Ok! Today I’m going to talk about sewing the Renfrew Top. We’ve done several posts leading up to this moment, talking all about knit fabrics, cutting, choosing a view to make, and general tips for sewing knits. The sewing is going to seem so quick compared to all of the preparation!
Here are all of the blog posts about the Renfrew Top so far. (Get the pattern here.)
- A Big List of Tips for Sewing Knits!
- Three Tips for Sewing Stripes
- Introducing the Renfrew Top
- Sewing the Renfrew Top: What Would You Like to See?
- What’s a Stable Knit Fabric?
- Assembly-Line Cutting and Sewing
- Cutting Knit Fabric: Making Sure Your Project is Cut On-Grain
- Make Patterns Last Longer: Iron Interfacing to your Pattern Pieces
- Renfrew Top: Choosing which View to Make
- Thoughts on Cutting Knit Fabric
- Cutting Striped Knit Fabric and Matching Stripes
- Why Add Twill Tape to the Shoulders? Plus Possible Substitutions
- Seam Allowances on the Renfrew Top
- Approaches to Sewing Knits
First, let’s sew the shoulder seams. We’ll add stabilizing tape to the shoulders, so that they don’t stretch out over time. (Check out this post for more on why we bother with the shoulder seam stabilizing.)
Sew the shoulder seams, backstitching at both ends. I didn’t worry about sewing with a stretchy stitch as we’re going to reinforce these seams to remove all stretch.
You can see I’ve got my stay tape ready! Measure off the amount you need for the shoulder seam.
I cut down the middle of my tape so I have two pieces! You can’t do this with any kind of tape. Stay tape like this works, because it won’t fray when cut lengthwise. Fusible tapes would work, but regular woven tapes will fray and lose strength.
Next, pin the stabilizing tape to the seam. I like to pin mine just inside the seam allowance. The reason I like to pin inside the seam allowance, rather than exactly on top of the seam stitch line, is because this tape is a little inflexible. If I were to stitch it right on top of the seamline, and then tried to press the seam allowance, the tape would stop the fabric from pressing nicely. If I keep it inside the seam allowance, so that the edge of the tape doesn’t cross the shoulder stitch line, I’ll be able to press the seam allowances without the tape interfering.
Stitch through the tape.
Then, finish the seam allowances. You don’t have to finish the seam allowances. Most knit fabrics are not going to fray or unravel, and we’ve stitched the seam twice (once for the seam, once to add the tape) so it’s going to be nice and strong. I like to finish the seam allowance for looks mostly.
Repeat for the other shoulder seam, if you haven’t already!
Ok. You can see I’ve placed the stay tape on the front side of the shoulder seam. Now, you might want to do it differently if you’re sensitive to scratchy tape.
Take a look at the photo below:
The seam allowances get pressed towards the back. So if you apply the stay tape to the front, like I did, the stay tape is what ends up on the outside against your shoulders. You can see on the right side, where the seam allowance is pushed forward, how much softer it might be.
So, if you’re worried about feeling the tape on your shoulders when you wear the finished top, apply it to the back of the seams instead!
That’s it for now! In the next post, we’ll sew the cowl for View C. I still get questions about how to sew this cowl collar, so I’m hoping that being able to see it in step-by-step photos will be helpful. Everything is clearer to understand when you can watch it happen, rather than read about it in words.