Will there be a Sew-Along for the Renfrew Top?

I’ve been asked a few times whether or not there will be a Sew-Along here for the Renfrew Top pattern. At this time, I’m not planning to do another sew-along. It’s been a lot of fun doing sew-alongs on the blog, and thanks to everyone that has participated so far!

I’ve really enjoyed leading the last four sew-alongs. In fact, I’m rather impressed that we’ve done four sew-alongs together in the last year! We’ve had a lot of fun, shared tips and helped each other, and learned a lot along the way! It’s been interesting as the pattern designer to see which sewing instructions are simple to follow and which parts cause confusion – great to know for future development! Not to mention, we sewed up some beautiful garments.

The sew-along blog posts will always be online if you haven’t made a Pendrell, Crescent, Lonsdale, or Minoru yet. (Find them here. I’ll update and add the Minoru posts when we’re finished!) Together we’ve built a great resource full of tips and suggestions for future sewists/sewers/seamstresses to use! I feel like we’ve covered nearly every sewing topic – seam finishes, hemming, full bust adjustments, gathering, making muslins – you name it! Thank you all for your contributions and comments. Every bit of feedback makes each post that much more valuable to new readers.

Over the next month, I plan to update the Sewtionary with the tutorial posts, so they’re easy to locate alphabetically. Zipper posts with the other zipper posts, seam finishing posts with the other seam finishing posts. It’s been a while since I added to the Sewtionary and when I finally finish, it’ll be better than ever!

If you’re up to the challenge, and want to take on hosting a Renfrew Sew-Along, I’ll gladly pass the torch! Or maybe do it as a group? You’re welcome to use the Sewaholic Patterns Flickr Group to share photos and discuss sewing techniques and alternatives. There’s a whole discussion feature that we’ve never used, but it’s there! I’d be happy to promote it, mention it on the blog and encourage people to join in.

I’ll leave it at that – let me know if you are interested in hosting a sew-along! This pattern sews up quickly and lends itself well to variations, so it’s easy to customize the perfect tee. I’m looking forward to sharing inspiration and ideas for more Renfrew Tops, and seeing your interpretations of the pattern too!

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46 Responses to Will there be a Sew-Along for the Renfrew Top?

  1. Annabelle February 16, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Oh, I was hoping there would be a sew along. I know they are a lot of work for you (and I sincerely appreciate each sew along post that you take the time to create). What I love most about your sew alongs is that they encourage me to keep moving on a project, whether time is my obstacle, or being unsure of the next step.

    So this is my plea for one of Tasia’s followers to please host a Renfrew sew along.

  2. Claire (aka Seemane) February 16, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Whilst I’d love to see another sewalong from Tasia (and your photos/posts are really clear – I’ve got every one of them all bookmarked already :)!), I think perhaps it’s not as necessary for the Renfrew – it being a tee-shirt ?

    There’s quite a lot of tips about t-shirts, and sewing with knits out on the web already – so maybe it’s not quite as urgent or pressing a need (or maybe not so much a need for me personally… as I’ve bookmarked a bunch for myself already LOL)? I know that when i get the chance to sew it up (I have a day off of work next week – so then is my own window of opportunity) I will take plenty of pics + make lots of notes to post & share on my blog – if nothing else, other than to remind me of what to do for the next time I sew a Renfrew top :)

  3. Lauren February 16, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    I considered hosting a sew-along for this top but honestly, I think it’s just too simple & quick! I am planning on putting together a little post with tips on working with knits & changing up the look of the Renfrew, though – hopefully in the next week or so! I loooove working with knits and I want everyone else to love them too :)

    • Sassy T February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Lauren that will be great, doing a post on knits. Me as a beginner will very much appreciate it as am dying to work with them.

    • Law February 17, 2012 at 5:23 am #

      Yeah Lauren, that would be fab, as I’m a newbie to kniits too and am just about to get started with my Renfrew.

    • Ledys February 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Would love that– thank you!

  4. Susan February 16, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    I understand why you don’t think a sew along is really required for the Renfrew Top. I’m sure you are working on some new patterns, and I wouldn’t want you distracted from this vital task!
    By the way could you put the Metric measurements for the Minoru and Renfrew on the pattern store?

  5. Dee February 16, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Oh no. I am truly disappointed there is no sew along. I have had mediocre results with knits and was really looking forward to the kind of information that a sew along inspires. How about a list of your top ten tips?

