A (hacked) Renfrew Tee for Spring

Anyone remember me alluding to a springtime Renfrew tee when I sewed up my winter one? Well, here it is!

spring renfrew hack

I actually made this one a while back, shortly after sewing up the original, but am just getting around to posting about it now. After making a muslin with an old jersey sheet and getting the fit just right, I figured, hey, why make a regular old t-shirt when I could hack the pattern and make something different? I had this favorite drapey-neck tee (this one from Toad & Co) that I wanted to imitate. (Parenthetical aside: I’m not really sure what to call this type of shirt – it’s not really a cowl, which I think of as having a separate neck piece like a really wide turtle-neck, like my first Renfrew, but I have heard it called that. Unless someone can give me a better word, I’m gonna stick with ‘drapey-neck’ in all it’s awkward glory!) I really like the neckline on my Toad shirt because it looks ‘fancy’ even though it’s just a comfy t-shirt, and it’s not too low.

spring renfrew side

It’s not a perfect match, but it’s pretty close! I roughly followed this method to make the draped neck. (Note that there are some more sophisticated methods out there for making a top like this, but this one worked pretty well for me). I like that it has a self-facing, and it was quite simple to modify the pattern. To sew it up, you first have to finish the neckline at the back of the shirt, then fold the facing down, baste it to the front piece along the sides, then just sew the shirt like normal.

spring renfrew bias neckline
finished neckline

I also cut the sleeves pretty short – I was going for a cap sleeve look to mimic the black shirt, so I hemmed them before sewing them on. For hemming both the sleeves and the bottom, I played around with a few different stitches because I was feeling too lazy to put on a twin needle (and thread a second spool). I found a super stretchy stitch that looks pretty nice (couldn’t get a good pic of it though).

spring renfrew sleeve_side

The fit of the shirt is not quite perfect. I thought I had it nailed with my muslin, but I think I need a bit of extra space across my shoulders. This may be partly due to the fact that I finished the back neckline with bias binding which prevents the back from stretching across the shoulders (compared to my muslin), and I do have broad shoulders. I’ve run across some mentions of a ‘broad shoulder adjustment’ online, so I think I’ll try to figure that out for my next version. The sleeves are also a bit tight, so I will need to add a bit of ease there as well. Oh yeah, already planning my next Renfrew! Isn’t it funny that I’m doing more fitting and pattern adjustments on a t-shirt than I’ve ever done on a woven garment? I guess a tee is so simple to put together and knits are so forgiving, that fitting just seems more approachable than on a more ‘serious’ garment.

spring renfrew closeup

I made this shirt with a cotton-spandex blend that’s a nice medium weight – so not too sheer/light. I like that it feels a bit more sturdy – and it was pretty easy to sew. I’m slowly chipping away at my fabric stash (and I have a lot of knits). I’ve already got a couple more finished projects ready and waiting for blogging…so stay tuned:)

Hope everyone is savoring spring. We went for a rainy walk around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park with family last weekend and saw goslings, ducklings, and nesting Blue Herons! Amazing what nature you can see in the heart of the city!

And giant spools of thread too:)

giant spools of thread


Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew
Size: 14
Adjustments: adjusted for fit (details here) and hacked to give a draped neck
Fabric: cotton spandex from Girl Charlee (this I think)

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