Sunday, April 14, 2013

Completed: Renfrew Remix

Here's another one from my Spring/Summer 2013 plan. It's a Renfrew with a twist.

My inspiration was this Shabby Apple Conservatory Garden dress. The Shabby Apple version (currently on sale for $49) is made with a lined silk skirt and jersey top.

I opted for a jersey top and quilting cotton for the skirt. Originally I intended to make the entire skirt top gathered, but I cut it out with the print upside down and had to improvise and just gather the center. (I am forever fouling up directional prints.) Also, even though they were cut and ready to go, I forgot to add the pockets. The seams are already serged, but one of these days I'm going to take this dress and these skirts and have a pocket-adding afternoon.

To make the top I used the Renfrew pattern and added a wide waist. I cut four rectangular pieces and constructed it so the inside of the waistband is lined with another layer of jersey and there are no raw edges. It's for comfort and for stability because I wasn't sure how weighty the skirt would be.

Next time I make one, I'll take pictures and do a short tutorial.

I put together the dress front, then the back, and then the sleeves. Then I pinned the side seams to snug it up and get the fit right. The neckband and sleeve cuffs went on last.

It's my first time mixing knit and woven (in a big-girl dress), so I'm pretty excited with the result. There are some things I'd change about it (centering the huge part of the print, for instance), but overall I'm pleased. It's something I could definitely tweak and end up with a great little go-to dress pattern.

Question: What do I do about my bra showing? The t-shirt top doesn't feel too tight, and I want a snug fit. Do I ignore it? Is it a fashion faux pas?

Pattern: Modified Renfrew
Fabric: Top - cotton jersey with a bit of weight from Spiritex. Skirt - Kumari Holiday by Dena for Free Spirit bought from Sew Mama Sew during one of their $6/yard sales. (They're closing their shop. Tear.)
Size: 4
Modifications: cropped, added waistband, added skirt
Extra Thoughts: I've tossed my 0/2s and started re-tracing ALL of my shirt patterns to size 4-6. Above the boobs I'm a 4/6, below the boobs I'm a 0/2. This shirt fit my shoulders perfectly. Live and learn, man. Live and learn.
Next time: fully gather the skirt top, tighten up arm cuffs, lengthen stitch length on top stitching, skip top stitching on upper waist seam, taper below bust to size 0 at waist.


  1. This is adorable! So fun and cute. I hope you wear it all summer long. Looks like it wasn't too difficult to make, either. You can teach me how to make this someday during my private lessons with you. No idea what to tell you about the bra problem. Sorry!

    1. Thanks, Emilee! It wasn't tough at all, and it's super comfortable. I'm up for a lesson if you can show me how to execute French knots and bullion roses!

  2. I think it looks great as is, the bra showing in the back doesn't bother me but you could try a spaghetti strap tank top under it, victoria secret makes quite a few tank tops with the bra built in...

  3. I love it and it looks great on you. I have been thinking of mixing fabrics too. This is a great inspiration dress. Thanks for sharing.

    1. If I get enough nerve, I may try it with rayon or a silk-like fabric. That would be dreamily comfortable.

  4. This is a classic example of using a basic pattern as a block. This is a whole new design and I wouldn't call it a Renfrew at all . The Renfrew is just a t shirt pattern. What you have here is an original design. YOURS!

  5. Beautiful, beautiful interpretation of your inspiration piece.

    Your bra back shape showing under the top back...I'm thinking, lucky you, to not have any bulges or lumps peeking AROUND the bra back! In a way, it subtly communicates your lean-ness. I'm not sure how (or why) you'd hide that... short of not wearing a bra?? (=

    Happy Spring! Lynaea @

  6. or try a racerback bra or a sports type of bra? Something without those buckles? Anyway, I think most people don't think about straps. You're consious of them because you've taken pics of the back.


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