  6. Seraphinalina February 16, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Completely agree with some of the earlier comments. I just made view C of Renfrew. I’m not sure a sew-a-long is needed for a pattern with so few steps. I can see a post or two for tips on specific spots, like Lladybird used a double needle instead of zig zag, my brain struggled over the cowl until finding errata and the “back seam” clicking in and I’d like to read how others adapt to a full bust. But a whole sew along.. eh. Save it for something more complicated like the coat where hand holding really is needed. I think enough bloggers will make Renfrew and post about it to cover it.

  7. Ann February 16, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Oh, I’m a little disappointed, though of course what’s best for you….I know to a lot of people there’s so much info out there it might seem redundant to have a sew-along for this, but I’ve tried knits a few times using some of that info, and for whatever reason it just hasn’t clicked for me yet and I haven’t had great success. I was hoping you’d do one Tasia, because you have a special gift for it, and that this time it would all sink in. I’ll still forge ahead either way! Thanks and don’t mean to be a nudge, just wanted to say that yours specifically are the best…

  8. Corinne February 16, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Well, I think all the comments agree that your sew-alongs and tutorials are among the best available on the web. I understand your position. Having said that, your Renfrew pattern appears very straight forward and sewing knits is well documented on other blogs. I suspect several bloggers will jump in with their process and share it willingly. Perhaps a summary statement here referring to their posts would suffice. In any case, I am sure that everyone is looking forward to your next pattern.

  9. ms. modiste February 16, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Well, I for one totally support this decision! Your sewalongs are always wonderful, but I like the idea of you having more free time to devote to developing your business and designing new patterns! The more you build, the more impractical It may become to host a sewalong for every single pattern. I’m sure if there is enough demand for a sewalong, someone will host it :) thanks for all the hard work!

  10. Mary February 16, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    I agree with you Tasia…another can take the reins on this potential sewalong. I think your job is building your business, and the sewalongs are only one part of that. As others have said, there are lots of tips online for sewing with knits, and a tee is a simple pattern. This would be a great pattern for a new sewist to go solo, and learn what works and what doesn’t. There is a terrific benefit to sewing on your own, and making mistakes, and solving those problems by yourself. (ask me how I know this) :-)

    • Sewing Princess February 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      I agree with Mary…sometimes we need time on our own to research, try out and even make mistakes. Eventually it all comes together…even then you may make mistakes (made one yesterday even after having made a muslin).

  11. LM February 16, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Would you consider maybe a post or two on how to sew the seams and those bands? i tried knits before with desastruos results and i was looking forward to your tips and tricks. I don’t have a serger and i bought the pattern hoping to join my first sew-along in real time and get the most definite answers from you(i have the other patterns and bookmarked the posts but they are still in the queue).
    You really do have a gift for teaching and every techniques i learned from you worked as a charm. I understand though that you are maybe tired of sew-alongs but a post or two with some pointers would be great…the others sewalongs didn’t cover knits and i haven’t found many resources on-line on sewing knits with a regular sewing machine…any pointers? thnak you! :)

  12. Susan February 16, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    I fully support your decision! I love and follow all your sewalongs, but I love reading your non-sewalong posts even more. I’m sure there will be plenty of help out there on the internets for those of us who need it :)

  13. Catholic Bibliophagist February 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    I would love to see a sew-along for this pattern, but you are probably right that it really isn’t necessary. This looks like a pretty easy pattern.

    However, could you say something about fabric selection? I know nothing about knits. What is a “stable knit” which is what it says on your pattern envelope? I was searching through Fabric.com and noticed that most of the cotton knits were labeled “jersey.” Is that okay?



  14. Kris February 16, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Even with easy and straightforward patterns, beginners like myself really benefit from the “hand holding” of a sew-along and all of the tips and tricks that come out of the woodwork when a bunch of people focus on the same pattern at the same time.

    I hope somebody out there picks up the torch and offers to host a sew-along for the Renfrew pattern. Even if somebody doesn’t right away, maybe Tasia you would consider doing a post on fabric choices more in-depth? I’ve tried researching the topic of stable knits online myself and taken a trip to the biggest garment fabric store in my region but I’m still not really sure what qualifies and what doesn’t.

  15. Cat February 16, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Hi everyone, I’ve been looking enviously at everyone’s Renfrews – they are all so lovely.

    I cannot for the life of me figure out the neckline band. Every time I go to attach it it’s just too big. I wonder if I’m cutting it out wrong? Or sewing the first seam of it wrong? Or maybe my fabric is wrong? I thought a sew along would help with my issues.

