It’s that time of year again when the evenings start to draw in, the temperatures plummet and I get the sewing blues. I have extravagant plans and fantastic resources at my fingertips, but I’d rather curl up on the sofa with a big bowl of cheesy mash, watching episodes of Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Homeland, New Girl, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy...you name it. It seems like I’ll do anything not to sew, but I don’t want to get stuck in this seasonal rut again! I always regret it come Spring, especially when I realise I don’t have enough clothes to fully take part in Me-Made-May.
So to ease myself in, I made an easy-peasy, tried-and-tested Renfrew (previous five versions here, here, and here), which also ticks the stash-busting box. Yipeee!
When I saw the Flamingo-print jersey at my local market, I knew exactly (for once) that it was destined to be a Renfrew with a round neck and three-quarter length sleeves. Being on a thrifty streak though, I was determined to squeeze it out of just 1.5m, which meant piecing the back. Been there, done that before with my floral version, doesn’t bother me.
The construction was as straight-forward as ever and super quick. As usual I cut a size 6 for the neck, shoulders and sleeves and a size 8 for the rest. This seems to work pretty well for me - I like that my Renfrews aren’t too tight or too loose, they’re just right for my liking!
Six Renfrews later, I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things about the pattern and about sewing with jersey:
- The cowl-neck Renfrew doesn’t work for me. I’ve given away both of mine, because they make me too hot and bothered.
- I’m not entirely convinced the waistband suits my body shape, but it does provide a really professional finish that I don’t want to compromise.
- All jersey is NOT created equal! No matter how much you spend and what quality you get, jersey can be a little unpredictable. For example, this flamingo print is a little ‘flimsy’, so the neck band doesn’t lie as flat as I would like it to. Yet, my stripy Renfrew (link) is also flimsy, but the neckband lies totally flat. So sewing Renfrews is a bit ‘trial and error’, which I’ve come to accept. In fact, I like how they all fit a little differently as it keeps my wardrobe looking more varied than it possibly is.
- Don’t over-think sewing with jersey. Yes, it behaves differently to woven fabrics, but don't let it scare you. All you really need is the right needle. For this particular Renfrew I used a needle suitable for 'stretch' fabrics, but you can use a 'jersey' needle too of course. Everything else I did exactly the same for woven fabrics – I kept my tension on 4 and I used a straight stitch instead of a zigzag stitch. See, not scary at all really!