Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Renfrew

Hello again! I kind of lost my sewing mojo after my hugely disappointing Beignet skirt, so I decided my next project should be safer bet to ease myself back in. I always meant to make more Renfrews after the success of my first one, so a second, winter version was clearly in order.

And I love it! I made View C, with the cowl neckline and three-quarter sleeves, with some modifications. I lengthened the sleeves by 1 inch (I just picked a spot in the middle to slash and spread) to accommodate my long arms. Although I love three-quarter sleeves, they are almost always too short in RTW, so I had a hunch that would be the case here, and I was right. I felt like Sherlock, with my amazing powers of observation (okay, okay, more like Watson).

I cut a straight size 6, but I probably should have gone up a size or two in the shoulders. I had to let out the sleeve seam by 1/4" so it wouldn't feel like such a straight jacket. It's still a little tight in the underarms, but much, much improved. I'm super annoyed with myself because I made a very similar observation about my first renfrew, and then I didn't even take my own advice! Ridiculous.

I also eliminated the hem band because I wanted to be able to tuck this into a pencil skirt and wear it to work. I lengthening the front and back pieces by 4" using the hem band pattern piece as a guide, which turned out to be way too much. I turned it up 2" and then cut off over an inch of extra fabric after I did the hem. Adding 2 1/2" would probably give plenty to work with for a hem.

Speaking of the hem, I could really use some advice on twin needles. I broke not one, but TWO ballpoint twin needles on this shirt. This is really frustrating because I had to special order them online and at almost $5 apiece they are not cheap. In the end, I seriously cheated by doing two lines of a narrow zig-zag topstitch. It's not nearly as stretchy as a twin needle hem would have been, but this is a very stable knit with hardly any stretch, so I think (hope?) it will be okay. I just wanted to be done so I could wear it already!

My favorite part of this is the cowl. I don't usually wear cowls, but this is so warm and cozy I'm a convert. It's like a built-in infinity scarf. Love!

This was also a trial run of sorts for a buffalo check shirtdress I have planned. A way to dip my toe into matching plaid, using a fabric whose busy print would be a little more forgiving. I cut in a single layer and took my time, and I think it came out pretty well. I'm feeling much more confident about working with plaids.

Not a bad start for 2014! The weather here is gorgeous (60 degrees! In January!) so I'm off to enjoy the sunshine. Hope you are enjoying MLK day too, or at least having an easy Monday.