    It would be great if someone out there created some tutorials (especially for that neck band) – maybe not a full sew along is needed – for us newbies.

    It’s such a lovely pattern, Tasia.
    Thank you.


  16. Hapa February 16, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I think you’ve done a superb job hosting all these sew-alongs in the past year and deserve a little brake. I personally am so looking forward to you taking that time to create something new, be it pattern-wise or for yourself from those gorgeous fabrics you’ve shown on the blog. As someone that hasn’t participated in the sew-alongs, I’m starting to miss the posts about your own sewing ventures.

  17. Cat February 16, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I mean too small. the band is too small, the shirt is too big!

    • Ginnie February 16, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      Neckbands on knits are supposed to be smaller than the neck hole. You stretch it to fit and it helps to make the neck lay flat, as opposed to being loose and stretched-out looking. Does that make sense or was the problem more complex than that?

      • Cat February 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

        Sorry Ginnie,
        I called you Ginny in my last comment.

  18. Deanna February 16, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Maybe just tips and an occasional update with FAQ would be enough. Thanks for all of your hard work. My Minoru is coming along beautifully.

  19. Susan - Knitters Delight February 16, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    My friend Latrice and I are both using the Renfrew as my top to make in my advanced knits class in San Diego. I’ll try to be better at taking notes as a way to offer tips on wide FBAs and neckline help. Even though I sew alot with knits, I thought this simple pattern would actual lend itself to learning better construction techniques….

  20. Marloes February 16, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I don’t think it will be necessary to hold a sew-along for this shirt. I find it a really easy and clear pattern! I liked it so much that I made two in one afternoon and have also cut out a third!
    Thanks for such a lovely pattern, I had been looking for a simple straightforward pattern for a basic T-shirt and this is one that is really versatile!

  21. Kirsty February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Hi, I think a Sewalong is probably not necessary either but some tips on fabric selection might be handy for those who haven’t tackled knits before. I’m feeling inspired to grab some knit samples and demo the effects of different stitches etc.

    Cat – I had to remove about 2 inches from my neckband length for View A so I think it might dependent on the fabric quite a bit.

    I wore my (still to be blogged when I have a decent photo) Renfrew to dinner at my parents and my Mum asked about a sewalong for her ‘Sew and Show’ group. I suggested perhaps a weekend of “Renfrew Repeats” – we could nominate a weekend or week and see how many Renfrew variations could be sewn up across the interwebs, maybe with locally hosted Renfrew workshops for beginners.

    This could even tie in with Tilly’s one pattern one week Project at http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2012/02/one-week-one-pattern-group-project.html
    Anyone interested?

    • Ledys February 17, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Kirsty, this is an awesome idea!! I’d love to participate. Also, *loved* how your Minoru came out. You are so talented!

  22. Cat February 16, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Ginny and Kirsty,

    Thank you for the tips!
    I’m thinking about cutting out a third renfrew now… bad influences, both of you.



  23. nothy lane February 16, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I was looking forward to a Renfrew sew-along as well. I’m not that confident with knits.

  24. SarahB February 16, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I’m so disappointed! It was stumbling across the Pendrell sewalong that brought me to Sewaholic in the first place, I love the sewalongs.
    I must be the only person finding Renfrew not that easy, especially finishing seams nicely with just a basic sewing machine. And fitting issues on the arms. But I’m sure I can figure it out.

  25. Jo February 16, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Hi, I agree with all the people that were looking forward to the sewalong- that’s actually one of the reasons I bought the pattern! Your tutorials are the best on the web, in my opinion. :) Maybe as others have suggested, you could touch on some tips and techniques in a few posts, instead of doing a full-on sewalong.
    Love your site and your tutorials!

  26. Lucy February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    I think it’s fair enough – for something more complicated, like the Minoru or the Crescent, a sew-along is fantastic – but I think your time would be better spent working on new patterns ;-) And I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect you to do a sew-along for every release, especially when they’re coming closer together. It should be a bonus, not an expectation.

    As you say, there’s heaps out there about sewing knits, in books (yes, books!) and on the internet if you take the time to look, and I’d imagine knits are reasonably forgiving about being unpicked if you do make a mistake. I don’t know, I’ve never sewn with them, but I’m not at all bothered about not having a sew-along.

