about high time I share my love of the Renfrew pattern by Sewaholic.

Boatneck Renfrew

If you haven’t heard, moving forward Tasia will no longer be the woman behind the helm at Sewaholic.  She’s turning things over to the peeps at Spool of Thread.  This came as a big surprise to everyone, with the exception of Ms. Tasia herself of course.  I’m attempting to remain positive about the change – but am holding my breath till the next pattern release.

I realize this happens all the time at large companies and in the tech industry – expected even.  But I feel like this is the sewing community and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the first change like this in the indy pattern scene??

I feel taken aback – but of course I’m happy for Tasia, as this is obviously what she wanted.  It’s just hard to let go and to accept change sometimes.

Back to Renfrew:

Boatneck Renfrew

I’ve been sewing up Renfrews tops steadily since I learned how to cut & sew with knits in a Meg-Michelle-Liz sewing day August 2014.  But one of my favorite Renfrew tops doesn’t quite look like a Renfrew.

Boatneck Renfrew

I’ve made two of these particular versions – boat neck, wide hem, along with no binding.  This one is a creamy white French terry knit and my second is a cotton/rayon blend of some sort in a heathered-grey and black polka dot.

Boatneck Renfrew

How did I make it??  I quite simply took a boat neck vintage pattern I had in my stash (for wovens) laid it on top of my Renfrew pattern, lined up the shoulders (ignoring the shoulder angle difference) & then just redrew the neckline.

Boatneck Renfrew

I could wear this particular outfit every day of the week.  This is the closest I’m going to get to an Audrey Hepburn – style outfit: flats, ankle-length trousers, and chic top.  Of course in no way, shape or form do I have the figure of Ms. Hepburn – I am me.  Being said, I feel lovely and put together in my boatneck Renfrew tops.  Tres Chic.  ;)

Boatneck Renfrew

At this point in time, I’ve sewn up at least 10 Renfrew tops.  It’s a staple in my wardrobe as an easy summer Tee with short sleeves, made in rayon/lycra jersey blend; or made for the Chicago winter made up in a wool jersey knit with long sleeves and a cowl neck.  I know there’s more T-shirt patterns out there, but why fix a pattern if it isn’t broken?!  As it is – I’m happy as a clam to continue to make up version after version of my tried & true Renfrew Top.

Thanks so much Tasia for making Sewaholic what it is today.  Cheers & Happy Adventures!

  1. Renee / Jun 21 2016

    Yes. I was so surprised to read the news as well. I imagine there will be some changes to the company that naturally come with new ownership. I am waiting too as I love sewaholic patterns. The esthetic and drafting for pear shapes is a great niche they fit. I too have made a ton of renfrews. Love this variation. Tres chic.

  2. Miriana / Jun 21 2016

    I was surprised too, but mainly that she didn’t author the announcement herself and that selling to a fabric shop was also a surprising move.

  3. Kendra / Jun 21 2016

    I was also surprised, but remain hopeful that the original ideas for the patterns stays a priority.

    It looks like you used a different binding for the neck and sleeves on this Renfrew. Can you share your secrets? :)

    • Liz / Jun 22 2016

      Hi Kendra.

      So – NO binding! :D

      I use a magical product called steam-a-seam (lite) to hem my knits nowadays. I apply it to the edge of my knit fabric (iron) then fold the seam allowance where I want it (iron again) and *voila*. I always sew the edges down after applying this product. “They” say it is permanent, but I’ve had areas that have peeled back on me when I didn’t stitch over top of it.

      For my neckline I used a 1/4″ steam-a-seam for a narrow finish. But I used 1/2″ on the sleeves and bodice hem. And even on the bodice hem I did a 2″ folded hem since I think it looks nice and professional and clean.

      • Michelle / Jun 23 2016

        From my understanding the Steam-a-seam lite is a temporary bond, while the Steam-a-seam (original? heavy duty?) is a permanent no-sew bond.

        Are you also using the steam-a-seam lite on the neckline?

        • Liz / Jun 24 2016

          You may be right Michelle, but this is what I found on their website:

          Lite Steam-A-Seam is the incomparable lightweight fusible web that bonds the same as Steam-A-Seam 2 but with 1/2 the weight – Perfect for laces, ribbon, silk and chiffon!

          I found that the regular kind is just too heavy for a knit material, the light is more malleable and stretchy. But no matter which I use, I’m always stitching over it. I primarily use this to ‘stick’ down my fabric to make my knit hems and bindings easy to stitch.

  4. Elena Knits / Jun 22 2016

    I was also shocked when I read the news. I was already expecting something since the Sewaholic blog had been silent for a while. I wish her the best, but I would have prefer her explaining the move.It just felt weird.

    Lovely top!

    • Liz / Jun 22 2016

      Yeah… I wish she was able to write one last blog post to us too. It would have been nice to have a formal “goodbye” from her. But perhaps the terms of the transition prevented her from doing so ??

      In retrospect, Tasia did always seem to try to brand Sewaholic be a company, rather just one person. It felt like she started that transition when she hired a blogger to blog and document and had models wear the designs instead of herself.

  5. Lindsay / Jun 22 2016

    I was sad about Sewaholic as well! I hope they continue with pear-shaped patterns, they fit me perfectly for the most part! I’m hoping someone does an interview with her so she can share her thoughts behind selling her business. I think you’re right that it’s the first situation like this in the indie pattern community, but I guess she would have shared that info herself if she wanted to when they announced the change in ownership. I’m glad I just stocked up on all of her patterns that I wanted! :)

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