February 8, 2013

Renfrew #1: Plum Cowl

Living in the pacific northwest I tend to populate my closet with “layering” items. My intention is to be able to wear most of my clothing items all year long, just layering on more when needed. In reality, it doesn't really work for me. I'm always so cold that to be warm enough in the winter I'd have to wear 3 or 4 layers. Instead I tend to wear 2 layers, find that I'm still cold, and proceed to wear my down jacket all day while I sit at my desk.

So this winter I’m attempting to make myself some clothing that could be considered “winter” appropriate.

I started by picking up the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern that has been on my wishlist since summer. I love cowl necks and I really wanted to start sewing more knit items. I picked up a plum jersey over the summer at Joann Fabrics before I had any project in mind. It's a great winter/fall color, so I used it for my inaugural attempt at the pattern.

Based on my measurements I cut the pattern for a size 6 top and graded it up to a size 10 around the hips. As you can see, it's much too big. The shoulder seam is a couple inches down my arm, it's baggy in the armpit and it's a several inches too long. The designer must have a long torso because in all of her photos the shirt looks much shorter.

I followed the pattern exactly for view C, which resulted in some cursing at step 6 when I encountered a typo and had to sew the cowl three times (I did it correctly once; reread the directions and thought, "oh crap it’s backward"; resewed it; realized that the direction was a typo and the way I did it first was correct. Finally, I went back and did it a third time to get it back to how I originally had it). Luckily I didn’t have to cut the fabric more than once, but as a result the cowl is slightly shorter than intended.

I clearly need a smaller size at the shoulders and arms and to shorten the overall length. I also need to use the long sleeves, since as I've mentioned before, I really dislike this sleeve length.

I wore this top for the first time layered under a green cardigan, so while it’s a step in the right direction, I suppose I haven’t really achieved my goal.

Especially since I was still cold.

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