  27. Tasia February 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments and feedback so far. I’m really pleased to hear that you love the sewalongs and count them as one of the best out there! That’s a wonderful compliment and makes me feel good about the work we’ve all put into the sew-alongs so far. My goal was to help encourage, inspire and educate anyone that wanted to make one of the Sewaholic patterns but wanted a little more guidance than just the pattern and instructions. And I think we’ve definitely achieved that goal!

    I do have some ideas for Renfrew-related posts in the future! And I’ll be on the lookout for useful posts about sewing with knits, finishing knits, and anything that might help when sewing this pattern. There are many great posts out there already written! And I still want to link to some of the pattern tester’s versions of the top, as many will share their own personal tips and suggestions on sewing the pattern. Plus then you’ll get to see the top on other bodies, other than mine!

    Fabric choice is a good subject to touch on too, so thanks for the suggestion. Again, you’ll get to see the effects of different fabrics from the pattern testers! You can use just about any knit fabric for this top. However, super-stretchy knits may not look great with the banded hems. Or the type of knits that stretch and then don’t recover to their original size. Knits are a whole different breed of fabric and no two knit fabrics are going to behave exactly alike. Which makes them both exciting and scary to work with! It’s the kind of thing that takes practice, sewing with different knits and getting to know the way they feel and respond, and which types you like best. It’s also hard to describe through words and pictures. I could do a better job in real life, walking through a fabric store and pointing out knits that I like to work with, knits I don’t, and talking about why.

    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I do appreciate you all stopping to leave your opinions even if you’re disappointed that there is no sew-along. I’ll keep you posted if anyone decides to take on the sew-along and share as many useful posts as I can!

  28. Zete February 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Offtopic: I was wondering, if you have ever thought of making your patterns available in pdf. I bought lonsdale and it took over a month to have it delivered

  29. Katy February 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Hi Tasia. I understand your decision. I hope you will do another sew along at some point though, perhaps for a more challenging pattern, because I will miss them! One idea for a Renfrew post for you or someone else is matching stripes in particular matching the top of the sleeves to the front and back pieces. I’ve just finished a stripey Renfrew (which I’ll post into Flickr soon) and I found it impossible to match up all the stripes in this area. I was able to match up the lower area but not up near the shoulder. I think maybe it is impossible without altering the pattern piece but if there is a way to do this I would love to know!

  30. Jane Elise February 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I am a beginner with knits too. If any of you sew the Renfrew and do some tips/photos/anything on your blog, maybe Tasia can collate a list of these blog entries? Just a thought.

  31. mel February 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I made up the Renfrew yesterday and the sewing only took approx 3 hours. It is a very fast top to make :)

    I do have a question about the neckband, I removed 2 cm from the length so it would sit flatter at the neckline but am not sure how to finish the inside so it sits flat. I feel the zigzag instruction in the pattern makes the top less dressy (I used a smooth jersey) and my usual catch stitch looks bad as well. I also tried the double needle but the fabric didn’t lie that either.

    That said, thank you Tasia for coming up with the Renfrew as it is a very good pattern that I plan to make lots of.


  32. Mary February 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    This is totally off topic but I wanted to say that I finished my Minoru jacket! It is so pretty and my husband said “This is the nicest piece you have ever done.” Wow. Thanks Tasia for a pattern that combines the outdoors and femininity.

  33. Ledys February 17, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Thanks for all you do, Tasia. I have loved the Minoru sewalong and am looking forward to see lots of Renfrew for Spring. I love your blog!!

  34. Cassandra February 17, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    I’ve just joined and was hoping to do a sew-along in the near future. Do you mean you’ll never do another sew-along?

  35. Rachel W. February 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Aw, I was rather hoping for a Renfrew sew-along, if only for some tips on fabric selection (what qualifies as a stable knit? Ponte? Doubleknit? Could a woven with lycra ever substitute?) and how to execute a FBA in a knit. The construction itself is pretty obvious, but I do still have some questions!

    I’ve already made one Renfrew, though, and it was super easy! I totally understand why you might want to pass on writing a sew-along for this pattern: it must be so much work, because your steps are always so detailed and meticulous!

  36. nothy lane February 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I am still hoping you will change your mind and do a sew-a-long for the Renfrew. I think your instructions are encouraging and very detailed. You make the really hard stuff seem easy and so I end up doing more than I thought I could. But I have decided to start on my first Renfrew tonight – I plan to do a few because my wardrobe is sadly lacking in shirts. I guess if I run into any problems, I will let you know. Also, Tasia, if you have any skirt or pant patterns upcoming that would be great. I tend to make the clothes I wear to work and your patterns are so flattering.